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By Pastor Michael Olawore New Wine Church, London

Foundation Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5; Romans 4: 17 Sunday 17 June 2012 Over the past few weeks we have been talking about reconstructing our lives according to God’s original design. In the message, ‘The Power of Prayer’ we examined prayer as a mechanism by which we can reconstruct our lives and its ability to affect our destiny. We looked at various characters from scripture and their engagement in prayer including Abraham, Moses, Hezekiah, Elijah and also Jesus understanding that without prayer, God does nothing but that heaven responds to the prayer of faith. We considered God’s position as far as prayer is concerned namely, that He does not have a problem with answering our prayers, having issued the guarantee in Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you’, but the enduring problem was a reluctance on our part to call upon the Lord, essentially, a shortage of prayer. We looked at the example of Hannah who engaged with God at a unique level at Shiloh which resulted in God’s provision of Samuel, the meaning of which ‘Because I have asked for him from the Lord’, represented her repeated requests for a child. From this account in particular we understood that there is always something to show for our efforts in the place of prayer; there is always an answer. Today, in continuation of this theme, I want us to look together at the things that we can do to ensure that we receive the answers to our prayers; the posture that we can adopt that gets God’s attention. In the bible we see many accounts of men and women who persisted in the place of prayer. From this we can extract the truth that God is a prayer­answering God. There is nothing that He cannot handle and nothing takes Him by surprise, irrespective of how intimidating the challenge may appear. He is more than able and has promised to answer us when we call upon Him. We must embrace these truths fully in our spirits. If we fail to do so and are not completely convinced beyond all doubt that God answers prayers we will, in all likelihood, give up rather than persist in the place of prayer. It is important to recognise that giving up rather than persisting and travailing in the place of prayer, has implications for not just our lives but for those who are, and may be connected to us; literally countless destinies. It is for this reason, too costly an option to consider; giving up therefore, is simply not an option. In 1 Kings 18: 41 we see the account of Elijah whom, having heard God’s promise to send rain after more than three years of famine, bowed to the ground and put his head between his knees and although the scripture does not explicitly say this, was clearly praying. Having adopted this position for a period of time Elijah sent his servant to look towards the sea and report back what he saw and was met with the report ‘There is nothing’. He sent his servant back again to observe and report back for a total of seven times before being told that a cloud as small as

 This means that whether we want to or not. whether we refuse to accept ‘no’ or whether we will press in until  we see that which we have prayed for come to pass. In response to the question as to why  Jesus admonished us not to give up. Persistence.  By verse 45. was forced to render a just decision. absolutely refuse to lose heart.  Regardless of the circumstances that you face and how long you may have faced them. Jesus instructed us to learn a lesson from  the unjust judge whom. In response to the word of the Lord. in response to the idolatry in the land. fast food and drive­through restaurants and consequently our expectation of an  immediate response to our every need has robbed us of the ability to appreciate the quality of  persistence. it is clear that He guarantees that God will come through for us. as we can see. namely that we must be prepared to persist in the place of prayer  and petition. Without that  absolute certainty that God is a prayer­answering God and will answer when we call. It is  up to us to choose which option to settle for. God’s preference is always  ‘there is heavy rain’. Elijah  undertook some key steps: He first removed all the hindrances to answered prayer by slaughtering the  . Until that time Jacob’s name was synonymous with  being cheat and a supplanter but his struggle with God changed everything. However.   Returning to Luke 18 and the parable of the persistent widow. because of the widow’s persistence. Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?’ We can be assured from Jesus’ instruction that God will grant us justice  and our persistence in the place of prayer will not go unanswered but there is a valuable learning  opportunity that we cannot overlook. always pays off. namely ‘there is nothing’ and ‘there is heavy rain’ are always available to us. refusing to let Him go without a blessing.   In Genesis 32. Our prayers are the raw material with which He  manufactures the answer to our petitions. did the story change? How did an emphatic ‘There is nothing’.  God interrupted the famine with a promise to send rain. we are told that ‘there was heavy rain’. But Israel for you have struggled with God and with men. The word ‘always’ here is key. Many of our difficulties arise from the age in which we live. we come across the account of Jacob whom. We can be assured  that there is no promise of God that will be withheld from us. For the avoidance of any doubt. Elijah had pronounced judgement on  the nation of Israel and declared that there would be no rain except at his word. He  said ‘And shall not God avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him. become ‘there was heavy rain’? The key  to the change from one report to the other is encapsulated in one word: persistence. though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. these two distinct options. we must be able to stand firmly  on the word of God and hold our ground in the place of prayer.   In Isaiah 62: 6 we are instructed to pray continually and to give the Lord no rest until He completes his  work. The use of the word ‘until’ should assure us that there is an end­point in sight. you must with all  determination. the literal meaning of which is ‘Prince with God’ declaring ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob. Jacob wrestled with God all night. and have prevailed’. wrestled with God  all night.a man’s hand could be seen rising out of the sea. We will face situations that  seem impossible and we may feel like giving up but to that prospect God says “No!” ‘Men ought always to pray’. We choose the reality that we get. the ‘there is nothing’ and ‘there is heavy rain’ determines what you  experience and therefore determines your destiny.  Our persistence is our faith. we ought always to pray and refuse to give up. The question that remains is this: Will you line up with Him?   It is with this in mind that I want to introduce you to a concept that is key to your walk with God: Persistence in the Place of Prayer. We cannot afford therefore to stop the supply. cave in or quit.   In life. on fleeing Laban’s house. What you permit to  happen between these two options. Hannah petitioned God for a child at Shiloh with such  intensity that only her lips moved and the prophet Eli thought that she was drunk. it would be perverse for  Jesus to instruct us not to lose heart if ultimately God would refuse to answer our prayers. God changed his name to Israel. We live in a high­speed world  of microwaves. we  may ask. Over three years later. How. give up.  In Luke 18:1 Jesus spoke a parable. whether the  conditions are conducive or hostile. both his name and his  destiny. God is working on  that which concerns us and His answer is guaranteed. the essence of which was that ‘men ought always to pray and not lose heart’.   In the account in 1 Kings 17.

 he began to sink. The sky is black and the clouds are  gathering! As you stand firm on the word of God. In Matthew 14 Peter. refusing to take no for an answer. He was tenacious and  unstoppable in the place of prayer. Elijah received a different report. Whatever it is that you may be  facing. The circumstances that you are  facing may appear to be a similar ‘there is nothing’ response but allow me to encourage you to refuse to  accept this.  your ‘impossibilities’ will be turned around and become realities. I urge you to keep your sight firmly fixed on the promises of God. Elijah stood his ground and sent his servant back to observe but was repeatedly told that  there was no improvement.   The unexpressed dialogue between Elijah and his servant must have been tension­filled . The first response however. He then went into prayer. as small as a man’s hand. I declare a change in  your circumstances and a turnaround for every impossible situation. therefore. nothing is impossible. You may have been told that there is no change and no improvement  however. I declare that you will see the answer to your prayers! All things are possible in God. was able to walk on water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. your  restoration and advancement shall manifest ­ There is a heavy rain!     ‘I declare that there will be something to show for your prayers in this season. Elijah could have allowed his focus to shift on  having been repeatedly told ‘there is nothing’ but he stood his ground. your deliverance. ‘There is  a cloud. This  was all that Elijah needed – he immediately instructed the servant to go to Ahab and instruct him to  prepare for a downpour. your healing. When you stand your ground on the word of God  change is inevitable and. How could this be when having heard from God. he  had set about ridding the nation of idolatry and had prayed? Elijah however knew God and knew that He  could not fail and could not lie and that the word of God had to come to pass. you have the responsibility to travail in the place of prayer in order to see the  word of God manifested. rising out of the sea!’ The very same people who have told you that  there is no change will witness firsthand the complete manifestation of God’s word over your life. with the  servant rapidly coming to the conclusion that the man of God had lost it and Elijah becoming more  doggedly determined that he had heard from God and therefore the word had to come to pass and  therefore repeatedly sending him back for another report. instructing his  servant to observe and report back to him. Elijah prayed in response to the word of God.prophets of Baal in the land and restoring the altar of the Lord. This will be your  testimony in this season as you persist in the place of prayer and refuse to give in. the living Word.   On the seventh occasion that he sent his servant to observe. the moment  his focus moved from the word.   Although God has spoken. your provision. He knew whom he believed and  knew His word to be infallible and therefore remained focussed. I beg to differ!  Standing on the word of God always brings about change. you will  remember.  ‘There is nothing’ was not what he was expecting. God will answer your prayers!’      . Soon enough the sky was black and there was heavy rain.

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