I truly do LOVE being a dad. Before having kids I never could have grasped the joy I would get from being a father. With that being said…I also could not have imagined how annoying and bothersome my two boys could be. Saturday morning, trying to sleep just a little bit more is impossible with the constant, “Dad…Daddy….Daddy…It’s morning time…Daddy…I want breakfast…” and on and on and on my three year old goes until I finally and reluctantly begin to move out of bed.
There are many behaviors that we don’t have to be taught in order to become experts…Persistence is one of those “expert at birth behaviors”. We have the natural tendency to be persistent with what we want. It is an ingrained behavior of a child: nagging, whining, complaining, crying, bothering until they get what they want. We are familiar with the common phrase, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”. In other words, the one who complains the loudest tends to get an answer sooner.
What is interesting and has begun to change my prayer life is we are given permission to have this kind of relationship with God. We are invited to “loving bother God” with our prayers and requests.
In Luke 11, Jesus teaches us how to pray (aka The Lord’s Prayer). Now look at the parable that Jesus tells to show how to apply what he just taught.
Luke 11:5-10 (NIV)
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
Jesus says it is because of “shameless audacity”…or persistence, that the request would be answered. Jesus goes on after this parable to say:
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Persistent Pursuit through Prayer
Jesus gives us permission to ask, seek and knock…and to keep on knocking until we get an answer. It’s important to not misunderstand, there is not a promise that we get whatever we want as long as we keep asking. Our God is not a genie that snaps his fingers at our every wish. But He is a good Father (Luke 11:9-13) who hears us, listens to us and answers us but also desires us to persistently pursue Him.
Interestingly enough, praying with persistence is what grows and deepens our relationship with God, NOT the answer He gives. It is our pursuit of God through persistent prayer that develops and deeps our relationship with Him. And that is what God desires, a relationship that consists of a mutual persistent pursuit of one another. He persistently pursues us (Psalm 139) and desires that we would do the same. Persistently praying is the rhythm of asking, seeking and knocking…and never stopping until we hear from Him.
Don’t give up on your prayers but rather, keep praying: keep asking, seeking and knocking…and knocking…and knocking. Just as a child persists, may we lovingly bother our Heavenly Father with our prayers. May we persistently pursue our Father through prayer!
“Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.”
– D.L. Moody
For more study on praying with patience and persistence read 1 Kings 18 as Elijah persistently prays for rain.