“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV)
More and more, God is reaffirming to me just how important prayer is. And I’m not talking about mini grace-prayers over our food, or quick “protect me” prayers at night, but a genuine marking time out and disciplining yourself to meet with God and petition Him.
I think when you’re interceding, it eventually starts to feel like a work out. You will likely even feel tired afterwards. I believe this is because when you are serious about your requests, you are engaging in warfare. You are coming against the demonic spirits oppressing the ones you are interceding for, and there is a battle going on in the heavenly realm because of it. Check out Daniel 9:17-23:
Therefore, our God, hear the prayer and the petitions of Your servant. Show Your favor to Your desolate sanctuary for the Lord’s sake. Listen, my God, and hear. Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city called by Your name. For we are not presenting our petitions before You based on our righteous acts, but based on Your abundant compassion. Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! My God, for Your own sake, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name. While I was speaking, praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my petition before Yahweh my God concerning the holy mountain of my God — while I was praying, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the first vision, came to me in my extreme weariness, about the time of the evening offering. He gave me this explanation: “Daniel, I’ve come now to give you understanding. At the beginning of your petitions an answer went out, and I have come to give it, for you are treasured by God. So consider the message and understand the vision…”
Daniel had grown extremely weary doing all this praying, confessing, requesting of God, and interceding. Later on in chapter 10, another angel visits him after his intense praying and tells him his answer was delayed because a demonic spirit came against the messenger angel, and he needed the help of another angel and then he was able to come to Daniel with the answer. An actual battle went on so that Daniel’s answer to his prayer wouldn’t be sent or at least be delayed.
Some of us are in college right now, lost like a castaway at sea. We don’t know what our calling is, and it is starting to make us anxious. To you I say: pray fervently! I know studying and homework and work and whatever else can demand a lot of your time and energy, but unless you truly want to know God’s will for your life, you absolutely must carve out time for intense prayer every day. Jesus did it too, not just Daniel, setting an example for us to follow. God answers, but if we are too busy to put in the work it takes to seek Him, we can very well miss our calling and get ourselves off track.
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 HCSB)
So pray. Heed the advice by the apostles: pray without ceasing, be alert in prayer, be disciplined in it. Intercede for your brothers and sisters, and those whose souls you desire to be won for the kingdom. Dedicate an hour to it, silence your phone and put it away. Come before God in desperation, knowing He alone can deliver answers, and time is too short for us to stumble around not knowing the Lord’s will.
I will be praying for you as well.