How should we pray?  In the Gospel passage this week, Jesus’ disciples put to him precisely this question.  Jesus goes on to provide an exemplar of prayer (Our Father) followed by a parable about prayer (the friend who calls at midnight) and some final sayings about prayer (ask, seek and knock).  This is a difficult passage because it seems to fly in the face of our experience with prayer.  Often, we ask but do not seem to receive or seek and do not appear to find.  How do we reconcile this?  Perhaps the answer is that God does answer but not in the way that we expect or says ‘no’ because this is in our best long-term interests.  We also need to acknowledge that the devil is prowling around, and sin and death are a consequence of the fall.  Although the ultimate victory is won, battles with the devil and demons still rage on.  Then, of course, there is the purpose of prayer in the first place.  If we regard prayer as mainly about relationship and less about getting what we want, then persistent prayer makes more sense.  Seen in this light, perhaps there are three things we learn from Jesus’ teaching about prayer in this passage.  Firstly, put God’s kingdom first; secondly be persistent and, finally, pray in every small aspect of your life because this shows that, above all else, you are interested in relationship. This is what God wants and what we need.  This is how we should pray.