The question was ‘How long do you stay praying for someone? Do you stop when the change is not in sight? How do you avoid burnout? How long is too long? When does it become a lost cause?
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessings if we don’t give up.Galatians 6:9 NLT
If the prayer is for a good cause, don’t stop – God always comes through.
Now, this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.1 John 5: 14-15 NKJV
If the prayer aligns with God’s general and specific will, then don’t give up. The general will is God’s will for every human being e.g salvation Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11 NKJV
Specific will is God’s will for a specific individual.
I use to watch a lot of action movies like Commander and Commando that depicted invasions of cities that had a watchtower and watchmen. Every plot had the watchmen on guard over their city. Some watchmen go through their lifetime with no attack, yet they stay watching because the enemy never gives you a signal of attack or surrender. You pick the signs by watching and sounding an alarm to alert the city of an impending siege. If you miss the sign, the city will be overrun. In every plot, the enemy always stages a carefully planned take out of the watchmen. It starts by observation of the patterns for change of guard to identify the weakness or strength of their formation and then attacking where there is a perceived gap. When you see how the watchmen operate, there is never a lag time because every minute is important. Before a watchman takes his break, another watchman has to arrive and settle down to work before the other one leaves.
The answer to our starting question is never! As watchmen, we don’t stop praying for situations or more importantly people. We stay the course. With God, and as long as there is life, there is no lost cause. Every soul is redeemable, every situation is changeable. I have read of mothers who stayed in the place of prayers over their children for very many years and whose lives were later transformed. Imagine if they stopped. Sometimes, your persistent prayers are what is keeping the person from further damage or keeping the enemy at bay.
How do we avoid burnout? Don’t put God in a box. One of the reasons we experience burnout in praying is because we often fall into the habit of plotting how we expect God to answer the prayer. And when the answer does not come in that way, we burn out. Our job is to pray and keep praying. God’s job is to answer in His way, at His own time and in His pleasure. We may not understand how God works all the time and why He answers the way He does, but as Christians, we trust in the unchanging and undying love of God. God is faithful, remind yourself often of this specific nature.
When nothing is going on, Pray! when a situation needs changing, Pray! when a soul needs redemption, Pray! Pray for yourself, pray for your family, pray for the church, pray for your nation. We don’t stop praying.
The watchman never sleeps!
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