“Are your problems bigger than God, or is God bigger than your problems? Our biggest problem is our small view of God. That is the cause of all lesser evils. And it’s a high view of God that is the solution to all other problems.” – Mark Batterson
“Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Jesus Christ, recorded by Luke the Physician (Luke 11:5-10).
While it is important for us to be worshipful, respectful, and humble in our praying, there is another aspect of praying in faith that is important: willingness to be audacious in our prayers. Jesus in the account above is instructing His followers that it is appropriate at times to pray with “shameless audacity.” Not to be confused with selfish audacity, praying selfishly for answers that feed our flesh or our independence from our God. Our shameless audacity needs to be reserved for those things that further righteousness in us and others, and which move the Kingdom of God forward in our spheres of influence.
In the parable Jesus used as an illustration, it is because of the man’s audacity the neighbor will give him the answer. The point of the illustration is not that the man kept bugging his neighbor until he relented, which is how some translators have misinterpreted the early languages. The point is that the man had the courage, the audacity to ask a big thing of his neighbor. No request made in faith from godly motives is improper, too big or too small.
So how shall we pray in light of the words of Jesus? Here are some take-aways for consideration.
- Be audacious in your praying – turn everything that concerns you into prayer. We can and should bring all our concerns to our God, many not as requests but as concerns. Remember the words of Hebrews 4:16, “So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
- You need not pester your God. Our God does not need repetition in our prayers. He knows and cares, and we can trust Him. Matthew 6 tells us, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
- Pray as often as your Lord reminds you to pray. Listen for His promptings to pray for issues, to give thanks, to worship, or to simply listen. Ask your God to prompt you to pray. Let the Holy Spirit guide and inform your prayers. Use the scriptures to guide your praying (a future post topic).
- Trust God to act in your best interest. Remember that you often do not know what you need, you only know what you want. Learn to trust Him, and to let the Holy Spirit intercede for you. Remember Romans 8:26-27 – “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
- Give thanks to your God for the answer, even before the answer is known. Gratitude will change your perspective on waiting, on trusting, and even on apparent “no” answers. Don’t wait to be grateful. Gratitude from the start will open your eyes to His work in you.
Jesus ends this teaching with a reminder that we must be consistent in asking, seeking, and knocking in our prayers. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” The tense of the Greek for these three words implies a continual activity, not a one-time effort. “Keep on” asking, seeking, and knocking. Jesus knew that we would be prone to tiring in our praying, to losing heart or courage in our prayers, and His encouragement is to “keep on keeping-on” in prayer.
Our God is desirous of our persistence in prayer as well as our audacity and courage in approaching Him with godly requests. If we are yielded to Him in our daily living, we can be confident that our requests will be appropriate to His will and work in the world. We can also be confident that He will grant those requests in the best time and manner.
“Persistence is the magic bullet. The only way you can fail is if you stop praying. 100 percent of the prayers I don’t pray won’t get answered.” – Mark Batterson