Just Keep Praying, for the Lord
Have you ever found yourself asking, “What’s the point of prayer?” Each of us, from time to time, have likely battled a quiet cynicism over prayer. Perhaps you find yourself too distracted to prayer: “Why can’t I focus?” This leads to frustration: “What’s wrong with me?” You’re left confused, wondering “What am I doing wrong?” This down spirals into cynicism and weariness: “What’s the point of prayer?”
Jesus confronts our cynicism and skewers our skepticism concerning prayer with a simple but powerful declaration in Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Literally, his words are best rendered: “Keep asking…keep seeking…keep knocking.” In short, he calls you and I to pray persistently. Just keep praying.
Ruth Graham, wife of the famed Reverend Billy Graham, notably remarked: “Pray when you feel like it, for it’s a sin not to. Pray when you don’t feel like it, for its dangerous to remain in that condition.” But what if you can’t get yourself to pray? Do we really need to just keep praying even when we don’t feel like it? Doesn’t this sound like Jesus is calling us to bully God?
Dear brother or sister, take heart: Jesus’ logic is for you. His call for you, who are weary in prayer, to just keep praying is because he knows you better than you know yourself.
He Knows Your Need
He calls you to “ask” Him like a child would ask his mother for help. If a child has a need and his mother is nearby, he’ll simply look up and ask. This implies humility. It implies admitting you cannot meet your need and confessing that God alone can meet your need. In short, God calls you to keep praying even when you don’t feel like it because He knows your need and wants to teach you to depend on Him. So, self-assess: Are you depending on Him in prayer or demanding from Him in prayer?
He Knows Your Heart
He calls you to “seek” Him like a child would if he doesn’t immediately see his mother. This implies action. A child would not stand there and wait, but actively look for his parent. Jesus is calling you to actively seek Him in prayer. He knows your heart is prone to passivity. Don’t passively make a petition and then go about your life as if He were not there. Don’t presumptuously think prayer is a password or a good luck charm. Diligently seek Him in prayer. Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Are you seeking Him or using Him?
He Knows Your Doubts
He calls you to “knock,” like a child would if his mother is inaccessible. This implies boldness and perseverance. A child knocks on his parent’s door at night because he knows his parent is behind the door and will answer him. There is no doubt. However, we are prone to doubt. We know we have a heavenly Father, but we come to Him wondering if He will answer us or if He even cares for us. We are prone to pray with doubt. Jesus calls us to knock with determination – trusting that He is a good God. Are you testing Him or trusting Him in prayer?
Take heart, the Lord knows you. He is calling you to just keep praying for He knows you better than you know you. Pray with dependence, diligence, and determination. Ask, seek, knock.
Dr. Kyler Smith, Senior Associate Pastor
Hickory Grove Baptist Church