Certainly we have plenty of examples of individuals and groups wrestling in prayer, repeatedly beseeching God for what they believe He desires them to ask for. Jesus even points to the example of the “importunate”, persistent widow who wears an unjust judge down with her persistent requests for vindication, until he finally grants her request. But then Jesus says, will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. (Luke 18:8) And He also asks this probing question, even of faithful believers who pray day and night: when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
It may be that we who pray might think that our persistent praying is what gets the answer or that, as a bumper sticker used to say, “Prayer Changes Things”. Yes, it does seem as if it does, but it isn’t the cause of God’s Justice, or Mercy, or Healing, or Deliverance. Those gifts come from Him alone, in Whom alone we place our faith.
So perhaps we should think of our prayers in a bit more passive mode, recognizing that all the Power and Purpose and Presence belongs to God. As a model for this mode of prayer, I think of the “prayers” of God Himself in Genesis 1, the “let there be” prayers. The requests or commands were spoken simply, even passively, and the circumstance were accomplished. As I imagine Jesus interceding at The Father’s Right Hand, perhaps He prays in the same way: Father, let there be justice, mercy, healing, deliverance for them. Perhaps we can join Him in such a faith-full way of prayer, trusting that, as Jesus speaks it out, and as we pray similarly with Him, it will be done.