By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
That’s what the ants around my home in the summer are. And that’s what we as powerful prayer-filled Christians have to be.
These ants were photographed at the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. Photo by Vilseskogen.
During the winter, those ants stick to their actual place of residence.
But, when it gets really hot, and the air is already dry, those ants come looking for water. They show up in corners and on counters, by windows and sinks.
Graphic used with permission by Insight Pest
In previous years, I’ve tried to make life difficult for them with natural blockers like vinegar and diatomaceous earth. Once several of their friends dehydrate or die, the ants recede back to wherever they came from.
Not this year.
This year, they are relentless.
Just Keep Praying
I spray, I scatter, they just keep coming. My kitchen has never been so clean because if I have a crumb of food left behind somewhere, they will find it. If I leave a puddle of water, they will make a beeline to it (should I say “antline”?).
Thankfully, the ant invasion is limited to the sides and corners of my home, but it has still been a hassle. On my more frustrating days, I just want to throw in the towel and say, ‘ok, you win – take what you need.’
I joked with a friend that “ants could take over the world” because they just don’t give up! Like the persistent widow in a parable of Jesus, they don’t stop until they get what they want.
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1 NIV
In this story, there is a judge who “neither feared God nor cared what people thought.” He is besieged by a widow who keeps asking for justice against her adversary.
“For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.
And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?…” Luke 18:1-7 ESV
Jesus reminds the disciples (and us) of the power of not just prayer, but relentless prayer, in Matthew as well.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11 ESV
In some translations, the ask-seek-knock is written as “keep asking…keep seeking…keep knocking.” The original Greek manuscript was written in ‘continuous present’ tense – which means instead of a once and done action, it’s an action that takes place over a long time (modern English shows this with perfect tenses). It’s not a once-and-done situation.
Image by Roger Coles of YouVersion
Jesus brings home this point again in Luke 11, telling of a man that comes to a friend’s house at midnight to borrow food, and just won’t go away until he gets his answer.
“I say to you, though [the man of the house] will not rise and give [the bread] to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many [loaves] as he needs.” Luke 11:8 NKJV
We don’t get to pray one time and figure it’s all good. God has set up this world that we continue to fight for what we desire or who we’re concerned about in prayer. We just don’t give up until the answer or solution comes (although that answer is not always the one we want).
Sometimes, it’s a case of timing because God has the big picture, and we don’t. I have had multiple occasions where I wanted a house or an apartment now, and didn’t understand why my prayer wasn’t being answered the way I wanted it, only to discover later that the best place to meet my needs just wasn’t available yet.
Have you experienced that before with a job or home or relationship? We can trust that God sees all, knows all, and has not forgotten us, but He is often on a different schedule.
“Great is our [majestic and mighty] Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is inexhaustible [infinite, boundless].” Psalm 147:5 AMP
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” Isaiah 40:28 ESV (the entire Isaiah 40 is about the greatness and power of God)
A Spiritual Battle
Sometimes, we need to remain in prayer because there are two spiritual kingdoms – good and evil, God and the devil – and they are set against one other.
Spoiler alert – we’ve read the back of the Bible book and we win, but that does not mean we never have to fight battles in the meantime.
But, if we continue in prayer, continue in the spiritual trenches, we can many times change the course of the battle.
In Daniel 10, the prophet was contending in prayer for an explanation of a vision and wisdom for the king. When the answer finally came, Daniel learned that the angel sent to deliver the message was waylaid by a heavenly clash.
“Then the [the angel] said to me, ‘Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.
The prince of the kingdom of Persia [a minion of satan] withstood me 21 days; but Michael, one of the chief princes [God’s angels], came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand…for the vision is for days yet to come.” Daniel 10:12-14 ESV
What would have happened if Daniel had given up when he didn’t get the answer he needed right away? That battle between the angel and Michael and the kings of Persia could have had a different outcome.
Daniel, like the ants, was relentless. He and numerous other Bible heroes continued to fight, to seek the Lord’s wisdom, to not give up until they received the answer they needed.
How about us? Will we contend in prayer and be persistent? Will we hold on until the answer comes?
May God use all the tools of His good Kingdom to get you the answer you need, and if possible, the result you desire.
Please share stories of answered prayer with us by emailing Office Manager Sarah Mullens at firstname.lastname@example.org.