When we are faced with decisions and seeking the Lord through prayer and His word, how often should something be prayed about? I know the Bible does not give us rules and guidelines for how many times to pray about something. I personally tend to pray about something once or twice and move on because I know God has heard me.
Prayer is not a shopping list you use to wear out the Lord. Instead, prayer is a declaration of what God has told us in His word. A great book to help with this is Handbook to Prayer by Kenneth Boa. He has organized scripture to line up with the ACTS prayer (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication).
At some point, we started to think we should only pray about something until God answers it. And while God does answer our prayers, that’s not the primary objective of praying. Otherwise, people that were great at prayer would have all these answered prayers. Instead, prayer is a relationship; we pray the scripture back to God. Throughout the Bible, God has given us faithful people like Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, Paul, and Daniel, that model biblical prayer.
We need to reprioritize what we pray about. We need to include adoration and confess our sins and what we know to be true about God. The call to prayer in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reminds us that prayer is not simply praying for what we want God to do, but seeking to pray for things that will glorify God in their answer. Supplication doesn’t feel as dominating when we spend time thanking, praising, and confessing to God.
God is Sovereign
God does not act based on the number of times we pray about something, but it is still vital to bring our needs and requests before God and trust Him with the outcomes. If the God of the universe listens to our prayers, concerns, and heart’s desire, He knows. He’s also a sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent Father. He knows what’s best for His children. We have the privilege of communicating with the God of the universe.
Why would we not bring him our concerns? And yet, at some point, you put it ‘on the shelf’ and say, this relationship is not just about our problems. Why would He listen to a sinner’s prayer? Why would He forgive us? It is because He loves us and wants a relationship with us.
We need a bigger view of life than what is happening to us. We need to have concern for the greater kingdom of God, His local church, His universal church, etc. That is growth in prayer as a Christian.
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