The angels warned Lot to get out of the city before God destroyed it. Although Lot heard what the angels said, he still had to make a decision. Either he would choose to stay or choose to leave.
The scripture tells us that Lot lingered, which means he stayed in that place or in that condition longer than he should have. God told him that his time in that city was up, but he wouldn’t leave. He wouldn’t let it go. He thought he had a little more time. (The word, linger, also means to remain present while gradually dying).
Because of the prayer of the righteous (Abraham), God showed mercy and saved them. He used angels to take Abraham and his family by their hands to bring them out of what should have destroyed them.
There are some things that we have been in for far too long and we need God’s help because we don’t have as much time as we think we do.
May God be merciful to you today. May the same angels that God used to deliver Lot and his family, be released in your life. May they take you by your hand and pull you out of what should be behind you so that you may see what is before you. May they pull you out of your past and bring you into your future. And may God heal and deliver you from the thing that you keep looking back at – the past hurts, past relationships, past disappointments, and past mistakes – so that it will not destroy you.
And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters, which are here; lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth and set him outside the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for your life; look not behind you, neither stay in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed (Genesis 19:15-17).
I don’t know if my sister is still doing it or not, but for awhile she was buying a lot of hair products for hair growth. And I mean a lot. One day I was asking her about one of the products she had on her dresser.
I don’t know if it works or not. I didn’t use it long enough. I started and then I stopped.
Does that sound familiar?
When something doesn’t happen as quickly as we would like it to, this is what some of us do. We get weary, we stop believing and we stop doing the things that we started doing.
The reason why some of us haven’t seen results or haven’t seen certain things come to pass is because we got distracted along the way. We started making daily confessions and then we stopped. We stopped fasting. We stopped doing what God told us to do. Some of us decided to set up a time to pray every day, but then something else became more important and it took the place of our prayer time.
When Peter was in prison, the church prayed for him and they prayed without ceasing. They didn’t stop praying just because nothing had happened yet. They prayed until their answer knocked on the door.
The angel told Daniel, You words were heard and I have come for your words. If the church had stopped praying, the angels would have stopped working.
Peter needed a miracle. He was in a situation that he couldn’t get himself out of. He was bound with two chains between two soldiers and there were guards at the prison door. Now, Peter wasn’t worried about his situation. He was sleeping. He was resting, but because the church remained faithful, consistent and persistent, an angel appeared to Peter in prison. It was the angel who took the chains off his hands. It was the angel who led him out of a door that he wasn’t supposed to go through.
I’m not saying that the church never grew weary, but in spite of what it looked like or how they felt, they kept praying. Without ceasing means they never stopped. Our problem is we just don’t give God time to work. If nothing happens when we think it should happen, then we assume that God doesn’t love us or that He has forgotten about us or that He changed His mind about what He said.
Let’s become the church we read about in the book of Acts. These people probably needed a miracle in their own lives, but they kept Peter’s name before the Lord. I know God doesn’t sleep or slumber, but they gave Him no rest until Peter was released from prison.
They were like the widow who went to the judge daily until he gave her what she asked for. They were like the person who went to a friend’s house at midnight to ask for bread, but the friend told him that the door was shut, he was in bed and he wasn’t getting out of bed. But because of their friendship (John 15:15) and because he refused to return home without getting what he asked for, the man got out of bed and gave his friend what he needed.
There are some things that we need to stop doing, but praying isn’t one of them.
Pray without ceasing.
[Scripture references: Acts 12:1-16; Luke 18:1-8; Luke 11:5-13]
One day, the angel appeared to Manoah’s wife. Before he announced what God was going to do for her, he told her about herself. You are barren (Judges 13:3). God wanted her to know that He knew her condition and that He had forgotten about her. The scriptures doesn’t mention whether it was her desire to have children or if she and her husband had prayed for a child. All I know is that God saw a need. He (Samson) shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines (vs 5).
To conceive a child seemed impossible. Manoah and his wife had tried for years, but what had been impossible with man was about to become possible with God. He was going to make it happen. There was a problem and God was going to create the solution for that problem.
The angel gave Samson’s mother two promises. First, he promised her that she would conceive. Then, he promised her that she would bear a son. Not everyone that becomes pregnant gives birth, but she was going to do both.
There is a need and the people in your home, on your job and in your community need someone who will pray on their behalf. They need someone who will choose to live holy. And God needs someone who will be consistent, faithful and who will do what He tells them to do.
The angel told Manoah’s wife what not to touch, eat or drink because of what she was carrying inside of her. I don’t think we carefully consider what we are carrying inside of us (the Spirit of God, the word of God, etc). If we did, we would make better choices.
But for the next nine months, she gave up some things. She put away some things. She stopped doing certain things so that the needs of the people would be met. You see, God wasn’t just giving her a son, but He was giving a deliverer to a people that He loved and called His Son (Exodus 4:22).
My prayer for every person who is reading this is that you will not MIS-carry, be MIS-led or MISS what God has for you or what He wants to do through you for His people.
I was listening to a sermon recently. Well, just a snippet. In his message, the pastor talked about how he had always preached about the conversation between Eve and the serpent in the garden as if Adam wasn’t there and he often asked the question, Where was Adam?
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat (Genesis 3:6, KJV).
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (NIV).
The pastor went on to say that based upon the above scripture, Adam wasn’t absent, but he was silent. After listening to the message, I thought about myself as well as the body of Christ. Is this the present-day church? Have we become silent? Have we become weary and stopped saying what God said?
And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die (Genesis 3:2-3). Both Adam and Eve heard God say the same thing. Adam knew that what the serpent said was not what God said, but he said nothing.
I know that some things will take place on the earth because it is written and the scriptures must be fulfilled, but what about those things that we have allowed to happen on the earth because we stopped speaking or stopped praying. Instead of waiting until something tragic happens and posting ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with you’ on social media, how about we bind, cancel, rebuke and pray against evil plots and plans before they happen? Our community, our nation, our leadership and our children – our future – need us to speak up. They need us to pray.
I know what it’s like to stop speaking the word or praying for things I was believing God for. The reason why I stopped was because it seemed like nothing was going to happen. Maybe it’s God’s will. But years later, I realized that the reason why those things didn’t come to pass was because I stopped speaking. You have not, because you ask not (James 4:2). I gave up – not because I was tired, but because I was lazy. Things weren’t happening fast enough and I got discouraged while waiting, but let me show you why it’s important to keep speaking and to keep praying.
Bless the Lord, you his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word (Psalm 103:20).
After Herod had killed James, he had arrested Peter, but the church never stopped praying to God concerning Peter (Acts 12:5). The night that Herod was planning to bring Peter to trial, Peter was sleeping, but the saints were praying. While he was sleeping, an angel of the Lord appeared, struck Peter on his side and told him to get up. When he got up, his chains fell off his hands. The angel then told him to clothe himself, put on his sandals and follow him. They passed the first and second guard. When they approached the iron gate that led to the city, the gate opened on its own. After walking down one street, the angel left Peter.
And when Peter had come to himself, he said, Now I know that the Lord has sent his angel and has delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews (Acts 12:11). Many had gathered together to pray on his behalf and while they were praying, the answer to their prayers (Peter) knocked on the door (Acts 10:12-13).
Something does happen when we pray.
Another example is when Belteshazzar (Daniel) fasted and prayed for understanding. It didn’t seem like anything was happening, but he didn’t stop praying. Finally, God sent an angel to Daniel to let him know that from the first day he spoke, his words were heard and that he had come for his words. God had already answered his prayer, but there was a fight going on for 21 days (Daniel 10:12-13). While the angel was fighting to get the answer to Daniel, there was another fighting to block or to keep the answer from getting to Daniel.
Some of us thought that God didn’t hear us, but He did hear you. The enemy knows he can’t stop God so he’s trying to stop you – from believing God and obeying God. He wants you to give up, but this is not the time to faint. This is the time to pray. Men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1).
If you have stopped speaking God’s word, start speaking again. It’s not that you are waiting on the angels to do something, but they are waiting on you to say something. We aren’t always obedient, but His angels are always obedient and they are ready to do what God said. They know His voice and they are waiting to hear the voice of His word. It’s time to give God’s word a voice.
It’s time to speak.