ask and keep on asking

1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty; continuing violence in Syria; the Eurozone in crisis; people in the UK facing recession and redundancy; conflict in Afghanistan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories… Huge situations require big prayers fuelled by great faith and a hope that is robust enough to pray again and again.

ask and keep on asking

We’ve recently been struck by a new understanding of Jesus’ famous words in Matthew 7 and Luke 11 – ask (and keep on asking); seek (and keep on seeking); knock (and keep on knocking).

This week is Christian Aid Week and going door to door collecting last night was a powerful kinaesthetic reminder of the truth in these words… often you knock on a number of doors before one opens, and then a few more before a positive response. You could be tempted to give up. But that would be a mistake.

You have to keep knocking

This is an understanding that we need to move beyond our minds into the very core of our beings.

For so often we pray for things for a while and then run out of faith, steam or focus… and the bigger the situation the harder it seems to be to retain the hope required to be persistent in prayer.

Or we return to them intermittently, almost by rote, as the nations and issues we must always pray for… and the longer the situation has been going on, the harder it seems to be to retain the genuine passion required to offer intercession that is from our hearts as well as our mouths.

1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty; continuing violence in Syria; the Eurozone in ctisis; people in the UK facing recession and redundancy; conflict in Afghanistan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories…

These are so much harder to consistently and wholeheartedly bring before God than our own financial concerns; relationship issues; and close friends who are struggling.

We find it hard not to pray about our own concerns – it comes out in a rush of desperation – an unavoidable, persistent flow. And yet even in these areas we are quick to stop praying – responding instead by trying to fix things ourselves, or simply putting change down to wishful thinking.

There is a place for action. There is a place for realism. But to stop praying is to lose hope

Jesus taught us that our persistence in prayer makes all the difference (Luke 11). Why? Is it to try and make God care more? Is it to convince God that we care?

Or is it because he is waiting to see if we have truly caught his heart?

Because bringing love, light, peace, truth and justice was always his idea before it was ours. And whenever we try to intercede for these – even if (and perhaps especially when) we struggle to find any coherent words – surely it’s the Spirit within us that’s praying (Romans 8:26).

Recently we’ve found it helpful to come back to an almost creedal statement – when it comes to these issues, we’re committing to keep asking; keep seeking and keep knocking – we’re confessing to God that we’re prepared to pray every day of our lives if necessary.

Because we have seen that our God is the hope for transformation

We’ve seen him work in power already to turn our lives around, and so many others’ too. Again and again.

And we know that the reason we’re moved to pray for these issues at all is only because he’s laid them on our hearts. He’s looking for a people who’ll ask and keep on asking for what he longs to do. And we want to be a part of that. We’re committed to pray and keep on praying.

We’ve published a new resource that’s helping us do this

It’s a creedal prayer committing to continuous prayer, which is based on a new song of Liz’s that we’ll shortly be recording and making available.

You can download the prayer from our prayer resources page and use it to voice your commitment to keep seeking transformation for some of these huge situations that God has laid on all of our hearts.

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