I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. Luke 11:8 [ESV]
Jesus was telling this little parable about a person who has a visitor come in the middle of the night but the host has no food for the weary traveler. So, the host goes to his friend’s house to ask for several loaves of bread to feed his guest. Jesus says that the answer from within the house is ‘no’, that the whole family is asleep.
Jesus then says that this friend will finally give the host what he wants and more…not because he is his friend but because the host is persistent. The whole context is persistence in prayer.
The lesson is clear. We must not play at prayer, but must show persistence if we do not receive the answer right away. It is not that God is unwilling and must be badgered to answer. The whole context makes it clear that He wants to give. But if we do not want what we are asking for enough to be persistent, we do not want it very much. It is not mild prayer that is answered.