Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking (Part 2)

prayer-word-press

The Bible lists example after example of people who refused to turn back. They were absolutely desperate to seeing God work, and they didn’t let a lack of response or even a clear ‘no’ stop them from persevering with God in prayer. They were willing to do anything and everything to get to God.

Consider the following examples…

ABRAHAM PLEADING FOR SODOM AND GOMORRAH

Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

…Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake” (Genesis 18:20-26).

REQUEST
> Abraham wanted God to show mercy to Sodom and Gomarrah.

OBSTACLES
> Although God had not explicitly stated that he would wipe out Sodom and Gomarrah, Abraham had rightly assumed that this was His intent.

RESPONSE
> Abraham sought God’s favour by presenting a case for mercy.
> He appealed to God’s sense of right and wrong.
> He argued that it would not be right to wipe out the righteous along with the wicked.

OUTCOME
> The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake”.
> Abraham continued to plead his case, eventually persuading God not to wipe out Sodom and Gomorrah if there are 10 righteous people there. Unfortunately God could not find 10, so the city was destroyed. But it was clear that Abraham’s argument and persistence had an impact, and may very well have saved the city if he had kept going.

JACOB WRESTLING WITH GOD

Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” …Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome” (Genesis 32:24-28)

REQUEST
> Jacob wanted to be blessed.

OBSTACLES
> Jacob had wrestled all night.
> Jacob’s hip was broken by the One who he was trying to get blessed by.
> He was commanded to let go.

RESPONSE
> Jacob declared “I will not let go unless you bless me”.

OUTCOME
> God blessed Him. In fact, God even changed his name to ‘Israel’ (meaning ‘triumphant with God’) as a declaration that he had wrestled with God to receive the blessing.

MOSES AND THE BURNING BUSH

The Lord said… “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ …God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you’ …The elders of Israel will listen to you… And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord…has appeared to you.” Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow. “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh. Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.” (Exodus 3:7-4:17)

REQUEST
> Moses was unhappy with God’s command.

OBSTACLES
> God had specifically commanded Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

RESPONSE #1
> Moses argues that He is a ‘nobody’.

OUTCOME #1
> God tells Moses that He will go with him and that the Israelites will one day worship Him on this mountain.

RESPONSE #2
> Moses argues that the Israelites might not follow him.

OUTCOME #2
> God tells Moses to say that His name is ‘I AM’, and that the Egyptians will hand over their possessions to the Israelites as they leave.

RESPONSE #3
> Moses again argues that they Israelites might not believe him.

OUTCOME #3
> God gives Moses the ability to perform three miraculous signs as proof that He had sent him.

RESPONSE #4
> Moses argues that he is not a good enough speaker to carry out the task.

OUTCOME #4
> God tells Moses that He is the One who gave Moses his voice and that He will teach him what to say.

RESPONSE #5
> Moses requests that God send someone else.

OUTCOME #5
> Although God doesn’t send someone else, He gives him Aaron to speak instead. God will teach both of them what to say.

MOSES AND THE GOLDEN CALF

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf… I have seen these people… and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

But Moses sought the favour of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’”

Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened (Exodus 32:7-14).

REQUEST
> Moses wanted God to show mercy to the Israelites.

OBSTACLES
> God had already declared that He would destroy them. There was every reason for Moses to think that it was too late.

RESPONSE
> Moses sought God’s favour by presenting a case for mercy.
> He appealed to God to protect His reputation.
> He reminded God of His promises.

OUTCOME
> “The Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened”.

MOSES AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way”… 

Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me… Remember that this nation is your people.”

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name” (Exodus 33:1-3, 12, 14-17).

REQUEST
> It was not enough for God to promise the Israelites success, Moses wanted God to go with them.

OBSTACLES
> God had already declared that He would not go with the Israelites. He was concerned that might destroy them because they are a ‘stiff-necked people’.

RESPONSE #1
> Moses presents His case to God.
> He argues that he has been called to lead, yet God has not told him who He will send with him.
> He reminds God that the Israelites are His people.

OUTCOME #1
> The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest”.

RESPONSE #2
> To make really sure of it, Moses says: “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here”.
> Moses then argues that if God doesn’t go with them, no one will know that God is pleased with them.

OUTCOME #2
> The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

MOSES IN THE WILDERNESS

The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”

Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. (Numbers 14:11-23)

REQUEST
> Moses wanted God to show mercy to the Israelites.

OBSTACLES
> God had just declared that He will strike down the Israelites with a plague because they did not trust Him and refused to go into the Promised Land.

RESPONSE
> Moses presents His case to God.
> He reminds God that the Egyptians have seen how He is present with the Israelites.
> He argues that other nations will conclude that God was unable to bring His people into the Promised Land.
> He reminds God that He is slow to anger willing to forgive.
> He reminds God that He has forgiven the sins of the Israelites in the past.

OUTCOME
> God forgave the Israelites and did not destroy them. He did however declare that they would not enter the Promised Land.

ELIJAH PRAYING FOR RAIN

The word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab… Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling. (1 Kings 18:1-2, 41-45)

REQUEST
> God called Elijah to present himself to Ahab and then He would send rain. So Elijah presented himself to Ahab, and prayed for rain.

OBSTACLES
> Even though God had promised rain, the rain did not come.

RESPONSE
> Elijah continued to pray for rain and sent his servant to check if the rain was on its way.

OUTCOME
> After the seventh time Elijah prayed, a small cloud began to form. Eventually a heavy rain started falling.

AHAB BEING TOLD HE WILL DIE

Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’ “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.” (1 Kings 21:20-24, 27-29)

REQUEST
> Ahab wanted God to show him mercy.

OBSTACLES
> God had already declared that Ahab would die and that his descendants would be wiped out. There was no reason whatsoever for Ahab to believe that God would show mercy.

RESPONSE
> Ahab repented of his sin, tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted.

OUTCOME
> God noticed Ahab’s brokenness, and decided to delay the punishment that He had promised.

HEZEKIAH BEING TOLD HE WILL DIE

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defendthis city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’” Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered. Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?” Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?” “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. (2 Kings 20:1-11)

REQUEST
> Hezekiah wanted God to allow him to live.

OBSTACLES
> God had already declared that Hezekiah will die from his sickness and then even went so far as to say that he will not recover. There was no reason whatsoever for Hezekiah to believe that God would heal him.

RESPONSE
> Hezekiah appealed to God to remember his faithfulness. He then wept bitterly.

OUTCOME
> God promised to extend Hezekiah’s life by 15 years.
> God promised to rescue the city from the king of Assyria.
> God confirmed his promises to Hezekiah by giving him a supernatural sign.

SHUNAMMITE WOMAN PRAYING FOR HER SON

“About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”

But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. He said to his father, “My head! My head!”

His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.

She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”

“Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”

“That’s all right,” she said.

She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’”

“Everything is all right,” she said.

When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”

“Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”

But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.

Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”

When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out. (2 Kings 4:16-37)

REQUEST
> The Shunammite Woman wanted her dead son brought back to life.

OBSTACLE #1
> The Shunammite Woman’s son was not sick but actually dead.

RESPONSE #1
> Despite her son being dead, the Shunmmite Woman believed that Elisha could heal him so decided to go see him.

OBSTACLE #2
> The Shunammite Woman’s husband told her not to go see Elisha because it was not the New Moon or the Sabbath.

RESPONSE #2
> The Shunammite Woman decided to go anyway.

OBSTACLE #3
> Elisha saw the Shunammite Woman coming from a distance. So he sent his servant Gehazi to meet her and ask what was wrong.

RESPONSE #3
> The Shunammite Woman wasn’t happy to talk to Elisha’s servant Gehazi. She wanted to talk directly to Elisha himself. So she kept pursuing him.

OBSTACLE #4
> When the Shunammite Woman finally reached Elisha she took hold of his feet. His servant Gehazi pushed her away.

RESPONSE #4
> Elisha told his servant Gehazi to leave her alone. The Shunammite Woman then said: “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

OBSTACLE #5
> Elisha then sent his servant Gehazi to take Elisha’s staff and place it on the boy’s face.

RESPONSE #5
> But the Shunammite Woman was not happy with this. She said: “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So Elisha got up and followed her.

OBSTACLE #6
> Elisha stretched himself out on the Shunammite Woman’s son in order to heal him. But it did not work.

RESPONSE #6
> Elisha had to again lie on the boy a second time.

OUTCOME
> The Shunammite Woman’s son was completely healed.

EZEKIEL UNHAPPY WITH GOD’S COMMAND

“Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.” Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.” “Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.” (Ezekial 4:12-15).

REQUEST
> Ezekial was unhappy with God’s command.

OBSTACLES
> God had specifically commanded Ezekial to eat food cooked over human excrement to depict that Israel will eat defiled food when the nations drive them out.

RESPONSE
> Ezekial said: “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth”

OUTCOME
> God changed his command: “Very well… I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement”

DANIEL WANTING FOR AN INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION

In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel… Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over…

A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Daniel 10:1-3, 10-13).

REQUEST
> Daniel had received a vision from God, but wanted to God to give him an interpretation of the vision.

OBSTACLES
> Daniel began to fast and pray for an interpretation, but no interpretation was received.

RESPONSE
> Daniel continued to fast and pray for 21 days.

OUTCOME
> Eventually Daniel received the vision after 21 days.
> He also found out that God had answered his prayer at the beginning of the 21 days, however the angel who was sent to give the interpretation was intercepted by a demon (the king of Persia). They fought for 21 days until eventually God sent the angel Michael to overcome the demon, allowing the first angel to deliver the interpretation to Daniel.

AMOS ASKING GOD TO SHOW MERCY

This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up. When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” 

So the Lord relented. “This will not happen,” the Lord said.

This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”

So the Lord relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign Lord said. (Amos 7:1-6)

REQUEST
> Amos wanted God to show mercy.

OBSTACLE #1
> God had already declared that locusts would devour the land.

RESPONSE #1
> Amos cried out for mercy.

OUTCOME #1
> God relented.

OBSTACLE #2
> God had already declared that there would be judgement by fire.

RESPONSE #2
> Amos cried out for mercy.

OUTCOME #2
> God relented.

THE NINEVITES REPENTING OF SIN

Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. (Jonah 3:4-10)

REQUEST
> The Ninevites cried out for mercy, not wanting to be destroyed.

OBSTACLES
> God had already declared that Nineveh will be overthrown in forty days. There was no indication that if they repented that God would show them mercy.

RESPONSE
> A national fast was declared. All people and animals were banned from eating or drinking, and were covered in sackcloth.
> Everyone called urgently on God.
> Everyone gave up their evil ways and violence.

OUTCOME
> God “relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”

PARALYSED MAN BEING LOWERED THROUGH THE ROOF

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven… I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” (Mark 2:1-5, 11)

REQUEST
> The Paralysed Man wanted to be healed.

OBSTACLE #1
> The paralysed man could not walk to Jesus.

RESPONSE #1
> He found four people to carry him to Jesus.

OBSTACLE #2
> Once they arrived, they found Jesus inside a house that was so crowded they had no chance of getting to Him.

RESPONSE #2
> The men carrying the Paralysed Man found a way to make an opening in the roof and lowed him down to Jesus.

OUTCOME
> Jesus noticed their faith and forgave the Paralysed Man’s sins and healed him completely.

MAN NEEDING BREAD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. (Luke 11:5-8)

REQUEST
> The man went to his friend in the middle of the night wanting 3 loaves of bread.

OBSTACLES
> The friend’s door is locked
> The friend’s children are in bed with him & his wife
> The friend literally says “Don’t bother me”

RESPONSE
> Jesus explains that the friend will not get up and give the bread because of his friendship, but rather because of the shameless audacity

OUTCOME
> Jesus says that the man will get as much bread as he needs.

CANAANITE WOMAN PRAYING FOR HER DAUGHTER

Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret… A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Mark 7:24, Matthew 15:22-28)

REQUEST
> The Canaanite Woman wanted her daughter to be free from demon-possession.

OBSTACLE #1
> Jesus had entered a house to hide from the crowds.

RESPONSE #1
> The Canaanite Woman tracked Jesus down.
> She then appealed to Jesus’ mercy and asked for Him to cast out the demons.

OBSTACLE #2
> Jesus didn’t answer a word.

RESPONSE #2
> The Canaanite Woman continues to cry out to Jesus.

OBSTACLE #3
> The disciples tell Jesus to send her away.
> Jesus then says to her: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”

RESPONSE #3
> The Canaanite Woman then went and knelt before Jesus and said “Lord, help me!”

OBSTACLE #4
> Jesus says: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs”

RESPONSE #4
> The Canaanite Woman says: “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table”.

OUTCOME
> Jesus said: “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted”
> The Canaanite Woman’s daughter was healed that very hour.

WIDOW CRYING OUT FOR JUSTICE TO UNJUST JUDGE

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8).

REQUEST
> The Widow wants justice against her adversary.

OBSTACLES
> The Unjust Judge does not care about God or what people think
> For some time the Unjust Judge refused to grant justice.

RESPONSE
> Jesus explains that the Unjust Judge will not grant justice because he fears God or cares what people think, but because the Widow keeps bothering him.

OUTCOME
> The Widow is granted justice.

OFFICIAL ASKING JESUS TO HEAL HIS SON

Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” (John 4:46-50)

REQUEST
> The official asked Jesus to heal his son.

OBSTACLES
> Jesus had just performed turned water into wine. He was concerned that people would only believe in Him if He performed signs and wonders. As a result, the official gets the impression that Jesus is unwilling to heal his son.

RESPONSE
> The official asks again, stressing the urgency of the situation.

OUTCOME
> Jesus heals the official’s son.

READ OTHER PARTS OF THIS SERIES

SHARE THIS ON FACEBOOK

Advertisements