Hi everyone, my question involves praying the same prayer for something everyday. Is it biblical to pray repetitively like that? It seems like a lack of faith to keep asking and asking. Is it not right to think that God heard us the first time? So, assuming the prayer is in Gods will according to His word and with the right motives and reasons, why do we need to keep asking Him the same thing day after day for possibly years. I would be thankful for any Biblical references for this and just Godly wisdom for me. Thank you.
I think Matthew 6:5-15, might give the answer to your question:
Bible quote - And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go to your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret; and your father who sees in secret will reward you.
When you are praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your father knows what you need before you ask him.
Pary then in this way:
Our father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Bible Unquote
When we understand the prayer taught by Jesus, we can see a pattern of our daily prayer; i.e Glory to god; Repentance of our heart and Our daily request. No day can be the same in our life, hence our daily prayer is expected to be different. Our heavenly Father is the only person whom we can talk like a trusted friend.
Our prayer is a medium to talk with our heavenly Father. Our daily prayer will become unique when we follow the below
- Praise God’s glory for his daily blessings
- Repentance for our daily sins (Sin of thoughts, Sin of eyes, Sin of the tongue, Sin of mouth, Sin of action, etc
- Daily request (rebuild our faith, belief, and confidence in the living God Jesus. The living God Jesus is our Father and we can ask our worldly needs; he knows our need better than us)
1 John 2:15-16
Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you do not love the Father. Everything that belongs to the world—what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of—none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world.
1 Timothy 6: 6-10
Well, religion does make us very rich, if we are satisfied with what we have. What did we bring into the world? Nothing! What can we take out of the world? Nothing! So then, if we have food and clothes, that should be enough for us. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows.
@hedgemo60 I think we can infer that Jesus is not saying repetition itself is bad or that praying in public is wrong. Rather, Jesus is emphasizing the need for humility to people who were self-righteous. If we look at Luke 18, I think this point is made more clearly. The tax collector and the Pharisee both prayed in a public place, but the tax collector humbled himself while the Pharisee stood proudly in his own righteousness. Also in Luke 18, we are told to persist in prayer and not lose heart - this prayer is repeated and also heard by God.
So, I think my summary of Biblical teaching would be:
It is humility, not repetition or public status, that will result in our prayers being heard. But repetition and public prayer are not wrong in and of themselves.
Some notes on Matthew 6 from Zondervan Bible Background Commentary.
Since common people did not often have separate, private quarters in their homes, the meaning is intended metaphorically to emphasize privacy, or it may refer to a storeroom for grain and foodstuffs. Jesus does not condemn public prayer, because he prayed publicly himself (Matt 14:19, 15:36)
The priests of Baal continued from morning until noon to cry “O baal answer us” (I Kings 18:26)…
Luke 18:1-14 - And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I have struggled with this as well. When I was little, every night before bed I would say the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer. When I truly became a Christian (many years later), I developed my own prayer that I say every night as part of my routine. The first part of it is thanking God for things and the second part is asking God to watch over my family. After that it is kind of a free for all for whatever or whoever I need to pray for. The reason I came up with a routine and a standard prayer is so that I don’t forget things I think are the most important. I do consciously worry sometimes that it could become just a routine, but I do make a concerted effort for it not to by being very deliberate with my words and thoughts.
I have heard some people say that you dont need to pray for something more than once because we dont need to keep reminding God of what we asked him for. But I think I disagree with that thought. The purpose of prayer isn’t for God, it is for us, meaning that the reason we should pray is to strengthen our relationship with God, to remind us of our reliance on him, and that we need him, not that he needs to perform for us.
As @Genesh quoted in Mathew, even Jesus gave us a repetitive prayer to say. He didn’t say, here is a prayer, but be sure to change it up and make it different everyday, so I dont think that praying the same prayer, or even praying for the same thing is something that God frowns upon. I think the trouble would come in when it becomes just a routine. That we are just spitting out the words without thinking about them.
While the first part of my prayers are the same, the last part of my prayers I look at as having a conversation with God.
I might ask: What are you praying for? James 4:3 says: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures”. Even if we are not asking with a wrong motive or a wrong intent…the timing, from God’s perspective simply may not be right or if other people are involved in your request…God will not over ride their free will to say no. I personally, will ask once and then from that point forward I THANK HIM and PRAISE HIM, knowing that my Trust in Him and His ways is complete. Years ago I wanted to eliminate selfishness from my prayers and I know from Jesus’s teaching that things work by “sowing and reaping” so I began to pray: Lord Bless Me to be a Blessing to others. I also looked at any wants and desires I had and looked for ways to “plant” these things in others…whether that be Love, Encouragement, a Smile, Enthusiasm, Money or whatever. If we view EVERYTHING as SEED, we can go a long ways towards praying freely and correctly.
Following along with the subject of the prayer, I think there are a few cases to be made for repetitive prayers.
For example, prayers that are concerning your own growth or the growth of one’s you love. My pastor one mentioned a prayer that he prays regularly and that I’ve adopted into my regular rotation is that I would have “a heart to connect, patience to cultivate, and a will to communicate”. Since adopting that prayer more than a year ago, I can look back and see that, yes, the Lord has answered those prayers, but I can still have a larger heart, more patience, and a stronger will. Since perfection isn’t something we’ll see this side of heaven, growth prayers will always have a place.
Another example is in praying for the soul(s) of the lost, especially when you have a relationship with them. I would reference Augustine of Hippo’s mother, who prayed for decades for him to come to faith, among countless other examples, some on this channel even. In the same vein we can talk about praying for revival for our nation, for the world to come to faith, for the return of Christ.
I don’t think repetition in and of itself is unspiritual, but as was mentioned, what are you repeatedly praying for? Since God knows what we need before we ask (again Matt 6:8) we don’t need to worry about informing him of anything. Rather I think He wants us to be in communion/communication with him, and not for His sake as He doesn’t anything (acts 17:25) but for ours.
Paul constantly mentioned the Thessalonians in his prayers (1 Thes 1:2-3)
I once heard a Pastor explain Matthew 7: 7-12. It begins with…”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…” He explained that in ancient Hebrew the context in the verse of Ask, Seek and Knock are all in the imperative form. Keep on asking, keep on seeking (Him), keep on knocking. Hope this helps along with the other responses. Personally, I found this explanation very helpful and encouraging to me as I also struggled with ongoing prayer for the same thing. There are some pretty great responses and I have really found them helpful. Thanks everyone