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Persistent Prayer

by Joel Comiskey

Summer 2009

Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). Even though salvation requires divine initiative, God has given us the critical role of prayer. Jesus taught his disciples to pray and never give up (Luke 18). He told them repeatedly to keep on asking (Matthew 7:7; Luke 11: 5-11).

We've been praying for my dad for more than four decades. I've personally been praying for my dad for thirty-six years. My dad, Tom Comiskey, received Jesus Christ on his death bed at eighty-five years old, gave a clear testimony of his salvation, and then died three days later on July 30, 2009. It was truly a miracle of God's grace (read my diary entry of his salvation HERE). We had a glorious memorial service last Friday, knowing he's in heaven.

My dad's mother, Martha, was the first one in our family to come to Christ at the age of seventy-four. God delivered her from Christian Science, and she persistently prayed and witnessed to the rest of us. Martha's prayerful persistence has borne much fruit, and three of her grand kids are even now in full-time ministry (please read Acts 16:31 and stand on this promise for your family).

Don't give up praying for someone after a few weeks. It might take a lot longer. George Muellerprayed throughout his lifetime for five friends to know Jesus Christ. The first one came to Christ after five years. Within ten years, two more of them received Christ. Mueller prayed constantly for over twenty-five years, and the fourth man was finally saved. For his fifth friend, he prayed until the time of his death, and this friend, too, came to Christ a few months after Mueller died. For this last friend, Mueller had prayed for almost fifty-two years.

God doesn't view time in the same way we do. He hears every prayer you make, and He desires that you persist until the end. At times you'll want to give up. Don't. God is hearing your prayers and is pleased with them. In His time the answer will come-quickly

When I shared hat my dad received Jesus, Timothy Wright commented:

“So pleased to hear your great news. I wished it ended all this way. I have prayed for my family almost every day for my entire family since I became a Christian 29 years ago. Not one has become a Christian and my Father is in Hell and denied Jesus up till his last breath. Jesus was so good to continue to give my dad the opportunity to come to him.”

I responded to Timothy’s comment, saying, “Timothy, thanks for your honest sharing. The fact is that many do go to hell. In reality, I was ready for my dad to resist right up to the grave because he had so consistently resisted our past witnessing to him. I even subconsciously thought about how I would prepare my kids for my dad’s death without Christ. My kids had just returned from a Panama mission trip in which they prayed for a deaf team member who they “thought” God ha “promised” to heal (a word picture). My daughter’s faith was tested when God didn’t heal him. With regard to my dad, by God’s sovereign grace–which our minds can’t truly grasp–God broke through in a miraculous way, as you can tell by my diary entryandhis testimonyto others [this was a synthesis of what I shared with Timothy].

Joel Comiskey