If there is one aspect that Jesus seems to emphasize in his teaching about prayer, it is that it is not a “one-and-done” thing (Luke 18:1-8, Luke 11:5-13).
Prayer takes constancy to work. If I ask and don’t receive, it shouldn’t be taken as a reason to not pray anymore. Take the example of Elijah:
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17-18).
Here James gives him as an example of the effective prayer. He changed the weather! But exactly how did that work?
In 1 Kings 18:42-45, we see Elijah praying for the rain to come back. In verse 42, He is confident that it will rain by his proclamation to King Ahab. That’s important (James 1:16). But notice how many times it took.
Not after the first prayer or the second attempt but after seven times! Seven times he prayed and even after all that there was only a cloud “as small as a man’s hand.” Yet that cloud became a downpour.
Effective prayer isn’t a last ditch effort. It isn’t a whim off the cuff. It is a confident continual effort. Only when we truly trust in God and our connection to him, will we be willing to ‘labor’ over things in prayer.
If we can’t bother to keep praying for something, do we really even want it?
Hope church of Christ