Notice the entrance requirements to Christ’s kingdom, as given by the Lord Himself: "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 11:12).
"The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it" (Luke 16:16).
It is when you get stirred to the very bottom of your soul or when you stir up yourself (Isa. 64:7) until you have settled it before God that you are going to have your prayer answered – one way or the other or die in the attempt – it is then that God begins to work with you as you have begun wholeheartedly to work with Him for the accomplishment of the thing you are praying about.
For God says, "Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).
The reason we have so little faith is because we have so little love for God in our heart. We love other things more than we love the cause of Christ. We put friends, or loved ones, or wife or children, or our property, or our reputation, or our own comfort or pleasure or convenience first – and then attempt to have God take second place – and He will not do it.
The Word of God is very clear and positive in the statement that "Faith… worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6). When we have genuine love for God in our heart it will push faith out on the battlefield to accomplish things for the cause of Christ.
The reason we do not "Seek…first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness" as the Lord tells us to do (Matt. 6:33), is simply because we do not love God as we should love Him, for Jesus says absolutely, "If a man love Me, he will keep My words" (John 14:23).
It has always been true that God meets a desperate soul – one who is determined to please the Lord – even if it means the loss of all friends, the loss of home, the estrangement from all loved ones, the loss of a good job and of every visible means of support – even if it means the loss of life itself.
"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him" (2 Chron. 16:9). God Almighty is looking for a chance to help anybody in the whole world who will seek Him desperately, wholeheartedly!
Jacob got desperate, "I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me" (Gen. 32:26) and God answered his cry for deliverance and even exceeding abundantly above all he asked or thought (Eph. 3:20), changing his very name, and saying, "For as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Gen. 32:28). "Israel," the new name God gave to Jacob, means, "a prince of (or with) God."
Ruth got desperate. The God whom Naomi served was going to be her God, although it meant leaving her own people and her own country – and God did not despise the desperation of this Moabite maiden but saw to it that she was blessed. Her first son was Obed, the grandfather of David the king (Ruth 1:16-17; 4:10-17).
Hannah got desperate. She fasted. She wept because she was barren. Finally she got not only desperate, but also, unselfish in her prayer – and told the Lord that if He would give her a man child – "Then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life" (1 Sam. 1:11).
Again, as in the case of Jacob’s desperate cry for help, the Lord answered exceeding abundantly above all Hannah asked or thought – and not only took away her reproach of barrenness by giving her a man child – but, blessed be God, He gave her a prophet – Samuel!
The Shunammite woman got desperate. Her child had died. She went right after Elisha, the man of God. She not only took her dead child to the room of Elisha, and put him on Elisha’s bed – she not only sought Elisha till she had found him, and he had sent his servant to put his staff on the face of the dead child – but she stuck right with Elisha himself until he came and ministered himself directly for the restoration of her son – and her son lived!
See how her determination and her desperation moved Elisha: "And the mother of the child said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he (Elisha) arose and followed her" (2 Kgs. 4:30).
Some women have very strong emotions – very intense love, and, when they know God and know His willingness, His eagerness to answer prayer – this love pushes faith out on the battlefield and gets things done! "Faith…worketh by love," and, just as the Bible says, "Through faith…Women received their dead raised to life again" (Heb. 11:32-35).
When I was 17 years old I left home. I was not saved. My mother wrote me, "Willard, when you left home, I felt like shutting myself in my room, and doing nothing but pray for you."
Instead of being discouraged when I left home, my mother became desperate in her prayers to God for her boy. And there, away from home, in a few days, I decided to serve my mother’s God. It pays to mean business with God!
Nehemiah loved God so much that when he heard of the frightful desolation and reproach that had befallen Jerusalem, he was stirred. He says, "I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven" (Neh. 1:1-4). Nehemiah’s great love for God put faith on the battlefield to win tremendous victories for the cause of the Lord – against fearful odds!
Daniel loved God. When he read the prophecy of Jeremiah concerning the beloved city of Jerusalem, he was so stirred that he began desperately to seek the Lord. He says, "I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth, and ashes" (Dan. 9:1-3). As Daniel humbled himself and desperately sought the Lord, God sent the angel Gabriel to give him skill and understanding (Dan. 9:20-27).
Our Lord’s Desperation
The Lord Jesus Himself, when He came to Gethsemane – perhaps the earth’s greatest battlefield of all the ages – "He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed" (Matt. 26:36-39).
Yet in the desperation of this awful hour of sorrow, and darkness, and distress – Jesus was careful to make it very clear and positive that He was humbly and completely submissive to His Father’s will, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Matt. 26:39).
Oh, may God, for Jesus’ sake, help us always to say, from our heart, regardless of what may happen or not happen – knowing that God’s will is always best – "Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done, O Lord."
In Luke 22:39-44, we see further that Jesus "kneeled down, and prayed…and being in an agony He prayed more earnestly." Oh, brother, sister, if the Son of God prayed more earnestly – how much more do we need, in these dark days, to pray more earnestly, more desperately! May God help us!
Our Lord says, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:38). Jesus, in Gethsemane, was desperate. He kept awake until He had prayed through! Peter went to sleep in Gethsemane before he prayed through (Matt. 26:40-41), and then Peter cut off a man’s ear trying to defend the Lord (John 18:10-11). Jesus had already won the victory by staying awake and praying through. He did not have to cut off anyone’s ear to maintain His cause. God maintained His cause!
"Loose the Bands"
Have you a friend or a loved one in prison, bound by drugs, or alcohol, or lust, or unbelief? Then get desperate, and use God’s appointed means for their full and complete deliverance! God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Peter was in prison, "But prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him" (Acts 12:3-5). God answered the prayer and sent an angel to release Peter, and Peter "came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying" (Acts 12:6-17).
You may feel that you have so little time and strength to seek the Lord, to desperately pray about your problems, and that there is not much use to start seeking the Lord earnestly. But be not deceived or diverted or discouraged, brother, sister. God looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). Start now to desperately, wholeheartedly seek the Lord!
Do what you can, and God Himself will see to it that you are given more opportunity to seek Him, for Jesus says, "Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance" (Matt. 25:29). That is to say, use what you have for God, and God will see to it that you are given more to use for Him. "For who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zech. 4:10).
"Now Is the Accepted Time"
2 Corinthians 6:2
God’s Word says that now is the accepted time. Will you now set your face to seek the Lord desperately until He fully answers your prayers, with the intent and purpose and the fixed resolve, that, from henceforth, from this very moment, without one bit of delay, you shall, by His grace, "Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s" (1 Cor. 6:19-20)?