I recently read this quote by D.L. Moody that has been molding my thoughts recently:
“Our prayers often resemble the mischievous tricks of town children, who knock at their neighbor’s houses and then run away; we often knock at Heaven’s door and then run off into the spirit of the world; instead of waiting for entrance and answer, we act as if we were afraid of having our prayers answered.”
I wonder though– is our tendency to run off into the spirit of the world a result of fear… or impatience?
The imagery that D.L. Moody used of knocking immediately brought Matthew 7:7 to my mind. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (NIV)
Often, when we read this verse we want to infer that the door will be opened as soon as we knock. However, there is no mention in this verse of when God will open the door to you. We are not promised a quick or immediate answer.
This same verse is translated slightly differently in both the NLT and the HCSB versions of scripture– they both read, “Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
Do you note the difference?
Knock and the door will be opened… implies an action.
Keep on knocking and the door will be opened… implies a process.
One of my very favorite books on the subject of prayer is Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker. The impact that this book has had on my life and leadership is immeasurable. (In fact it prompted a #CrazyFaith journey to Washington DC a couple of months ago that I blogged about.)
In that book Batterson talks about how Circle makers are not afraid to pray bold prayers because they know that God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God. He goes on and later makes this statement of prayer warriors (AKA Circle Makers), “Circle makers have a sanctified stubborn streak. Most of us don’t get what we want because we quit circling. We give up too easily. We give up too soon. We quit praying right before the miracle happens.”
Bold prayers are prayed by stubborn knockers.
Stubborn knockers are willing to wait on the doorstep of heaven until their request is answered in HIS way, HIS timing, and in accordance with HIS will.
Stubborn knockers are willing to knock on the front door, the side door, and the back doors of heaven to make sure that their requests are made known.
Stubborn knockers do not doubt the presence of God behind the door– they simply trust in his wisdom to only open the door when the time is right.
Stubborn knockers do not back down when others tease them or taunt them for continued belief that God can and will respond to them in HIS way.
Stubborn knockers are willing to endure bruised knees and bloody knuckles in their faithful persistence to keep pleading to God.
Stubborn knockers are passionate about the process of prayer because they trust in the powerful results that their persistence can yield.
In Genesis 25:19-26, we read about Isaac stubbornly knocking on the doors of heaven on behalf of his wife Rebekah, who was barren therefore unable to conceive a child. Despite what seemed like an impossible physical prevention– Isaac’s faith in God’s ability to overcome physical prevention kept him knocking with his bold request. In Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary he writes this of this request of Isaac’s, “The fulfillment of God’s promise is always sure, yet it is often slow. The faith of believers is tried, their patience exercised, and mercies long waited for are more welcome when they come.“
After days of wrestling with this D.L. Moody quote I have come to this conclusion: I think many believers are less afraid of having God answer their prayer and more afraid of how long they will have to wait for God’s answer to come.
What bold prayers are you praying to God right now? Are you tempted to give up or give in because all of your knocking seems to be in vain?
I challenge you– be a stubborn knocker. Stand firm in the faith that God is not ignoring you knock… but rather he is lovingly at work behind the door working our problems out for his purposes. Keep knocking with confidence that when the time is right… he will open the door and show you his handiwork.
If you are a leader… be a stubborn knocker on behalf of the vision that God has given you.
If you are a parent… be a stubborn knocker on behalf of the children he has entrusted you with.
If you are a friend… be a stubborn knocker on behalf of others.
If you are a pastor… be a stubborn knocker for those who fill your church.
If you are engulfed in conflict… be a stubborn knocker for peace.
If you are burdened by an addiction… be a stubborn knocker for freedom.
If you are struggling with illness or affliction… be a stubborn knocker for healing.
If your marriage is troubled… Be a stubborn knocker for restoration.
If you are in financial struggle… be a stubborn knocker for provision.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged… Be a stubborn knocker for energy and focus.
If you facing a difficult decision… be a stubborn knocker for wisdom and direction.
No matter the need… the answer comes through the willingness to keep knocking.