Someone actually said to me, “What??!! God didn’t hear you the first time? Why are you praying for them every day?”
That part about God not hearing me is an easy criticism to answer.
Not only did God hear me, but according to Scripture He knew from before the foundation of the earth what I was going to say.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD. (Psalm 139:2-4)
When it says in verse 2, “You discern my thoughts from afar”, that doesn’t mean God is listening in from a distance. It means He knew my what my thoughts would be from the far distant past. Also, verse 4 tells me that God knows what I’m going to say before I say it.
If you recall, Jesus said:
So back to the question of why I’m praying for my this married couple every day. The answer is: because Paul said he did, and because he also said I should imitate him. God inspired Paul to write it, therefore it’s one of God’s biblical principles.
The prayer in “Troubled Marriage: Restored!” is based on Colossians 1:9-14, which begins with the words: “And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you…”.
Paul said he had not ceased to pray for those whom he loved. He didn’t specify for how long he had been praying, just that he had not ceased to pray. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if God deliberately caused Paul to write it in such a way that the length of time was not specified, because He knows how we are.
Think about it. If Paul had said, “I have been praying for you for 37 days”, you know what would happen. For sure, someone would have made a big deal about the number “37”. Whole ministries would have sprung up with names like, “37 days to [whatever]”.
No, this way is better. We can just take it to mean: keep praying for as long as it takes, just as Paul did.
We know that God inspired the writing of the Bible, including Paul’s epistles. Therefore, the principles in it are principles He has given us to live by.
We know that when God says something in His Word even once, it’s important. But when He says it multiple times, we should see it as a message flashing on a gigantic billboard. So just in case you remain unconvinced by a single verse, allow me to point out that Paul’s admonitions to remain in prayer occur throughout his letters. Here are some that I found. I’ve added the underlining:
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,” (Romans 1:9)
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12)
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15-16)
praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18)
3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,” (Philippians 1:3-4)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6)
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Colossians 1:3)
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9)
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2)
meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains” (Colossians 4:3)
Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12)
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2)
night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:10)
pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.” (1 Timothy 5:5)
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day” (2 Timothy 1:3)
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers” (Philemon 1:4)
Now in case anyone is tempted to believe all that prayer stuff was just Paul’s thing, and not necessarily an example for us to follow, recall that Paul also urged repeatedly: “Imitate me…”
Therefore I urge you, imitate me.” (1 Corinthians 4:16)
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you,” (2 Thessalonians 3:7)
It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.” (2 Thessalonians 3:9)
You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” (Philippians 3:17)
Let’s keep praying. Even when it’s not the only thing we can do, it’s always the best thing we can do!