21 Days of Prayer 2022
J.D. opened with the observation that sometimes we pray and things happen. But sometimes we pray over and over again before something, if anything, happens. As we see in Luke, Jesus encouraged us to pray persistently as we wait. What sorts of prayers do you pray repeatedly?
Jesus told two stories that specifically encouraged perseverance in prayer. In one story, God is compared to a man awakened rudely in the night. He only got up to help his neighbor because he couldn’t handle the constant knocking on his door. Persistence paid off. We know that God is not disgruntled by our prayers but instead is moved to action. In what ways can you relate to the neighbor desperate for help? How have you seen repeated praying reap results?
Jesus’s parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 reflects similar themes. A widow repeatedly sought justice from a local judge who didn’t care. But her tenacity worked—he gave her justice because she wore him down. God is so much better than that judge. He will provide justice, and he’s looking for faith in his people. How is your perspective on prayer influenced by the idea that God sees your repeated prayers as an act of faith, not an annoyance to him?
J.D. identified a common question we tend to ask about praying: If something is God’s will, why doesn’t he answer the first time we ask? J.D. admitted, “I don’t know.” What emotions rise in you when you consider not knowing how God makes decisions? How comfortable are you with not understanding God’s way of thinking?
God listens and responds to our prayers, which means we can intercede for loved ones and pray for their protection, healing, or provision. What motivates you to pray for someone in need? To what degree do you think responds to your prayers?
We may not understand how prayer works, but we do know that God can be moved to action by prayer. Jesus’s parables directly encourage us to go to our Father persistently. The “how” may be mysterious, but the invitation is clear. What role does mystery play in your prayer life? How willing are you to press through the “I don’t get it” into “but I trust him anyway”?
Throughout Scripture, God invites his children to talk to him. He delights in hearing from us—by taking our needs, desires, and loves to him, we show our faith in his good character. He welcomes our bold, desperate, persistent prayers. Have you been hesitant to repeat your requests too often? Start again. Add a daily reminder to your calendar to pray for those ongoing situations only God can fix. Keep praying—and watch for God’s answers.