PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Persistent prayers matter, as it succinctly says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV, “pray without ceasing.” But it can get discouraging when we repeatedly pray for someone or a situation and it seems like nothing happens. Jesus knows our tendency to be impatient so He gave us two parables about persistence.
The first is the parable of the judge and the widow (Luke 18:1-8). The widow repeatedly asked the judge for justice and finally, the judge relented. Then, there’s the parable of the persistent friend, who kept knocking on his friend’s door late at night, asking for loaves of bread (Luke 11:5-8). The friend finally got up and gave the guy his bread.
Both of these parables encourage us to keep asking… to keep praying until God answers us.
When we don’t get an answer, we have to consider our requests… do they line up with God’s will? Are our motives pure or selfish? Do we have some unresolved sin in our lives that we need to address before we will be answered?
These are important things to ask and address.
But this morning, I read something with a new perspective. In Matthew 26:36-45, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray before He was betrayed and arrested. Jesus knew the task before Him, He knew His assignment, but still, it says that He prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39b ESV).
Then, in verse 42, it says, “Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’” And in verse 44, it says, “So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.”
So three times, Jesus prayed the same prayer, knowing the answer. While I knew He prayed, somehow, I’ve never picked up on that detail that He prayed the same thing three times. Two things that stand out to me about that… first, even when we know the answer, we can still be honest with God about our feelings. He already knows them so we don’t need to fear admitting our hurt, anguish, dismay, anxiety, or dread.
And by praying three times for God’s will above His own, Jesus modeled that through prayer comes strength and courage to face the things we’re called to do, even when we’re afraid to do them. Remember, He does call the equipped, He equips the called. We can pray His will above our own knowing that He will equip us to endure anything He asks us to face.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for His parables, but for also modeling persistent, God’s-will-first prayers. Ask the Holy Spirit to encourage your heart to pray without ceasing, to pray with persistence, and to always pray for God’s will above your own.