Running through my neighborhood recently, I started praying for the people around me. The Lord is definitely growing in me a love for my neighbors, and praying for them is becoming more routine. This particular day, I started praying big, crazy prayers; “Lord heal marriages; restore broken relationships; deliver people from sickness, disease, addictions; bring Your salvation to families”. I felt empowered as I prayed verses that came to mind for each situation. Then I asked God to release an army of His angels to surround my neighborhood and battle against every evil and dark force affecting us.
Suddenly a question came to mind. It was a very sobering, convicting question I was certain came from the Holy Spirit; “Will there be enough prayers to keep My army busy?” The Lord was asking, “Will you and others storm the heavens with continued prayers to finish the work around you? My angels are on assignment according to the prayers you pray. When you pray in My will, My Kingdom breaks forth but will you persevere and pray through?”
Wow, I wasn’t expecting that question. I thought of Matthew 7:7 “ Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” Was I ready to keep asking, seeking, and knocking on heaven’s door until breakthrough came.
I also thought of Daniel; he prayed and fasted for three weeks because his heart was heavy for his people. The angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel and said his prayers were heard from day one but help was delayed because of a spiritual battle in the heavenlies (Daniel 10). What if Daniel gave up on his prayers? We can’t pray big, bold prayers and not expect a fight.
I don’t think the Holy Spirit was trying to discourage me this day but rather encourage me to stand and fight through intercessory prayer. The Lord knows we’re in a battle and He is preparing us to endure (Ephesians 6:12-13). He loves big, audacious requests, but we must be able to back them up with time spent seeking God in prayer. Sometimes intercessory prayer seems anything but exciting and effective especially when we don’t view it as the “real work” to be done, but nothing could be further from the truth. “Prayer is the very sword of the saints,” said Francis Thompson and Lee Robinson called prayer “the Christian’s secret weapon, forged in the realms of glory”. When we pray for others, we’re actually getting to partner with God to advance His Kingdom. He hears our stumbling petitions for our family, friends, neighbors and those we’ve maybe never met, and not only does it bless the people around us, but it brings glory to Him! He wants nothing more than for us to take Him at His word and work with Him to bless, heal and bring salvation to this world through our prayers.
So my response to the Holy Spirit’s question is: Lord please teach us to pray; help us persevere in intercessory prayer so we can keep Your angels busy!