Sunday, 17 July 2016

Tell them I want them to pray...

Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” John 13:23 KJV

That disciple was John. What made John so unique that the apocalyptic revelation was revealed to him?

John was unique because he found a place by Christ's bosom, that was why God kept and used him to deliver the book of Revelation, knowing that if there was anybody who would know what to do in exile, whose habit it was to lean on the Lord's bosom, it was John.

Now let's look at our lives today, at our private lives and our churches, how does that translate?

People are often eager to know God's will for their lives, eager to ask Him to do stuff for them. But are we willing to get to know the God Who provides the stuff? Can we spend time with Him enough ourselves to know His will for our lives or do we always run to somebody else to find out on our behalf? Have we made the time to know Him - what He likes, what He is thinking about, understanding what the stuff on His mind is, what His priorities are for our lives, for us as His Church and our role as His representatives in the world?

Or do we think that God doesn't have stuff on His mind that He can share with us and take us in to confidence about? Or have we limited this to a calling for a select few?

God told me something this morning, He said tell them I want them to pray - that's one of the things He told me and we had a conversation about it. He has been saying this for some time now but will we listen, will we obey? Or has prosperity blinded us? Intellectualism? Distractions? Have we given in to satan's ploy to get Christians not to pray?

"But I withheld my hand, and for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out." Ezekiel 20:22

There are times when God does certain things, just about enough for His name sake but He won't let you have that tangible shekinah glory of His awesome presence. And even if at all He does it will be in a limited measure (which is often related to the extent to which you let Him).

Well friends, I believe that is where most of the body of Christ is now. People think that because they have prosperity they think they really really have the mind of God, the heart of God and the presence of God but God says: No, you haven't - I have done just about enough for my name sake so as not to profane My name - because you are My Church and people know you profess Jesus so I prosper you - you bring the offerings to me, yes I bless you in return. But My tangible shekinah I have withheld for those who are really hungry for Me and only Me, those who revere Me and keep My Sabbath.

The level of enquiring and hearing from God in the rhema, experiencing His awesome Shekinah glory is largely absent in many churches today, hence in most of the body of Christ.

Do we know why this is?

By large, the body of Christ is not a house of prayer, we are not a consecrated Church, we don't know how to tarry in God's presence, we are not worshippers who are serious about getting His attention and The Father SEEKS such to worship Him. Look at John 4:24 the literal translation from the Greek says For The Father such IS SEEKING. Can we not understand what that means? ...that His eyes are roaming looking for such a people who know how to honour Him, worship Him and fellowship with Him - as a lifestyle and in their churches!

He is not looking for a worship which is largely driven by teleprompters and time management, where God wants to speak but we shut Him up. It is becoming hard to find churches which really pray, if you find one which does - often the prayer meetings are need driven rather than by The Father's heart. The Father's heart does include our needs but our prayer meetings can not be spent on just material things, there is a world falling apart all around us and many on the fast road down to destruction, there is an enemy out there named satan with his demonic hierarchy - an organised order of wickedness who have been around for thousands of years on the earth who do not rest but yet christians are still sleeping and playing! I am sorry but today is a day for deep truths!

We have exchanged activity for prayer, administration for prayer, entertainment for worship, teleprompter for quality time with God, agendas & schedules for the move of the Holy Spirit, seeking stuff instead seeking The Father's delight.

When God asked satan in the book of Job what have you been doing - he said I have been walking up and down the earth (Job 2:2), going through and fro the earth, do you think that is one sleeps and relents? No, there is a very active order of spiritual wickedness.

Let me say one truth - you will not defeat him with your organising, administration and empty words and activities, you can only defeat with The LORD. That is why Jesus taught us in The Lord's prayer to pray Father lead us not to temptation and deliver us from evil - it means God help us to circumvent satan's plots and fight him on our behalf.

We can not defeat satan by mirroring the world but only by the power of The Spirit and walking in spiritual authority - to walk in it you need to be in step with The Holy Spirit. You need to make time for God to download from heaven, bringing heaven down to the earth - finding out God's will praying it into fruition, receiving insight for the future to circumvent evil pitfalls - therein lies the scripture Thine will be done as it is done in heaven.

Jesus asked to pray this way, the church is supposed to pray and live this way.

"For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way." 2 Thessalonians 2:7
The above gives a part of our job description, who should be holding back the power of lawlessness - darkness? The Church! Until we are raptured, that is part of our job description.

In Ezekiel 20, the elders of Israel went to enquire of the Lord and He was having none of it! People who want to enquire of God must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, they must keep His "sabbath".

When you look at Ezekiel 20, God was upset about several things: disobedience, a lack of consecration/carelessness (vs 21) and in vs 24 - he talks about idols and the desecration of the sabbath.

Why did God create the sabbath? He created it as a day of rest from our labours, our activities - a day to honour Him as creator and as source.

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honourable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 58: 13-14 

For the new testament believer - the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am not talking about Sunday or Saturday but about The Sabbath of the Lord as a lifestyle.

As a church - the body of Christ - can we ask ourselves if we give God quality time? As an individual, do we give God quality time? Do we lean against His bosom?

When The Lord said to keep the sabbath holy, this is what He meant - say to anything else that God is your source, you won't worship your business or your career that it takes all of your time, you can say to your self I will stop before that last deal because it is going to take my time away from God and give that time to God because one understands (and acts like it) that it is not by trying to cut that last deal that gives one the power to get wealth, it is our God!

Pls read Isaiah 58:13-14 carefully - the literal translation of you will find your joy in the Lord is then you shall enjoy the deliciousness of Yahweh. God's presence is indeed delicious!

Can we for a minute put aside our mobile phones, our laptops, TVs, businesses, careers, teleprompters, itchy ears, activities and honour God in our lives and in our churches?

Can we prioritise prayer, worship and bible study? Prayer is not a happenstance, it is a deliberate seeking. It requires effort on our part. You make time for prayer, somethings will have to suffer so you can pray, you will have to go to bed early sometimes just so you can make sufficient time to pray and love on God before you leave for work in the morning, not waking up with only 5 mins to spare for the God of all the earth and heavens!

I remember hearing a sermon years back - Could you not tarry with me one hour?

Mark 14: 37-38 "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26: 40 "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter."

We were urged to spend at least an hour with the Lord, I decided to deliberately and purposefully incorporate it into my lifestyle, I wondered if I would run out of things to say; I prayed in tongues, I prayed in my understanding, I worshipped, I sang to Him, to make sure I reached the hour and I tell you now one hour is just not enough for me - I wish I didn't have to work :-)

What am I trying to say here? Jesus asked the disciples a question because it will take a willingness on your part. There is a level of responsibility that must come from you, thats what I found, which I will try to describe below. It will require you taking yourself to that meeting point with the Lord and discipline to watch with Him as a starting point for a recommended one hour. It will also take a willingness to commit yourself to Him to ask Him to give you that grace to tarry - asking His Holy Spirit to help you.

My personal experience was that I heard the word and I complied, grace was also there, I was not a big prayer warrior, I didn't know so so many songs, initially I didn't flow so quickly i.e. having so much to say for an hour, so when words failed me, I prayed in tongues, I worshipped Him, I sang to Him. Till it became a case of the time not being enough by any means for me these days. And then as time went on, He gave more grace for intercession - prayer mantle to press further, also I can tell Him everything under heaven - so before I know it, time is never enough.

What I am trying to say is simply, start somewhere and He will meet you, He will take you higher that you ever thought. I think one hour is a good starting point.

If we know we are struggling - tell Him, don't shy away from telling Him - He will give us the grace. The devil doesn't want you to pray, so if you are struggling take the battle to the gates and cry out to God about it.

Find the time and meet with Him there even if all you can start with is to say "Father I love you, I thank you, I praise you".

In a corporate setting (body of believers/church) there is further grace, because we will encourage each other, when you pray with someone else even if you could not pray as long in the past, you receive strength from that corporate anointing and encouragement from standing with others in prayer and worship.The job of the sheep includes leading the lambs into God's presence and from the doing with the more mature - they will learn. Prayer is best learnt by doing more so than by teaching alone, we can teach why we pray as we do - that is important but we can not teach on prayer and not pray corporately. A church must pray! The Church MUST pray! Jesus Our Lord said my house shall be called a house of prayer! Matthew 21:13. Even The Lord took his disciples with Him to pray at the garden of Gethsemane.

The church without prayer is a powerless church - yes we may have some level of prosperity financially but not the shekinah glory - the tangible presence of God where demons flee and the power of God is present to heal, where prophecies are uttered with direction and vision given to the Church as a corporate body, where spiritual eyes are opened, where hearts are converted and the whole world is turned upside down by the fruits of these gathering pulling men from the fire as we go forth in power to preach the gospel of salvation to a dying world.

Are we no better than a morally balanced country club OR ARE WE THE LIVING CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST?

When He gave me this message on Sunday morning, this was how He started: Get My Church stronger - that is His objective, saints.

God bless.