I got this little excerpt from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon from a good friend, and wanted to pass it along. It was from his sermon about the persistent widow in Luke 18:1 and following, where it says Jesus was teaching that “men ought always to pray, and not lose heart.” I hope it encourages you to that end as well.
A third meaning which I think our Lord intended to convey to us was this: men ought always to pray, that is, they should persevere in prayer. When we ask God for a mercy once, we are not to consider that now we are not further to trouble him with it, but we are to come to him again and again. If we have asked of him seven times, we ought to continue until seventy times seven.
In temporal mercies there may be a limit, and the Holy Ghost may bid us ask no more. Then must we say, the “Lord’s will be done.” If it be anything for our own personal advantage, we must let the Spirit of submission rule us, so that after having sought the Lord thrice, we shall be content with the promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee” 2 Cor 12:9, and no longer ask that the thorn in the flesh should be removed.
But in spiritual mercies, and especially in the united prayers of a church, there is no taking a denial. Here, if we would prevail, we must persist; we must continue incessantly and constantly, and know no pause to our prayer till we win the mercy to the fullest possible extent.
“Men ought always to pray.” Week by week, month by month, year by year; the conversion of that dear child is to be the father’s main plea. The bringing in of that unconverted husband is to lie upon the wife’s heart night and day till she gets it; she is not to take even ten or twenty years of unsuccessful prayer as a reason why she should cease; she is to set God no times nor seasons, but so long as there is life in her and life in the dear object of her solicitude, she is to continue still to plead with the mighty God of Jacob.
The pastor is not to seek a blessing on his people occasionally, and then in receiving a measure of it to desist from further intercession, but he is to continue vehemently without pause, without restraining his energies, to cry aloud and spare not till the windows of heaven be opened and a blessing be given too large for him to house.
But, brethren, how many times we ask of God, and have not because we do not wait long enough at the door! we knock a time or two at the gate of mercy, and as no friendly messenger opens the door, we go our ways. Too many prayers are like boys’ runaway knocks, given, and then the giver is away before the door can be opened.
O for grace to stand foot to foot with the angel of God, and never, never, never relax our hold; feeling that the cause we plead is one in which we must be successful, for souls depend on it, the glory of God is connected with it, the state of our fellow men is in jeopardy. If we could have given up in prayer our own lives and the lives of those dearest to us, yet the souls of men we cannot give up, we must urge and plead again and again until we obtain the answer.