Do you realize that the LORD gives us permission, actually encouraging us in both the Old and the New Testament, to “pester Him” with our petition until we have our answer?
(Not to ramble on and on with meaningless and vain repetitions. But to ask, seek, knock, and keep on asking, seeking, and knocking in persistent, unrelenting faith? Absolutely!!!)
see the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow – Luke 18:1-8, and Christ’s instructions on how to pray and the example of the pestering friend with unexpected guests Luke 11:1-13 (especially v. 8-10)
Today I want to challenge you to be BOLD in what you ask. Open your Bible, put your finger on the specific verse you sense the Holy Spirit has brought you to, and hold it out to the LORD. Remind Him of what He has said, what He has done in the past, and what He said He would do…
“If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14
So, what is the most earnest desire of your heart?
I know several people who, like me, when asked this question, without hesitation the name(s) of someone specific comes to their lips, someone who has wandered from the truth they were taught in their youth.
It reminds me of Israel, and I feel a kinship with the LORD’s passion for Jerusalem.
The prophet Isaiah’s concern and passionate desire was for Zion and the peace and glory of the LORD to be reestablished in Jerusalem.
He said, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning.” (62:1, NAS)
There are a handful of places (Israel is one of them, also America, North Korea, Guatemala, India…) and people (relatives, the children of dear friends, neighbors, friends from my youth, …) that are especially near to me heart. The LORD has so woven them into the fabric of my life that their I wandering and suffering feels like a constant tugging on my soul that I can’t ignore. To imagine them separated from God feels like a ripping of my heart. This agony I feel for them is to know how the LORD feels for Jerusalem, a shared suffering with Christ.
I desperately want their righteousness to be going forth, shining brightly in the world! I want their salvation to be like a burning torch, lighting their way and bringing light to others everywhere they go!
So, I will pray like the appointed watchmen standing on the walls of Jerusalem,
“…All day and night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (62:6-7, NAS)
When a section of scripture resonates with me, gripping me as I read it so that I keep coming back to it again and again, I take this as a prompt to start turning the passage into a prayer either for myself or someone else or even simply echoing it back to the LORD in thanksgiving or praise.
I want to give you an example as I pray for someone heavy on my heart today.
Before you read any further, ask the LORD to put someone on your heart, and then read these paraphrased verses as a prayer to God on their behalf. (You might want to grab your Bible and follow along so you can see exactly what how The Word became my words prayed back to Him.)
Knowing how strongly the LORD feels about Israel/Jerusalem/Zion and His love for the world/the lost is the common ground that we stand on as we begin to beg His mercy and grace to move on behalf of those we desperately love.
A Prayer for the one I love not living in victory:
(a specific request from each of the 12 verses in Isaiah 62)
LORD, I beg You,
- make his/her righteousness shine bright as the dawn, make his/her salvation passionately burn like a torch
- may the world see the righteous and glory of Christ in his/her life, so transform him/her that all his/her friends give him/her a new nick-name (a special one with meaning that is picked out by You)
- may he/she be like a crown/royal tiara of splendor/beauty for You in the palm of Your hand
- instead of living as “forsaken” or “desolate”, may he/she know that You delight in him/her and live as “God’s Delight”/ the “Bride of Christ”
- may he/she be joined to You (like a couple united forever in marriage), finding his/her joy in You as You rejoice over him/her
- may I stand with You, like an appointed watchman, watching over him/her in prayer (watching, hoping, anticipating an answer from You), I will call on You continually on his/her behalf and never keep silent, may I not take a rest or a break or grow weary in the waiting
- I intend to not give You any rest until the day when You establish him/her and make him/her a source of praise to Yourself in this world
- LORD, when you swear by Your right hand and Your strong arm (by all the rightful power and authority of Your position as Creator and Ruler of the Universe), it is done. So, I ask You to make him/her fruitful and his/her work productive and not let the enemy take any of the eternal harvest that You’ve meant to be his/hers
- may he/she enjoy a harvest of goodness in his/her life and give You all the praise for it, and may he/she celebrate all that bounty in Your presence
- LORD, make a way for him/her to return to You. Let me go ahead of them calling out and clearing a way from him/her in faith. Remove any obstacles in his/her way. Put Your banner over them, and with You, let me lift high a flag for them, claiming them as Yours, and then may he/she raise up that standard over his/her own head declaring that he/she is forever Yours
- LORD, You have proclaimed “salvation is coming” and said that You are coming with a reward and recompense. May Your salvation come to him/her! May he/she being looking for Your coming and someday see Your reward!
- may he/she be one of those who are called “the holy people, the redeemed of the LORD”, may he/she be called “sought out” and “not forsaken”
If You seek them out, LORD, I know Your call is irresistible. Pursue them. Stir them to pursue You, to seek You, and to love You because You first loved them.
If you’re reading this, I am praying for your encouragement to persevere in prayer for those you love and for the LORD’s love and grace to be poured out on the person you were thinking of as you read this post today. LORD, hear our prayer!
(I was discouraged a few weeks back in praying for the person on my heart, but all that changed when I later realized how many people were praying the same thing I was praying for this particular person. The LORD had put that person on all of our hearts! — We are not in this alone. We are co-laborers with Christ. The Holy Spirit is at work, and God hears the prayers of His people. — If you want, post a name/or a nick-name for a person you are praying for in the comment section below so that others who read this will join in praying for them. Or, add the word “anonymous” and I will pray for them but not post it for others to see.)