Listen: 60 Question 4

Prayer is a vital part of the Christian’s life.  King David spoke of his daily prayer life in Psalms 5:3 which says, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”  While in captivity with the children of Israel in Babylon, Daniel learned of a new law that forbad people praying to God.  We read in Daniel 6:10, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”  Under the penalty of death, Daniel refused to stop his habit of praying three times a day.  The Lord Jesus, Himself, was a man of great prayer.  We read of his early morning praying in Mark 1:35 which says, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”

We are instructed to be people of prayer in passages like Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Prayer is a ministry.  The Apostle Paul said of himself in Philippians 1:3-4, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.”  We read of a prayer warrior in Colossians 4:12 which says, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

The Word of God tells us what to pray for in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  It tells us how often we should pray in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  The Bible also tells us about the benefit of prayer in James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  The Lord is faithful to answer our prayers according to His perfect will as we read in 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

The prayers of God’s people are a sweet smelling savor to Him as we read in Revelation 5:8, “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”  Our prayers are for making requests, for giving thanks, for confession and for worship, and the Lord loves to hear the voices of His children.  When we don’t pray, it shows a lack of faith and trust in the Lord.  It shows that we do not take seriously the promise of the Lord who, “…is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” as we read in Ephesians 3:20.

Your question is unique: How do we know when to stop praying about a particular request?  We have an example of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”  When the apostle was given this thorn in the flesh, he immediately began to ask the Lord to take it away from him.  After praying about this three times, the Lord spoke to his heart with this remarkable message, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”  Does that mean we are supposed to pray three times about an issue?  No, it doesn’t mean that at all.  It does teach us that even as we pray, we should also listen.  We should listen to the voice of God speaking to our hearts.  He may encourage us to continue praying, He may tell us that we have prayed enough, as He did with Paul.  The answer to our prayers may become obvious and it’s time to stop asking.  We need to be sensitive to the voice of the Lord telling us to continue praying or to cease praying about a particular request.

Of course, some prayers should never cease: prayers for the salvation of our family members and others; prayers for our leaders; prayers for the Lord’s continued guidance and care; prayers of worship and praise to the Lord, and the list goes on and on.  (60.4)