When all hell breaks loose in your life, what is your initial reaction? I’m not asking what you want it to be. Truly, what is your “go to” reaction?
Do you ever pray because you know you’re supposed to, but you don’t actually expect God to answer? (I’ve done that!)
This thinking causes us to pray puny prayers, quick prayers, routine prayers that never stretch us and never change the situation.
When the Early Church got news that Peter (one of their generals) had been thrown into prison for his faith and faced execution at daylight, they gathered to pray.
They didn’t look for God in a crisis moment. In fact, they didn’t have to look FOR God at all; they had already been looking TO Him. They simply doubled down in their HABIT of prayer. (By the way, your habits direct your days and determine your destiny!)
The Passion Bible notes that the believers gathered and “went into a season of intense intercession.” (Acts 12:5 tPt) The Greek translation for “intense intercession” means “to stretch tightly in prayer.”
If we truly want to see God move in our situations, we can’t merely offer up to Him panicked prayers in our distress. It requires a stretching beyond familiarity. It necessitates exertion that thrusts us right out of our worn-out, practiced prayers.
Intercession that brings real change propels us into personal, uncharted waters. We determine to extend and expand ourselves beyond our usual capacity.
Nothing about “intense intercession” is casual or ordinary. We’re not begging God to change His posture; the stretching is actually changing ours! It’s changing us!
THIS is the kind of passionate prayer that broke through this impossibility the Early Church faced. Because of this intense intercession, Peter miraculously walked from that prison cell in a completely unexplainable way. (You have to read it! It’s in Acts 12, and it’s SO good! SO GOOD!)
This real story about real people trusting the only REAL GOD proves ALL OVER AGAIN that the Lord bends down low to listen to our prayers. It reminds us that He delights in stretching us to become more like the people He created us to be.
Together let us “stretch tightly in prayer.” Let us choose to extend ourselves beyond our familiar, routine words that come out of our mouths on autopilot.
Let us lay our heart out before God and know that He cares about every detail. As we offer ourselves completely to Him, He offers Himself completely to us! It’s a beautiful thing! It’s a powerful thing! It breaks the chains and causes captives to walk free! Just ask Peter!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at www.HopeCommunityChurch.tv