Why Must We Keep Asking?


Why does God make us persevere in prayer?

Why does he tell us to keep ?praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance?? (EPH 6.18)

If he intends to answer our prayers, why doesn?t he answer the moment we ask? ?If he?s going to save a rebellious child, for example, why doesn?t he save him sooner rather than later? ?Why must we ask again and again? ?A few thoughts:

Higher priorities

God has higher priorities than quickly answering our prayers, like his own glory. ?Sometimes by delaying he displays his glory more brilliantly. ?Authors often put a character in a life-threatening situation, then makes it more and more desperate, till all hope is gone. ?Then at the last second, the hero rides in and against unbelievable odds, overcomes every obstacle and rescues the character. ?The hero gets much more glory this way. ?The more desperate our situation, the more God?s power, mercy and wisdom shine when he comes through.

Unfinished business

Sometimes he delays because he has work to do in us. ?Forming Christ in us is more important than immediately meeting our needs. ?By delaying God raises our faith to new heights, fortifies our patience, and cultivates our dependence on him.

Perseverance in prayer also deepens our relationship with our Father. If he always responded the second we asked we?d only come to him when we wanted something, like a big quick stop convenience store in the sky.

God is after our joy

Don’t we appreciate the answer more when we have to wait? ?Our joy is greater, our thankfulness more heartfelt, our relief sweeter. ?God is after our highest joy and knows how and when to give it to us.

photo (and isn’t this a cool photo?) by toolmantim

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I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I’ve written a lot of worship songs. I also like to paint.

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  1. Elaine says

    What a timely post! This afternoon I was speaking with a friend who is persevering through a difficult time – we've prayed for the last two years, trusting the Lord to move as He sees fit in her situation yet He seems silent at this point. It is frustrating at times and I admit to growing weary at times. But the Father is faithful, Christ is interceding for us at the throne and the Spirt intercedes for us when we do not know how to pray – when He reminds me of these truths, what do I have to fear? The Father hears and He will answer in a time and manner that is best for His glory and our good.

    Thanks for the encouragement; it couldn't have come at a better time.

  2. says

    Yup I do appreciate the answer when I have waited for it . Also while persevering in prayer it teaches me to be patient too..A quality that I lack :(

    Thank you for encouraging us with the truth..

  3. says

    Great post, great points! I agree with all of them. Sometimes God doesn't answer because we're asking amiss, and it takes time (for some of us a long time) before we realize just how out of sync with God's will and character our request was. Your last point about God being after our joy (and well being) plays a big part here too. I look back to some unanswered prayers and can't thank Him joyfully enough, because I (and who knows who else) was spared the consequences of my faulty request, was taught and corrected, and came to know God better in the process! So, in a way, He always does answer our prayers!

  4. Mary says

    Does God always answer prayer? How do we know our prayers are not in vain? Can our prayers be in vain? If so, how do we recognize if they are in vain?

    • says

      Tough questions Mary! Here's a feeble attempt at an answer: We must pray according to God's will, so if I pray that God would make me a millionaire, that would be in vain. We must pray for God's glory in each situation and not simply for our own pleasures. If believe that something is God's will, e.g. the salvation of my children (God doesn't want any to perish but all to come to a knowledge of the truth) – then I don't think it is ever in vain to pray. If I'm praying for something I believe to be a good thing that would glorify God, such as the healing of one of my children, then I don't believe it is vain, even if my child is not healed. I believe God uses my sincere prayers for his glory in situations like this.

      Also, it encourages me to know that my great Mediator takes all my flawed and pitiful prayers and presents them acceptable to the Father.

      In general, I don't believe it is vain to pray because Jesus commanded us to pray always and pray in faith, and I don't believe he commands us to do vain things. Also, he commands/invites us to bring our requests to God in Php 4 – I don't think Jesus invites us to do things in vain.

      Finally, (at least for a brief answer) – we have to be comfortable with mystery in God – he is infinite and we are finite. But I can be comfortable with mystery because I trust his character as he describes himself in his Word – he is good, loving, tender-hearted, all-powerful, faithful, generous, truthful, righteous, just, etc. So, essentially if this God tells me to pray, I will pray believing it is not in vain, and if I am praying in any way that is not his will or not pleasing to him he will show me.

      Thanks for asking these great questions. Wish I could give better answers.

      • Mary says

        Thanks for the answers. I was just reading through James, and I believe that James 4:3 he is talking about vain prayer. I'm not sure if that's right or not though.

        Do you think that it's a waste of time to ask God why certain things happen in life?
        For instance, say you go through a rough break up, right after being told by that person that they wanted to spend the rest of their life with you.
        Or, say your dog dies unexpectedly. Both instances are heart breaking, are they not?
        Is God really going to tell you why that happened to you specifically? I know that his knowledge is infinite and his reasons are perfect, so would we even be able to understand if he did tell us?
        I know in times of crisis everyone always wants to know why, but in my opinion, simply asking why gets you no where. Instead of asking "Why God?" , I have to continually remind myself that a better question might be "What will you have me do now" or "Where will you have me go from here". That's just my opinion.

        • says


          I don't think it's a waste of time to ask God why certain things happen in life – David did in the psalms at times – yet God didn't answer him. So did Job, and God didn't answer him but just had him contemplate God's infinite power, wisdom and greatness. Yet though God doesn't always answer I believe he loves that we would come to him and pour out our hearts, and cast all our cares on him. And I believe you are right – we wouldn't understand many of the things God does, and I also agree with your questions about what God would have us do or where he would have us go from here – very good questions!

  5. lisa says

    Sooooooo many unsaved family members still…… it's so easy to become discouraged in prayer. Thanks, Mark, for the reminder. I needed it.

  6. says

    A truly remarkable and memorable post.

    This seems to be the theme throughout scripture. Think of it. When Abram was 75 years old God told him he would become a great nation. Ten years pass and nothing. At the 11th year his wife recommends they take matters into their own hands (essentially "helping God along") by giving him Hagar. Ishmael is born… but he's not the child of promise. A long 14 years after Ishmael, at the age of 100, Isaac is born.

    I asked myself, why did God wait? But He alone does right and knows precisely what He's doing.

    The same theme is seen in Moses life (40 years in the desert), Joseph's (13 years in slavery and imprisonment), David's cave Adullam, Paul's sending off to give the churches rest, Simeon's patient waiting for the consolation of Israel.

    Or to the return of the Lord Himself! How long???

    To God be the glory!

    "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness." – 2 Peter 3

    Thanks for this.

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