Day 11    Luke 18:5 NLT         “This woman is

                                                    driving me crazy”

Read the whole story. This parable of the persistent widow is a great one. I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think the persistent is a nice word for crazy. This woman is crazy. She’s crazy, but when the cause is righteous, it’s a holy crazy! She was crazy for justice and the judge finally figured out there what no quit in this crazy woman.

How desperate are you for the blessing, the breakthrough, the miracle? Desperate enough to pray through the night? How many times are you willing to circle the promise? Until the day you die? How long will you knock on the door of opportunity? Until your knuckles are raw? Until you knock the door down?

Maybe she crossed the professional line by badgering this judge and following him everywhere. Maybe she should have waited for her day in court. Aren’t you surprised the judge didn’t through in a restraining order? Doesn’t this reveal something about God? God doesn’t care a bit about protocol. If He did, Jesus would have chosen the Pharisees as His disciples. But that isn’t who Jesus honored.

Jesus honored the prostitute who crashed a party at a Pharisee’s house to anoint Jesus’ feet – the tax collector who climbed a tree to get a glimpse of him – the four friends who cut a hole in the ceiling to help their friend – and in this parable the crazy woman who drove a judge crazy because she wouldn’t stop knocking.

The common denominator in them all is crazy faith. People took desperate action to get to God, and God honored them for it. Nothing has changed. God is still honoring those desperadoes who are unrelenting and persistent in faith. If we want to see God do crazy miracles, sometimes we need to pray crazy prayers. Amen.

Day 12    Colossians 4:2     “Devote yourselves

                              to prayer, being watchful

                                    and thankful.”

Are you a first class-noticer? The word “watchful” here goes way back to the Old Testament era practice of sitting on a city wall and keeping watch. These watchmen were the first ones to see traveling traders or attacking armies. They had the best view and could see things before others because of their vantage point.

When we pray, this is exactly what happens for us. We see things before others see them. We become God’s watchmen. Prayer is the difference between seeing with our physical eyes and seeing with our spiritual eyes. Prayer gives us a God’s-eye-view. God gives us a heightened awareness, a “sixth sense” that enables us to perceive spiritual realities that are beyond our five senses. Prayer turns us into first class-noticers. It helps us see what God wants us to notice. The more you pray, the more you notice; the less you pray, the less you notice.

Have you ever noticed that when you pray, things happen? And when you don’t, they don’t. It’s more than coincidence, it’s providence. Prayer creates divine opportunities. But prayer also allows the system in your brain to notice things, (like when you download a new ringtone and suddenly notice everyone else who has that ringtone) to notice the God ordained opportunities that are all around you all the time. And once you see them, you have to seize them. Opportunities are like wild animals, they need to be seized. The Aramaic word for prayer means “to set a trap”. To seize these opportunities we need to set prayer traps.

Some things cannot be perceived with the five senses; they can only be conceived by the Holy Spirit. Some things cannot be deduced by deductive reasoning; they can only be imagined by the Holy Spirit. Some things cannot be learned by logic; they can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to perceive with this “sixth sense” – this extrasensory perception and it needs to be cultivated through prayer. When it is cultivated we begin to notice and have the realization that “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Just as Jacob did. It’s as if we put on 3D glasses when we pray and find that God comes at us in ways that startle and thrill us at every turn. Amen.

Day 13    Matthew 17:20    “If you have faith as

                             small as a mustard seed…”

Are we sowing seeds? I’m not sure you ever thought about prayer as sowing seeds, but it is. Seeds are planted and are in the earth for a time until eventually, they bear fruit for future generations. Prayers do the same even into eternity. When we die, our prayers don’t, they take on a life, an eternal life, of their own.

Because of the world we live in, we want to reap NOW. We want a god of microwave answers. Our technology makes us believe can have it all NOW. We want things to happen at the speed of light instead of the speed of the seed. That’s not how it works in God’s kingdom. Instead we need to think about things at the speed of agriculture.

  • We need the patients of a planter.
  • We need the foresight of a farmer.
  • We need the mindset of a sower.

We focus too much on the outcomes instead of what we plant. We can’t make anything grow. If we will plant and water – God will do the growing. We can’t break the laws of sowing and reaping any more than we can the laws of gravity. If we plant corn we can’t expect to reap beans.

  • If you sow kindness, you will reap kindness.
  • If you sow generosity, you will reap generosity.
  • If you sow love, you will reap love.

We all have spiritual, emotional, financial, and relational hard times that feel like famine and we want to stop planting. That’s when we need to keep praying, keep obeying, keep giving, keep loving, and keep serving. When you keep sowing the right seeds, the harvest of blessing will come in God’s time, in God’s way. Amen.

Day 14    Acts 10:3   “One day about three in

                     the afternoon he had a vision.”

This little phrase of just two words is just wonderful – “one day.” You ask why? Because “one day” could be today. “One day” (today) could be the day God answers the prayer, performs the miracle, or keeps the promise!

On this “one day”, God can bring back that prodigal child who’s been gone for such a long time. Can deliver from an addiction that person held captive for years. Can provide more in “one day” than someone has accumulated in a lifetime. The thing is, if we are going to experience a miracle “one day”, we need to pray every day. Too many of us want it to be like the lottery – one time and you’re a winner. Prayer is more like an investment account. Every deposit accumulates compound interest. And “one day”, if we keep making deposits every day, it will pay dividends beyond our wildest imaginations.

Can we vision beyond our resources? I believe God wants us to. Too often we step back on our God-given dreams because we forget the simple fact that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We let fear dictate our decisions. Letting our budget determine our vision is backward. Faith is letting our vision determine our budget. If our vision is God-given, it will most definitely be beyond our ability and beyond our resources. Why? Because then God will get all of the Glory! God who gives the vision is the same God who makes provision.

When Jesus walked out of the tomb the word impossible should have vanished from our vocabulary. The size of our prayers depends on the size of our God. If our God knows no limits, then neither will our prayers. The way you steward the miracles of God is by believing for bigger and better miracles. God stretches our faith so we can dream bigger dreams. Amen.

Day 15     Matthew 17:20      “Say to this
mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’
and it will move.”

Have you ever stopped talking to God about the mountain in your life and started talking to the mountain about your God? Proclaimed His power? Declared His sovereignty? Affirmed His faithfulness? Stood on His Word? Clung to His promises?

You’ve heard how our enemy works. He prowls around like a roaring lion. The important word here is like. You see, Jesus IS the Lion of the tribe of Judah. When he roars, everything shakes! All authority in heaven and earth is his and we are his children. We should live like it, love like it, give like it, serve like it, and pray like it!

If God is for us, who can be against us?

            The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

            I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

            In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called

according to his purposes.

We should be playing offense, not defense. Jesus proclaims victory when he says, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Notice he didn’t say, “You will build my church”; He said, “I will build my church.” The key pronouns are I and My. The church belongs to Jesus and so does the battle. As does the victory by the way. Notice it also says that the gates of Hades will not prevail. Gates are a defensive measure, which means, by definition, that the church is on the offensive. It’s time we recognize that and enter the battle field – the prayer closet. Secret prayer is our secret weapon! When we hit our knees, God fights our battles for us.

People and powers will come against you making you angry or depressed or sad and make you want to give up. That is when the prayer must increase and allow God to fight the battle. Pray for the vision, pray for those opposing your vision, pray for everything surrounding your vision. If it is a God-vison, God will do the rest. Amen.

Day 16   Psalm 35:1, 23     “1 Contend, Lord,

                  with those who contend with me;

                      fight against those who fight

                                    against me…

                 23 Awake, and rise to my defense!

                 Contend for me, my God and Lord.

God does love it when we fight for Him, but God loves it even more when we let Him fight for us! So just how do we do that? We hit our knees! When we hit our knees in prayer, God extends His mighty right hand on our behalf. When we pray, He fights our battles for us. So keep fighting the good fight, but let God fight for you.

Prayer is the way we let go and let God. Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you.

In Psalm 23 David asks the Lord to “Contend” with those who contend with him. That word “Contend” in Hebrew is two-dimensional. It refers to both physical combat and verbal combat. It runs the gamut from cage fighting to the courtroom. God is like a mother grizzly protecting her cubs. It’s God’s instinctive nature because we are the apple of His eye – God’s children. If anyone messes with us, they are messing with our heavenly Father. That’s the physical combat side.

For the verbal combat side, God is like the defense attorney that pleads our case, or our cause. When our backs are against the wall, God has our backs. When everything is on the line, God steps in.

Did you realize that we actually have two intercessors! The Holy Spirit is interceding for us with groans that cannot be uttered. At all times, before we ever awake and after we’ve gone to sleep, the Holy Spirit has been circling us in prayer. If that’s not enough to fill you with confidence, it’s not just the Holy Spirit who is interceding for us; Jesus is also interceding for us. They are both interceding for the will of God to be accomplished in our lives. They are both circling us in prayer. We are circled all the time with songs of deliverance. That should allow us to be on the offence all the time.

If you are on God’s side, then God is on your side!

You can live with holy confidence, knowing that when God is contending for your cause, your cause is destined to succeed. That doesn’t mean there won’t be setback and sacrifices along the way; it just means the war has already been won. Keep praying! Amen.

Day 17   John 3:8     “The wind blows wherever
it pleases…”

I was reminded recently of an old saying I used to hear when I was little. I haven’t heard it in many, many years, it goes like this, “you can’t never always sometimes tell.” Quite a tongue twister and even a mind bender. I think this is the translation; anything could happen! If we put a prayer twist on this saying, we could say, when you keep praying for something, you can’t never always sometimes tell. Anything could happen! You never when or how or where God will answer it. You see, prayer adds an element of surprise to your life.

I love this reference to the wind in John 3. I can’t think of a better way to describe the way the Holy Spirit works – uncontrollable, unpredictable – which can cause angst or excitement. It’s really our choice. Jesus says, “You cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” As is the Holy Spirit. In other words, you can’t never always sometimes tell. Oh but one thing is for certain: if we follow Jesus, our lives will be anything but boring.

Every miracle, every blessing, every divine appointment has a beginning. If we trace them back, we’ll find a genesis prayer that set in motion the supreme act of God. I’m not saying God can’t do it without us. I’m really saying God will not do it without us. I believe that God has determined that there are some things He will only do in response to prayer. The Bible says it like this: “You do not have because you do not ask God.” If we don’t ask, God can’t answer. It’s that simple. It’s a tragedy if there are things that God would like to do in our life, in our church, in our community, in our country, in the world, that go undone because we don’t ask! Ask! We still need to work like it depends on us but also pray like it depends on God. If we do, God will keep surprising us. Will you pray for God to surprise us today? Who knows, you can’t never always sometimes tell. Amen.

Day 18    Daniel 9:19    “O Lord, pay attention

                     and act. Delay not, for your own

                              sake, O my God.”    ESV

Are you ever so bold in your prayers to God? Are you praying the promises of God so you can pray with such boldness? When you know you are praying the promises of God, you can pray with that much holy confidence. We don’t have to second-guess ourselves, because we know God’s word doesn’t return to Him empty. That doesn’t mean we can claim those promises out of context. But usually we don’t over-claim the promises of God, we under-claim them.

Every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ.

            No matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” in Christ.

            No good thing will God withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

If we stand on God’s word, God will stand by His word.

Sometimes we can pray ASAP prayers and God will act, if it’s His will. The way I think we ought to think about this is more like ALAIT prayers. What happens when we get the ASAP prayers is, they come so fast we tend to take them for granted, even possibly taking credit ourselves for the answers. The ALAIT (as long as it takes) prayers make us rely more on God and realize those answers come from God and God receives the glory. That way we’re not looking for the path of least resistance but instead the path of greatest glory. That will probably mean we will need to do a lot of difficult praying and repeatedly. Pray with confidence knowing God never overpromises or under-delivers. God always delivers on His promises, but remember it’s on His timeline. Amen.

Day 19   Joshua 6:4   “On the seventh day,

     march around the city seven times.”

In 1994 Tony was deeply concerned that innocent children were being introduced to pornography simply because adult channels were one click away from cartoon channels. He authored legislation that would force the cable industry to fully scramble those channels and prepared to go and visit all 435 House offices and 100 Senate offices. He decided to circle the Capitol in prayer seven times before his visits knowing that prayer is the difference between us fighting for God and God fighting for us. After his seventh time around he even let out a Jericho shout!

Tony then began meeting with every member of congress. Some applauded his efforts but he was told over and over, his efforts were too late. He was trying to amend a bill that was already gone to markup and there was no way the chair was going to reopen the bill to include his amendment because it would open it to everybody else’s. As Tony walked out of his 220th office he was depressed, defeated, and ready to give up. He went over to the window and sat on the sill dejected, ready to go home. He writes this about what happened next.

“Never before, and never since, has God spoken to me so clearly. While I sat there looking down at the marble-tiled floor, totally dejected, these words were spoken to me as clear as a bell: ‘Who is doing this – you or Me?’ I can’t explain how I felt when I heard those words, but I straightened up and responded, ‘You are, Lord!’ Instantly I was filled with more excitement than when I had first begun. At each of the following 215 offices, my presentations were given with renewed faith.”

Just as Tony walked out of that 435th Congressional office his pager went off. Chairman Dingle had just agreed to allow his amendment to be added to his telecommunications bill. You see, Sometimes God Shows up; Sometimes God shows off!

God’s timing is always perfect. He’s never late. He’s never early. God is right on time all the time! It is no coincidence that Tony’s pager went off right as he exited the last office. We have a God who directs our steps, who prepares good works in advance, who causes all things to work together for good, who fights our battles for us! If you pray through, there will be a breakthrough! So, don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Don’t lose faith. Don’t lose patience. Whatever you are praying for, interceding for, believing for – keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking.

God rarely does things how or when we expect and it leads us to question His strange and mysterious ways. We may be pushed to the limits of our faith, our patients, of our gifts. That’s how our faith and character is built. I bet the Israelites had some questions about marching around Jericho for seven days. I bet they just wanted to go for it. But look how it turned out. They kept circling. If you keep circling, the walls will come down. If you pray through, the breakthrough is inevitable.

Go ahead. Keep circling!

Day 20   Acts 10:4   “Your prayers and gifts to

                        the poor have come up as a

                    memorial offering before God.”

Have you ever thought that your prayers last on into eternity? Do any of you remember maybe a grandparent praying for you every day of their life and what in impact it had on you? Our prayers have no space or time limitations because the God who answers them exists outside the four dimensions He created. You never know when His timeless answer will reenter our dimension. Doesn’t that fill you with a holy anticipation? Never underestimate God’s ability to answer anytime, anyplace, anyhow. God has infinite answers to our little prayers and can answer them in multiple ways, multiple times, even forever.

This passage in Acts says our prayers are memorial offerings. Know God will answer, He always does. It just may not be in the way or when we want.

Have you ever had the thought, “My grandmother’s (whoever’s) prayer is being answered right now?” I have and they are humbling and exhilarating moments. They are moments when I sense the memorial being brought to the front. It’s as if these memorials are like our children’s art stuck to the refrigerator prominently. The Father loves our prayers just like that art and He pulls one off and answers it now and then.

If God loves them and they are precious to Him, shouldn’t they be to us as well? Shouldn’t they be treated with respect and dignity? When we pray we are building a monument to God, a memorial, stronger than marble that will last until eternity.

We never know when our prayers will be answered, and we never know when we will be the answer to someone else’s prayer. When we live by faith, we will harvest prayer seeds that have been planted for decades, for centuries, or even millennia. When we live by faith, those memorial offerings (prayers) turn into crowns of glory. Prayer offering turn into praise offerings.