prayer4It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.  Jesus tells us to pray for the things in the Lord’s Prayer as though we are pounding on a locked door until it finally opens (Lk. 11:5-8).  We are to persistently, boldly, relentlessly present before God our needs in line with His will.

But He already knows them.  And He already desires to meet them (vv. 11-13). 

So why is God telling us to badger Him with the same requests, over and over again?  The whole enterprise seems rather futile before a omniscient, omnipotent, and loving God.

Surely it can’t be a form of divine manipulation.  If only we say this same prayer 30 times, THEN God is bound to grant it.  What hubris to even consider such human power over almighty God.

Surely it can’t be just a hoop to jump through.  The overall tendency of Jesus’ life and teaching seems to me to be a simplification of our relationship with God rather than imposing various new rules or laws or red tape.

Surely it can’t be to provide God with any new knowledge.  He’s God.  He already knows whether or not “we really mean it” or “really need it” or…

Surely it can’t be to change us.  I mean, we already know what we need.  We already know when we need it.  And how we need it.  And what’s best for us spiritually.  And all of the various implications.

Or, maybe not.  Definitely not.

So, as I see it, I’m left with one solution.  Persistent prayer is to change us in some way rather than change God in any way.

What’s the intended change?  I don’t know.  It’s probably different for different people in different places with their relationship with God.  Truly, each of us needs to be shaped a bit differently in order to grow in love of God and others.  To grow spiritually.

Maybe it’s to widdle away some pride or illusion of control.  Maybe it’s to force a greater dependence on God.  Or feelings of frustration that eventually boil over into greater honesty and surrender in prayer.  Or maybe a million other heart-changes.

Through persistent prayer, usually more gradually than suddenly, God shapes our hearts.  Somehow spiritual work is being done on you each time you pray it.  The you that pounds on the door the 50th time is probably not the same you who pounded on it the 1st time.

And that change is invaluable.

Have you experienced this?  How have you changed through the course of praying persistently for a particular need?  If so, please post it as a response…