One key to growth in prayer is simple: Don’t give up. Be persistent. Be faithful. Be constant in prayer (Rom 12:12c).

The Lord genuinely wants us to pester him with prayer. I choose the word pester carefully and deliberately, largely because of Luke 18:1-9, which begins this way: And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Jesus teaches here that God delights in his people coming to him, again and again and again, with our prayers. That is what he wants. This is what he loves. Really.

We struggle to believe this, largely because we assume that our heavenly Father wants us to treat him the way our earthly fathers want(ed) to be treated. For most dads, the way to make them happy is simple: do what they say and leave them alone. Don’t bother them, and they won’t bother you. I learned at an early age that if I kept pestering my dad with the same question, his answer was usually the opposite of what I wanted. When my father said, “Ask me that one more time…!”, it was more often a warning than an invitation.

The Lord loves the faithful, persistent prayers of his people. They are beautiful to him.

But our Father in heaven wants us to present our requests to him in just that way. He wants us to come to him again and again. He wants us to persist in prayer, never giving up. Revelation 5 tells us the prayers of the saints rise to the Lord like fragrant incense (Rev 5:8). Isaiah 62 seems to invite God’s servants to keep him up all night long by praying: You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth (Isa 62:6-7). The Lord loves the faithful, persistent prayers of his people. They are beautiful to him.

So don’t give up! If you’ve prayed for the same thing for years, keep praying. Keep asking. Who knows what the Lord has ordained to happen after years and years of prayer?

 

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