The Bible tells the story of a man who went to his neighbor late at night and asked for bread because a visitor had just arrived and he had nothing to feed him.
“And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. And I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needs” (Luke 11:7-8).
Importunity means that he simply would not go away. Today it would be the one who prays, “I know this generation needs bread, but I don’t have a sufficient supply. My knowledge is not good enough; my strength will fail me. My compassion is too meager; my courage is conditional. I don’t have the measure of the Holy Ghost that I need in order to make a difference in this generation. But I know that You have it, and I am not leaving until I get it!” That is the kind of prayer God is looking for!
Jesus continues the telling of this story: “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Luke 11:9-10).
How many receive? Everyone! Not just a few superstars, not just the occasional Elijah or Elisha—everyone! And that means you!
Keep in mind that the Lord is not referring to a casual asking. When the 120 disciples went into the Upper Room, they were not casually asking God for His Spirit. They were well aware that stepping outside and facing the hostile crowd could result in death. Nevertheless, they also knew that Jesus had given them a promise that they would be His witnesses—and so they began to pray, refusing to be denied.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.