I have a word for you today: “Don’t kill that donkey!”
I hope that surprised you and brought a smile to your face. More importantly, after reading this, I hope it restores your hope.
If you carry the burdens of others and see things that you believe are of God, but others cannot, this message is for you.
As I’m writing, I can almost hear what you’re thinking, “Why in the world would you compare a donkey with seeing signs from God?” Although an odd comparison, I noticed something during my Bible study of Numbers that I missed before and thought you may have too.
I want to bring your attention to Numbers 22 and the story of Balaam and his donkey. In this passage, Balaam’s donkey sees the angel of the Lord blocking the path with swords drawn, so the donkey does everything he can to keep his rider from moving forward. Balaam beats the donkey multiple times for not advancing, as he cannot see the angels before him. The Lord speaks through the donkey to Balaam, and then the angel of the Lord says, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? I have come out to oppose you, because your way is perverse before Me. And the donkey saw Me and turned from Me these three times. If she had not turned from Me, surely by now I would have slain you and saved her alive” (Num. 22:32-33).
In the last year, intercessory prayer warriors have come under attack. 2020 began with high intercession, great expectations and an abundance of hope. After the pandemic, the elections and everyone’s personal struggles, expectations have fallen short. Hope has faded, and the intensity of prayer has been lost. Those who earnestly prayed now feel beaten down.
Through these challenges, the Bible continues to encourage us to be intercessors, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (1 Tim. 2:1-2, NLT).
So, what does this have to do with donkeys, you ask? Donkeys are animals that carry the burdens of others. They haul the heaviness of a day’s work and sometimes gifts to bless others. Their labor brings forth fruit, even though it isn’t easy or even their burden to carry.
In Numbers 22, the donkey is urgently trying to protect his master. The donkey’s fervent work is ignored by those around him, and he even suffers for his attempts to protect others. Do you see now how this laborer is like an intercessor? Sometimes, we stand alone in prayer. While the people around us may not notice or understand, God sees us and hears us. His angels stand with us.
I have to ask, is there something or someone God has placed on your heart that needs your intercession? Have you stopped interceding because you’ve lost your sense of expectation and hope with God? Being an intercessor is not a small thing. It is everything! To stand firm and take part in bringing alive the promises of God’s word is something worth the weight you may carry because of the fruit that it bears.
Today, I’m writing as an encourager to all of you who pray, and I need to show you one last thing from the book of Numbers: God opened the mouth of the donkey to speak in a new language (Num. 22:28). I believe the power of praying in the Spirit is making a significant difference in the world today. Let the Spirit speak through you!
I believe the power of prayer brought healing to my son’s body when he fought mantle cell lymphoma. When a year ago, the doctors thought I would never leave the hospital, thousands prayed all over the world, and I went from what felt like death’s doorstep in the ICU to on my way home within 72 hours. In the 130 trips that I have taken to the former Soviet Union, I believe intercessory prayer is why the Russian church has gone from 61 churches to nearly 4,000.
When times seem bleak, like there is no way out, that is God’s opportunity to surprise you and bless you. Don’t lose hope. Don’t lose faith; continue to pray in the Spirit, and intercede. If God can use a donkey, imagine what He can do with you when you surrender to Him.
You’re beautiful. I see Jesus in you!