The heavy metal band Iron Maiden wrote a song off their Piece of Mind album (no, I didn’t misspell piece) entitled “Die With Your Boots On” that talks about fighting until the bitter end, not quitting, giving every ounce of ability that you have to the cause (whatever the cause may be).  The chorus to the song goes like this:

If you’re gonna die, die with your boots on

If you’re gonna try, well, stick around

Gonna cry? Just move along

But if you’re gonna die…

(Die with your boots on)

Interestingly enough, the words to this song could easily be applied to the Christian in the call to persevere in your prayer life.  The word “pray” (in its various forms) is mentioned 511 times in the Scriptures so it must be pretty important.

The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:11 emphasizes to crucial nature of prayer when he says:

 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf

for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

 In the verses preceding verse 11, Paul announces that God rescued him out of devastating peril in the past and that He would rescue him again, but then he immediately follows this up by stating– You also must help us by prayer.  Paul essentially says in this verse “yes, God delivered us, but the way He delivered and will deliver us is through the prayers of His people on our behalf.”

Repeatedly in Paul’s letters he requested prayer because he realized its importance in his ministry.  In Ephesians 6:19 he says:  Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.  In Romans 15:30 he states: I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ & by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

Paul  was putting himself out on the front lines of spiritual battle by confronting the pagan gods of the day and calling people everywhere to repent and put their faith in the Risen Jesus.  And he said in Romans 15:30, “you want to join me in my struggle?  Join me by praying for me.”

Do  you know what it is to struggle in prayer?  I’m not necessarily talking about staying up all night to pray or to pray for many hours at one time but to be devoted to the concept—giving yourself to it again & again, seeing no change at all, and yet feeling so burdened about a particular (sometimes HELPLESS/HOPELESS) situation that you cannot help but pour out your heart to God?

You witness a marriage that looks like it is over and that there is no hope—there is NO repentance on the part of the mate, and it is a struggle to believe beyond today.  A wayward child who has once again been arrested or languishes in drug addiction and you look at him or her and you are devoid of any sight of change.  They repent & then fall back into the same old addictions time after time.

PRAYER IS HARD WORK BUT IT IS ESSENTIAL.  Preacher John Wesley once stated, “God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.”  God’s chosen way of bringing about His will in the world is largely through His children asking Him to act on their behalf.  Puritan Matthew Henry once said:  “When God intends to bless His people the first thing He does is set them a-praying.”

But why?   Why does God choose to act in this manner?  Why does He command us to ask for things?  The answer is in the remaining part of 2 Corinthians 1:11:

so that many will give thanks on our behalf

for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

When you pray and pray and pray and pray repeatedly over the weeks, months, and years and God finally breaks through in response and blessing, it is so that other people will give thanks to God for the blessings of God in answering your prayers.  It is so that your testimony will be edifying and strengthening to other people—so that they themselves will persevere in their own prayer lives and continue pleading with the limitless God of the universe to change their desperate situations!

Some time ago, I was in a very hard place in my life, and there was a man in my Sunday School class who shared his testimony one day in class.  He was an extremely successful businessman, who owned a tire store.  Yet, he was also an alcoholic and a womanizer who wanted nothing to do with God.

He was married to a very godly woman who constantly and consistently prayed that God would save her husband.  She prayed year after year after year with no evidence of change or desire for God in her husband’s life.  Then she was diagnosed with cancer and eventually died from its effects never seeing her husband come to faith.

Yet, about two years after her death, her husband surrendered his life to Jesus, and to this day he is a serious, committed Christian.

She never quit praying, never quit hoping, never quit believing that God could save her husband.  Yet, she never saw the results.

Leonard Ravenhill was an English evangelist and a man of committed prayer.  He had this to say about the nature of prayer:

There is no other way to power (with God) except to pray. Hidden (unanswered) prayer is like heat smoldering in the bowels of the earth, far beneath the steel cone of a volcano. Though there may (seem to) be years of inactivity, sooner or later there will be an explosion. So it is with prayer in the Spirit—it never dies.

That woman’s prayer never died.  It is just that the effects of it were not planned until after her death.

But why?

I believe with all of my heart that her story/testimony was intended for people like me who were struggling to trust God when we couldn’t see what He was doing to keep pressing on and to never give up calling out to the God of all creation to come to our assistance.  That is why Paul said:

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf

for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

This man’s wife, fully committed to prayer, died with her boots on.

Will you?