May the Lord help us by His Spirit to see the breakthrough over those things that are on His heart for us as Paul writes in his epistle to the Romans:
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8:26-28.
“Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ” Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain” 1 Kings 18:42-45.
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” James 5:17-18.
“Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation” Luke 22:39-46.
“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, … Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear” Hebrews 5:5,7.
“It was 3:00 a.m. and for no earthly reason I woke up screaming. I sat straight up in bed and could not stop the mysterious gusher of grief that was exploding from my soul. I threw on my clothes and raced out of the house. I walked for miles sobbing… So there I was, staggering through the night desperately trying to find a place to release this torrent of prayer. Hours passed and I found a lake and buried my self in the thickest part of the trees and bushes. To try to describe the travailing and unutterable groanings is futile. Simply, believe me when I say time stopped, my soul went behind the veil. All my life I wanted pray like that. I knew that heaven heard and that hell dreaded the answer that was to come. The very place of prayer seemed to shine with God’s glory. Then, as I never heard His voice before, Jesus said to me, ‘The power of Satan has been pierced tonight. Now you will see a breakthrough. I have given you this city!’….
[The next morning]…I felt elated that God had given me the city. I knew the frustrations of the past were gone. I zealously approached student after student, simply waiting to tell them that Jesus loved them. Then my hope was shattered. A tall, muscular, student radical flew into a rage, ‘Jesus loves me, does he? Well, I hate Him and I hate you!’ he said to me. And with that he spat in my face and tore up me literature. A crowd was gathering to watch the preacher pay for being in campus.
Standing there alone, I felt betrayed and totally humiliated. This was a despair I felt sure I would not recover from. Then, without warning, a pleasant looking young man stepped right up to the radical and confronted him gently, but firmly. ‘ Do you know who this man is?’ he asked. The radical, somehow knowing he should back off, calmed down and responded, ‘No, I don’t know who he is.’ ‘This is Mario Murillo, a man of God, and God has given him this city. After that he cast deep, confident, knowing, loving eyes on me. Those eyes looked deep within my soul and confirmed the promise God had made to me the night before. Normally, the kind of words he used would evoke laughter from the listening students. For some reason there was a sense of respect and recognition. The radical apologized for his behavior and I told him I accepted his apology. I turned to find the young man but he had vanished. An angel? I wondered for years and I still don’t know. What I do know is that one day an awakening began and within two years we had prayed almost 2,000 young people to be born again.”
(Mario Murillo, Critical Mass, as reported by Lou Engle)
Sometimes, maybe many times – good is the enemy of the best. It is good to pray, how can we believe otherwise, but sometimes our prayers give us a false sense of accomplishment. We pray, we hold prayer meetings, we open and close our ceremonies with prayer – and we feel we have done our religious duty towards God without taking really notice whether what we have prayed has hit the mark and really made a difference. That’s why sometimes we need to come to a place of fervency and desperation in order to really show our loving heavenly Father that we are not just praying to Him to fulfill our spiritual duty – but that we mean business and are desperate to get through to Him by any means.
There comes a time, as is seen by these verses and the quote from Mario Murillo, that just to pray is not enough – as Daniel found our when he earnestly set out to seek the Lord’s answer when he prayed and fasted 3 weeks and was told that the Evil prince of the air of Persia resisted the answer coming to him. So it is also now, maybe even more so, because we live in these terrible and trying end times!
Therefore the Bible teaches that we need to:
- pray with perseverance and without ceasing
- pray and wait on the Lord, sometimes for a long time
- pray through the night, as Jesus did before He named His apostles
- pray with confession of our and other’s sins and shortcomings
- pray with weeping and strong cryings
- pray with fasting
- pray with a fervency and groanings which cannot be uttered.
This last point is very clear in this story of Mario Murillo and emphasized by the accompanying verses of Scriptures. We cannot do it from ourselves but the Holy Spirit is willing and able to come upon us and lead us in these strong cryings and groanings to prevail with God and men, like Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord at the river Jabbok when he came through and received his new name Israel and heard God say:
“Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” Genesis 32:28.
May so the Spirit fall upon us as He did with Mario and cause us to prevail in these crucial times to the glory of God and His purposes, I pray.
Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center
Republished with the kind permission of Author Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of International Christian Zionist Center.
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