If I Ask Enough, Will God Give Me What I’m Praying For?
It is said that there is power in prayer and if that’s true, which it is, there must be real power in persistent prayer. Persistent prayer is Biblical. Matthew 7:7 reminds us to “ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be open to you.” So, is prayer, simply a matter of endurance? Meaning, that if I keep on persisting, eventually I’ll get what I’m praying for. There’s a dangerous line that we cross when we take persistent prayer too far.
In fact, there are three destructive patterns that we can fall into if we rely solely on the persistence of prayer.
Number one is thinking that prayer is persuasion. We can’t change God, it’s arrogance if we actually think we can. Prayer is not persuasion. God is not going to conform His will to our whim. Once we cross into thinking that prayer is persuasion, that leap isn’t that long into manipulation. Proverbs 19:21 tells us that many are the plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Yes, there are times in the Bible where God does change his mind, but those times were conditional. It certainly happened every time a sinner repents as well. God then changes his mind. We now go from being an enemy of God to being his beloved child.
Number two is thinking that prayer is a form of mysticism. Much of the new age, occult practices have seeped into the church’s beliefs. For example, the Law of Attraction, which is basically “what I put out, I’ll get back” mantras and many other mystical teachings has become a regular part of a Christian belief. Many of these mystical practices can translate to prayer when one believes that simply praying prayers of repetition will bring back good things to you, thinking that your persistence somehow has power, put you into a more magical state of mind, rather than a surrendered one. We reduce God to a formula and dare, I say some magic formula. God is not a formula to be figured out. He is our Father and He is to be trusted. No one understands why He blesses some and not others. God does not enable us to always understand everything perfectly or completely right now. When I am tempted to throw in the prayer towel, I am reminded of the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18.
Starting at verse 1, Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said in a certain town, there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought and there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with a plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary”. Verse 4; For some time, he refused, but he finally said to himself, “even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this Widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice so that she won’t eventually come and attack me”. And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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. However, when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?”
Does this mean that if I keep asking that I can eventually wear God down and He’ll give me what I’m asking for? Well, we have to be careful, not to reduce God’s sovereignty to a magic formula.
Number three is thinking that prayer is all about me. James 4:3 tells us you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions. If the purpose of your persistent prayers is solely to get what you want, my friend, you’ve missed the point of prayer. Prayer is a partnership. Prayer is God’s way of enlisting you and me in His plan and when our prayers are a constant focus on what God should be giving “me”, I’m basically like a selfish child; like a child wants what he wants when he wants it. Now, we may not realize that what we are asking for is actually harmful to us.
Instead of allowing God’s will to prevail in your life, you’re like James 4:3 and you will not receive because your motives are off. We still have to remain open to His timing. So, is persistent prayer biblical? Absolutely! If what you’re praying for is in line with His will and His word, then yes, ask, and keep on asking. He does promise that He hears you and He will answer; just be prepared for whatever that answer is. So why pray? Because there is still something significant about persistence in prayer. Persistent prayer prepares the prayer. It produces patience, it keeps me waiting on God and His timing. It produces humility and character. Persistent prayer washes the prayer as it kills the flesh.
Remember the words of Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane, “nevertheless Lord, not my will, but yours be done.” Thank you for reading the building faith blog. Remember all things are possible with God.
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