Jesus taught us to be persistent in prayer, and to get his point across he told a parable about a man who was very persistent. I’ll call him Fred. Fred had some friends arrive from far away, and he had no food for them, so he went to George’s house to borrow some. George, along with his family, was fast asleep since it was the middle of night. Fred pounded on the door until he awoke George. George tried without opening the door to hush Fred up and send him on his way. That’s when Fred just pounded even louder and shamelessly asked for help. Finally, George gathered up all the food in sight and gave it to Fred, not because he liked him so much but simply to get rid of him (Luke 11:5-13). If we will respond to persistent people who we want to leave us alone, how much more will our Heavenly Father who loves us respond to our persistence.
The best way to describe the actions of Fred is that he shamelessly asked for help. He was persistent and refused to quit until his request was answered. Jesus encouraged us to ask and keep on asking, to seek and keep on seeking and knock and keep on knocking, which is exactly what Fred did.
The fact that God gives to all of us certain things whether or not we ask is evident in the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt 5:45). He gives not because we deserve them or have earned them but because he is good. There is, however, other things that are given because of persistence. If we pray a prayer once and then never remember to ask again, it is not very important, but if we pray every day for a need without letting up, we show persistence. Persistence shows we value the need and are extremely serious about what we are asking.
Persistence is an attitude, and when it comes to persistence in prayer, it is applauded by Jesus. Jesus encourages us to have the confidence and believe it will happen. Then look for it because you know it’s coming. If you don’t find it, just keep on knocking until the door opens. This is faith and confidence that God will honor your persistence.
When it comes to knocking on doors with persistence, I have a little experience in this area. Many years ago when I was working with my father in the sand and rock business, I went up in the mountains of California to get a load of decomposed granite. I had never been to the place before, so I was following the map. First, I was to go to a house and knock on the door, and then they would take me to the pit and load me. I found the house and went to the door, but before I made it to the door, out of nowhere came a very vicious German Shepherd dog that attacked me. Fortunately, it was winter, and I had on a coat and gloves. Each time he lunged at me I was able to push him back. I made it to the door, and I knocked, and it was no small knock; it was more like pounding. In between my knocking, the dog kept coming, and I kept on knocking and knocking. Finally, a lady came to the door in her housecoat, and I stepped in, and she stepped out, and I closed the door behind me and caught my breath.
I pounded on that door shamelessly because I had a reason and I fully expected an answer. That is precisely how we should be in prayer because God will reward those who are persistent. Don’t give up! Don’t quit! Keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking until God answers that prayer.