Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray after noticing that Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer. The 11th chapter of Luke’s gospel, verses 1-13 talks about Jesus teaching his disciples to pray and the importance of being persistent in asking God.
Jesus made it clear to them that everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.
In this scenario I am reminded of a young nominal Christian, who prayed every day for many things in his life but kept doing things that displeased God. His prayers were not answered and started questioning God. Many years later in his life, it was a chance encounter with an evangelist that opened his eyes with regard to God answering prayers only of those being upright with Him.
In Proverbs 15:8 it says-The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
1 Chronicles 16:11
Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.
O LORD, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word. Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation My God will hear me.
For I hope in You, O LORD; You will answer, O Lord my God.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.
Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
In the video below, Rick Warren brings to light certain aspects of praying unceasingly. He explains that persistent prayer shows the difference between whims and a deep desire, how God is testing your character and patience, how it is a test of maturity etc. Praying unceasingly does not mean praying 2-3 times a day, but more than that, ie. whenever possible, may be every hour, while travelling, etc. In this context it is also good to be reminded that God answers our prayers based on our future.