Keep Asking: Persevering in Prayer

Some Christians teach that if you pray for something, and have faith, then you do not need to pray for that thing again. In fact, they say it shows a lack of faith to pray that prayer again, and you should just stand in faith until God answers your prayer. In contrast, there are other Christians who teach that if you want something from God, you should pray over and over for it until you get it. Which belief is correct?

The answer is that if there is something worth praying for, we should pray over and over for it until we get it. It is never a lack of faith to do what the Bible says. In fact, the evidence that we have faith is that we do what the Bible says to do. Therefore, if the Bible says to pray over and over for something until we get it, then we are walking in faith when we do that.

The Word of God instructs us in many ways to pray for something over and over until we get it. One of the places we can see this is Matthew 7:7, which unfortunately is usually translated, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” This translation makes it seem like we only have to ask one time, which is not true. In the Greek text, the verbs “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” are in the present tense, active voice, and thus describe an ongoing action. The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates the verse correctly:

Matthew 7:7 (HCS) [1]
Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

God’s Word tells us to “keep asking,” and then what we are asking for will be given to us. Jesus taught the same lesson in Luke 18. “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). It is easy to “give up” in prayer. Sometimes it is difficult to know if what we are praying for is the will of God, so if we pray for something day after day but do not get any results, we may “give up,” and stop praying. That must have been happening to Jesus’ disciples so, using a parable of a persistent widow and an unjust judge, he instructed them to keep praying (Luke 18:2-8).

Widows in biblical times were often taken advantage of because they did not have people to help or defend them. In this parable, a widow kept coming to the judge and asking for justice. Her plea was the same every time: she wanted justice against an adversary, and the judge finally granted her request because she was so persistent. We learn from the parable that if we do not get what we are praying for right away, we must come back to the Judge over and over and keep asking until we have what we want.

When Romans 12:12 says to be “faithful in prayer,” Ephesians 6:18 says “pray in the Spirit on all occasions,” Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourselves to prayer,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray continually,” it is clear that many of those prayers are for the same thing, and we must ask for what we want over and over again. There are many different reasons that we do not get what we ask for in prayer the very first time we ask, and it is true that sometimes we are not asking for something that God can grant in prayer. However, even if we are asking for something that God wants us to have, sometimes we have to ask more than once for it, so God instructs us in His Word to pray over and over until we get what we have been asking for. Prayer works, and our prayers make a huge difference on this earth, so let’s be obedient and pray for what we need until we get it.

Endnotes

[1] Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

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3 comments

  1. Great truth. I love TruthOrtradition. I gave my friend this website and its ablessing to us reading the truth of the word.Thanks administartion.

  2. Thank You, My question: Does it show a lack of faith to ask God more than once for the same thing?

  3. Hello im jay. Im 41years old never married an need so much money an a new home an a new truck. An business to pick up. Im IN NEED NOW

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