I often see a prayer request appear on my Facebook newsfeed and I typically respond with “praying!” to acknowledge that I see the request and let the person know that I will be mindful about their need and will pray about it. If a friend shares a specific concern with me, I will certainly make the efforts to pray.
When I say that I will pray, I’m sincere.
However, there’s a difference between my daily prayers and a prayer of desperation.
Do you know what I am talking about about? Have you been there? In a desperate situation your heart cries,
“We desperately need a miracle!”
You want others to pray, in fact, you want others to cry out to God with you.
If my soul were in distress with a longing for the miraculous, my prayer would be a plea. It would accompany a deep heart-cry…
“Lord, hear my prayer!”
I would call unto Him from a heart of desperation. Perhaps some might think I were over-reacting, or losing heart, or failing to think “positive” … but I wouldn’t be able to help myself if there existed a need for miraculous intervention.
A desperate heart will take desperate measures. It will inform and ask others to join in the plea. It will cry out and continue to press in to God’s heart until the relief or answer or miracle comes. A desperate heart searches for hope and longs for the intervention.
And that’s just it. We’ve lost our desperation, our longing, our serious approach toward the the things of God and prayer, and perhaps towards our desire to see God’s power. We often seem to sit on the sidelines. Are we desperate enough to want to get in the game?
How important is His intervention to us? Is it important enough to put down the phone, stop everything and take 10 minutes to meet with Him wholeheartedly without distraction, and perhaps with tears?
God has called us to humility and He works mightily when we are totally reliant on Him. We must be desperate for Him.
The church of Laodicea is lukewarm, and in many ways, that is our Christian culture today. We’ve lost our first love, we lost that love-sick longing for the One that holds the key to our lives – the One that can comfort and heal.
Are we willing to take desperate measures to meet Him? He is there offering wisdom, instruction, and healing – but we are often on the outside left standing there with our needs.
Sometimes, in our despair, we lack our desperation for Him.
Do we cry out as the Psalms suggests we should? Do we allow Him to hear our deep desire for Him and His intervention? Do we want to do whatever it takes to be where He is?
He’s in the quiet. He’s in the scripture. He’s in the still. Do we make every effort to be there or take another there in prayer?
Full of Despair.
God please intervene! Please do something!
In the heart of despair rests the acknowledgment that only God can answer and only He can intervene.
God delights in us recognizing our position of need and full reliance upon Him.
He can work with that. He can work with a heart that is postured in humility that recognizes the power that He holds.
I’m reminded of 3 Biblical stories that display desperation and God’s power:
In 1 Kings 17:8-24 there’s the widow of Zarephath living in a land of famine. She is about to prepare the last meal that she and her son will enjoy before inevitable starvation and death.
She’s desperate. She doesn’t anticipate intervention. She accepts her fate.
Elijah then appears on her doorstep in a flight from Jezebel who is pursuing his life. Elijah requests a drink of water and a morsel of bread from the destitute widow. She does not reply with bitterness or scorn, and she certainly does not know the significance of the prophet’s visit.
Elijah tells her in verse 14,
“For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.”
The desperate widow complies to meet the needs of the prophet. She is granted hope and provision.
In the midst of the widow’s great despair, God does the miraculous.
…as He did with the widow of Zarephath.
Did you hear that? God CAN do the miraculous!
In Mark, chapter two, there’s a paralytic man that has friends that are willing to carry him on his mat to see Jesus. They offer practical help but are faced with a literal roadblock of people that are crowded around Jesus. They can not get through the crowds. The friends take desperate measures (some might even consider their efforts unpractical or radical), and they dig a hole in the roof of the building where Jesus is. Can you imagine carrying the paralytic to the roof? Can you imagine carrying tools to the roof and performing such a drastic attempt to get the attention of Jesus? Yet, this is what they do. They drop their paralytic friend on his mat straight through the roof to reach Jesus.
verse 5: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, ‘Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.’”
verse 11: “I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.”
Jesus recognizes the faith of the man’s friends; He then addresses sin and finally heals the paralytic instructing him to take up his bed and walk.
Desperate hearts do take desperate measures. Sometimes, we are called to be the friends in the lives of one suffering. Are we content to simply pray as our destitute friend lies on his bed? Are we a bit lazy and use the excuse that God can do the miraculous on His own without our intervention? It is true that God can do the miraculous in the lives of others without any human effort. However, God will often call His people to be part of the process of provision and healing in the lives of those we know and love.
Even in the story of the widow of Zarephath… Elijah is used to speak hope and truth into the life of the widow. The miraculous is surely to the credit of God alone. However, God ordained Elijah to play a key role.
God delights in reciprocity. He delights in His children enjoying mutually satisfying relationships as they grow with their hearts bent toward loving and obeying Him and each other.
God does not force us to love Him. However, as He loves us and we love Him… the reciprocity in undeniably beautiful!
If your heart is truly in despair for someone and empathizes with her… you will take action or desperate measures. It may not be comfortable, but it does reveal the depth of your love.
Why does God allow your desperation? He wants others to intervene and show His love to you through their kindness. OR, why does God allow the desperation of your friend or loved one? He perhaps wants YOU to show His love through your actions and kindness.
Consider those that offer a organ in order to save the life of another… that is true love.
If you are the loved one or friend of one that is in despair or greatly suffering, are you wiling to carry their mat and help them to a safe haven?
Are you offering help or taking action to alleviate the despair?
Do you despair enough for that person where you cry out to God for intervention?
What part of the intervention will you play?
Perhaps God wants you desperate on behalf of another in order to take desperate measures in prayer and practical ways to carry your loved one or friend.
In the story of the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8:43-48, the woman is desperate for healing after bleeding for twelve years. Her money and resources were spent on physicians that could not heal her. Neither money, knowledge, physicians, or any of her best efforts could heal her.
In her humility and faith, she walked through the crowds and touched the hem of the garment of Jesus. She could’ve been chided for her actions as society deemed her “unclean.” Yet, the power of Jesus touched her. Jesus said,
“Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” (Luke 8:46)
And Jesus said to her, in verse 48,
She took steps toward him, and with each step, she came closer to her healing. In my own life, as I battle Crohns-Colitis I cry out to God in my desperation for healing. I also take steps toward lifestyle changes, healthy eating, and growing in knowledge about ways to strengthen my immune system and intestinal culture. With each step I take toward natural healing, I also reach out to Jesus in faith and I long for His power to go forth in my life and make me well.
Sometimes, we walk alone in the midst of the crowd, like the woman with the issue of blood. Sometimes, we feel alone and misunderstood in our suffering or despair. Yet, we can journey on and seek to touch the hem of Christ’s garment while allowing our faith in Him to release His power in our lives to heal us and increase our faith.
He alone can touch us and heal us. We must increase our faith and keep taking steps toward Him.
Where are you today? Are you familiar with despair and desperation? For yourself? For another? Are you willing to faithfully pray or take action in practical ways to help another in despair?
Are you comfortable clinging to Jesus and entrusting Him to empower you in your own despair?
Why does God want us desperate? He wants to work in our lives and hearts – and in the lives of others around us.
In times of despair when the miraculous doesn’t come the way we hoped…
If despair has touched your life (or when it does in the future)… what will your heart posture be?
If you are in despair now, cry out to Him with your whole heart.
He is able, friend, He is able.
Psalm 40:1-2 I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.