Saturday, April 30, 2011

Are You Stubborn?

     We all have met people who are completely stubborn who are unwilling to move, change their mind, or opinion.  As my grandma would say, "You can lead a horse to the river but you can't make him drink."  It's a true statement but sometimes stubborness is necessary, especially in prayer. We need to have a faith that's unshakeable, determined for an answer, and stands on the truth regarless of what's happening.  It seems this is a trait so many Christian's don't possess anymore, we have become too passive in prayer.  Oh, I prayed about it, God will do the rest.  Yes, this is true.  Does the request move you?  If it's the deepest desire of your heart, why would you give up?

     As a parent, we will have those occasions with our children who have the “gimmies.”  Usually in the supermarket, my children will see the mouthwatering candies, so there appetites get the best of them.  Sometimes without asking, I will tell my children to pick out something.  On other occasions, I only have a certain amount of money, so they have to wait.  Regardless of what I say, sometimes they will keep nagging until they get their way.  Honestly, I have caved in just to get the silence back but what parent hasn’t on occasion.
      Just recently, we had a bonfire at my house with some friends from church.  We were just praying for each other and worshipping the Lord.  As we sat down to rest, someone made a remark, “Well, if I prayed to Jesus once about something, I don’t need to bring it up again.”  She is a new Christian, so I remarked, “This isn’t what scripture teaches, so I will explain.”  Although I wasn’t raised in the church, I had two individuals who poured their lives into me: my mother and my Aunt Elaine.  Both of these lovely ladies taught me a powerful lesson of prayer, the art of praying through.  Sadly, it seems no one knows how to get ahold of the horns of the altar until an answer arrives or the persistence of faith.  Does God hear us the first time we pray?  Absolutely, He does.  Nevertheless, we don’t always realize what is happening in the spiritual realm, we are in war.  Daniel had to wait three weeks to get an answer of prayer due to the warfare taking place in the heavens. 
     Another example from the Old Testament, one of my favorites, Elisha had to pray through until God showed him the problem, 2 Kings 4:1-37.  In this story, a wealthy couple prepares a meal to feed the prophet but eventually they prepare a room for him.  On a particular travel, Elisha calls the woman to thank her for their generosity.  So, he gives her a couple of options but it doesn’t seem it’s the right one.  Elisha’s assistance advises they have no children and her husband is old.  Remember, in this culture for a woman not to have a male heir or a husband could be a frightening situation.  She was protected, provided for, and secure for her future.   Elisha prophesies to this woman, “About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms.”  Just as Elisha said, the woman had a child.  The child grew up; he was healthy until one horrible day in the fields.  The child complained of a horrible headache, so the child was brought to his mother.  While she held the child in her arms, he died.  So, she lays the child on the bed of the prophet’s room.  She calls her husband to assist her with getting a donkey and a servant.  She is going to find the man of God.
     Although deep within she wanted a child, she didn’t want to be misled.  Maybe somewhere in the past, her heart was broken over the fact she would never have a child.  According to scripture, her husband is old, so she may have accepted the fact-she would never be a mother.  She didn’t want to be heartbroken or her hopes raised again.  Elisha prophesied a request deep within her heart, she is a mother.  The child is dead, so she goes to find him. God gave this child to her, a blessing from him.  However, at the moment, God doesn’t make sense, why would God take the child away?  The situation is hopeless, death is finally.  Nevertheless, she knows who spoke the truth and who walked with God.  She doesn’t stop until she finds the prophet.  Elisha sees her from a distance, so he calls his servant to find out what’s wrong with the woman.  The servant comes to her, “Are you ok?”  She responds, “Everything is all right.”  Do you see the faith of her heart?  She knows the moment she reaches the prophet; it’s going to be okay.  As she reaches him, she takes hold of his feet.  Deep within her soul, she knows he is the answer.  He isn’t moving until he responds, she has his feet.  However, look at what Elisha says, she is in bitter distress but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”
      As she holds his feet, she pours her heart out to him.  She is upset for giving this child to her and raising her hopes.  Elisha sends his servant to her house but lay his staff on the child.  The servant lives them to obey Elisha’s command but the woman stays with the prophet.  As the servant arrives, he does what is requested but nothing happens.  So, the servant runs back to Elisha to give the report.  As Elisha reaches the house, the boy was lying dead on the couch.  Elisha goes inside the room, closes the door and prayed to the Lord.  Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eye to eyes, and hands to hands.  As Elisha did this the body was warm but he wasn’t awake.  Elisha walks back and forth in the room and does the same thing again; the boy sneezes seven times and opens his eyes.
     Sometimes, we need to be stubborn with our requests; we need to hold onto the feet of Jesus until the answer comes.  We can’t give up!  Also, we can’t stop praying because it doesn’t happen the first time, we keep pressing in until God moves.  Faith sees the promise fulfilled; it doesn’t stop until it’s complete.  Whether God provides the miracle or the answer, we don’t back down.  During the conversation, I shared this story with my friend who was asking how to pray?  I responded, “If the request is really important to you, it doesn’t matter how many times you pray.”  “Keep seeking God till it comes, that’s faith.”  Be stubborn with your faith, don’t move until God moves you.