"And it came about that as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.
"And these are the ones who are beside the road where the Word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the Word which has been sown in them." (Mark 4:4,15)
A bird eats only the life of a seed. For instance, birds love sunflower seeds, but they never eat the husk, they eat only the portion that contains life. Satan does that with the word of God when he can. He doesn't remove the word from the hearer, he removes the life of the word.
Intercession is a good example. The average Christian believes in prayer, but his prayer life probably consists mostly of disjointed utterances tossed up to heaven with the hope that something good might come of them. Satan has been successful in stealing life from the truth that specific prayer of intercession is the most powerful tool Jesus entrusted to His disciples.
We should ask ourselves: How important are my prayers? Am I conscious of that? Do I pray, hoping my prayers might be heard, or do I pray with the assurance that I activate the power of God in the person or the situation for which I pray? The correct answer to those questions is revealed when we realize how persistently and fervently we pray.
Most of us are like the disciples who were gathered together, praying for Peter's release from prison (Acts 12:5-16). When the Lord answered their prayers supernaturally, they couldn't believe it. Had someone asked them if they believed in the power of prayer, they would have said, "Yes, we do!" But obviously, it wasn't the amount of faith they displayed, it was their obedience, their willingness to pray.
Why are we such wimps when it comes to prayer? Why do we tell ourselves prayer is not that important, or we don't have enough time to pray, or the situation doesn't present itself properly for prayer? We allow the enemy to extract life from the truth about the power of prayer. If we grasp the reality of life in prayer, we become warriors instead of wimps.
A biblical example of the power of intercessory prayer is in Exodus 17:8-13. Joshua and the army of Israel were battling Amalek and his army. Moses, along with Aaron and Hur, climbed to the top of a nearby hill to observe and to intercede in prayer for Joshua.
So long as Moses' hands were raised in prayer, Joshua and his army prevailed. But, when Moses' hands grew heavy and he was forced to lower them, Amalek and his army prevailed. The problem was solved when Aaron stood on one side of Moses and Hur stood on the other side. Together they held Moses' hands in the raised position until Joshua overwhelmed and destroyed the army of Amalek.
From Joshua's perspective, a blood-bath was taking place. He was in a life and death encounter, totally occupied with the demand of the situation. But the outcome of that physical battle did not rest in the power of Joshua's ability.
The real battle was spiritual. It took place in the heavenlies, and was settled through the power of persistent intercessory prayer. Actually, double intercession took place. While Moses interceded for Joshua, Aaron and Hur interceded for Moses.
We almost always know someone who is going through a traumatic experience, someone so occupied with the situation he has neither the time nor the mental attitude to pray for himself. What do we do in his behalf? Do we really believe in the power of prayer, and that the battles are actually spiritual battles to be won in the heavenlies?
Consider the story about Lazarus (John 11:1-44). We are prone to roll a stone in front of the spiritual graves of "hopeless" sinners who we know will never make it into heaven. We seal their spiritual graves and write them off.
Jesus would have us remove the stones by the force of intercession. When we do, we observe His resurrection power. We have no right to decide that a particular person is a spiritual write-off. Our job is to do spiritual battle to keep the door open for Jesus to work in that person's life.
How did we enter the kingdom of God? We probably rode in on a wave of intercession by a persistent, diligent parent, grandparent, relative or friend. We should be grateful someone kept the stone rolled away from our spiritual grave!
Jesus told us to knock and keep on knocking; to seek and keep on seeking; to ask and keep on asking. A disciple of Christ really does believe in the power of prayer. Therefore, we should be decisive, determined, deliberate and dedicated to activate God's power in every situation that comes across our paths! Our specific, persistent prayer does make a difference!
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: In how many people have I activated God's power today?