Devotional for Day 21 – 26 August 2013
Pastor Jim Botomani Mbewe, Malawi Assemblies of God, Malawi
Intention: God is calling on us to pray effectively.
Scripture: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged (Luke 18:1 GNT).
Reflection: The parable of the persistent widow told by Jesus (Luke 18:1-8) presents us with helpful insights on effective intercession.
The woman comes from a lower status. She had no name in the society. She had no money to pay a lawyer. She had nothing to show. She was completely desperate. The woman had no possibility of a solution to her case except the judge. Likewise effective prayer comes from a desperate person – someone with no possibility of a solution elsewhere except from God. Effective prayer presents a believer with his vulnerability and his weaknesses before God. Effective prayer overcomes all forms of self-sufficiency. It comes from a person who empties himself of dependence on his own knowledge and abilities to allow the Spirit of God take over his prayers (Romans 8:26-27). Through such effective prayer, God receives all the glory. In this kind of prayer, He has no competitor.
The woman was denied justice on several attempts, but she was not put off. She kept on knocking on the door of this wicked judge and kept pleading with him. Effective prayer does not give up on God. Unlike this wicked judge, we have a caring and listening Heavenly Father. Though, at times, according to His most Holy and Wise Counsel, He does not answer at first, but helps us develop a relationship with Him. He does so to help shift us from being transactional in our approach to being relational. Jesus connects the persistence of this woman with her faith and says to his disciples, “Now, will God not judge in favor of his own people who cry to him day and night for help?” (Luke 18:7 GNT) Effective prayer focuses faith on Christ, not on us.
Prayer: Father, we thank you that you are a loving and caring God! We humbly present ourselves as we are. We confess all forms of self-sufficiency in our praying and our lack of desperation. We allow you to take over. Redirect us and help us overcome all slowness and slackness. We ask you to help us pray with persistence in the power of the Holy Spirit! In Jesus’ name. Amen!
[Blogger’s Comment: Today we enter the second half of the Billion Souls Revival Prayer Call. Our devotion today challenges us to persist in prayer. Andrew Murray calls persevering in prayer one of the greatest mysteries of prayer. Why doesn’t God always answer as soon as we ask? Pastor Jim says our Father is more interested in developing our character than giving us everything we ask for immediately. Our lazy flesh or doubt can cause us to tire and give up. God wants to build in us patience, endurance, expectation, faith as well as complete dependence and dedication to Him. Remember every prayer brings us closer to the victory! The farmer waits in patience for the right day to harvest and then the harvest is taken quickly!
In our image today the believer is praying earnestly at night. The Bible speaks about praying day and night (Luke 18:7, Nehemiah 1:6, Isaiah 62:6, 1 Thessalonians 3:10,13). Another term without ceasing is used (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Here are some thoughts on perpetual prayer from my internet search this morning:
- Continual prayer began with Alexandra, who died about 430, having founded the monastic ‘vigil-keepers’. Certain orders in the Roman Catholic Church have continued this pattern of praying perpetually through the ages.
- The first known Protestant continuous prayer was the “Hourly Intercession” of the Moravian Brethren in Herrnhut, Saxony. Beginning in 1727, the prayer continued 24 hours a day every day uninterrupted for over 100 years. The Moravian Unity began this continuous prayer vigil anew in 1957 as part of their 500th anniversary observance.
- Often the term 24-7 prayer is used to express prayer that continues 24 hours 7 days a week. Notable examples of current day perpetual prayer are:
- There is a growing Houses of Prayer Movement worldwide e.g.
- Many local churches organize 24-7 prayer weeks that last for one or several weeks.
- Watch an inspirational 7 min video on ‘perpertual prayer that will bring a mighty revival’ by Mike Bickel.
I close by adapting the words of Andrew Murray to our situation.
If ever there was a time when we should cry day and night to God, it is now. Dear friends on Day 21 of this prayer journey, let’s offer ourselves to God for this work of intercession and learn to count it as the highest privilege of our lives to be channels through whose prayers God’s blessings can be brought down to earth.
Persist in intercession day and night as the Lord leads you.
- Pray for a worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit for revival and transformation of the nations of the world.
- Pray for a billion people to find Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
- Pray for an end to abortion and for God to turn back the tide of death and immorality that is sweeping the nations of the world.
- Pray for a multiplication of prayer, praise and worship to God across the world as never before, to bring great glory to God.