by Pastor Roy Esposito
I have been thinking a lot about the condition of my faith and the effectiveness of my prayers. I have asked the Holy Spirit to help me in this area of service.
I felt the Lord say that prayers of “Valor” were the ones that hold the power to do great exploits in His name and that I should pursue them.
I considered David’s army and the elite force that was within it called the “Mighty Men of Valor.”
Valor [Desfinition]: having the strength of mind and Spirit to encounter danger with firmness and commitment to purpose.
Valor is the absence of indecision – even in the face of death.
David’s elite force had several things in common that identified them as the Mighty Men of Valor
- They had a common purpose – to serve the king.
- They could not be shaken from that purpose regardless of the humbleness of the task asked of them or the impossible odds against them.
- They did whatever they needed to do no matter how long it took and never wavered while the challenge was still before them.
2 Samuel 23:8-12 – gives some examples of their exploits.
Shammah took on the humble assignment to defend a lentil patch and tenaciously defeated an overwhelming contingent of Philistines in the process.
Adino, who fought and killed 800 Philistines in battle single-handedly.
Eleazar, whose hand became frozen to his sword b/c the battle endured for so long.
These men – and others – possessed a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) called “long-suffering.” – which doesn’t mean “suffering for a long time.”
Mak-roth-u-mia – Fortitude – the ability to “hang with it.”
I felt there was an instruction here for today’s church and for me.
We also have the purpose to serve the King and the King’s people.
One of the most effective ways to serve God is through prayer.
Luke 18:1 – Jesus said that men “always ought to pray and not lose heart.”
James 5:16 – “…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availed much.”
Fervent – passionate intensity
Today, it seems that even when we remember to pray, our prayers seem to lack the passionate intensity and “stick-to-it-ness” – the VALOR that’s necessary for total victory.
We live in an INSTANT society where everything must be quick, or we lose interest.
It’s like everyone is suffering from “Mass Attention Deficit Disorder.”
We seem to specialize in the gift (?) of “cutting corners” to get results.
It seems that our collective societal consciousness lacks the ability to “hang in there,” – which is the spiritual fruit called “long-suffering.”
I’ve read about the African Cheetah. It can run up to 70 MPH to catch its prey but has a small heart and, therefore, has no endurance.
It must accomplish its purpose quickly, or it goes hungry.
Many times, we have used the “Cheetah Approach to prayer:
- Speed through the prayer with little or no fervency and no passion.
- Quick to have someone else pray.
- Lose focus easily.
We seem to lack the “heart of endurance” for a sustained effort in prayer and falter before accomplishing what is needed.
Sometimes we use the “TNT Approach” – and try to Blow-Up the problem.
We pray harder, faster, and louder when what is really needed is more staying power and fervency.
More staying power or stamina can only come through possessing a “Bigger Heart” for prayer. (Jesus, enlarge my heart to pray as you did!)
George Muller – “The point is to never give up until the answer comes. I have been praying for 63 years and 8 months for one man’s conversion. He is not saved yet, but he will be. How can it be otherwise — I’m praying.”
His friend received Jesus just before his funeral!
Jesus’ prayer ministry is exemplified in the 3 hours He spent in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, which gave Him the strength to face the Cross.
Hebrews 5;7 – “…He offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death…”
1 Thessalonians 5:7 – “Pray without ceasing….” – so “easy does it” won’t do.
I think the reason we haven’t reached our spiritual potential is not for the lack of information regarding prayer nor the lack of opportunities and resources –
But for a lack of “fortitude” – a failure of heart and spirit.
We go into defeat much too easily. We give up to easily and instead listen to the voices of doubt and unbelief and get discouraged and depressed when we don’t get INSTANT RESULTS.
OK – no condemnation implied here!
I spoke to a friend of nearly 50 yrs. this week.
We recounted our testimonies with each other. Remember the miracles God has personally done to deliver us from destruction. We remembered the before!
A fair question – Why does God require our persistence in prayer?
Is it that:
- He requires a predetermined amount of prayer to answer.
Are Redemption points involved? S & H green stamps?
- We must talk Him into things as lawyers present legal arguments to a judge.
- Is God waiting for us to just say the right words before He decides to answer us?
- Do we earn rewards of His favor through hard work?
Say it with me: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Luke 11:8 – What about the guy who goes to his friend’s house late at night for bread and just keeps bugging him until he gets up and gives in? Doesn’t this parable teach us about persistence? Just keep bugging Him until He relents.
No! We don’t persist against God.
To persist is to ask boldly and shamelessly because of our intimacy with God.
1 Timothy 1:7(NIV) – ”For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”
Hebrews 4:16 – We can come before the throne of grace BOLDLY and without a sense of shame or unworthiness because we are sons and daughters of God and are “accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)
There’s a key to understanding the prayer of persistence:
Luke 11:13 – “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”
The Prayer of Persistence is not about nagging the Father for specific things – but asking for the Holy Spirit’s help in our times of need. And to ASK BOLDLY out of an intimate relationship with God.
Sometimes, it’s true that God uses the waiting period to teach us things.
But if that were the only reason, why not just pray ONCE and then wait?
One reason for the delay in getting prayers answered is “divine timing.”
Galatians 6:9 – “And let us grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
But again – wouldn’t praying just once and then waiting suffice?
Why did Elijah have to pray 7X for the rain to come down?
(1 Kings 18:41-19:8)
Why did Daniel have to pray for 21 days before the angel broke through with his answer? (Daniel 10:10-19)
Consider this: I believe that our prayers do more than motivate the Father’s heart. I believe that prayers of faith have “Substance.”
Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
I believe that when we pray, the “substance of faith” is released…
With each prayer, more of that substance is released in the form of the power needed for that which we are praying to come to pass.
Power Released by:
- Praying in the Holy Spirit
- Speaking the Word of God as a declaration and proclamation of the TRUTH
- Prophetic Command – Matt 17:20 -” Say to this mountain….”
- Laying on of hands – Mark 16:18 “…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
We also need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us visualize the “Throne of Grace” differently so it’s not seen as outside and apart from us.
God has made His throne in our HEARTS – we are the temple of the Holy Spirit
We are the NAOS of God – The “Holy of Holies” – The “Sacred Place.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 – “Do you not know that you are the Holy of Holies of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
John 7:38 – “He who believes in Me, as the scripture says, ‘ From his innermost being (Koi -lia) shall flow rivers of living water.”
Koilia – the womb – speaks of reproduction and “birthing new life.”
Revelation 22:1-2 – “The River of Life” – the Spirit of God – flowing from the Throne of God – through Jesus, to us and out into the world.
This is the purpose of the Church.
The Gospel’s promise of new life doesn’t echo from “out there” but through those willing to live it in valor and persist until His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.