The Necessity of Prayer Ė Lesson XVIII, Prayer and Desire
Jacob had fled Haran after doing his service to Laban his father in law and was now returning to the land of his father, Isaac.
But it was fearful return because he had to deal with his twin brother Esau from whom he fled many years ago.
He sent messengers ahead to prepare the way and to smooth the reunion but learned that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men.
This of course brought fear to Jacob and drove him to his knees in prayer.
We see here how need establishes desire. Listen to this heartfelt prayer in Gen 32:9-12.
And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
In Gen 32:24 we see how the Lord assured Jacob of his blessing by coming to him as a man and engaging in a wrestling match with him.
Gen 32:24-28, And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacobís thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
Jacob was under the gun.
Esau was coming with 400 men. Jacob imagined every bad thing and he so needed refuge in God and would not let God go until he blessed him.
I imagine the Lord was extremely pleased with Jacob as he challenged him to let him go.
He said ďLet me go, JacobĒ to challenge Jacobís resolve.
Oh, how easy it is and how it shows our lack of character when we so easily let go of God at the slightest provocation.
We go to God so casually and so carelessly without that compelling desire to receive Godís blessing.
But Jacob was determined to have Godís blessing.
And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
Jacob was not cold or lukewarm about the blessing of God.
Jacob was red hot, he must have the blessing of God. In his mind it was a matter of life or death.
He was not about to let go even though his thigh was out of joint.
And because of his steadfastness he received the blessing of God for God told him he had prevailed with God, he had overcome, he had power with God for that is what Jacob desired.
Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, (heel catcher or supplanter, schemer, trickster, swindler) but Israel (contender or prince with God): for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
(ďLord, I cannot let Thee go,
Till a blessing Thou bestow;
Do not turn away Thy face;
Mineís an urgent, pressing case.Ē)
Jacob had power with God because he desired power with God.
I will not let thee go except thou bless me was the desire of his heart.
And God gave him the desire of his heart because that kind of praying is within the will of God.
Jacob, now called Prince with God, was not lukewarm toward God but was on fire for God.
And God expects us to be on fire for him.
As far as He is concerned that is to be the norm.
The absence of desire in the heart is a sign of Godís absence from the heart.
God has expressed himself to the Laodiceans of all times.
He will not tolerate insincerity and lukewarmness.
Lack of heart and lack of heat are two things he loathes and will not abide.
I will spue (or vomit) thee out of My mouth.
He will not put up with these lacks for a moment.
It is the fervent effectual prayer that avails much.
This is that antithesis of lukewarmness.
Effective prayer is prayer that is from a heart that is on fire for Christ.
God looks upon his throne as a fortress to be taken by those who will besiege and assault it in earnesness.
He challenges the resolve of those who come to the fortress by saying ďlet me goĒ and many easily let God go and they go their way without receiving the blessing of God.
They have little resolve, little desire and simply receive the mercy drops from Godís hand.
We are to pray without ceasing?
We are to pray and not let God go!
We are to pray with ardent and earnest desire.
Ardent or earnest desire is not a shallow or fickle inclination but it is a strong yearning, an eagerness that fixes the heart toward God.
David had such desire for David was a man after Godís own heart.
Paul wrote of Godís conclusion about David in Acts 13:22, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
The Amplified Bible says it this way: I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, who will do all My will, and carry out My program fully.
Being after Godís own heart is desiring to know and to do Godís will fully.
Being after Godís own heart is to know Godís heart and the only way to know Godís heart is to know Godís word and to flee to God as your only refuge.
Study and prayer!
Being after Godís own heart is like a bulldog attached to the leg.
Donít let go until Godís heart is known.
God says ďLet me goĒ to challenge your resolve, but donít let go!
Go after Godís own heart!
To know Godís heart is to receive Godís blessing.
As a fire consumes the wood we are to be on fire in prayer.
We are to be consumed with desire to receive the blessing of God!
God desires that we have consuming desire for consuming desire brings successful praying.
Edward M. Bounds in his book ďThe Necessity of PrayerĒ writes this:
Without desire, there is no burden of soul, no sense of need, no ardency, no vision, no strength, no glow of faith. There is no mighty pressure, no holding on to God, with a deathless, despairing graspóďI will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.Ē There is no utter self-abandonment, as there was with Moses, when, lost in the throes of a desperate, pertinacious, and all-consuming plea he cried: ďYet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin; if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book.Ē Or, as there was with John Knox when he pleaded: ďGive me Scotland, or I die!Ē
God draws mightily near to the praying soul. To see God, to know God, and to live for God ó these form the objective of all true praying. Thus praying is, after all, inspired to seek after God. Prayer-desire is inflamed to see God, to have clearer, fuller, sweeter and richer revelation of God. So to those who thus pray, the Bible becomes a new Bible, and Christ a new Savior, by the light and revelation of the inner chamber.