Continuing (persevering) in prayer (Romans 12:12).
The sincerity of our prayer appears from the expectation we have to see or enjoy what we request. If our prayer is only a verbal expression, viz. just a few words that we utter, but which we really don’t mean, if it is done without actually desiring it in our heart, it only remains a nice wish based on good fortune or coincidence and dies out almost immediately as it comes out of our mouth. We say: ‘If what I ask comes about it would be nice, if not .. never mind .. ‘ Of course we don’t say it in such a way, but in the way we pray, assuming a religious attitude, we think that the Lord will hear us. But He asks: What will you have me do for you? (Luke 18:41). What really is your heart asking for, this ask of me and it shall be done. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done to you (John 15: 7).
This kind of prayer is followed by the expectation or perseverance. Hoping and patiently waiting; For we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8: 24-25). The verb ‘proskartero’ (continuing steadfastly) that often accompanies the exhortation to prayer, has the sense to insist firmly, to endure and expect something. In this way the Bible describes the attitude of a heart that prays and sincerely desires something from the Lord. This is the kind of prayer that God answers because it is based on faith. And the expectation is the hope that inflames faith and prayer does not remain only in words but becomes an invigorating exercise of the heart.
This is what the disciples were doing before Pentecost, waiting for the promise that the Lord promised them. They were not aware what would take place, nor did they know when it would happen, but continued steadfastly in prayer and insisted with perseverance, waiting with one accord that which the Lord promised: All these continued steadfastly in prayer with one accord (Acts 1:14). In the same attitude we find them continuing after Pentecost: And they continued steadfastly .. in prayers (Acts 2:42). The same with the disciples who wanted to continue in this way as they said to the rest of the disciples: We will continue steadfastly in prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6: 4).
In his letter to the Colossians apostle Paul recommends: Continue steadfastly in prayer, and adds: watching therein with thanksgiving (Colossians 4: 2). Not only to insist patiently in prayer, in adverse circumstances which might come so as to extinguish the hope, but rather to continue thanking also as if you have already received that for which you pray. This is consistent with the words and exhortation of our Lord in Mark’s Gospel when He said to His disciples: Therefore I say to you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).