As we arrive at the middle of September 2020, with so many issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic ; negotiations relating to our withdrawal from the EU faltering; major concerns relating to the union of the UK; governmental (local and national) leaders struggling to provide clear leadership; mounting agricultural, food production and environmental issues – and our longing to see spiritual awakening across all of our UK nations -to mention but a few – the call for the people of God to partner with Him in the place of bold and persistent prayer has never been more vital.
‘Of all the mysteries of the prayer world the need of persevering prayer is one of the greatest. That the Lord, who is so loving and longing to bless, should have to be asked, time after time, sometimes year after year, before the answer comes, we cannot easily understand. It is also one of the greatest practical difficulties in the exercise of believing prayer’ Andrew Murray
Jesus emphasised the need for boldness and persistence in the two parables he told in Luke 11:5ff and Luke 18:1ff. Because of boldness, the middle of the night intrusion prompted the friend to give what was requested. And Jesus’ further teaching about the need to ask and go on asking, seek and go on seeking, knock and go on knocking reveals the desire of the Father’ s heart to answer and give the Holy Spirit. Because of her persistence, the widow gets justice, revealing again that it’ s in God’ s character to bring about justice as His people cry out to him day and night.
There are so many issues in our nations – and in the nations – that if we look at them all it can be completely overwhelming – as we were recently discussing on one of our WPC team prayer zooms. We need to be those that seek His face in the place of worship and humility with hearts set to obey what He says. We need to ask what He is highlighting for us as individuals, families, small groups, church groups, city or town-wide gatherings. What are the areas that the Holy Spirit is drawing to our attention? If we are able to focus in on the area(s) that the Father has for us to partner with Him in prayer, then we will find that the burden will be light as we walk in step with Him and we can celebrate together the answers to the prayers we pray, and the actions we take.
As Paul reminds us:
- Seek the Lord for His strength to stand on His promises and release, declare and intercede. (Ephesians 6:10)
- Journey with others, over the phone/in person/online, encouraging each other to stand firm in the battle. (Ephesians 6:11-17)
- Pray on all occasions and depend on the Holy Spirits guidance. (Ephesians 6: 18a)
- Use the whole toolkit of prayer: praise & worship, confession, lament, declaration of scripture, petition, intercession, fasting, lament & ministry of blessing. (Ephesians 6:18b)
- Be watchful and alert: waiting on His timing and His revelation. (Ephesians 6.18c)
Our bold and persistent praying needs to be routed in God’ s word, led by the Holy Spirit, as we learn to ask, seek and knock for His ways, His purposes and His kingdom to come. I always find Joy Dawson’ s Principles for Effective Intercession a wonderful foundation.
‘When one’ s faith has taken its stand on God’s word and the Name of Jesus, and has yielded itself to the leading of the Spirit to seek God’s will and honour alone in its prayer, it need not be discouraged by delay. It knows from Scripture that the power of believing prayer is simply irresistible; real faith can never be disappointed’ . (Andrew Murray)
Lord, may Your will be done and Your kingdom come.
Jane Holloway is the National Prayer Director at the World Prayer Centre Birmingham.