How do you respond when someone asks you to pray for something? Do you tell them you will and then go on about your day, praying about it if you remember it? Or do you fear you’ll forget so you pray for it right then and there? Do you only pray about it once or do you contend until you see breakthrough?
Our culture seems to be one of immediate gratification. We want everything we want and we want it now. The idea of having to wait or wrestle with something in prayer seems almost unheard of today. Do we even know what it means to contend for something?
To contend means,
to struggle to surmount a difficulty or danger; to assert something as a position in an argument.”
As one missionary I know put it,
You pray and you pray and then you pray some more until you see breakthrough.”
You don’t see evidence of that very often in our culture; however, today I came across a news clip of a man who is contending for something he is very passionate about.
Mike Bachelder, of Burning Hearts Ministries, is passionate about Super Bowl XLIX, and I don’t mean he is rooting for his team. In fact, I don’t even know if he cares who is playing. His passion lies in the desire to see captives released from the bondage of human trafficking and he is doing something about it.
Mike has been circling the University of Phoenix stadium in prayer for the past two months praying for God to intervene in the issue of human trafficking during the Super Bowl. He wants to see the evil of human trafficking eradicated from the Super Bowl. In fact, he is asking God to make this “the least human trafficked Super Bowl in history.” You can hear the whole story here.
John 16:24 says,
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
The Greek word for ask here is aiteo and it means,
to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require”
Now I don’t know if you have children or if you’ve ever been around them, but when they beg for something they are relentless. They go on and on and on about it nonstop until you either give in or punish them.
We give up to easily in our prayer life.
We ask God for something and if we don’t get an answer, we walk away. My Daddy used to always tell me,
Anything worth having is worth working for.”
I believe this applies to prayer too. Now, I’m not saying we have to war this way over every single prayer request, but there are some things we have to wrestle out of the devils hands and we do this through contending prayer.
1 Kings 18:44 says,
The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'”
Elijah was praying for rain. Did you notice the word seventh in the verse. He had prayed six times before for rain and saw nothing to indicate an answer. It was only after seven times of praying for rain that he saw a glimpse of an answer. This is the same man who asked God to bring fire to accept his sacrifice just six verses prior and God answered him the first time [1 Kings 18:38].
I don’t pretend to understand why the Lord answers some prayers the first time and requires us to contend for other things longer. But what I do know is we give up too easily.
What would have happened if the Israelites circled Jericho six days and then decided they were done? What would have happened if Moses decided after the first plague or two didn’t cause Pharaoh to release the Israelites he was done with Pharaoh and the whole mess?
Press in, circle up and contend for the things that matter to you.
*For a great resource on the subject of contending prayer, check out Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker, here.
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