God Wants to Train Us in Persistent Faith
Why is it that God does not give to us the things that we ask, the first time we ask? The answer is plain: He would do us the far greater good of training us in persistent faith.
The things we get by our other forms of effort than prayer do not always become ours the first time we make an effort to get them.
For our own good God compels us to be persistent in our effort; just so, God does not always give us what we ask the first time we pray. Just as He would train us to be strong men and women along the other lines of effort, so also He would train us to be and make us to be strong men and women of prayer by compelling us to pray hard for the best things. He compels us to "pray through."
Many today tell us we ought not pray for the same thing a second time. Sometimes they say the way to pray is to ask God for a thing and then "take it" by faith the first time we ask.
That is true oftentimes. When we find a thing definitely promised in the Word, we can rest upon that. When we have prayed, knowing that we have asked according to God's will, the prayer is heard, and we have received. Resting there, ask no more but claim the thing as ours.
But that is only one side of the truth. The other side is, there are times when it is not made clear the first time, nor the second time, nor the third time, that what we ask is according to His will and, therefore, the prayer is heard and the thing asked granted. In such a case we are to pray on and on and on.
While doubtless there are times when we are able through faith in the Word, or through the clear leading of the Holy Spirit, to claim a thing the first time we have asked of God, nevertheless, beyond a question there are other times when we must pray again and again and again for the same thing before we get our answer.
Those who claim that they have gotten beyond praying twice for the same thing have either gotten beyond our Master, or else they have not gotten up to Him. We are told distinctly regarding Him in Matthew 26:44, "And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words." The truth is, they have not yet gotten up to the Master, not that they have gotten beyond Him.
R. A. Torrey (1856-1928) was an American evangelist, pastor, educator, and writer. Held evangelistic meetings around the world with song leader Charles Alexander; called by D.L. Moody to head the Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society (now Moody Bible Institute); Dean of Bible Institute of Los Angeles; pastorates included Chicago Avenue Church (now Moody Memorial Church) and Church of the Open Door, Los Angeles. Wrote more than forty books.