“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
How is your prayer life? Is God answering your prayers the way you would like Him to? In this article, I want to encourage persistence in your prayer life. If you believe that what you’re praying for lines up with the Will of God, then you must also believe that God wants you to have it. God also wants you to be persistent in asking.
In this Scripture in Luke 11, Jesus is telling His disciples that they need to pray a certain way and through persistence. In the Scriptures right before this, Luke 11:8, Jesus tells of being persistent;
So, it appears that Jesus is telling His disciples that if they pray long enough and are persistent enough, God will give that person what they’re asking for. I think this could be a bad thing, too. What if you pray for the wrong thing, and due to your persistence, God finally says, “Okay, have it your way”?
Related: God is our Refuge in uncertain times
Well, I believe that if you have a good relationship with God, the Holy Spirit will prompt you and make you know when you are praying for something that is right and in line with God’s Will. For me, I have certainly prayed for selfish things and foolish things, but I’ve found that when I pray for those things with any sort of persistence, the Holy Spirit usually reveals the foolishness or selfishness of it to me.
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Knowing what to pray for comes with knowledge of God
It’s true; we can learn what types of prayers are likely to get answered and which ones won’t. But it comes down to spending time learning about the character of God. If you don’t know God, of course, it will seem obvious to pray for things that make life more fun and easier and better. But this isn’t often God’s immediate plan. Sure, He wants you to have a good life, but He first wants you to seek Him in all you do (Matthew 6:33).
His Will for your life includes these: developing a relationship with Jesus; worshiping God; engaging in a ministry for the Kingdom of God; helping the needy; donating to charities and churches; being generous; taking good care of what He gives you, including loving your family unconditionally.
These are the kinds of things that God wants you to pray about: your relationship with Jesus; other people’s Salvation and well-being; health and healing for you and your family; wisdom, knowledge, understanding, discernment, spiritual growth and maturity, and good stewardship practices for the things He entrusts you with.
However, when you don’t know God and about His character, you might think that He simply has the power to make a new car appear, or money to come in big amounts, or for a troubling situation to immediately disappear. This isn’t in line with the way God operates.
Throughout the bible, God rarely made problems disappear or great riches appear. Through obedience and a right attitude, He made some people wealthy. But in most instances, He allowed the people to remain in the hardship or troubling situation. He did this because He wanted them to lean on Him and trust Him to help deliver them through the issue. It’s in this way that God helps people’s faith and character grow.
If you are praying for things that are selfish, foolish, harmful or hurtful, or even evil, you can be sure that God won’t deliver on these. However, if you know that what you are praying for is something that would please God, then pray with persistence and faith and expectancy. It’s in this way that God will answer your prayer.
Pray earnestly and with faith
“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”
So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. ”
Fortunately for Peter, he had good friends who were praying earnestly, persistently, and with faith for his release; even when Peter was sleeping. And, God answered their prayer. We don’t always know exactly which prayers God will answer or when, but we can see from these Scriptures that it’s not generally a “set it and forget it” theme where we pray once and move on with life.
Instead, we can see that God wants us to take praying seriously and with sincerity. In the opening Scripture above, we can see He wants us to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. He wants us to keep coming to Him about that thing that’s so important to us, as this shows our humble surrender and need for God to provide.
Understand how God operates
Another reason that you must pray with persistence is that God works things out in ways we don’t often see or understand.
For example; when you pray for someone to be saved, a whole host of things need to change in that person’s life.
God’s Will and plan for that person is very likely that they will accept Jesus and gain Salvation, but first, that person might need to hit bottom or learn some hard life lessons. But it’s these lessons that will form that person’s testimony later; a powerful testimony that God can use to help bring many people to a relationship with Jesus, and ultimately, Salvation.
Timing and planning are everything with God. His timing, His planning. Of course, we just want God to answer us now. But God sees the bigger picture. By doing it His way, multiple people stand to be blessed and He stands to be glorified further.
Instead of worrying about the when, focus on trusting God to make the best choice. Sometimes God will allow a bad situation to carry on, or, for a person to get hurt or to pass away, even at a young age. God created each person and He created them with a plan. Nothing comes to Him as a surprise. In those difficult times, we just need to trust that God knows best.
For us people here on earth, we only see from our limited perspective. Trusting God with your prayers and allowing Him time to work while maintaining an expectancy through persistent praying comes with growing and maturing spiritually. This stuff takes time. But fortunately, this stuff pleases the Lord and He will help you get better at it.
If you believe that something you are praying for is worth praying for and in line with God’s Will, then expect Him to do it. Relax and trust that at the right time, He will bring it to pass. God is in the business of answering prayers, but only when He is glorified and it’s according to His desire and plan for you. I’ve heard stories of people praying for the Salvation of other people, and literal decades later of continual daily prayer, the person finally accepts Christ.“Don’t give up. If you have something worth praying for, it’s worth praying until.” Click To Tweet
There are many things that my wife and I have been praying for, for years. However, not all things have been answered. But we are convinced that what we’re praying for lines up with God’s Will, so we press on. Each night, we kneel again and bring the same prayers before God. Over the years, we have seen our prayers get answered in a gradual motion, especially when we pray for our children, or debt.
Either of these are situations that could get out of control, but God maintains control when we continually surrender to Him in prayer and ask for His help and guidance. God hasn’t delivered us from our debt in one quick payment, but He provides us with income each month and keeps us going and the bills paid; He hasn’t changed the minds of our children to surrender fully to Him, but they have shown interest and have made small changes towards their faith they once knew.
God knows what He’s doing. I understand that through the drawn-out process of paying debt month-by-month, we are learning consistency and building good stewardship practices that will likely keep us out of debt in the future, and we know that even though our kids might not be making all the right choices for Christ right now, that it’s a part of God’s process for them. So, we must maintain our faith and persistence of prayer.
If you have something that is important in your life, bring it to God and keep bringing it to Him. God isn’t hard of hearing; He wants to see commitment and faithfulness and trust. He wants to see how your attitude is while waiting patiently. This is how your true character is shown and this is how you can see where you need to grow. But if you persist through faith, at just the right time, God will deliver.
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can follow this link (Prayer for Salvation) to find out how. Also, if you need prayer for your life or your family, click here to send in your prayer request. My wife and I would love to pray for you.