Sometimes we have to just keep going. If our prayers have not been answered then we can persist in praying until either the answer comes or we have a peace and assurance that God has heard & will provide the answer in His perfect timing:
Jesus said: LK 11:5 “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ “Then the one inside answers, `Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
LK 11:9 “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. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
LK 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 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 about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?
It requires discipline – It will often be the last thing that you will want to do. If you know that you need to prevail in prayer about a certain situation then try to set aside a time when you can devote yourself to it and will not be distracted.
Expect Opposition – In the first example Jesus gave of the friend who kept knocking. Everything seemed against him – The door had been bolted, the friend did not want to be bothered, he made excuses to put him off. You will face opposition so don’t be disappointed if things seem against you – don’t be put off. There are times when we have to keep pressing through in prayer until the breakthrough is achieved.
It is hard work – It can be physically and emotionally draining to prevail in prayer. In the example Jesus gave the need had arisen at Midnight – The darkest & loneliest hour. Don’t forget to rest at such times and allow the Holy Spirit to refresh you.
It requires boldness – In both examples Jesus gave the friend & the widow were bold and this was part of the reason they received their answers. Be bold. Scripture tells us that we can “boldly” approach God’s throne in time of need.
and KEEP GOING because:
Prevailing Prayer can mobilise angels – Daniel Ch 10:12
Then he (the angel) continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
The angel came on the first day that Daniel’s prayer was heard in response but he was then detained by an evil power until Michael came to help him. The enemy was trying to stop the angel getting through to bring revelation to Daniel. As Daniel prayed he was unaware of the struggle going on in the heavenly realm but I believe his continued prayers were helping the angel in the fight and a reason why Michael was sent to help.
Perseverance – the continual knocking can be one of the pre-conditions to our answer arriving. Daniel prayed for 21 days before he got the breakthrough and the angel arrived with the answer – What would have happened if he stopped praying on day 15 or day 20? Your answer may be on the way – Don’t stop until you know in your spirit and have peace that your prayer has been heard and answered. Delay does not necessarily mean No.
Does this mean that we receive the answers to all our prayers if we pray long enough? – I don’t think so no – because some of the things we ask for are wrongly motivated. James 4:3 “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Or it could be that it is just not God’s Will for us that the prayer is answered. We have to trust God in such situations. He sees the bigger picture. We may not know until He reveals it in the fullness of time.
The difficulty for us is discerning when God is saying NO to our prayer request or when we have to persist in prayer for the answer. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us at such times.