I say to you, Though he will not get up and give to him, because he is his friend, still, if he keeps on making his request, he will get up and give him as much as he has need of. Luk 11:8
Most people derive from this verse that persistency in prayer will finally get you what you want. Their witness scripture is the story of the widow and the unrighteous judge.
Some bibles even translate the next verses accordingly: keep asking, keep searching. The Greek, though it supports this idea, is just a present imperative. Another valid translation: ask, search.
I do not believe in a God that has to be worn out to give us good things. He is a giver by nature. And he is love by definition. Would he withhold anything from us?
Sure he would. I am a father, and most times I do not give my children what they want when I know it is not for their good. The proverbial matches and a can of gasoline you do not give to a 3-year-old.
Thus Jesus tells us to pray in the will of the father, and we will receive. He expresses it like this:
In fact, whatever you ask for in my name, I will do; so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me for something in my name, I will do it. John 14:13-14
If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you. John 15:7
In his name, united with him, his words in us – in his will.
OK, God will not give us everything we ask – things outside of his will are excluded.
Some things obviously need the right timing to glorify God. We ourselves, others have to be ready and prepared, circumstances right, some things put in place. Just common sense. I let my son drive my car only after he made his driver’s license. True?
But both of these limitations do not mean that we have to twist God’s arm to do something. Even casual readers of this blog know: he has done it all. There, on the cross. It is established. And it will break through into our reality as a suddenly. In the right timing. So how could we even change God’s mind on things?
But then again, what is repetitive, fervent prayer for?
First, I do not believe that we have to keep on asking for things. We ask, and then we give thanks, proclaim, sometimes even argue with God and remind him.
I keep asking for things though: if I do not understand God’s word, if I do not know his will for my life, I keep at it.
What is that all about?
I think that is the most important aspect of prayer. It is a relational tool called conversation. A means to get to know your vis-à-vis. A tool to build a deep, personal, intimate relationship with God, your father.
And it is a major tool to change myself. My opinions, my thinking.
How do I go about shaping an opinion about things in the natural: I get information from trusted sources, favorably on different standpoints, and build my own opinion. And, let’s be honest, I talk about it, and the more I hear myself expressing an idea, the more I believe it – except I talk to too many that destroy my idea in unbelief. Can we therefore say that we trust ourselves the most?
So, repetitively expressing a truth in prayer, and getting positive feedback from God himself, will make us believe what we say. And since we pray in the will of God, will make us believe what is true.
And once we believe it, we can have it. It becomes reality to us. It gets established in the earth.
And as we grow, we will focus less and less on ourselves, but on the needs of others. Do the same thing for others: help them realize what is true for them – in the most real sense of the word: realize – to become real, to manifest. You see, even the English language contains this principle. What ever we realize, becomes real to us, even becomes real. Period.
It is not about twisting arms. It is not about changing God’s mind. It is about changing my own mind. It is about visualizing truth, gaining courage. It is about building a relationship. It is about becoming a son.