To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
— A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
— A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
— A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
— A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
— A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
— A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
— A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
— Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
As the thoughts for this series on intercession started coming together, this passage came to mind, and in studying it, I have been struck by how relevant many of the thoughts in it are to the seasons of prayer which we intercessors experience. As we mature in the school of prayer, we begin to realize that effective prayer does not fit a cut and dried formula. If we expect it to, we will soon be severely disappointed.
God is not a God of methodic formulas, but a God of relationship. Yes, He has transferred His authority in the earth to us, His Body, and yes, the Bible promises are always to be counted on. No, He is not capricious in doling out answers to prayer, and we can expect with perfect confidence to receive whatever the Word promises. But neither is He a glorified gumball machine, where we put in our quarter (method), and out pops the gum (answer to prayer).
True prayer is about going on a journey hand-in-hand with Him. It is about trust, growing in our understanding of the Lord’s character and purposes, learning to pray the yearnings of His heart. And, it is a journey which takes us through various seasons. Understanding that our prayer life does not remain static is part of being an effective prayer warrior. Flowing with the seasons God has planned for us helps us to not grow weary and heartbroken in the well-doing ministry of prayer.
We’ll be looking at the following seasons in upcoming posts:
A Time to Contend vs. a Time to Rest
The Listening Season
Breaking Down and Building Up
Obtaining and Letting Go
Seeing the Answer by Faith
The Season of Inward Prayer Focus
The Valley of the Shadow Season