Some Bible teachers claim we are walking in unbelief if we ask God for the same thing over and over. That is heresy! God commands us to ask, seek, knock — to cry out in effectual, earnest supplication (see Matthew 7:7-8). From the very beginning, true servants have turned God's promises into prayers:
- Jesus knew his Father had promised all things to him before the foundation of the world. Yet Christ spent hours praying for God's will to be done on earth. He even told a parable illustrating persistence in prayer, about an "importunate widow" who kept demanding justice from a judge until she got it (Luke 18:1-8).
- God gave Ezekiel wonderful prophecies about Israel's restoration, promising the nation's ruins would become as the Garden of Eden. Yet the Lord said his word would not be fulfilled without prayer: "I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them" (Ezekiel 36:37). In other words, "I've made you a promise, but I want you to pray it to pass. Seek me with all your heart until you see my Word fulfilled. I will deliver, but first you must ask."
- God promised Daniel that after seventy years Israel would be restored. When Daniel saw the appointed year arrive, he could have waited in faith for God to fulfill his word. Instead, Daniel fell on his face and prayed for two weeks until he saw the Lord bring everything to pass (Daniel 9:24-27).
In the Old Testament, Israel's priest carried on his breastplate the names of all the tribes of Israel. This signified that the people's needs were continually on the priest's heart in prayer. What a wonderful image! It represents Christ carrying us in his heart and presenting our needs to the Father. Yet it is also a picture of every Christian, a royal priesthood, carrying the needs of others in our hearts.