Written Word

Should We Persist With Our Prayers?

Do you ever feel like quitting praying? Do you ever feel that prayer just doesn’t work? Do you need to have your faith about the whole question of prayer renewed? If so, read on.

Jesus told a parable about a widow and a reluctant judge to teach a lesson about persistency in prayer. The widow made frequent calls upon the judge with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ Her request was continually ignored by a man whom Jesus said, ‘neither feared God nor cared about man.’ But the widow didn’t quit. She kept making her appeal. Eventually, in exasperation the judge said, ‘Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t wear me out with her coming.’ An ungodly judge grants the request of a widow simply because of her persistency.

From the story Jesus makes this application: ‘And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.’ (Luke 18:1-8) The reason he told the parable was ‘to show them that they should always pray and not give up.’

Unlike the widow whose only hope of justice lay with an unjust judge, we present our needs to our Father who loves us. A Father who is concerned about the well-being of his children. A Father who will not close his ears to the cries of his children.

Jesus also spoke of persistency in prayer on another occasion. He said, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.’ (Matthew 7:7-8) Jesus’ words literally mean keep on asking, keep on knocking and keep on seeking.

Why does Jesus ask us to be persistent?

Let me illustrate. A child asks his parents for a bicycle. Do the parents comply immediately with the child’s wishes? I certainly hope not. But the child keeps asking. ‘All the kids in school have bicycles. My best friend got a new one last week.’ etc, etc. The child becomes persistent in his request. He knows the price of the bicycle he wants and the colour. And he knows where it can be purchased.

His birthday is coming soon. What do you think his parents will buy him? A bicycle. Why? Because his persistency has demonstrated that this is what he really wants. His parents were always gracious, giving people, but they need to know that their son was serious about his request. Only then did they give him what he wanted.

In the same way we make requests to God, but we must demonstrate by our persistency that this is what we want. And when we do, our gracious Father will answer our prayers. We have his word on it.