SHOULD YOU PRAY ONCE, OR KEEP ASKING?

Praying hands and a bible

Have you asked God for something in prayer? Have you bombarded heaven with the same prayer request over and over again in attempt to get a breakthrough? I know that in times past, I have tried to pattern myself after the woman in the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8. In this parable Jesus tells the story of a widow woman who was being mistreated. She sought legal protection from a local judge who was known to be unrighteous. I had always been taught that the lesson that we should learn from this passage is that we should pray about a particular issue that we are facing, keep bombarding heaven about it until God “gives up” and finally gives us what we want. But I asked the question of God, as many of you may have, if I have faith, should I pray once, or keep asking?  What does the Word of God have to say about the subject?

The Purpose of the Parable of the Persistent Widow

First, when you look at verse 1 in chapter 18 of the book of Luke, it reads:Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Jesus tells us right up front the purpose of this parable was to encourage them to pray continuously and be persistent in prayer. The verse does not say that Jesus meant for them to pray about the same thing over and over. However, the Apostle Paul did communicate in I Thessalonians 5:17 Jesus’ intent: “Pray without ceasing.”

The Differences Between God and the Unjust Judge
Second, we should not conclude that God wants us to keep praying about the same thing over and over because God is NOT comparing Himself to the judge in the story. In fact He is provides a stark contrast when He says in verses 7-8, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him… I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” Thus, the Lord is different from the unjust judge in the following ways:

  • God has integrity and character. He cannot be comparing Himself to this judge because He is absolutely nothing like him. God is not unjust. On the contrary He is totally righteous. Therefore, we should not assume that God meant for us to interpret this story, follow the widow woman’s example, and approach him about the same issue over and over.
  • God wants to help you.  In the beginning, the judge in the story was unwilling to help the widow. Our Father is never unwilling to come to our rescue. In fact, He says in Psalms 46:1 that “He is an ever-present help in the time of trouble.” In Jeremiah 33:3 He says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” So when you approach the throne of God, do so with the knowledge that He is ready and willing to help, provide for, protect and defend you when necessary.
  • God is in covenant with you. In that passage, obviously Jesus had not died because He was the one telling the story. Therefore, since He has paid for your sins by dying on the cross, and if you have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, God is in covenant with you. That means that He has obligated himself to come to your rescue when you need help. So He cannot and does not have the same attitude toward you as exemplified by the unjust judge in this passage.

The Application for Believers

So what are the lessons that can be taken from passage?  What should you do?

  • Stay in constant contact with God. He says to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17), but that does not mean for you to pray repetitive prayers. Just stay in constant contact with Him, and He will surely show favor unto you, His beloved child.
  • Ask for what you want one time. Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” My question is if you believe that you have received what you have asked for, then why would you ask for it again?
  • Be persistent in faith no matter what. Luke 18:7 (KJV) says, And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” That phrase “bear long” means you may have to wait for a time. But in the very next verse, Jesus said, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” That means that He expects you to be willing to stay in faith until He comes back to get you at the rapture if necessary.

To summarize, when you pray, believe that your request has been granted. Don’t continue to ask God for the same thing. It’s already done, so thank Him for it every chance you get. Don’t pray the same prayer over and over because that’s an indication that your faith is failing.  All that is necessary is that you ask in faith once, and continue to expect an answer until you get your breakthrough. God will answer your prayer as He promised in His good time.

What has been your experience with persistence in prayer? Please leave a comment below. 

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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A SNAPSHOT OF FAITH

Photographer Gary Tamin

During my quiet time, I recently meditated on Hebrews 11:1 which says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The phrase “the evidence of things not seen” jumped of the page that day. I began to think about how photographs are evidence of things that actually do exist. For instance, when I see a picture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, even though I have never been to Paris to see it with my own eyes, I know that it exists. Faith is like a snapshot or photograph in your heart which is evidence that what you desire exists somewhere. If you can formulate an image of yourself actually having what you desire and feel the emotions as if you actually have it, that IS the evidence that it exists somewhere. Where does it exists? In the Spirit realm, where God dwells.

You see, since He says He declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), this is an indication that past, present and future exists simultaneously in the spirit realm. Another way to say this is from His perspective, He is experiencing past, presence, and future all at once. He can do that because He is omniscient, He knows everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen. In His world, what we desire is indeed already done. The healing is complete. The marriage is restored. The prodigal son has come home. The stronghold of drug addiction is broken. The anxiety and panic attacks are a thing of the past. So if we can get a picture in our heart and mind of what His Word already says is true to the extent that we can see it and feel as if it’s already done, that is the evidence that what He has promised does exist in the realm where He dwells.

The question is how do we get that snapshot to formulate in our heart? Back in the day, the formulation of a picture was a process that took place in a dark room with photography paper immersed in a solution. Similarly, the development of your snapshot of faith is also a process, and in order for you to formulate a picture in your heart, you must do the following:

  1. Read the Word. You must read the Word so you can find out what God’s will actually is and what He says you can have according to the covenant spelled out in the Bible. He says if you ask anything according to his will, He hears you, and if He hears you, you know that you have the petitions that you ask of Him (I John 5:14). The snapshot of faith cannot be developed apart from the known will of God.
  2. Speak the Word. Speaking the Word out loud is imperative because the Bible says, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17) As you speak the Word, it goes into your own ears and drops down into your heart. Your Faith picture is being developed, and that image is becoming sharper and clearer.
  3. Make a declaration. You must declare what you want to happen. Job 22:28 says, “You shall decree a thing and it shall be established unto you, and light shall shine upon your ways.” Speak what you want to happen, and prophesy to your own future.  The Apostle Paul said, “I believed, and therefore have I spoken” (II Corinthians 4:13).
  4. Take action. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). If you believe, then you must act as if you believe. Start to make preparation for the blessing that is on the way. When you really believe in your heart that your request is granted, you will not sit idly by, but will do what is necessary so that when the blessing shows up, you are ready to receive it.
  5. Embrace trials. Allow God to use the “dark room” of difficult experiences in your life to build your ability to trust and believe that He is true to His word. That means the “snapshot of faith” will sometimes be formulated as you walk through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23).
  6. Rehearse past victories. Meditate on what God has done and how He has answered your prayers in the past. Has He healed your body? Has he provided what you needed just in time? Has He helped you to mend a difficult relationship when you thought there was no hope? When you revisit these experiences of how faithful God really is, that will build your faith and help you to formulate the “snapshot” of what you want in your heart.

Once the picture in your heart is formulated, just like the picture of the Eiffel Tower, THAT is the evidence that what you want and need exists, even though you can’t perceive it with your senses right now. When you can see in your heart the image of you possessing what you have asked God for, you’ll feel the emotions as if you already have it. That’s the time to praise Him like you have lost your mind! Why? Because in God’s timing, He will cause your blessing which exists in the spirit to show up in the natural.

What are you believing God for? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

Find me on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/TraceyLMoore2012

Follow me on Twitter:  @TraceyLMoore1

Image courtesy of Gary Tamin via http://www.freeimages.com