Isaiah 62:1 -For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. NKJV
Today, instead of blogging about another type of prayer, I want to discuss prayer itself. As most of us know, prayer is simply talking to God. In our desire to understand prayer, and how to pray effectively, we have studied prayer and found many different types of prayer. In our quest to understand prayer, we have found that there are certain “times” of prayer. We have even found that there are patterns to prayer. With all of this in mind, we have even had teachings on how often to pray.
Some highly respected teachers of the word, at least respected by me, have done a phenomenal job at dissecting these areas of prayer, to the point one might ask, “What else can be said?” I don’t pretend to be amongst that group, but as I was praying tonight, I felt this scripture rise in my spirit, and I heard the words, “once may not be enough”. Hence, my topic for this blog!
The journeys of life are quite interesting. Years ago, as I was praying to the Lord about a situation that was not changing, I asked Him how long was I supposed to pray about this thing? Amazingly, He responded immediately with our key text. Although I have known this scripture for decades, it never really dawned on me as a prayer scripture. (That just goes to show that we can know something without understanding it). But if the Holy Spirit showed it to me in regards to praying, then I’m not going to argue with Him.
For Zion’s sake I won’t hold my peace! Are there some situations in your life or the lives of others that you can’t hold your peace about? You just can’t be silent? You have to talk to God about it? And for some reason, it seems like you have hurt your knees, drained your tear ducts, and used every scripture imaginable on the subject with no change? Do you feel faithless, because you just keep praying about it? Have others tried to make you feel like you just need to give it up? Well, if so, this blog is for you!!
Isaiah wrote that for Zion’s sake he wouldn’t hold his peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake he wouldn’t rest. That meant that he intended to cry out to God for as long as he felt he needed to because he was greatly concerned about the Church and his beloved city, Jerusalem! As a matter of fact, he even told us how long he intended to keep this prayer vigil going-until he got results! Some people believe and teach that when you pray in faith, you only have to pray one time. I can tell you for a truth that in many cases, this is absolutely true. Sometimes, you just know, that you know, when you finish praying, the thing is done!
But there are some other times, the Spirit of God whispered to my heart, when once is not enough! Let’s look at Jesus, because we can all agree that He knew how to get a prayer through!
And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” – Luke 22:41-42 – NKJV
This prayer was on the night that He was betrayed. He went to the garden to pray, as was His custom. Jesus had spent the day encouraging His disciples, praying for them, and even giving them last minute instructions. And now He is going to spend time in prayer. He even told His disciples how deeply grieved in His soul He was, and asked them to pray with Him. While He was crying out to the Father, they were sleeping!
For this blog, I’m not concerned so much with the topic of His prayer, but there are a couple things to note. First, according to Matthew, He prayed hours about this situation. During the course of His hours of praying, He actually stopped praying and went to check on His disciples. They were falling asleep. Not once, nor twice, but three times. After He checked on them, He went back and prayed twice more for a total of three times. And another thing, He prayed the same thing! For those who feel that praying about something over and over is a lack of faith, I give you Jesus!
Now, let’s look at Paul!
Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. – 2 Corinthians 12:8 – NKJV
Paul writes that he had been under attack by the messenger of Satan himself. He was so sick and tired of this messenger who kept coming at him, again and again that Paul called him a thorn in his flesh. I guess after some time Paul got tired of this foolishness and he prayed asking the Lord to allow it to depart from him. As a matter of fact, Paul said that he prayed this same prayer on three different occasions. He didn’t get the answer he sought, but it wasn’t because he prayed more than once. It wasn’t because Jesus liked watching him get attacked over and over again. Jesus simply responded to him that His grace was sufficient for Paul, for His strength was made perfect in weakness. A truth that we all need to understand. Sometimes we will be delivered from the attacks of the enemy, and sometimes He will walk with us in the fire!
Final point about praying more than once about something:
Then the Lord said, “If even an evil judge can be worn down like that, don’t you think that God will surely give justice to His people who plead with Him day and night? Yes! He will answer them quickly! But the question is: When I, the Messiah, return, how many will I find who have faith and are praying*?” -Luke 18:6-8 – TLB
The very first thing Jesus says in this chapter is that men ought always to pray and not faint. Then He shares this situation with us about the woman who wearied the unjust judge in her continuous coming. The point I want to look at is what Jesus said in the end: But the question is: When I, the Messiah, return, how many will I find who have faith and are praying*?” This woman, going to judge over and over again, was symbolic of us going to the Father in prayer over and over again. Jesus didn’t call this a lack of faith, He actually called it faith! She was so convinced that if she kept asking, that she would receive! This reminds me of one of my husband’s favorite sayings: “The squeaky wheel gets the oil!”
Okay! I absolutely have to add this point, so forgive the length of this blog:
Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. Daniel 10:12 – NKJV
For three full weeks, Daniel fasted and prayed about the same situation. Then one day, an angel appeared to him and told him that he was heard on the first day! God hears you the first time. It doesn’t take Him 21 days to hear, but sometimes, it takes “earthly” time because the devil is fighting on every hand. And your continuous praying will bring angelic help, if needed, to get the job done!
It’s not a lack of faith that keeps you going back to the Father for a concern on your heart, it’s your desire to see your prayer answered that keeps you going back. You are saying, “I need some oil!” Or, “I need some justice!” Or, “I need some help!” Don’t give up on your confidence in God’s willingness and His ability to answer your prayer! Pray until you get what you want, because once may not be enough! Wonderful Jesus!