Have you ever had someone ask, “Why pray? Doesn’t God already know what I need?” If we listen to what Jesus says about prayer, we see that God wants us to ask Him for our wants and needs – and, moreover, He wants us to ask repeatedly.
In Luke 11:5-13, Jesus provides two teachings that stress the point of being persistent in prayer. The instructions immediately follow The Lord’s Prayer; Jesus’ response to the disciples’ request for Him to “teach us how to pray”.
The first teaching is The Shameless Prayer, also known as The Friend at Midnight. We learn that a friend will help another – if not out of friendship, then out of sheer persistence (Read here). It’s called The Shameless Prayer because the word persistence (in Greek, anaideia) means “unrestrained persistence” …to the point of shamelessness, or even the idea of being embarrassed for not taking “no” for an answer.
In the second teaching, Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Read whole text here.)
The verbs for ask, seek and knock in the original Greek, are all present imperatives. This means that you could translate this teaching as… “Ask, and keep on asking; seek, and keep on seeking; knock and keep on knocking.” So, I shouldn’t just pray once. If something is really important to me, I should ask God for it continually and consistently.
The idea that we will receive what we ask for is quite an extraordinary teaching. Jesus is giving an unqualified promise. Though, we should probably understand that being answered in prayer may not mean getting everything we want exactly the way we want it or exactly when we want it. We can be assured by Jesus, however, that God never fails to provide.
The attitude of God the Father is shown in the text that follows: “If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?” The Father desires to give us “every good thing” – and not just the basics in life.
Notice that the Father is giving His Holy Spirit, because our greatest need is for us to be lead (including in prayer) by the Holy Spirit.
Why do I pray? I pray because Jesus instructed me to do so. I should have the kind of close relationship with God where I can go to Him over and over – even if it seems embarrassing to keep on asking. The more I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, the more likely my prayers will be answered in the way in which my heart truly desires.
Have you had experience in a persistent prayer being answered? How was it answered? Please share your answer using the comment box.