By LaChelle “Sister Shelli” Anderson
The Bishop (an overseer of churches) at the church I attend, has always taught us: “Every success is a prayer success first and every failure is a prayer failure first.” If you are a new Christian, this statement may seem a bit harsh, but to those of us who have spent some long hours before God on our knees, we know that it is indeed a very truthful statement.
In Luke 18:1, Jesus says, “…men ought always to pray and not to faint.” Jesus states in this parable found in Luke 18:1-8, that prayer is so important, it matters so much, that we should pray always and not stop. In other words, “Don’t stop coming to God in prayer.”
If you continue reading this parable, Jesus goes on to talk about a widow who keeps going to a judge asking him to avenge her, but he refuses. The judge is one who doesn’t reverence God or man, but has grown weary of this widow continually coming to him requesting vindication. In verses 6 and 7 of The Amplified Bible, Jesus describes the judge as “unjust,” but refers to the widow, and those like her, as God’s “chosen ones” or “elect.” In verse 8, Jesus is saying, in effect, “Won’t God defend, protect and bring justice to His chosen ones who cry and pray to him day and night? But when he comes, will he find such persistent faith on the earth?”
You see, you are one of God’s chosen ones. He loves you and He wants you to keep praying and to keep coming to Him day and night. Our prayers matter because we are His Chosen Ones! God will defend, protect and bring justice (speedily) to His chosen ones who pray to Him.
Do Not Faint
Did you notice in the first verse of Luke 18:1 that Jesus mentions “not to faint?” He wants us to be like Jacob who wrestled the angel all night and refused to let go of the angel until he blessed him (Genesis 32:24-27). You and I are God’s chosen ones and we are to always pray day and night and not let go of our prayers until God gives us the victory! Glory to God!
Why did Jesus say,“faint not?” What happens when we faint?
- We lose heart, give up and stop praying.
- We stop believing God will answer our prayers.
- We start to question God: When? How? Why?
What happens when we don’t faint?
- We believe in what we do not see. This means we have faith, according to Hebrews 12:1.
- We pray with boldness.
- We no longer fear that our prayers won’t be answered.
Remember, God will avenge, protect and bring justice to His chosen ones who faint not!
Pray Day and Night
So why it is important for us to pray day and night? Psalms 55:17 says, “Evening and morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud and he shall hear my voice.”
In the Book of Daniel chapter 6, we read about a great man of God who prays to God three times a day, in the evening, morning and at noon, and has found great favor with God and the King. The Bible says Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because “an excellent spirit was in him.” So, the jealous presidents and princes consulted among themselves to get rid of Daniel, but they couldn’t find any wrong in him, except for his relationship with his God. So, they knew of his daily ritual of praying three times a day and they decided to use this ritual against him. They went to the King and made a suggestion to him to proclaim a royal statute or decree throughout the land: “Whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, except of the King, he shall be cast in the den of lions” (Daniel 6:7).
After hearing about this decree, Daniel still chose to pray three times a day, but he took it even further and kneeled before God and gave thanks. Daniel responded with what he knew to do. He knew to pray. He knew that he shouldn’t stop praying and he chose to give thanks to God that his prayers would be answered. Daniel did not faint. He went to God with boldness and he didn’t fear the decree.
God, in turn, protected Daniel after he was thrown into the den of lions for disobeying the king’s command. The king was reluctant to execute his sentence on Daniel but the king knew that he could not go back on his decree. The next morning, the king went to the lions’ den and found Daniel alive (Daniel 6:20). The Bible says, “no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God” (Daniel 6:23). As a result, the men who accused Daniel of disobeying the king’s decree, were thrown in to the lions’ den! (Daniel 6:24).
I Know That Prayer Works
From a personal perspective, I know prayer matters and it works because recently I received a decision in my favor after being repeatedly told, “No,” for more than 16 months.
My income drastically decreased and I asked my mortgage company for a loan modification. My mortgage company told me, “No.” I asked again and was told, “No.” After the third request, I was told not to come to them anymore.
After much prayer about my situation, God instructed me to go back to the mortgage company one more time. In my mind I heard, “Three strikes, your out!” but I remembered the story in Luke 18 and decided to believe God wanted to defend, protect and bring justice to me speedily. As a result, I received a decision in my favor after being told, “No!” for over 16 months.
Prayer Basics to Reflect On
When you’re going through tough times and being repeatedly told, “No,” I want you to remember the parable in Luke 18 and my personal story, because prayer matters and it works! Here are a few prayer basics for you to reflect on:
1. Come to God as a little child (Matthew 18:4).
2. Find at least two scriptures to stand on and recite daily. Don’t let go!
3. Pray day and night (Joshua 1:8).
4. Have faith when you pray (James 1:6).
5. Thank God for answering your prayers (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
When you’ve been praying and have not received an answer to prayer, keep yourself encouraged by reading God’s Word. One Scripture to turn to is James 5:16 that says, in part, “the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous (His Chosen Ones) availeth much!” Make a decision to be like the widow in Luke 18 and not give up. Don’t forget that prayer matters and it works!
LaChelle Patrice Anderson (aka Sister Shelli) is a graduate of Word of Faith Bible School in Southfield. As the founder of FirstFruits Living Publications and FirstFruits Living Ministries, she offers Personalized Prayer Letters (™) and provides food to the needy through a monthly Free Bag Lunch and Prayer Street ministry. She is also the author of “Our Family’s Daily Prayer Devotional” which is available at Amazon.com. Sister Shelli is also available for speaking engagements. To find out more, visit her website at http://www.myprayerletter.com.