Should I Ever Pray "Harder?"
There have been times in my life when my regular prayer time just didn't cut it.
Years ago, my wife was going through a series of nightmares that were terrorizing her. I will not go into the details here, but they were awful. We prayed. She prayed. We fasted and prayed. But nothing. Now some of you might say, "Well, she needed to see a doctor and get some meds for that." The problem wasn't the nightmares, but their effect on her conscience. Depression set it. Thoughts of doom and disaster began to occupy her every thought. No amount of counseling or encouragement changed anything. This was something bigger and stronger than us.
Daniel 10:12–14 12 Then he 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. 13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come."
Daniel had a vision in chapter 10. He didn't understand it, so he was praying for God to give him insight into what it was all about. After praying and fasting for 21 days, an angel arrived with his answer. But before he told him what the vision was about, he informed him that he had been dispatched 21 days prior, but that "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" had prevented him from arriving. That the archangel Michael had to be sent to help him breakthrough.
Now, this isn't to say that if you pray and fast 21 days you will solve every problem, you will ever have. But it is to say that sometimes you have to pray, "harder" to realize the breakthrough you need. If Daniel hadn't prayed and fasted for 21 days, I don't believe that he would have received the answer he needed.
Understand that if God is doing something in your life, Satan will do all he can to stop it. Why? Two reasons. First of all, you are created in the image of God. This angers Satan every time he sees it, and he wants to destroy it. In short, he wants to hurt God by hurting you. Secondly, when God is moving in your life, Satan considers that his territory. God is breaking through into his wicked kingdom. The lies, the discouragement, the depression, and anything else that he can do to destroy your resolve to follow and obey Christ.
What do you do?
Fast. Fasting has an incredible impact on your inner man. Fasting builds your faith and can encourage you above Satan's schemes.
Ask others to pray. Look for people who you know are people of prayer and will agree with you. Ask them to pray on your behalf and not to let up until you say otherwise.
Ask your church to pray. Allowing everyone who can and will intercede on your behalf in a concert of prayer can change things. Now Satan isn't dealing with the faith of one or a few. Now he has to deal with everyone and he will lose every time.
Betty and I were at a ministers fellowship. We were bringing the event to a conclusion with a time of prayer. A pastor stood up and said that God had told him that there was a pastor's wife who was suffering from horrible nightmares. These nightmares were designed to instill fear into her heart. That they discouraged her from being the wife and leader God had created her to be. He went on to say that there was nothing wrong with this person, that in fact, that they had done everything right. But that it was going to take the combined faith of everyone there to destroy this stronghold. Betty and I knew it was her, and she stood up.
A few minutes later, after a prayer service that wouldn't stop until there was a breakthrough, Betty finally for the first time in a long time felt a release. She has never suffered from those nightmares ever again.