After 45 years of talking with God, I still find prayer to be an enigma. At times, I’ve felt as if I stopped praying too soon. If I had persevered, would the outcome have been different?
Like me, Jesus’ disciples needed to learn more about the nature of prayer. So He taught them how not to pray (Matthew 6:5-8), how they should pray (Matthew 6:9-13), and the confidence and persistence with which they were to call out to God (Matthew 7:7-11).
Once, after watching Jesus pray, one of His disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). After instructing them how to pray (Luke 11:2-4), Jesus continued to teach “them more about prayer” with a story (Luke 11:5-8): A guest had unexpectedly turned up late at night, and the host—wanting to show hospitality—unfortunately had nothing to offer. So the host went to his friend nearby to borrow some food. Irritated at being awakened at midnight and having to leave his bed, the friend initially refused to help him (Luke 11:5-7). Undeterred, the needy host continuously and audaciously knocked on the friend’s door until he yielded and gave him the food he asked for (Luke 11:8-9). The friend didn’t help him out of friendship, but “because of [his] shameless persistence” (Luke 11:8).
Thankfully, God isn’t like that reluctant friend; He’s a generous and good Father (Luke 11:11-13). He is not annoyed by our persistence. On the contrary, He welcomes it, expecting us to “keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).
God hears us (Luke 11:10). May we continue to seek His will even as we lift up our prayers with “shameless persistence.”
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Mark 2:23–3:19
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:15-22 and consider the relationship between persistence in prayer and resisting evil.
What prayer of yours has seemed to be unanswered for a while? Why is it important for you to persist in praying? What might God be teaching you?