God answers our prayers many times with a yes, no or wait, but how does it all work? Why does it seem like some prayers go un-answered? Maybe that is a no. We have all been there. We ask God to do something and it doesn’t happen. Then we give up. We think He doesn’t want to help us or that maybe we prayed the wrong prayer. Maybe we even get mad at God for not answering on our time table or how we think He should have.
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1 (NIV)
The Bible has a lot to say about prayer and God constantly reminds us that we need to be doing it. But why? Why is prayer seemingly so important? How do we get our prayers answered?
1. Persistent Prayer is the Key
How many times have you prayed for something ONE time and then forgot about it? Probably thousands of times. When we pray “one time” about a topic and then forget it and move on, what does that unintentionally tell our Heavenly Father? It tells Him that it’s not that important to us. If we are honest with ourselves, it’s not that important if you only pray one time. God is calling us to pray persistently, consistently, all the time.
Think about the times you were “banging on the doors of Heaven” with your prayers. Every day and night, throughout the day, constantly praying. Those are the times you demonstrated your faith and it clearly was very important to you. God tells us to pray persistently many times in His Word. The Parable of the Friend in Need (or the Persistent Neighbor) is a great example.
2. Pray so much that it’s annoying
In Luke 11, Jesus tells us the parable (a story to convey a point) about a friend in need, who comes over to borrow some food at Midnight.
Luke 11:5-8 ESV
(5) And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, (6) for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; (7) and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? (8) I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence [persistence] he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
So why did Jesus tell this parable? The point he was making is that we should pray with persistence. Pray like the little kid in the grocery store who won’t stop asking for the toy they must have. “Mom! Mom! Can I have this? Please! Mom!” We have all seen this situation, either because we’ve been around kids or because this was once us.
The friend in need received what he asked for because he was so persistent that his friend finally gave in and gave him what he asked for. God is not annoyed by our prayers, but we should pray so much that if we were on the receiving end that we would be. God wants to bless us and He pours out blessings daily.
3. Keep Asking, Keep Seeking, Keep Knocking
Many of us have read the ASK, SEEK, KNOCK verses in Matthew 7:7-8, which say:
(7) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (8) For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Did you know that the Greek word for “ask” is in the active voice, present tense and imperative mood? Huh? What’s that mean? It means this indicates a “continual action” that takes place over a long time, rather than a one-time event. We are not to ask one time and then stop, but to continually ask, repeatedly, over and over again.
The Amplified Bible (AMP) does a great job with these verses:
Matthew 7:7-8 AMP
(7) Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.
(8) For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.
4. Prayer is Powerful
When we pray, things change. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b) How is it powerful? There is a spiritual battle going on around us and our prayers make a difference. This is one of the reasons the Bible calls us “co-workers” with God. (2 Corinthians 6:1) We play a part in all of this. Note: Sometimes during prayer, you may realize that what you are praying for is not God’s will. In that case, you should pray for something else.
“None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience.” – Martin Luther
Takeaway: Pray Persistently
God tells us to pray constantly and persistently throughout His Word. Let’s not be people who pray “one time” and then throw in the towel. Let’s pray and pray and pray, and not give up! In a free-willed World, the more we pray, the more God is able to work with. Let’s be “co-workers” with God and pray hardcore.
Acts 6:4 NKJV
“…we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Do you struggle to pray persistently? What have you found helps you pray consistently? These are great questions to reflect on. God bless you!