I don’t like to be nice to people who are insistent, or wakes me in the middle of the night wanting my help. I like people who say “please” and “thank you” all the while waiting for an appropriate moment to make a request of me. There is a good chance you have a similar viewpoint. Yet Jesus describes the act of interceding in prayer as being purposefully insistent.
Intercessory prayer includes having a sense of urgency, a willing love, and persistency that prevails. It is also important to recognize inadequacy, admitting you do not have what is needed. A faith in prayer will give confidence in the certainty of a rich reward.
It is not possible to schedule times of need that require intercession. Most often the need for intercessory prayer is due to some form of crisis that could not be readily foreseen. Look at the parable Jesus told as recorded in Luke 11:5-6 about a visitor that arrived in the middle of the night.
Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
Notice the word “friend”. The requestor knows both the one he asks and the one in need. It is frequent in my work travels to be approached by street people looking for a handout. If I am in a giving mood I may give a dollar or two. Yet, I have friends that would provide me with thousands of dollars if I had a great need. The difference is the relationship that allows us to be friends.
It is selfless love causes us to act on the needs of others. It is a sense of urgency that motivates us to intercede for the needs of others. All that is required is a simple, confident faith that God will give. Intercessory prayer stems from a recognition of inadequacy, understanding we just don’t have what is needed.
Luke 11:7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?
In this parable the person bringing a request runs into an obstacle. “I can’t help you right now.” In intercession it may seem that God is saying “I can’t help you right now”. More likely God is saying “the timing is not right” or it could be that God is teaching you perseverance.
Luke 11:8 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.
God desires us to be persistent in prayer, seeking Him having the confidence that He will provide. You cannot grow in strength lifting a heavy weight just one time and you cannot grow in faith facing a challenge just one time! God highly prizes our confidence in Him. Expect that He will do whatever is necessary to train us to trust Him to do what is right and best for us.
Rev. Burt Schwab