The word pray occurs 365 times in the Bible. God wants us to pray earnestly with patience and persistence not just one time and then forget it. When we read scriptures we can see many examples of people who lived by faith got many blessings. In Abel, we have the worship of faith, In Enoch, the walk of faith. In Noah, the witness of faith, In Abraham, the wandering of faith, In Sarah, the waiting of faith, In Moses, the work of faith. God answers prayers for those who seek God with all the heart, those who ask according to his will and return to him, those who ask in faith and wait upon him, those who fear the Lord and Keep his commandments, those who are humble, righteous, poor, in distress and needy. He can answer the prayer immediately or sometimes delayed.
God knows our need even before we ask him (Matthew 6:8). We must ask according to His will with confession of sin. "And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:" ( 1 John 5:14).
Some people might say that we must not ask God continually for the things we need, want or desire because God knows everything and if you ask again and again the same thing it becomes lack of faith or vain repetions .There is nothing wrong asking the same thing again and again. When we ask same thing from God over and over again we are asking Gods direction, Gods answers and comfort and encouragement in our troubles.
A vain repetition of the heathen is condemned in Mathew 6:7. Which says “But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him”.
So vain repetition is not saying that we shouldn't repeat a prayer, but we should not pray to show off or just a mindless mouthing of words without understanding or meaning or a prayer said for a formality rather approaching God with respect, proper attention, humble submission, undisturbed, undistracted understanding having full confidence in His promises by seeking and obeying God with all our heart and soul.
In Mathew 26;36-45, we have Jesus praying in the garden just before His death, and we read that He prayed the same prayer three times almost word for word. It records the text of the prayer and it is three separate prayers, even though it was during one particular period of prayer. In fact, When Jesus prayed all night long in Luke 6:12 did he not repeat his prayers? His main focus was on GOD Almighty saving him from the crucifixion. Jesus' prayers all night long, which obviously were far more than just 3 times, were repetition after repetition after repetition and in (1 Thessalonians 5:17)we read that we should pray without ceasing. In other words, Jesus was not criticizing “repetitions” of prayer, but condemning Hypocritical Prayer. Jesus himself says in Luke 18:1 "And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint”.
The hypocrites pray to impress others or to gain respect or to gain the attention from others. They do not pray with sincere and humble heart. When Paul prayed for the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:16-17) , he prayed the same request over and over again that they would increase in their knowledge of God.
Angels pray repetitiously in Revelation 4:8: "...and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."
Martin G. Collins commentary says “God often answers us after long and persevering requests. He hears prayers and grants blessings long after they appear to be unanswered or withheld. He does not promise to give blessings immediately. He promises only that He will do it according to His will and plan. Although He promises to answer the prayer of the faithful, often He requires us to wait a long time to try our faith. He may allow us to persevere for months or years, until we are completely dependent on Him, until we see that there is no other way to receive the blessing, and until we are prepared to receive it. Sometimes, we are not ready to receive a blessing when we first ask. We may be too proud, or we may not comprehend our dependence upon Him. Maybe we would not value it, or the timing for it may simply be wrong. If what we ask for is good and accords with God's will, He will give it at the best time possible.”
Pray for each other: Jesus Christ is our perfect model for intercessory prayer (John 17:6-26) .Gods word says that we should pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16, 1Tim 2: 1-2). We ought to pray for one another even when there are no problems or troubles. In Galatians 6:2 we are told to bear one another’s burdens. When we pray for each other our spiritual growth increases and we grow closer in our relationship with God. We see many examples in the scriptures where people have prayed on behalf of others: Paul sought prayer on his behalf from all the Roman believers in Romans 15:30. Paul also urged the Colossians to intercede for him in Colossians 4:3.
Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him in Acts 12:5. Here the whole church that prayed for him, not just those with a gift of intercession.
Here is another example of Paul's prayer for his friends and fellow believers in city of Philippi: "This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
When we are in pain or suffering the Holy Spirit comes to our help and makes intercession on our behalf which says in Romans 8:26.
Moses Interceded For Israel in Exodus 32:11-13, Exodus 32:31-32, Paul Prayed For The Ephesians in Ephesians 3:14-20. Stephen Prayed For His Murderers, At The Point Of His Death in Acts 7:60. Nehemiah Daniel and Ezra prayed Identifying With The Sins Of His People in Nehemiah 1:3-11, Daniel 9:4-19, Ezra 9:6-15.
In 1 Kings 19:10-18 where Elijah intercedes with God about the Israelite nation who have turned away from God and killed the prophets and now want to kill Elijah.
Other supporting scriptures:
Psalm 55:17: Evening and morning, and at noon, I will pray and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice.
Colossians 4:2: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 4:16: Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
James 5:13-16: Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
So Never give up! Don’t stop praying!.
Read more articles by Shaila Touchton or search for articles on the same topic or others.