LUKE 11:9-13: “So I say to you, ‘Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.’ What father, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? And if he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) to those who ask Him!” TLV
OBSERVATION: Am I “praying through?” In this day of instant everything, when we get impatient when the drive through line at McDonalds takes more than 60 seconds, are we willing to persevere in prayer until we receive the answer?
Years ago, and before my time, there was a discipline in the church called “tarrying.” This was a time of waiting upon the Lord at the altar of God until there was a breakthrough. People tarried for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for their healing, for the salvation of the lost, and so much more. And it was during this time that there was a great advance in the Kingdom of God in the church in in her mission around the world. How many missions works and agencies were born out of the saints “tarrying” we will never know.
This seems like such a strange concept today. Many have taught that tarrying is really a lack of faith. They misunderstand the teaching where Jesus said,
- “For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 TLV
Jesus was not telling us to simply ask once and then never ask again. This would negate His teaching on persevering in prayer. If we could simply ask once, then why would He tell us to ask, and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking? There are times when we ask and we see God move immediately. And there are times when we are called to tarry (persevere) in prayer until the answer comes!
There is a wonderful insight into persevering prayer in the book of Daniel. Daniel was fasting and praying for three weeks before the Lord over a vision of the future that God had given him. Then, after these 21 days an angel appeared to Daniel to both strengthen and encourage him, and to give him insight into his vision. Why was there such a delay? It was because there was a spiritual battle taking place in the heavenlies between the Archangel Michael and the spiritual prince of Persia. What would have happened if Daniel would have failed to tarry in prayer?
We might say that God would have come to Daniel anyway. God is Sovereign and He will do what he wants. However, we diminish the wonderful role that He has given us in the outworking of His grace in the world. Now, I am not claiming to understand this perfectly, and it always humbles me whenever I think about it, but God has chosen not to work alone. He has chosen to work through His saints. He has chosen to work through the prayers of His saints. Everything that takes place in this world is a partnership of the Sovereign God and those He has redeemed and chosen to proclaim His Kingdom.
When you understand this it becomes clear why the enemy of our souls wants us to be weak in prayer. Someone has wisely said – “Prayer is striking the winning blow, service is gathering up the results.” We have turned prayer into a personal get list for our own needs and purposes. Jesus did call us to pray for our daily bread, but the majority of our prayer life is to be about the Kingdom of God and its advancement. We are to pray for lost souls, for the reconciliation of the lost and broken, for the deliverance of the captives, for open doors for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This kind of prayer will take some good old fashioned tarrying! Could the anemic condition of the church today be its lack of tarrying at the altar of God?
Lord, teach me how to pray. Give me the grace needed to tarry (persevere) at the altar until I see Your breakthroughs and answers. May I refuse to roll up my sleeves until I have bowed my knee and raised my hands before you in prayer. Today, help me truly to pray – “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
In Jesus Name!