Legal Protection

By Francis Frangipane

Approximately two thousand years ago a decree was issued at the judgment seat of Almighty God. It provided "legal" protection for the church against the devil. Indeed, when Jesus died for our sins, the "ruler of this world" was judged (John 16:11). Our debts were nailed to Christ's cross and canceled; principalities and powers were disarmed. In truth, because of Jesus, we have a legal right not only to be protected from our enemy but to triumph over him (Col. 2:13-15).

Having said that, we must also acknowledge that the church has only rarely walked in such victory since the first century. Why? At least in part, the answer is this: to attain the protection of Christ, the church must embrace the intercession of Christ. We must become a house of prayer.

Indeed, church history began with its leadership devoted to the Word of God and to prayer (Acts 2:42; 6:4). Every day the leaders gathered to pray and minister to the Lord (Acts 3:1). In this clarity of vision and simplicity of purpose, the church of Jesus Christ never had greater power or capacity to make true disciples.

Today, however, our qualifications for church leadership include almost everything but devotion to God's Word and prayer. Leaders are expected to be organizers, counselors, and individuals with winning personalities whose charms alone can draw people.

In Luke 18:8, Jesus challenges our modern traditions. He asks, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" His question is a warning to Christians who would limit the power of God at the end of the age. Jesus is calling us to resist the downward pull of our traditions; He is asking us individually, "Will I find faith in you?"

Before we respond, let us note that Jesus associates faith with "day and night" prayer (Luke 18:7). He is not asking, "Will I find correct doctrines in you?" The Lord's question does not so much concern itself with our head as with our heart. What we believe is important, but how we believe is vital in securing the help of God.

Indeed, procuring the supernatural help of God is exactly the point of Jesus' parable in Luke 18. His intent was to show that "at all times" we "ought to pray and not to lose heart" (v. 1). To illustrate the quality of faith He seeks, He followed His admonition with a parable about a certain widow who petitioned a hardened judge for "legal protection" (v. 3). Although the judge was initially unwilling, yet by her "continually coming" (v. 5) she gained what was legally hers.

Jesus concluded by asking, if an unrighteous judge will respond to a widow's persistence, "will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?" Jesus said, "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly" (vv. 7-8).

Understanding God's Delays
Our heavenly Judge will not "delay long" over His elect, but He will delay. In fact, God's definition of "quickly" and ours are not always synonymous. The Lord incorporates delays into His overall plan: delays work perseverance in us. So crucial is endurance to our character development that God is willing to delay even important answers to prayer to facilitate our transformation.

Thus, we should not interpret divine delays as signs of divine reluctance. Delays are tools to perfect our faith. Christ is looking to find a tenacity in our faith that prevails in spite of delays and setbacks. He seeks to create a perseverance within us that outlasts the test of time, a resolve that actually grows stronger during delays. When the Father sees this quality of persistence in our faith, it so touches His heart that He grants "legal protection" to His people.

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