A Pushy Kind of Prayer?

If you’re a Christian, you know that your greatest good and deepest joy is intimacy with the God who formed you and called you to Himself. God loves to keep us connected deeply to Himself, and one of the chief vehicles He uses is prayer. Throughout His Word, God gives us several prayer patterns. But when we look at Isaiah 62:6–7, we find one that seems almost rude:

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest, until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.

You might be surprised to learn that God wants us to be pushy—through our prayers at least. He calls us to be watchmen who do battle through consistent prayer.

Watchmen on the Wall

Prayer is divinely appointed. God is the One who ordains prayer. He is the One who calls us to pray, invites us to talk with Him, answers our prayers, sends His Spirit to intercede for us according to His will, and feeds us and satisfies us with His presence. Prayer is of God, and we see here that God creates prophetic intercessors:

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen (v. 6).

In this passage, there are two Jerusalems referenced: a present-day one and a future new city of God (Rev. 21:2, 10). The Jerusalem mentioned in the verse above is the center of spiritual life and activity. On the walls of all the spiritual activity around us, God sets watchmen—prophetic guardians, like sentries on a city wall, praying and watching.

If we know Jesus as our Lord, you and I are watchmen on the walls of the spiritual Jerusalem of this generation. God has set us on these walls. He has given us this job. When we see Him face to face, one of the gifts we can lay at His feet is a faithful fulfillment of His call to intercede for the generation into which He placed us.

“I have set watchmen.” Watchmen are sentries, like a security system. You only need watchmen if you fear an enemy attack.

We—our children, our families, our churches, our Christian schools, and para-church ministries and mission organizations and Christian radio programs—we are involved in the greatest and most significant battle of all times: the consummation of God’s kingdom on earth.

In our day-to-day tasks—the laundry, housework, shopping, bills, sports, play practice, music lessons, birthday parties, emails, gardening, work outside the home—we are involved in a worldwide battle. Sometimes we’re aware of it, sometimes not, but there is a great spiritual conflict being waged between ultimate Good (God Himself) and all those who hate Him and His ways.

It’s easy to forget that! But we are the sentries God has placed in our generation on the walls of our Jerusalem. We need a sense of our times, a watchmen mentality. A watchman is a guardian, a custodian, a caretaker. Isaiah 56:10 says, “His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.” What good is a silent watchdog?

Who is standing guard over your family? Who is the watchman on the wall of your home? School? Neighborhood? Church? Who guards through prayer the people God has brought into your life?

We are set by God as watchmen on the walls of our Jerusalem. Prayer is an eye-opening, alert guardianship of those in our spiritual community. This is not a meeting but a mentality, a round-the-clock eagerness to pray, an attitude of continual, open communion with God.

So an advertisement comes on TV, and I pray for my sons to remain pure; a phone call comes, and I stop afterward and talk to God about it. I am in the middle of a difficult meeting, and I keep a conversation going with God throughout it: “Help me, Lord. Calm me, give me wisdom, help me to think scripturally. What does Your Word say about this?”

Be Persistent

“All the day and all the night, they shall never be silent." This is a call to be a round-the-clock prayer warrior. Prayer is the opposite of resting, ease, slumber. Brief spurts of praying activity are not necessarily faith at work. Real faith prays.

Now faith at work in prayer doesn’t mean agitation of spirit. This isn’t a call for worry, and it shouldn’t breed exhaustion. Isaiah is talking about a dogged determination to remain vigilant, to pursue God with your prayers, to keep asking, seeking, knocking (Matt. 7:7), to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17), to pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayers and supplication (Eph. 6:18).

“You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest.” Whenever there is opportunity, need, desire—don’t keep silent. Pray! Prayer is persistent—it is intense, vigorous, energetic, zealous, earnest, eager, diligent. Take no rest!

In Luke 18:1–8, Jesus tells us the parable of a persistent widow to encourage us “always to pray and not to lose heart." She has a valid request, and she pesters the judge with it until she wears him down. Jesus links this kind of persistence with faith.

Prayers that PUSH

“And give him no rest.” There is a sense of urgency, pressing in, almost a sense of being unmannerly. Are my prayers too genteel, too polite?

Take risks in your prayers. Think of Jacob in Genesis 32:26: “I will not let you go unless you bless me." He was wrestling, almost pinning God down. Now that’s pushy!

Or take the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:22–28. She comes to Jesus because her daughter is demon-possessed. Her crying out bothers the disciples, so they ask Jesus to send her away. But when she comes and kneels, Jesus doesn’t rebuke her. He affirms her pressing in as faith.

There is a persistent rudeness, a slightly stubborn kind of praying, a righteous impudence that God hears! I call them prayers that PUSH:

Pray
Until
Something
Happens

We see throughout Scripture how persistent, prolonged, and even pushy prayers pull God’s promised blessing down from heaven.

If God isn’t answering our prayers, let’s not allow our disappointment to darken our view of Him. Let’s be women who challenge that disappointment. The real question is about me, not God. God loves me not by making me the center of my life, but by making Him the center.

“And give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.”

Persistent, pushy prayers persevere—until. If God delays, it cannot be because He doesn’t care or can’t hear or is too busy.

The bedrock of any active, purposeful prayer life is one’s patient faith in God. Don’t quit praying. Trust Him for:

  • that child who is wandering.
  • your deep grief.
  • your poor health.
  • your lost job.
  • your hopeless infertility.
  • that debilitating loneliness.
  • your son who has divorced his wife and split his family.

Now while the bedrock of your prayer life is your faith, the bedrock of your faith is God! We sometimes think it’s our faith that activates God. No, it is God who activates our faith. Welcome that. Weakness and brokenness attract God. Look to Him, don’t look to your faith. And keep praying, persistently pressing into Him . . . until He answers.

The course of history—your own, your family’s, your neighborhood’s, your city’s, your nation’s, your world’s—that history moves forward through prayer. The glory of Christ through His Bride, the Church, is the goal. Prayer hastens that day, leveraging history forward. Take your stand on the walls of your own personal Jerusalem and pray. Pray strong, persistent, and even pushy prayers until God has established His kingdom on earth forever.

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Jani Ortlund

Jani Ortlund

Jani Ortlund, Executive Vice President of Renewal Ministries, loves spending her energies connecting women with the Word of God. Serving Jesus Christ through writing, speaking and discipling are her chief passions in life. Jani and Ray, Pastor of Immanuel Church, have four married children and twelve grandchildren, and minister in Nashville, Tennessee.

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