How Often Should We Pray for a Particular Need?

What Did Jesus Say?

In answer to this question, it is important that we look to the teachings of Jesus Christ concerning the subject of prayer:

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened (Luke 11:9,10).

As Jesus taught His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1-4), He gave an illustration of a man whose friend came to him at midnight and requested three loaves of bread (Luke 11:5-8). In this, Jesus was explaining the principle of importunity. “Importunity” is a translation of the Greek anaideian, or “shamelessness”. The idea is not that God must be badgered into action in behalf of His children, but rather that God responds to the open, confident, trusting approach of His children (CRISWELL’S STUDY BIBLE, page 1209). The application of Jesus’ principle for us today is: God is our Father and desires to give us freely all things.

The Scriptures give us another illustration in which a woman of Canaan came to Christ stating: “… Have mercy on me … my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil (Matthew 15:22). Jesus did not respond to her request immediately, but after her persistence her request was granted. Our Lord’s attitude was intended to test the woman’s faith, which was rewarded by the miraculous healing of the woman’s daughter. Thus, we may conclude that often our prayers are not answered immediately, simply because God may be testing our faith. God may desire that we repeat with persistence our request for a specific need before He answers that need.

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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