Updated: Feb 10, 2022
And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. (Genesis 19:3, KJV)
Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom as two angels entered the city. When he saw them, he rose up to meet them and bowed his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said. “Please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” They declined the invitation, stating that they would spend the evening in the square. Lot, however, urged them so strongly that they eventually gave in. I imagine Lot modeling an ideal image of persistence and petition as he knelt and begged, but the story also conjures another image for me: that of a woodpecker.
The Hebrew word used for ‘press’ in Genesis 19:3 is patsar, which has an ancient root meaning ‘to peck at.’ In their search for food and work to build a nest, Woodpeckers can peck up to 20 times per second and up to twelve thousand times a day. Amazingly, through God’s design, they do so without harm
Just as the woodpecker was divinely designed to do the pecking it needs to survive, we were created to press and ‘peck’ after God in the manner that Lot did in Genesis 19. But what did Lot peck for? Was it money, a miracle, or anything material? No. Lot was desperate for their presence. We were created and designed to stubbornly, passionately, and painstakingly pursue God’s presence. We were made to pray—or peck—our way through the “wood” that tries to hinder our prayer lives and separates us from the fullness and rest that comes in His presence.
Help us, Lord, to persistently pursue You through prayer. Pecking until we dig down into what we ultimately needed. Help us know that our efforts are not in vain. Remind us of the treasure that awaits us in prayer; namely Your presence, because “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures evermore.”
- Christopher Tounsel
Prayer The Catalyst Series Vision: Inspire a movement that embraces a lifestyle of prayer that partners with God in His plan for our lives, church, community, and beyond.