I have always been torn with regard to prayer. Do I ask once for something from God, or do I “keep asking, keep seeking, or keep knocking?” It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit guided me that I found the answer, and I hope it helps you.
Depending upon whom you ask and which denomination you cling to, you’ll get two different answers to this very important question. Here’s both sides, and each one seems to have an answer that counters the other.
Position 1: You ask your Father for the things you want, making sure the thing(s) you ask for are within God’s Will (1 John 5:14-15). Once you’ve asked, don’t ask anymore – just thank God that the answer is “yes.” Soon, it will happen in the physical.
Position 2: You ask your Father for the things you want, making sure the thing(s) you ask for are within God’s Will (1 John 5:14-15). Remember, Jesus taught about being persistent, so keep asking God until you either see an answered prayer, or until God removes the desire from your heart.
You see the problem? The first part is dead-on correct – there is no sense in asking God for something that goes against His Will, as the answer will be an obvious “NO.” It’s the second part we need to dissect.
Let’s take each position and deconstruct it under the light of God’s Word.
“Once you’ve asked, don’t ask anymore” seems counter to what Jesus was clearly saying in several passages with accompanying parables (the unjust judge – Luke 18:1-7 & the midnight visitor – Luke 11:5-12). It is clear to anyone who is a Christian with the ability to read, that Jesus was relaying persistence in prayer – to ask, and keep asking, seek, and keep seeking, knock, and keep knocking.
“But if it’s within God’s Will, and He hears us, and says “YES”, then why do I keep nagging God about it? Shouldn’t I THANK Him for the answer like I’ve heard a lot of Christians/denominations talk about?”
Well, yes, and no.
The act of laying “siege to the Kingdom” is part of persistence. More on that later.
To be sure, prayer, if done the way God wants us to do it, is answered instantly in the world of the spirit – which is more real than the natural. All we have to do is wait (“come to pass”). So, praying to God, seeking His Will in the things we ask for, so that we know that God’s Answer will be yes, then having faith that the prayer will manifest in the natural is the correct position. All Christians should have this mindset.
But persistence IS KEY to answered prayer. Moving on…
It’s clear, by now, that we need to keep within God’s Will, so I’ll forgo the re-plowing of the field.
To ask, seek, knock, and to keep doing these things, IS CORRECT! This practice does not say that you “don’t have faith,” or that you are “nagging” God, hounding Him until you get the thing you ask for, it says that you are also doing the Will of God by doing this. Again, more on that in the next section, but first, we must address the “desire from your heart” mis-conception.
God, our Father, has ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM with His Children (Christians) to not only have the things we need, but also the things we desire (wants). We see this plainly in the Old Testament. These passages will clearly spell out that God is not a cheapskate and wants us to only survive, but thrive.
“Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!” ~2 Samuel 12:7-8 NKJV
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” ~Psalm 37:3-5 NKJV
“The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.” ~1 Kings 3:10-13 NKJV
It’s clear by the passages above (and there are more) that God has no problem with the desire towards “stuff”, just so long as we seek His Will first and ask accordingly.
So, the “desire” part is rubbish, but the persistence part is correct.
“Laying siege to the Kingdom” – putting the two pieces together.
To lay the foundation just a tad, we need to take a stroll through the Gospel of Matthew 11:1-19. This is where the fine art of hermeneutics – the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible – really comes into play.
John the Baptist is in prison and he sends his disciples to Jesus asking Him if He is the one they’ve all been waiting for. This is when Jesus talks about the importance of John to the large crowd of people gathered around Jesus. He compares John to Elijah, asking the crowd “who they went to the desert to see?”
This is the first part of the context – the people SEARCHED desperately for John the Baptist so they can be cleansed of their sins. Nothing would have stopped them from “getting right with God,” not heat, not exhaustion – nothing. Those people wanted the Kingdom of God.
Now, Jesus says this peculiar phrase, which always troubled me until the Holy Spirit guided me to it’s understanding.
“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force” ~Matthew 11:12 NKJV
Upon first glance, it would seem strange that Jesus would interject this phrase, but it is HIGHLY significant. He’s making an analogy to an army laying siege to a city, trying to posses it. No walls, army, or sword would keep such an army out – and Jesus was comparing the crowd to an army desperately seeking to posses the Kingdom of God!
Jesus wants US to “lay siege,” and not let anything stop us from the Kingdom of God, and that means getting the things we ask for that are in the Will of our Heavenly Father! Jesus wants us to “tear down the walls” of the Kingdom with the sword of our persistent, asking-until-we-see-it prayers. In fact, GOD DESPERATELY WANTS US TO LAY SIEGE TO THE KINGDOM!
When you combine the act of seeking God’s Will before you ask for something in prayer, knowing full well that He will say “yes” when we are within that will, having faith that our prayer is instantly answered in the spirit and will be seen in the natural, and all the while, “laying siege” to the Kingdom, we will get our needs and desires met!
I love God for His greatest gift, Jesus Christ, and for the most precious gift of the Holy Spirit, as it brings clarity to scripture. Now, go with God, armed with the knowledge of how to pray.