Some of the hardest prayers I have prayed are the prayers I have prayed the most. Prayers for salvation of those I love… Prayers for deliverance from trials… Prayers for direction in the dark… Prayers in repeatedly forgiving others… And despite not seeing these prayers met quickly with my anticipated answers, these are the prayers that have grown my faith more than anything else.
During my first 21 Days of Prayer, a friend of mine spoke of her greatest constant prayer and it changed the way I saw my yet-to-be-answered requests of God. She said that when God began impressing her heart with prayer, He gave her a holy burden for the lost souls represented within her family. So she prayed, day after day and week after week. Though most of her prayers changed with the flux and flow of life, this one remained: that God would captivate the hearts of the lost in her family and bring them to a place of salvation. And then she gave a number — the exact number of days she had consecutively prayed this specific prayer. It wasn’t 21, it wasn’t 40… It was over 800!
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 NLT
Believing in the reality of their eternal destination without Christ, for more than 800 days she had humbled herself before the Lord and sought salvation for the lost in her family. And though her prayers were yet to be answered, she had faith that it would come to fruition because she knew that beyond being our Giver and Answerer, our God is faithful to accomplish His will for us when we seek His will with all of our hearts. Praying this prayer may not have immediately changed her circumstances and the hearts of her unbelieving family members, but it did change her. It grew her faith and simultaneously enhanced her expectation of God’s mighty power, which multiplied her confident hope in the things to come.
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12 NLT
In Daniel chapter 10, the prophet Daniel saw the direction his nation was headed and it greatly burdened his spirit. Between the grief and heartache of things to come, Daniel sought the Lord with mourning. He knew that only God could do the work that needed to be done in the lives of the people he loved. And so he prayed. For three weeks, Daniel –– who was loved and favored by God, as we are today — ceaselessly bore his soul before the Lord on behalf of his nation until he received the answer. And on day 21, Daniel was visited by a messenger of God who reminded him of this truth: God heard every prayer he prayed from day one.
“Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” Daniel 10:12 NLT
The deep reality of each and every one of our prayers is that, though the answers are yet to be seen by us, our prayers are indisputably heard by our loving God. Looking to the Word as our ultimate guide, we have no instruction for when to stop praying. On the contrary, we are encouraged throughout God’s Word to keep praying (Ephesians 6:18), to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6), and to never give up (Luke 18:1).
“Won’t God provide justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he be slow to help them? I tell you, he will give them justice quickly.” Luke 18:7-8a CEB
The Father’s heart is moved by our wholehearted petitions of faith. If it’s 21 days, if it’s 800 days, if it’s 10,000 days, in everything you are praying for, line your prayers up with the promises of God, and KEEP ON PRAYING. God’s best answers to your ceaseless prayers are waiting on the other side of your expectant faith and willingness to patiently trust in Him.
“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 NIV
21 DAYS OF PRAYER IS FOR YOUIf you sense God has more for your life, 21 Days of Prayer is a great place to start believing Him for all that He has for you. As you practice seeking Him first, He will move on your behalf like never before. You will start to see the power of prayer impact your relationships, work, family, and every area of your life. Whether you join us in person or online, we would love for you to be part of 21 Days of Prayer.
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Elle Gray was raised in Mobile, Alabama, where she met and married her husband, Hayden. Since becoming a full-time mom to their little boy, Ethan, God has grown in her a burden for women, especially moms. Elle loves using her spiritual gifts to encourage other women, particularly in a spiritual setting.