Luke 11:9-10 (AMP)

“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened.”

If the church is going to function the way God designed it, we all need to place a high priority on actively depending on God through prayer. God’s great plan for us will be fulfilled as we pray His will into existence. At it’s most basic, prayer is communication with God, and the necessary elements of communication are talking and listening.

Prayer in the Bible

In the Bible, prayer is described as seeking God’s favor (Exodus 32:11), pouring out one’s soul to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:15), crying out to heaven (2 Chronicles 32:20), drawing near to God (Psalm 73:28, KJV), and kneeling before the Father (Ephesians 3:14). The disciples never asked Jesus to teach them how to preach better or raise the dead more effectively, but they did ask him to teach them how to pray. That’s because they saw something they had never seen before; intimate conversation followed by real results.

The Persistent Widow

In Luke 18, Jesus told the story of the persistent widow who brought her cry before an unjust judge, day and night. The unjust judge finally gives her justice “because this widow keeps bothering me…” (Luke 18:5). The widow was a woman with her back against the wall. She did not have money to bribe her way in front of the judge, a husband to go before the judge on her behalf, or status that a man had during this time period. This parable is a contrast, not a comparison. For Christians, our situation is completely different than it was for the widow. If she received justice from a judge that “neither feared God or cared about people,” how much more will God give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7).

Lessons on Persistent Prayer

  • We are not going before an unjust judge with our needs.
    We are going before a loving Father, and can pray, “Our Father”…our daddy. He is not a callous untouchable judge, He is a Father that we can boldly approach, expecting to receive grace and mercy (Hebrew 4:16).
  • The widow was a stranger to the judge.
    When we pray, we are children not strangers. Children have amazing access to their parents. I recently heard a story about Abraham Lincoln’s son getting into a conversation with a person who needed help. This person did not know who this young man was, but after the son heard his story he simply said, “come with me.” As they walked by every soldier and high official, this young man walked right up to the president and said, “Dad, this man really needs your help.” This is the kind of access we have as the Lord’s children.
  • The woman was a widow, but we are the Lord’s bride.
    A widow feels all alone, but a bride is treasured and honored. A bride is wooed and loved. We have the eyes and attention of our groom.

Don’t loose heart

Jesus tells us this parable so that we would not lose heart. We are exhorted to not give up on prayer. The unjust judge gave the widow justice because she kept coming to him, and we can be encouraged by the rhetorical question, “Will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8). God is quick to give justice to his children! He is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness (2 Peter 3:8-9).

When trying to live a life of persistent prayer, don’t lose heart. The Lord knows what your real needs are. This is the mystery and purpose of prayer. It is not to get the goods, but to reach the Giver of the goods. This is where we will find satisfaction. Rather than giving us something right now, God draws us closer and closer to Him. We will find fulfillment not in having our list of requests fulfilled, but in realizing our real craving is fulfilled in close relationship to Him.