PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER

by Wilbur Lim

One of the joys of parenting I’ve come to experience thus far is having experienced my own child’s ability to engage with us better, expressing different sides of herself not seen before. One such example was my daughter persistently asking us for her favourite food (i.e. chocolate ice cream). She would not stop until we have acted upon it, instead of just paying lip service in obliging her request. This incident reminded me of how we ought to do our best in pursuing our requests from God.

The passage from Luke 11:5-8 (NKJV) shows us how Jesus taught us to be persistent: “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”

Another example shown in the Scripture is from Luke 18:1-8 where the parable of the unjust judge also teaches us to be persistent: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally, he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Therefore, let us not lose confidence and carry on praying, for it is written in Luke 11:9-13 (NKJV): “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. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Even so, we would do well to remember Jesus’ instruction of not praying with vain repetitions shown in Matthew 6:7 – “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

Also, while petitioning for various needs in life, let us not forget to do our part in keeping ourselves upright in the sight of God as shown in the verses of Deuteronomy 6:18a – “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you…” and Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Having said the above, should I give in to my daughter whenever she wants to satisfy her sweet tooth? That is an entirely different matter

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