Thank you my dear friend for your great question! Well, my response will depend on what you mean by “repeating” a prayer. If you mean reciting a pre-written prayer, then I’d say, “not so much,” and that the best way to pray is from your heart, in faith, and in the light of the Lord’s will. However, on the other hand, if you are asking whether it is appropriate to pray about a matter, then pray a second time, or even multiple times about the same matter, then I’d say “yes, by all means!” As to this last, I’ll give you one quick example from the life of the Apostle Paul. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, “…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…”. Thus, we see the Apostle Paul praying three times regarding his “thorn” in the flesh; and despite the fact that through faith, Paul was often God’s instrument in healing others, we find here that the Lord responded according to His own sovereign will that the thorn would not be removed, so that the mighty power of God might be evident through Paul’s physical weakness. I see no lack of faith in Paul’s three prayers regarding his affliction, and we must remember that when we pray desiring God’s will, the response we receive will reflect God’s sovereign will, and not necessarily our own. God did answer, and though God’s response wasn’t precisely what Paul had in mind, Paul knew that God gives us what we truly most need, rather than specifically what we ask for. . May we all understand this about God and praise Him for His marvelous grace!

Prayer should be, the hallmark of a Christian, demonstrating our dependence in all things upon the Lord. Now, as general guidance, some of the basic principles of prayer are as follows: we should pray as the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray-not merely reciting the Lord’s prayer as found in Luke 11:2-4, but rather praying after the pattern and spirit of the Lord’s teaching in this example; we should pray in faith and confidence or boldness (Hebrews 4:16; Mark 11: 24; John 16: 23-26; James 1:5-7); and we should always pray according to the Lord’s will (1 John 5: 14; Romans 8:26,27). Now, let’s look more closely at this last portion (Romans 8:26,27), because we have a great support and resource in prayer through the Holy Spirit: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit (Himself) maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God”. Here, I believe that we see the action of the Holy Spirit in helping true believers with prayer, the Spirit making intercession for us as He has the mind of the Father. As to the frequency and character of prayer, we are guided to pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…”, (Ephesians 6:18). In this passage, we are instructed to pray always in the Spirit, with fervency, and with our hearts, and especially to be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Similarly, we are taught in Philippians 4:6-7 that we should not allow anxiety to govern us, but that instead, we should make our petitions through prayer with supplication (which is to ask or even beg the Lord earnestly and humbly. We read, “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”. Please note that the last verse in this portion promises that we will have the peace of God through Christ Jesus when we pray thus. Finally, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are instructed to “pray without ceasing,” because along with rejoicing and being thankful, this is God’s will for Christians.

I’d like to offer one more example of how the believer ought to pray, and this relates to how we might petition the Lord persistently or multiple times. I believe this to be a parable of the Lord Jesus regarding the faithful remnant of Israel, and in fact, I believe it to apply to all believers, during times of testing.  This parable is found in Luke 18:1-7. Now, I realize that this portion has more of a direct application to the persistence in prayer for deliverance when the faithful are being persecuted, but I do believe that verse 1 of Luke 18 might allow me to extend this thought more generally to all kinds of prayer, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint…”. In this parable, the widow is extremely persistent in her petitions to the ungodly judge, but due to her persistence, her petition is finally granted. Thus, we see that fervor and persistence in prayer, without a sense of discouragement for the on-going issue, would be appropriate for Christians.

In summary, I would say that prayer, constant and fervent prayer, is the mark of a true Christian, demonstrating our dependence on the Lord in all things. I believe that the Lord loves to hear our prayers and He encourages us to be constantly in prayer, and that when we pray fervently, in faith, and according to God’s will, we have the assurance that He hears us and that He will answer. I further believe, after the pattern of the Lord’s prayer, that our prayers should be full of praise and thanksgiving to God, and that we should be seeking that the Lord’s will be done here on earth and in our lives. Now, with special attention to your question, however, I fully realize that many of the verses cited above do seem to indicate that a believer might pray once in full faith and in accordance with what is believed to be God’s will for a particular concern (James 1:6-7), and I do fully hold with this thought. But at the same time, I see nothing wrong with praying several times about certain matters—I feel that we are encouraged by the Lord to pray often, with our hearts, and with persistence. I think I see encouragement in Scripture to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, for salvation for others, for the Gospel outreach, for wisdom for our leaders, for planning for our lives, for sicknesses or those hurt by natural disasters, and the like. Do I feel it would be inappropriate to pray twice for these petitions? Not at all, and in fact, I often pray every day for many of these things. I believe that the main thing for Christians is that we be often in fervent prayer in faith, and to pray in His name with the full confidence that He hears us, and that our prayers will be answered according to His will.  (SF)  (509.3)