I get worn out pretty easily when it comes to prayer. When I first start praying for something, I’m all business. I’m fervent and passionate and totally in faith. I’m going to take heaven by storm. Nothing can stop me from getting what I want. I know that God can and will give me what I ask for.
But as time goes by and my prayer goes unanswered, my faith starts to wane and my passion begins to subside. I don’t pray as frequently or as zealously. I used to pray for this thing every single day, but now I only pray for it once a week. Then once a month. Then just every so often.
Why does this happen to me? Why do I peter out so quickly in prayer?
I think there are a number of reasons. I lack the discipline to keep praying for a long period of time. I also lack the necessary faith. When I don’t see God move quickly, I assume that he won’t move at all, which is a big mistake.
In Luke 11:9-10, Jesus speaks against the lethargy that so quickly overtakes me. He says:
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Do you notice how Jesus uses words that increase in intensity? He starts with asking, which is a simple, relatively passive action. Just ask. Then he moves to seeking, which involves actively looking for something. Finally, he mentions knocking, which involves beating your hand on a door again and again until it is opened.
Over time our prayers tend to decrease in intensity. Jesus tells us that as time passes, our prayers should actually increase in intensity. The longer that God delays, the harder we should pray. We shouldn’t automatically assume that a delayed answer means no answer at all.
We don’t usually know why God doesn’t answer our prayers immediately. What we do know is that he is good, wise, and faithful, and that he loves to give us good things. So keep asking, seeking, and knocking. Don’t let time and laziness take the edge off your prayers. As time passes, pray with even more passion and intensity.
When the praying gets tough, get praying.