Will not God grand justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? – Luke 18:7

Something I’d like to work on is the perseverance of my prayers.

Often, I ask God for what I need, or I share something that’s concerning me, or I offer words of gratitude, and then I feel as if I can check those things off my list. Done. Why should I have to do it again? Isn’t praying persistently kind of…inefficient? Doesn’t God hear my prayers the first time? 

Well, yes, God does hear my prayers every time. And yet, Scripture emphasizes the power of repeated and ongoing prayer. In Luke 18:7, Jesus reminds his followers that God listens to those who “cry out to him day and night.” God wants ongoing, consistent interaction with us, not simply requests tossed his way and checked off of our to-do lists. When I bring my needs, concerns, gratitude, and confession to God as part of the regular rhythm of my life, on an ongoing basis, I am reminded in whom to put my trust. I am placing my interaction with God as the priority above all other things. Perhaps it doesn’t feel efficient, like other tasks we take care of, but it is powerful for our own transformation and for the transformation of our world.

Right now, the subject of your prayers may feel especially big. Global, even. When I feel overwhelmed by the things I’m praying about, that’s when I’m especially tempted to let my perseverance wane. That’s when I may ask what my small prayers can do in the face of such massive problems. But that’s also when repeated, ongoing prayer assures us of God’s power, and repeated prayer reminds us that we serve a God who hears us constantly and who is deeply concerned for these big things, too. We may grow weary, but the God to whom we cry out does not. Cry out to him day and night. Persevere in prayer, because he assures us that he hears us the first time, and each time, we turn to him.