David Jeremiah, who preached here a year or so ago, tells of a time when, as a seminary student, he was sitting in class waiting for his professor, Dr. Howard Hendricks, to come in. When the man entered the classroom, he was weeping; and he stood before the class and said, “Gentlemen, I want to tell you something. My seventy-year-old father received Jesus Christ as his Savior. That might not be meaningful to you until I also tell you that for forty years, I have prayed every day for his salvation. And after forty years, God finally said yes.”
My friend, Yvonne Thigpen, told me that she prayed for twenty-five years for her father to be saved before he finally made his decision to follow Christ and was gloriously saved.
George Muller once prayed fifty-two years for the conversion of one man who was saved after Muller’s death.
For many years, I’ve kept a prayer list and I date each item as I pray for it. Sometimes God answers my prayers very quickly, and other times it takes several years before the answer comes. There are some things on my list that are still not checked off; I’m still waiting for the answer to come.
But Jesus said in Luke 18 that we ought always to pray and not to faint. So we should ask God to meet our needs—whatever that need is on the list in front of you—and pray about it with persistence.