Just a quick message today, one that I had running through my head since the deer stand. Here’s the passage:
Hebrews 13:18-19 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you sooner.
What interests me, at this point of time, is the urgency that Paul placed upon the readers. The request is that they pray. How? More earnestly. Why? That He may be restored to them sooner.
Do you see that? To me, it is clear that there is an expectation that those who pray not only influence outcomes but also the timing. This is very exciting to think about. What if you and I are able to actually speed up kingdom work, simply by praying more earnestly for things to happen sooner?
Doesn’t that make your heart skip a beat? If this is true, what would you pray for? Come on now, there are some things that you desire to happen sooner, right? Or do you say, “God’s timing,” like I do? That’s not what Paul is talking about here. Yes, of course it’s God’s timing, but Paul is asking them to step up their game so God will step up his.
Can you see this?
What if we can save someone years of trouble, simply by getting serious and earning in our prayer for them. Two cases in points that I can think of.
Strongholds. I am firm in my belief that strongholds can overwhelm us. Yes, it is our own sin that put us there; but at some point, our sin consumes us. I believe John 15:5 when Jesus says without him we can do nothing. I also believe that there are times when we don’t know what to pray for or how (Romans 8:26). I also believe that Satan is able to partially blind the eyes of believers just as he is able to completely blind the eyes of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4). I also believe that God is looking for those who will stand in the gap to protect the kingdom (Ezekiel 22:30). Therefore, I firmly believe it is essential that we pray like we are the key that God has assigned to demolish the strongholds in others. How? By praying earnestly for deliverance. When? Sooner.
Salvation. No news here, but I believe that it is God’s sole prerogative to decide on whom he shall have mercy (Romans 9:15, Exodus 33:19). We can’t do anything about who he saves. We don’t know who. We pray that all will repent (1 Timothy 2:4). Still, we know that few actually will (Matthew 7:13-14). However, could it be that we could influence the timing of when someone comes to saving faith? Think about that for a moment. If you and I could shorten the sinful walk of a person’s life, by years or decades, wouldn’t we do it? When people ask if I have any regrets of my past life, I am very quick to answer that I regret every sin I have ever done and wish I would have answered yes to Jesus’ very first call. Could it be that we can influence the timing of that “yes” for other people? Think about it.
I’m not talking “name it & claim it” theology. Perhaps God will grant prayer that he knows is not best. Father, please don’t allow that!! Plus, maybe we can influence his timing when it would be better that we didn’t. So, we always must cede all our requests to his will, not ours, just as Jesus did in the Garden (Luke 22:42).
Are you looking for something to do today? Start right here, right now, with some earnest prayer. While you’re at it, please pray for me, that I may keep my eyes riveted on Jesus so that I may encourage others to do the same.
Father, praise be to your holy name! How foolish we can be in our prayer life! Invigorate us! Shake us up! Let us pray like crazy today! Right now! Grant us fruit, quickly, so that we may be encouraged and excited and rush to tell everyone how you indeed are real, true, and alive! Amen!
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers