"And being in agony He was praying very fervently;" Luke 22:44
Principle: Intense opposition from the enemy requires the Christ follower to respond with intense preparation for war by taking part in fervent prayer.
General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once received a telegram from one of his young officers in the field. He was complaining of the lack of response he found from people in need of conversion. Booth responded with a two word answer, "Try tears!"
The word fervent, describes a person who is overcome with emotion, or is showing great zeal. It can mean fiery, or extremely hot blooded expressions of concern. It is rooted in the Latin word, fervere, to boil or to froth.
Jesus was in the habit of praying. He was familiar with extended periods of prayer, and fasting. However, when He faced his greatest challenge, He brought His greatest weapon to the battle against evil. His fervent prayer intensely focused His mind, will, and emotions on the will of God for Himself and others. Every fiber of His physical and spiritual energy was engaged in intimate and intense communication with the Father, before He engaged the enemy.
Jesus prepared Himself for successful warfare against the enemy through this kind of passionate communication with His heavenly Father. Fervent prayer was a powerful weapon in His spiritual arsenal. It enabled Jesus to stand against the attack of the enemy, until God accomplished His will through Christ's death upon the cross. His obedience to the will of the Father was the key to victory at Calvary.
Fervent describes more than a mere head knowledge about prayer. It is a word picture for a fire in the heart for an answer to prayer. This kind of prayer prepares a Christ follower to stand in the face of intimidating circumstances, and invading forces of evil.
God was at work in the life of Jesus. He intended to use His Son's death as the key to the salvation of those around Him, and generations of people yet to be born. The courage of Jesus to stand firm in the face of the enemy was born out of His humility to kneel before God and to ask for His help to carry out His Father's will.
Effective spiritual warfare does not call for a secret weapon. It only requires the use of the weapon a Christ follower already possesses, but seldom uses. In spiritual warfare, when believers try to defeat the enemy with logic, reason, hard work, insight, tradition, and any other form of man-made instruments of war, it is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.
The Practice of Prayer: What are you praying for that cannot be done without God's divine intervention? Who are you praying for that needs to be rescued from the hands of the enemy? Place before God, you own list of intimidating circumstances that need to change, and irritating people who need to be converted.
The Thought for the Day: Intense spiritual warfare calls for a response of fervent prayer. Your prayer life should make it hard for people to go to hell in your city.
"Prayer is an essential link in the chain of causes that lead to a revival, as much so as truth is. Some have zealously used truth to convert men with great zeal, and then wondered that they had so little success. And the reason was they forgot to use the other branch and the means, effectual prayer. They overlooked the fact that truth by itself will never produce the effect, with the Spirit of God." Charles Finney