Why doesn’t God answer my prayer? This question plagues many Christians. We pray and not only are there no answers, we wonder if God even heard us.
When we look at the Gospels, we read a number of parables Jesus used to teach on prayer. I want to specifically look at one of them and draw out a key principle to successful prayer.
The account is found in Luke 11:5-13. This parable– following on the heels of Jesus’ teaching on the Lord’s prayer –is about a man who unexpectedly had visitors show up at his home late at night. Without food to offer them, the man pops next door to a friend’s place to borrow some bread.
It was late at night and his neighbor was not interested in waking his household to meet this man’s needs.
Even though the neighbor was obviously annoyed by the late-night intrusion, the man asking for bread would not leave until he received what he needed. It was equally obvious the neighbor heard the man, but chose to ignore him.
Then Jesus makes this stunning — even controversial — statement:
“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him bread because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (v 8).
What is so shocking about this verse is Jesus says persistence is more important to achieving answered prayer than even a relationship with God.
This in no way implies that cultivating a relationship with God is not important. But when it comes to prayer, persistent is the key.
Jesus reinforces this in verse 9 saying:
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you.”
In the margins of my NASV, the tenses of these verbs are fully explained “keep asking”, “keep seeking,” and “keep knocking.”
Persist! Persist! Persist!
Clearly, Jesus is driving the importance of unrelenting persistence in prayer. The man refused to leave and kept knocking and calling until his neighbor was forced to give him the bread — if for no other reason than to get rid of him.
Who knows how long the man stood outside the door, but it was becoming increasingly clear to the neighbor, the man asking for bread wasn’t going to quit until he got what he wanted.
An intercessor needs to be tenacious.
Read more in this series:
- Characteristics of an Intercessor: Are you a street fighter?
- Characteristics of an intercessor: Persistence more important than friendship
- Characteristics of an intercessor: Will you riot in the streets?
- Paga: The Intercessor
- Paga: Hitting the mark in intercession
- Paga: The intercessor as a warrior
- Paga: The intercessor claims territory for God
- Paga: The intercessor negotiates with God
- Paga: The intercessor carries a burden