Persistent Prayer

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

How to be persistent in prayer - and why we’re called to be.
By Meghan DeWalt

Do you ever wonder if you’re too much for God? Certainly your best days of prayer aren’t enough, but perhaps your prayers are too redundant, too selfish, too narrow-minded. Do doubts like that ever creep up into your mind? Does prayer feel awkward, shy, maybe even like you’re bracing yourself for condemnation or even silence, because of the quality of your prayers?

Guess what? Jesus has, well, is, the answer!

In Luke 11, mere verses after Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, Jesus Himself gives two examples of extremely bold, borderline brash, persistent prayer.

“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, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 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’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:5-13.

Those last words are key to interpreting this passage faithfully, lest we relegate the role of God to a genie in a bottle. How much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit? What a wildly lavish thought that realigns our desires with our Father’s heart for us.

He wants to give us more of Himself, if we but ask.

James, Jesus’ own brother, writes, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” (James 4:2).

What’s holding you back from asking with needy, borderline impudent, persistent boldness in prayer? For your needs, your heart’s desires, your most raw questions that keep you up at night? May I challenge you as I challenge myself, to make the asks of God. To lay it all out there, safe and secure in the reality that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit intercede for us? We have not because we ask not. How much more of the Lord’s peace, joy, hope, and freedom would we live in if we obeyed the Word in this way?

Consider this:

What person could rouse a sleeping king or president for a glass of water? Not a servant, a staff member, no nor even their spouse. That’s unfathomable, right? But what about their child? A child, whether tiptoeing into the room, or bursting headlong, who asks their father for water, would not only be acknowledged by his father, but that request and need would be met. (Pulled from Tim Keller’s sermon, Shameless Prayer from Gospel in Life).

So it is with our Father and Lord. He does not sleep, nor gets weary, or impatient of us.

This is our God that we get to ask anything of, and trust His best in however He answers.

“God will either give us what we ask for in prayer, or give us what we would have asked for if we knew everything he knows” - Tim Keller.

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