Petition: How to be Persistent in our Prayers
As we continue thinking about petition today, we will look at what it means to pray "in the name of Jesus" and the importance of being persistent with our prayers.
When our boys were still very small, I sometimes had to leave them for a couple of weeks at a time for protracted tours of America and Asia-Pacific. On one occasion when Danny, our youngest son, seemed particularly upset about me leaving, I made a big show of writing down my phone number on a post-it note and promising to answer whenever he called. With hindsight, this was a dumb thing to promise, not just because intercontinental calls are expensive but because Danny didn’t have any notion of time zones. For two weeks I took calls at night to discuss the adventures of his toys, I dashed out of important meetings to receive detailed updates on his potty training. Danny enjoyed direct access to me at any time of the day or night in a way that no one else does, because he is my son, and because I had promised to take his calls. Our Father in heaven has made the same promise and given us the same direct access through Jesus his Son.
Despite the remarkable access we have, it can be easy to become discouraged when it feels like our prayers aren’t being answered. But Pete shares with us the importance of being persistent in our petition.
Jesus warned us very specifically that we will sometimes have to "keep praying and not give up", telling a parable about a persistent widow who kept hassling an uncaring judge until she received her reward. Elsewhere, he told his disciples to ask, seek and knock, and, in the original Greek, these verbs were written in the present active imperative tense, which means that they literally mean: Keep on asking, and you will receive… Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. There is a sense of habit, of repetition, of a reward for prayerful perseverance.
Faith is God’s gift to us, faithfulness is ours to him. God’s "suddenly" happens slowly.
Why not pause now: are there requests that you’ve given up on or stopped praying about? Let’s pray together: God would you increase in me the gift of faith and help me persevere in my petition today?