Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Tale of Three Men

Yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
Luke 11:8

This is a tale of three men in need:
-a late arriving traveler in need of food and shelter;
-the traveler's host in need of provisions;
-the host's neighbor in need of a good night's sleep.
Jesus used these three to teach us how to pray effectively.

I'll assume that the traveler's visit caught his host by surprise. Unless this man was desperately poor he was a completely unprepared for his guest's arrival. At this time the 24-7 convenience store on the corner didn't exist. The host had only his neighbor to turn to for help.

It wasn't the food that got the third man out of bed. It was his neighbor's persistence. The second man refused to go away empty-handed. This is the same attitude we need to adopt when we pray.

Jesus assured us that God really does know how to answer our prayers. If we need fish and eggs, He won't give us snakes and scorpions. Both creatures can inflict pain, even death. God's answers to our prayers are neither harmful nor deadly. He doesn't play mean tricks on us, or on our enemies (much to our dismay). Why does it seem that things backfire when we pray? If God's doesn't play practical jokes, who's messing with us?

There are demonic forces at work to hinder our prayers and make our lives a living hell. The tenth chapter of Daniel describes this type of interference. Daniel had a problem. For three weeks he prayed, fasted and sought God's help. A heavenly being appeared to Daniel and explained the reason his response was delayed. En route from God's throne room to earth this messenger encountered fierce opposition from demonic forces. The battle was so intense that Michael, one of the chief princes had to step in and assist. After twenty-one days of warfare in heaven, Daniel got his answer. His persistence in prayer was the key that enabled him to receive the help he sought.

When you don't get immediate results, or if things appear to get worse, don't quit. If you're confident you've prayed according to God's will, stick with it. Put pressure on the interference in the unseen realm. Jesus has already won the battle; our part is to enforce the victory and maintain all ground taken. Be bold and persistent in prayer and you'll see great results. 

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