“The Lord, in the time of strategic delay, will bring the peoples of the earth to the point at which His intervention is absolutely necessary, and He will orchestrate the timing of that intervention to bring maximum glory to His own Name. Those who have oil in abundance, who have cultivated intimacy with Jesus by the Holy Spirit, will understand with a much greater degree of peace and rest what His strategies are, and will find the grace to cooperate with them.”
Are you waiting for something you’ve been praying about for a very long time and the answer has not come? Do you sometimes feel stretched to the very limit of your endurance? I don’t think there is one of us who hasn’t felt like this at times. In the fast-paced society in which we live we often feel that waiting is a complete waste of time. We are often consumed with activism and a results-oriented lifestyle. We want immediate results and find it so difficult to wait.
Did you know that waiting could actually be strategic for breakthrough in prayer?
We see the importance of spiritual preparation during a time of waiting in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. This parable compares the Kingdom of God to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were wise, and five were foolish. The wise virgins took oil with their lamps, but the unfortunate happened. The bridegroom was delayed.
Imagine the disappointment—the perplexity—the bewilderment. Where was he?
Suddenly without warning at midnight they discovered that the bridegroom was coming, and they all arose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish virgins’ lamps were going out so they asked the wise virgins for some of their oil. But the wise ones said “no,” and while the foolish virgins quickly went to buy oil, the bridegroom came.
Those who were ready went in with Him to the wedding, and then the door was shut! When the foolish virgins finally came, the bridegroom said he didn’t know them—and to their utter dismay—he wouldn’t let them in. Imagine how you would feel in their situation. Then Jesus gave this warning and said:
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).
Jesus spoke this parable shortly before his death on the cross. It was important for Him to speak about the marriage celebration of the Bridegroom and the Bride. He speaks of the Kingdom of heaven as the soon return of the Bridegroom to claim His Bride. He exhorts each one of us to keep watch.
Those who are waiting for the return of the Bridegroom each carry a lamp. Perhaps these lamps represent various ministries and the lives of each Christian. The contrast is between the wise and the foolish, those who have oil and those who do not. The fuel for that oil is our intimate relationship with Jesus and the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
In the beginning all ten virgins have enough oil in their lamps, but the Bridegroom doesn’t come as expected. There is a big delay. He is late and everyone falls asleep! It is an unexpected delay, and their timetable is disrupted. Perhaps you can understand this clearly, because I am sure this has happened to you as well.
We have all felt the inconvenience of an unexpected delay.
Five of the virgins were wise and had extra oil. Perhaps we could call it bridal intimacy. They are the ones who cultivated a deep relationship with the Lord—a deeper intimacy. They loved God for Himself, not for what He could do for them. They had enough oil in their lamps to sustain them during an unexpected delay. They had built a deep relationship of intimacy with Jesus before the delay.
When the others ran out of oil, they refused to give them any of theirs. After all, it is impossible to give our relationship of intimacy away to someone else. Each of us must cultivate intimacy with Jesus ourselves. Nobody can do it for us. It takes months and years of prioritizing that relationship above all others. But this is the secret to breakthrough prayer.
Many believers are presently facing the reality of strategic delay. They are in a stage of waiting. It’s taking longer than expected. Could all of these delays possibly be engineered and designed by the Lord Himself? Could He be preparing His people for something really big, and only He knows how He must make them ready in the place of prayer and intimacy first?
Are we not moving into end-time situations where we need to be rooted and grounded in God’s love in order to stand strong in hard times?
Cultivating the Oil of Intimacy
“Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God’s greatest pleasure.” Rick Warren
Our goal must be God Himself, not our ministry. Our desire must be for intimacy with Jesus. When we have this focus, He will overflow through our lives. Cultivating intimacy and fueling our lives with the oil of the Holy Spirit will cause the light of the gospel to burn brightly in our lives.
When we went to Spain and were anticipating a possible move into that culture a few years ago, I went through many adjustments—time changes, relationship changes, living arrangements, weather changes, and a multitude of other things that were different than those in my own home country. During the first few weeks it was a bit overwhelming. But in that time of adjusting, I spent more time waiting upon the Lord. During difficult moments I would make a conscious effort to choose to praise and thank God for everything. I wanted to cultivate the oil of the Holy Spirit in my life.
One day we were traveling by bus from Gibraltar to Malaga, Spain. At the end of our bus journey, we had to wait at the bus depot for a friend to pick us up by car. As we were waiting, we met a rough-looking young man from Argentina. To our surprise, he turned out to be very nice. We were able to share the light of the gospel with him during that delay in our journey. This was one of God’s strategic delays. It was all in God’s timetable and brought glory to His name.
Are you facing a disrupted timetable of what you think should be happening in your life? Are you tired of waiting?
The answer for all of us is to fix our eyes on Jesus and develop that intimate relationship. Bridal intimacy is a key to breakthrough prayer. The oil we cultivate now will be worth it in the future. God will give us grace and bring us into a deeper understanding of His strategies in the end-times. He will help us to stand strong. Our bridegroom is coming!
Let’s not get discouraged in the wait, but make our goal God Himself. Let’s pursue holiness, praise, and thanksgiving. Let’s give Jesus our focused attention. He is worthy. Our willingness to wait will bring Him maximum glory.
“I know many intercessors who have grown weary in the waiting, skeptical that the promises will be fulfilled, because their eyes are focused on the resolution of issues rather than on the Person of Jesus. Their goal is the realization of prophetic promises instead of deepening intimacy with Jesus, and thus their reward remains external. When the fulfillment of their dreams and promises is delayed, discouragement and weariness take their toll. By contrast, those whose hearts are rooted and grounded in the love of the Lord and whose relationship is one of intimate friendship, have the resources to stand strong.” Che Ahn
A Breakthrough Prayer During Strategic Delays
Lord, help me to cultivate an intimate relationship with You every day. I want to cultivate the oil of the Holy Spirit in abundance. I desire to know Your strategies and plans in the end times. Help me to be like the five wise virgins who took oil for their lamps (Matthew 25:1-13). I want to prepare for the wedding feast and marriage celebration. I long to make myself ready for You. Help me to keep watch and not get weary. I want the fullness of Your Spirit in my life. I long to be rooted and grounded in Your love (Ephesians 3:16-18).
I choose to thank and praise You during times of delay. Help me to worship You all day during times of difficulty. Make me alert to Your strategic delays in my life. Help me to accept them and to embrace You through them. Fuel my life with Your oil so that I will be Your light everywhere I go. Help me to stand strong as I wait for Your soon return. I choose not to grow weary. I will trust in Your timetable in my life. I focus my life on You as my Bride-groom King. Bring me into bridal intimacy. I love and praise You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This article can be found in the book called Breakthrough Prayer: Praying God’s Truth, Destroying Enemy Lies by Debbie Przybylski. For a special 20% discount, use PL6G7Y59 in checkout.
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC)