As a people, we pay a lot of attention to time. In my opinion and in my own guilt, we pay a little too much attention to time. There are so many deadlines we place on people to assess their performance and declare whether or not they’ve done what we’ve expected and accept them as worthy. We give each president 100 days to prove they were the proper vote. We tell our employees they are worth benefits after a year of employment. We’re prone to discount someone’s qualifications and/or intentions if they are a mere ten minutes late to an interview or appointment. So much of our judgment stems from our perception of time, especially as we start discussing the time it takes God to answer our prayers.
I don’t believe we ever get angry at God for not answering our prayers. I believe our anger towards God is birthed when He doesn’t answer our prayers according to when we want our answer. My confidence in saying this rests in the relationship between our persistence in prayer and the fruition of God’s promise. The reassurance God pours down upon us as we first go to the Father in prayer, even in our darkest situations. This isn’t to say there are not times where we go to God in the newness of a situation, already angry. A loved one’s cancer diagnosis is enough for anyone to get angry, and I would arguably say anger towards cancer is righteous anger. But even in the anger of such dark situations, there is a release within our spirits as we first approach our loving Father in heaven.
When we arrive at the feet of Jesus for the first time as we face a new situation, God will never remain silent. He doesn’t leave us out in the cold. He doesn’t ignore us. In that moment, God comforts us by letting us know everything will be okay. The destructive anger we experience in our prayer life is one which arrives after we’ve been comforted by the assurance God is with us, halt the earnestness of our prayers and come to believe God isn’t who He said He would be in our circumstances. Our anger arrives when we’ve decided too much time has passed between our initial plea and the manifestation we’re hoping for. And too often our anger quickly turns into disappointment, frustration and abandonment of faith. We begin to say in our hearts, “how does God truly love me. He has yet to come through. He knows my heart and I know He wants this for me.” Our perception of God is distorted from one of love and comfort to one of abandonment and cruel, causing us to take on the weight of a discouraged and distressed heart, as we release our faith to be devoured. But if we stop looking at the timing of our answered prayers and focused on the heart of Jesus in our waiting, we’d find room for joy in the presence of persistence; we’d see more prayers answered and less relinquished to the powers of darkness. Our ticket to a lifestyle of joyful persistence is revealed in Hebrews 7 and Matthew 24.
He Gave and Continues to Give
The persistence of our prayers fade when we stop believing God’s promises - when we stop believing He is doing things in the realms of the unseen. Yet Hebrews 7:35 states Jesus lives to intercede for us. Everything Jesus has done was for our benefit, everything Jesus is doing is for our benefit and everything Jesus will do is for our benefit. Jesus died on the cross so we could be forgiven of our past, present and future sins. He became unrecognizable through the beating and malice of the religious, so we would be recognized - healed and whole - before the Father. He cast out demons to prove we no longer have to live in the darkness of this world. He fed the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves to reveal He’ll forever sustain us. He accepted the sinners and prostitutes so we too would be drawn towards His accepting love. He spent three days in hell so we could enter the kingdom of heaven. He came so the veil between heaven and earth would be torn in two, giving us access to the glorious riches of heaven for all eternity. He died so we would go from glory to glory in our families, finances, occupation, gifts and identity. We must recognize Jesus lives so we could experience the fullness of His majesty; Jesus lives so every prayer we pray, according to His will, would be answered.
Intercession is by no means passive. It’s impossible to intercede and remain stagnant. Simply put, intercession is one person (or group of people) taking action in order to bring forth a specific result in the life another. For Scripture to state that Jesus is alive in order to intercede for us means He is constantly taking some sort of action in order for His promises to be revealed. Jesus is always taking action. Just as Jesus had to die on the cross for our salvation, something must be take place in order for His riches and glory to manifest itself in our bank accounts. So much of our understanding this is reminding ourselves our faith is established in the unseen.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “faith is the substance of things hoped for the conviction of things unseen.” Our faith is in the conviction of everything we can’t see. So how is it in our conviction of believing in a God we can’t see, we’re so easy to, often times, give into our anger and frustration, not giving any attention to what may need to take place in the spiritual realm or in the unseen areas of our hearts? I believe we begin giving up on our prayers because as the days, weeks, months and even years go by there are times when nothing looks different in the natural. Our situations, trials and circumstances look just as horrid as they did when they arrived. Sometimes they look worse. But that’s just it. Things change in the natural after they’ve changed in the supernatural realm. Reminding ourselves our faith begins in the unseen plants seeds of perseverance within our spirits and our souls because while things may look a certain way, we have hope that a God we can’t see is healing the broken hearts, destroying principalities and powers of darkness, and most importantly, working in our hearts and souls to reflect more of Him. Grabbing hold of a lifestyle which deserts the natural and lives in the spiritual releases the heaviness of deadlines God most definitely never follows.
Urgent But Not Anxious
Matthew 24:34-37 states, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.”
Only the Father knows when Jesus is going to return. The Holy Spirit doesn’t know. Jesus, Himself doesn’t know. Only the Father knows, revealing there is an urgency in the name and heart of Jesus. Jesus died so we all may witness the glory of God. God’s patient with us because He doesn’t want one of us to perish (2 Peter 3:9). God’s desire is that we all would experience everything in heaven. And what is the Father’s desire is also Jesus’ desire. Yet there will be a day when Jesus returns and judgment will rule, a day whose timing Jesus is unaware of.
God sent His Holy Spirit so we would experience a heavenly life here on earth - in its fullness. That means God didn’t want me to experience peace, joy, love, marriage, children and abundance, while you experience peace, joy, adventure, wisdom, supernatural gifting and divine health. God wants all of us to experience all of Him. Jesus, knowing this, will stop at nothing to make sure every one of His children have the opportunity to live a life that reflects the entirety of the joy and majesty of Heaven. It’s not in God’s nature to act slowly out of laziness, so as Jesus intercedes on our behalf, we can be confident He is doing everything He can as quickly as He can to ensure His name is glorified here on earth. In the moments where we face the crossroads of our persistence and disbelief, we can confidently rest knowing Jesus is constantly interceding at a pace that doesn’t know when the final trumpet will sound.
It takes a lot of strength to find ourselves at the end of the road, believing we’ve prayed our last prayer and continue to pursue God’s faithfulness. It takes courage. It takes vulnerability and it takes humility. And while many times we’re not perfect and we give into our weakness and frustration at the longevity of the battle, reminding ourselves Jesus is urgently interceding for us will release a supernatural strength within our spirits and faith which will carry us into manifestation of God’s glory.