Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). Luke 18:1
Things around us are changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. Before we have time to digest the latest mind-boggling shift in society, another crops up, demanding our attention and allegiance. It’s overwhelming. Numbing.
For intercessors, it can be a challenge to keep abreast with what seems to be a world spiraling out of control. If we’re not careful, we could easily lose heart in our prayers. Or worse yet, not pray at all . . . because after all, there's no use fighting what Revelation says will come to pass anyway. Which is exactly where the devil wants us in these last days—not praying.
There have been times over the decades when I've been tempted to lose heart and quit praying. Losing heart is like a sinkhole. It swallows up hope and faith, leaving you feeling depressed and hollow. Precious time is wasted while in that debilitating pit, not to mention the time and energy it takes to climb back out. As a reformed quitter, I am trusting God to grace me to catch Satan's trap early on so I don't flirt with it again.
One damaging mindset I've experienced, is to look at the chaos in the world and think, my weak prayers aren’t even making a dent in what’s goin on. Nothing ever changes. In fact, things’re getting worse. I must not have what it takes to bring about change, so what’s the use in praying?
The other is to look at the chaos and believe that as an intercessor, I must carry the full weight of responsibility for what happens or doesn’t happen out there. My prayers must keep up with each shift in society and bring about immediate results, or else my mustard-seed faith is faulty because it failed to move mountains and usher in the wave of revival we desperately need.
Oh, such a painful place, that place of discouragement, and shame, and fear, and guilt, and pride! They surely cause us to faint and lose heart in prayer.
But God is merciful. He knows how to lift us out of those sins that try to gag our prayers. He does so by pulling out His first-aid kit called His Word and infusing us with fresh courage.
Luke 18:1-8 is one such word. We pray it often at Hope City KC. This story of the widow before the unjust judge is told to encourage us to stay persistent in prayer. It’s also His invitation to us to wear Him out as well with our day and night cries for His justice to be done on earth—that Satan’s hold on humanity would finally be broken and all would come to repentance because God is a JUST God who forgives when we repent of our sins. Though the delay in His answers may be painful, it will surely come right on time. Like my late father-in-law always said, ‘God waits, but He’s never late’.
If that’s not motivation enough to keep praying, He tells us what He’s really after. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (vs8). When He returns, He’s looking to find faith in our hearts. Faith grows best when in the gym of regular exercise.
Another courage-building passage is Revelation 5:8. And when He (Jesus) had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders . . . prostrated themselves before the Lamb. Each was holding a harp . . . and they had golden bowls full of incense (fragrant spices and gums for burning), which are the prayers of God’s people (the saints). Those golden bowls are full of our prayers. Our weak agreement with His battle plan will bring about justice and the great end-time revival on earth. Since we are to be partnering with Him in these crucial events, I can’t imagine the amassed prayers of the saints spilling out of those full bowls and my voice (and yours) aren't heard among them! What shame and sadness we would feel, having missed the opportunity to do our vital part in bringing about the change the world needs most.
So, despite society spiraling out of control, and despite Satan’s whispers that my heartfelt prayers are ineffective, I am setting my face like a flint (Isaiah 50:7) to follow hard after God. I don't want my prayers ping-ponging back and forth between every shift and calamity and surprise society springs on us. I want to be faithful to pray whatever little prayer assignment the Holy Spirit gives me, and trust Him to use it however He purposes. By God’s grace, I will not turn coward, faint, lose heart, or give up!
And neither will you.
P.S. I surely welcome any insight the Lord has given you regarding prayer. Each of us have been given wisdom. We could pool them together and strengthen each other. Blessings!