Questions and Answers: Asking Multiple Times or Just Once?

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
QUESTION: Should we continue to ask for many things of the Lord, such as more of the Spirit's power, increase of faith and conversion of relatives? Or when these requests have been once laid before Him, should we leave them in His hands?
ANSWER: God exercises our hearts and our faith in delaying to give the answer to our prayers at times. The earnestness of our prayer will be according to the exigency of our need, and the consciousness that God alone can give the answer. The heart is exercised and kept in dependence, waiting on Him for the reply. Faith is kept alive. Other sources are not looked to when the soul has learned that He alone can do what is needed. It is a mighty engine, that of prayer, fitting expression of the newborn soul's dependence on God, in contrast to that nature which always would be independent of Him, though it cannot escape His righteous judgment.
Daniel had to wait in fasting and mourning for three whole weeks at one time before he received the reply (Dan. 10). At another time, "Whiles I was speaking," he says the answer came. It marks the fact that we are not indifferent to the result when the heart can, in earnest entreaty, wait upon God.
We may find, like Paul, that it is better for us that our desires are withheld. He learned also the reason why they were withheld after his thrice-repeated prayer; thus he could boast in that which was the taunt of his enemies, and the trial of his friends (2 Cor. 12).
We need to be "filled with the Spirit," and we need that our faith may grow. Many are the needs of our hearts, and if God is pleased to bless His people He exercises their hearts in prayer. Paul was indebted to some praying sister, perhaps, who could agonize in prayer before the Lord for those gifts with which he carried on his service in the gospel field. He could agonize in prayer for those he never saw (Col. 2:11For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; (Colossians 2:1)), and Epaphras, too, could labor earnestly in prayer for those he knew and loved (Col. 4:1212Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12)).
In the midst of our cares and conflicts we have to "be careful for nothing," but to let our requests be made known to God. God, who has no cares, keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. But we have also to "continue in prayer." Col. 4:22Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (Colossians 4:2). We have also to "watch in the same with thanksgiving" for His ever-opened ear. One of the exhortations in Rom. 12:1212Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; (Romans 12:12) is "continuing instant in prayer," or it might read, "pursuing in prayer.”
The very "importunity" of the man at the unseasonable hour of midnight was the occasion of his obtaining the loaves (Luke 11:88I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (Luke 11:8)). One can lay down no rules in such cases. The truly exercised heart gets its own answer from God. At times we can, with simple confidence, make known and commit the request to God. At other times the heart is conscious that it cannot but cry to God until the heart is at rest as to the petition. He will not give the answer till His own time, and meanwhile the soul is kept in earnest exercise. Faith is tested and patience tried, and the heart watches and waits on Him.
Again such is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and if we know that He hears us, we know we have the petitions that we desired of Him (1 John 5:14,1514And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (1 John 5:14‑15)). He listens to everything which is in accordance with His will. He cannot fail in power, and we get the reply. The true heart would ask nothing contrary to His will.