OPINION | Some people teach that if we pray once, that is sufficient, and any prayer beyond that one is evidence of a lack of faith. Is this in accordance with biblical teaching? Jesus instructed His disciples about prayer. The original New Testament text of His instructions used the Greek present tense which implies continuous action.
Jesus told His disciples to “Ask and keep on asking, and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking, and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door shall be opened to you” (Luke 11:9, Amplified). This is not one prayer but continuous prayer.
Jesus told a parable about a man who was at home in bed (Luke 11:5-8). It was at midnight when he heard frantic knocking on his door. A neighbor needed some bread to feed a guest who had arrived unexpectedly. At first the man said, “I cannot get up, I will not do it.” But the neighbor kept on knocking, and the householder finally walked downstairs, shoved a couple of loaves of bread out the door, and went back to bed. The man who was petitioning got his request only because of his persistence–not because he was a neighbor or a friend, but because he kept on knocking. Therefore, the concept that you must pray only once about something is clearly not biblical.
There is nothing wrong with repeatedly asking for the same thing. As long as what you are praying for is within the will of God (James 4:3; 1 John 5:14-15), keep asking until God grants your request or removes the desire from your heart.
Jesus gives another illustration of prayer in Luke 11:5-12. Similar to the parable of the unjust judge, Jesus’ message in this passage is that if a man will inconvenience himself to provide for a needy friend, God will provide for our needs far more, since no request is an inconvenience to Him. Here again, the promise is not that we will receive whatever we ask if we just keep asking.
There is one exception–when God says yes. If you ask God for financial provision and He says, “Yes, I am sending it,” you should praise and thank Him for it. If you continue to ask Him, then you act as if you do not have a relationship with Him. You need to know His voice and be able to hear Him, especially when He says yes or no.
Excerpt in part taken from Answers to 200 of Life’s Most Probing Questions.