When we talk about consistency (yesterday’s post) we also need to talk about persistence.
The difference between consistence and persistence (according to dictionary.com)
consistency- conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness.
persistence- firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
To look at both of these themes the context of prayer, I want to draw your attention to the parable of the persistent widow:
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18: 1-8
Upon first glance, it seems that Jesus is suggesting that when we are persistent God will answer our prayer faster, perhaps just to “shut us up” as the judge did.
“yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!” (suggesting that more we nag, the more we will get what we want.)
But note that as Jesus tells this story, he is careful to give us two important pieces of background information:
the judge did not know God or care for people (verse 2)
the widow was seeking justice for wrongdoing (verse 3)
The judge did not care for the widow, yet he still granted her wish, so how much more will our Father in heaven hear and answer our prayers?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26
I admit there are times where I feel like a “broken record”. I keep asking and knocking for the exact same thing and it appears to me that nothing is changing. It is hard to pray for something over and over again without seeing a change.
Both consistency and persistence measure our faith.
Without Faith it is hard to be consistent and persistent. If I don’t think you will hear me or care, why will I bother to ask? Thankfully we know that God is ALWAYS near and listening to us (Psalm 66:17-20)
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
And because we know this we can be persistence in our prayers.
Faith fuels our persistence and consistency in prayer.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
If we look at this in reference to prayer, I love that it says “at the proper time” not “once we’ve asked 1000 times” but at the proper time. The proper time is in God’s time (not ours!)
What other examples in the bible can you think of that demonstrate persistence in prayer and God’s proper timing?
How are you being consistent in your prayers to God? How are you being persistent in your prayers to God?
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther