4 reasons for persistent prayer

In seasons of persevering  prayer significant things happen.

This kind of prayer could seem confusing so allow me to share some insights on persistent prayer from a good teacher.

Let’s start with a question.

Why do we need to engage in persistent prayer if God is our loving heavenly Father and truly wants to give us His good gifts?

J. I. Packer responds

“Here is a question that is not always well answered.  It is not, as some seem to suppose, that passionate petition twists God’s arm, so to speak, and thereby coaxes out of him what he had not originally wished to give. Nor is it that passionate petition, working itself up to an inner certainty that the gift requested will be given, induces God to give what he would not have given had it been asked for in a more low-key style.

According to the teaching of Jesus, “we should pray insistently and persistently about crucial needs, not because God will not meet them unless we do but as if he would not.” (see: Luke 11:5-12; 18:1-8). Why does Jesus teach us, and therefore clearly want us, to do this? 

Four reasons, at least, may be given.

  • First, God the Father loves to be petitioned in a way that shows he is appreciated as the source of all that is good.  This glorifies him.
  • Second, the Father wants to see that we are taking both our acuteness of need and his greatness as the one who can meet it with absolute seriousness.  This takes us beyond superficiality in the way we think, feel and live, and binds us closer to him because of the clarity with which we realize that he is really our only hope.
  • Third, the Father knows that the more earnestly we have asked for a particular gift and the longer we have waited for it, the more we will value it when it is given, and the more wholeheartedly we will thank him for it.  This will lead to increased joy.
  • Fourth, the Father’s larger plans for blessing us and others may require him to delay giving us what we ask for until the best time and circumstances for its bestowal are reached.  To keep asking with patient persistence and to wait with expectation for the answer is thus sometimes necessary, and is always the reverent way to go.  This strengthens the muscles of our faith, as constant walking strengthens the muscles of heart and legs.

The fact to focus on for encouragement, however, when we seek to express the persistence of our faith in the prayers we go on making as we face short-term disappointment and desolation, is that there is a covenanted family bond that unites us to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and unites the Three-in-One to us forever and ever. 

Paul describes universal Christian experience when he writes: ‘The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ’ (Rom. 8:16-17). 

Professed Christians who neither testify to this testimony nor rejoice in the identity that it confirms are, to say the least, very much out of sorts.  Being children of God is our supreme privilege and security—and is at all times the supreme incentive to us to pray.” (From: Praying: Finding Our Way Through Duty to Delight)

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). 

Steve Cornell

This entry was posted in J. I. Packer, Patience, Prayer, Questioning God and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 4 reasons for persistent prayer

  1. Pingback: Always pray and don’t give up « WisdomForLife

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