“Christ told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, “Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, “Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her justice, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night?” (Luke 18:1ff)
And He said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, “Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because he is not ashamed to keep on asking, he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:5-10)
Of course God is not reluctant to save His people; the lesson is that if persistance will persuade even an unwilling person, then how much more “the continual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” when “God is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance.” Saint Paul writes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4ff)
And there’s this, from the experience of the prophet Daniel:
In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month… Then [an angel] said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for *from the first day* that you set your mind to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, so I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia and came to make you understand what is to befall your people in the latter days.” (Daniel 10)
Evidently sometimes there is resistance by the spiritual “princes” that hold this world hostage; there is battle in unseen heavenly places. Our part in this spiritual warfare is to be steadfast and faithful inprayer, both believing that God will act to save many souls and askingcontinually for His will to be done. When we struggle against our ownpassions and become consistent on prayer, we’re fulfilling our role inthe war we can’t see.
Somebody much wiser than I might be able to explain *why* God expects usto pray, when He’s already got a plan and doesn’t really need our back-seat driving. But we do know that He does want us to pray withouteasing. “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life inll godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come tothe knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2)”