“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” – James 5:17-18
Think about how vital of a role persistence plays in our lives. If you want something, it often takes persistence to obtain it. Very rarely do you get exactly what you want on the first try. For example, consider a basketball player who wants to become a great three-point shooter. He doesn’t just walk onto the court and immediately have a great shooting percentage. He has to work at it. He has to practice shooting. He has to keep shooting over and over again before he can achieve his goal of becoming a great shooter.
The way we practice prayer is no different. If we want something, if we have a desire for something, we must pray for it persistently. Too often we just pray for something one time and if the prayer isn’t answered right away, we give up. What if the basketball player practiced shooting for one day, and when he realized he wasn’t shooting as well as he wanted to, he just gave up? It’s not realistic for him to expect to become a great shooter after one day of practice. In the same way, we must realize that we can’t expect for every single one of our prayers to be answered the first time we pray them.
Take Elijah for instance. James talks about how he prayed earnestly, and the Lord answered his prayers. Elijah prayed repeatedly, and he prayed persistently, and the Lord rewarded his continued faith.
I want to encourage you to pray persistently as well. Pray until the door opens. Pray until the mountains in your life begin to move. Pray until change comes. If you are earnestly seeking the Lord and following Him, He will lead you in the right direction with wisdom and discernment. But don’t give up on your prayers just because you don’t see immediate results.