Persistence in Prayer
Do you ever feel impatient with God? Does He seem late in answering your requests or meeting your needs?
Jesus spoke to the issues of how to pray, how long to pray, and how long God might take to respond. One day His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). He told a story about someone with a need who was very persistent in asking a neighbor for help.
Jesus encouraged his disciples to be persistent in prayer.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Suppose one of you has a friend. Suppose you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine on a trip has dropped in on me, and I don’t have anything to serve him.’ Your friend might answer you from inside his house, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ I can guarantee that although he doesn’t want to get up to give you anything, he will get up and give you whatever you need because he is your friend and because you were so bold.
“So I tell you to ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find, and for the person who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11:5-10 (GW)
The story makes it clear that our ability to ask does not equal God’s response or its timing. God is not a celestial bellhop waiting at our beck and call. Neither does He rely on us to define our needs, outline solutions, or say when or how He should act. No, God does those for us which is just as well since He is all-wise.
God delights in His children developing the habit and freedom of asking Him for help (Luke 11:9-10). But He won't leave us trapped in our limited perception of the situation (Luke 11:11-13). Sooner or later He will answer our prayers, but in His own time. He asks us to trust Him to know what is needed and when.
Our calling, then, is to ask even persistently and to grow in the process. One of the surprising benefits of praying is how much we change. Sometimes, that in itself is the answer to our prayers!