Desperation Produces Change

By Francis Frangipane

It is significant that Jesus compared His elect to a widow harassed by an enemy. The image is actually liberating, for we tend to conceptualize the heroes of the faith as David or Joshua types -- individuals whose successes obscure their humble beginnings. But each of God's servants has, like the widow, a former life that is brimming with excuses and occasions to waver.

Look at the widow: She has legitimate reasons to quit, but instead she prevails. Indeed, she refuses to exempt herself from her high potential simply because of her low estate. She makes no apologies for her lack of finances, knowledge or charm. Giving herself no reason to fail, she unashamedly plants her case before the judge where she pleads for and receives what is hers: legal protection from her opponent.

How did a common widow gain such strength of character? We can imagine that there must have been a time when, under the relentless pressure of her adversary, she became desperate, and desperation worked to her advantage. Desperation is God's hammer: it demolishes the stronghold of fear and shatters the chains of our excuses. When our desperation exceeds our fears, progress begins.

Today the force prodding many Christians toward greater unity and prayer has not been the sweetness of fellowship; more often it has been the assault of the enemy. We are in desperate times. When it comes to touching God's heart, other than for a few essential truths, unity of desperation is more crucial than unity of doctrine.

God's Elect

Our nation is suffering from a deep social and moral collapse. If we have ever needed God's anointing, it is now -- but where are God's elect? Where are the people whom Daniel says "know their God" and "will display strength and take action" (Dan. 11:32)?

Is there no one divinely empowered who can fell the Goliaths of our age? Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places. Perhaps we need only to look in our bathroom mirror. If you believe in Jesus and are desperate for God, you qualify as one of God's elect. Remember, in the above parable the widow typifies Christ's chosen.

We have erroneously held that God's chosen will never be assaulted by the adversary, much less driven to desperation and "day and night" prayer. But this desperation is often the very crucible in which the elect of God are forged. Jesus portrays this characteristic metaphorically in the picture of the widow; He reveals the means through which His elect prevail in battle at the end of the age.

When all is said and done, it is also possible that this widow may not have been a singular person but a corporate people -- a "widow church" -- united in Christ in a singular, desperate prayer for protection against her adversary.

We need the "legal protection" that a national revival provides. But it will not come without unceasing prayer. You ask, "Where was the prayer behind the charismatic movement?" The Lord spoke to my heart that the charismatic movement was His answer to the cries of a million praying mothers -- women who refused to surrender their children to drugs and the devil.

It is our turn to pray. We are the widow who cannot give herself a reason for failure; God will answer our day-and-night cry. Let us position ourselves at His throne on behalf of our cities and nations. Certainly, as we persevere in faith, the Lord will grant us legal protection from our enemy.

Heavenly Father, forgive us for our lack of prayer and for giving ourselves excuses to fail. Lord, we thank You for making us desperate. Help us now to prevail, to attain the "legal protection" You have provided us against our adversary. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Power of Covenant Prayer, available at