“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
In a vision the Lord gave to Charis on Friday, June 19, 2015, the Lord led me to reiterate the importance of persistent prayer. In Part I of this message, we highlighted the importance of prayer in order to receive results. In this second part, however, we will look at prayer as a spiritual ministry—a service to God and man (Acts 6:4). We serve God in prayer when we acknowledge His grace and power to deliver, protect and provide for us. We serve man in prayer when we acknowledge our sins and the consequences of sin-problems, and seek to love and forgive one another. Prayer is a ministry to God on behalf of the Body of Christ, the world and for our own well-being (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Vision of Persistent Problems
In this vision, the Lord showed Charis that she and our other children were trapped inside our house by the enemy. In the vision, she was led to understand that my wife and I, along with our three-year-old daughter managed to escape but left the older children to find their way out by themselves. When the older children realized that they were all alone, they too tried to escape using all the available exits. Because of the persistent charging of the enemy, who had secured all the escape routes with determined demonic guards and snakes, the children were left totally paralyzed with fear and at the mercy of the enemy. When Charis finally managed to briefly get away from the enemy, she was shown that some of the children were captured and hanged. She had desperately tried to encourage them not to give up their faith in the Lord, but to fight in order to secure their salvation. Soon after the vision ended, the Lord spoke and said, “Pray, pray, pray always. Pray no matter what!”
In interpreting this message, the Lord says that everyone will have to escape the attacks and snares of Satan using his own faith (Ezekiel 18:20; Jeremiah 31:30). He also said that instead of panicking and trying to run from our problems, we should turn to Him in prayer and ask for help. If we run, the problems will only multiply, resulting in not being able to escape from Satan’s traps and failing totally in our faith, ultimately suffering eternal consequences.
Prayer Activates Faith
As is commonly known, prayer releases our faith in God’s ability to show us mercy and to help us in our troubles and times of need (Luke 18:1-8). In prayer, we put our trust (faith) and lay our burden on God. In His assurance to us, the Lord gives us His peace to comfort us while we are waiting for His timely solution (Matthew 11:29-30; John 14:27). In other words, His peace is an expression of His care for us (1 Peter 5:7). Brethren, we must realize that when we doubt God, panic will overwhelm us and suffocate our faith. As a result, we will not embrace or enjoy His peace, neither can we expect an answer from Him (James 1:6-7; Mark 11:24).
There are many reasons why the Lord does not answer prayers. Some of the stumbling blocks include: doubt (James 1:6-7), sinful living and unfaithfulness in our service to God (John 9:31; 1 Peter 3:7), grudges or unforgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24), and not being persistent in prayer (Luke 18:1-8; Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2-6). From the Scriptures, we see the following specific examples:
- When some of the Israelites doubted God’s promises, He denied them entry into the Promised Land (Numbers 14:20-30).
- God rejected Saul’s prayers due to His disobedience (1 Samuel 28:6).
- King David was not driven by malice, grudges or unforgiveness towards Saul who persecuted Him, but his willingness to forgive King Saul and leave him in the hands of the Lord brought honor to God who is the Supreme Judge (1 Samuel 26:9-11). This noble act secured the Lord’s promise of giving the throne of Israel to David (1 Samuel 15:28).
- King Hezekiah’s persistence in prayer resulted in God answering his prayer by delivering him and his army from the arrogant Assyrian forces (Isaiah 38:5-6).
In a remarkable way, God releases His promises first to support our faith to trust in Him, and as we obey while trusting in Him, He fulfills the promises (Genesis 12:2). As it is, these promises are only fulfilled after an experience of faith, hardship and test (Genesis 22:1; Hebrews 6:15). From the above Scriptures, it becomes apparent that God uses our faith, patience and our obedience in fulfilling His promises.
God’s Timing in Answering Prayer
In a desperate tone, someone once wrote me an email saying that he did not receive any answers to his prayers because God does not care about him. In response, the Lord revealed that this person lived in disobedience and that he was being worldly and impatient. On the subject of lacking patience, I also had to endure a rebuke from the Lord about five years ago for being impatient and lacking faith. My habit was constantly asking the Lord through Charis when I would receive a promise. Instead, He encouraged me to continue praying and reassured me that He had not forgotten about His promises and my requests (2 Peter 3:9). Persistent prayer is, therefore, an expression of faith, humility and patience, and at the appointed time God will answer, just like He remembered Joseph (Genesis 41:14).
With so much deception swirling around and people being so desperate for fame and fortune, we must be very careful as there are some preachers who go about demanding money from people, claiming that they have some special anointing to help solve our problems as if they have a special relationship with God. You should depend on your own faith and prayers; we already have learned how the prayer of agreement works. Don’t act desperately and run to people to seek God on your behalf when you have problems. Instead, you should trust the Lord and use that situation to express your faith in the Him. Humble yourself and wait on the Lord, He will hear your heart and provide. God is no respecter of any person (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11). In this walk of faith, we are all called to endure individually and be tested and readied by God for ministry service and Kingdom approval (1 Peter 1:6-8).
While it is true that no one can say exactly when God will answer a prayer request, it is also true that He will answer us if we prove faithful to him in persistent prayer. We should always expect Him to answer us no matter how long we wait (Matthew 21:22). If we pray aimlessly, that is without adding faith to our prayer and a sense of desperation for the answer to our request, we may not have our prayer answered. I once trusted the Lord to bless me with a job promotion because this would have saved me from transport problems and having to work awkward shifts. However, I did not receive the answer that I expected due to not being persistent in prayer, and my heart was also on another job. I was divided having a double interest: the prospect of a new job and the promise of a promotion. In my indecisiveness, I was interested in either opportunity, and this led to me losing out on both. Brethren, when we are divided in what we want, God will not choose for us; we must make a firm decision and be undivided in our request. We cannot simply act like children who want this and later decide that we need something else. No! With the Lord, we must be resolute in our choice as this shows faith and destiny (2 Kings 20:1-6).
As an emphasis, an answer to our prayers is dependent on how desperately we want that something and this will determine how patient we will be until God comes through for us. As to how long the Lord will take to grant our request, He does so when it is needed and when we have pleased Him in our diligence and obedience (Daniel 10:11-13). The preceding Scripture declares that Daniel’s prayer was immediately heard and answered, unbeknown to him. As an expression of his desperation, Daniel fasted for 21 days to show his faith and his need for God’s answer. Satan, who always manages to delay and detain our answers from God, was overcome by Daniel’s faith and persistence (Daniel 10:2), and after 21 days his answer was released. How many of us set a date for God to answer our prayers, and if He does not answer us by that date we give up?
The greater the problem we face, the more faith and determination or interest we must show to have our request granted (Matthew 15:21-28; Luke 8:43-48). During the length of time God takes to answer our prayers, He is using that amount of time for us to work out strongly our faith, patience, obedience, and the distinguishing marks of the cross: the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:3-4; James 1:3). Let us therefore not give up praying, for only therein can we access God’s mercy, deliverance, and provisions. With a humble heart and a sincere faith, God will not neglect to answer our prayers (Isaiah 65:24), but if we give ourselves to complaining, He will not bring to birth the plans He has for each one of us (Numbers 14:20-23; Jeremiah 29:11). His precious promises serve as an incentive for us to grow in our faith, and after we are proved faithful and obedient, God in His wisdom releases these promises for us. However, the faithless He excludes from His promises (Hebrews 4:3). Therefore, rest in the Lord’s faithfulness and always pray, NO MATTER WHAT! However compelling the circumstances, still PRAY!!! Prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock God’s blessings and give you victory.
Blessed love in Christ,