Breakthrough Intercession: Perseverance = Breakthrough (cont.)

… Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and will say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves [of bread],  for a friend of mine who is on a journey has just come, and I have nothing to put before him.”  

And he from within will answer, “Do not disturb me; the door is now closed, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and supply you [with anything].”

 I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence {and} insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.  

So I say to you, ask {and} keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek {and} keep on seeking and you shall find; knock {and} keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you.  For everyone who asks {and} keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks {and} keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks {and} keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened.Luke 11:5-10 (Amplified)

Jesus was not suggesting, in this passage, that God doesn’t want to be bothered with our prayers and only gives in because He is tired of our nagging.  He was encouraging us to be bold in our persistence and thereby receive.

You’ve probably heard the teaching that if we have real faith, we will only ask once for something, and it will be done.  Any continual asking for the same thing reveals a lack of faith in us.  There is a place for the ask-only-once principle.  There are times that we suddenly break through, we know it, and we feel no further urge to pray.  We “know that we know that we know” we have received, and we rest peacefully in that knowledge until the answer manifests itself.

But Jesus’ teaching, both in the Luke 18 story of the widow’s persistence and in the above passage, indicates that continual asking until we receive is very acceptable in Father’s eyes.  Persistence in prayer demonstrates great faith just as much as praying once and believing for the answer does.  It is a matter of using different prayer tactics in different situations.

The Bible teaches quite a bit about the principle of persistent asking in order to receive.  Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, we read of God’s people prevailing through relentless crying out to Him.

Elijah decreed a three-and-a-half year drought after “earnestly praying that it might not rain” (James 5:17) and then received rain for Israel again after intensely pressing God for it seven times (1 Kings 18:41-45).  James holds him up as an example to the rest of us: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).  

Hebrews 6:15 says of Abraham, “After he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”  Daniel fasted and prayed for twenty-one days before he received his breakthrough (Daniel 10).  The Syrophoenician woman pressed Jesus on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter until she received her answer, despite no apparent encouragement from Jesus and plenty of discouragement from His disciples.  And Jesus commended her for her great faith (Matthew 15:21-28).  Hebrews 5:7 tells us that even Jesus “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears … and was heard in that he feared.” 

Prevailing for breakthrough takes a lot of energy, and sometimes takes a lot of time as well.

Twenty-five years ago, I sat under the teaching of a powerful intercessor who had time and again demonstrated her ability to receive desired answers to prayer.   She was asked, “When I haven’t gotten an answer, and I’ve been praying a long time, how do I know when it’s time to quit praying and give up?”  The intercessor-teacher was emphatic in her answer.  “You don’t quit until you have received the answer or God has spoken a resounding ‘No!'”

Her counsel has stayed with me through all these years.  I have further come to the conclusion that the times when God does say no to persistent intercession are extremely rare.  It is the Holy Spirit Himself Who is the impetus behind such enduring prayer.  If we are submitted to the Lord, and we’re not praying exactly right for something, He turns our understanding until we do know how to pray correctly.  If we were totally off in what we were praying for in the first place, our flesh could not easily sustain the drive to pray.  We would feel the urge to pray die out long before we had wasted much precious energy on a false desire.  It is only the rebellious person who prays on and on in a wrong direction without perceiving the Lord’s check in his spirit.  And this only happens after multiple times of refusing to yield to the Holy Spirit have produced a hardened and deceived heart.

Persist and you will see your breakthrough.  God encourages us to do so:

I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day or night: you who make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, and give him no rest, until he establishes, and until he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.Isaiah 62:6, 7

Next time:  Why does it take so long?

Previous — Breakthrough Intercession: Perseverance = Breakthrough
Next — Breakthrough Intercession: Why Does It Take So Long? 


Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

Out of the Fire Ministries


2 responses to “Breakthrough Intercession: Perseverance = Breakthrough (cont.)

  1. Pingback: Breakthrough Intercession: Perseverance = Breakthrough « Out of the Fire

  2. Pingback: Breakthrough Intercession: Why Does It Take so Long? « Out of the Fire

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