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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Lovers outwork workers

“Lovers outwork workers.”  This was the phrase I remembered when I first heard Mike Bickle speak at the CALL in 2003.  He said that those who are in love with God will actually do more work for him than those who have a “worker” mentality.  Therefore, he declared it extremely important that we encounter God’s beauty to sustain believers in the work of the kingdom.

Although, this simple but powerful concept marked my heart years ago, in recent times I had forgotten about it.  But about a month ago a friend shared a dream where she saw me in a lethargic state.  I was sleeping during a time when I needed to be active and moving to help minister to someone.  As she tried to get me up, she saw that my hands were covered with a sticky black substance.  After removing it from my hands, I was able to get up and go with her to do ministry.

After she shared her dream, she explained that she felt like the black substance that was holding me down was because I was serving God out of a worker mentality more than a lover.  Without knowing, she told me exactly what I had heard from 2003: “Lovers outwork workers.”  I knew that the Lord was speaking to me through her to remember to return to my first love.  My heart had grown cold in the midst of the busyness of ministry.  So I committed myself to placing the Lord before me and doing my responsibilities as an act of love God.

The interesting thing is, the worker and lover can look the same externally.  They both do the same ministry, however, the lover has a deeper heart connect with the work and can sustain the intensity of ministry for the long term.  So I encourage you, whether you are in full-time ministry, the marketplace, in school, a parent, or a missionary, place loving God at the forefront of your life.  Everything else will fall into place when you do that.  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).

 

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On Sept. 8, 2011 the Nightwatch prayer section at IHOP-KC started a three month consecration where we wanted to give ourselves to beholding the beauty of God and to refraining from talking with one another during the 12am-6am unless it pertained to the leadership of the prayer room.  And initially I scoffed at the consecration and thought it was unnecessary.  I thought that I didn’t need to participate in this consecration because I hardly talked during 12am-6am.  But the Lord had other ideas because a friend of mine called me out on my scoffing heart and called me to give myself to what the Lord was doing in our midst.

So I repented and decided to join the consecration.  I also wanted to start fasting as well, so I decided to eat 1.5 meals a day Mon-Sat and have Sundays off where I could eat normally.  And I had four areas that I wanted God to speak to me about.

1.  Encountering God – I wanted to experience God more and have dreams and visions.  I realized that I had lost my zeal for wanting God to reveal himself to me in supernatural ways, and I wanted that desire renewed.
2.  Relationships – I wanted God to speak to me about relationships and give me more wisdom especially as I was talking with a particular girl and considering dating.
3.  Vocation – I wanted a greater understanding and more strength as a intercessory missionary.  I wanted to have greater understanding on the power of prayer.
4.  Family – I wanted to see my family restored in their relationships.

As I began to give myself to the rest of the Nightwatch consecration, God began answering these four areas for me.  I began to have dreams that had pretty significant meaning to me.  I also began to have my mind renewed about the lies I believed about relationships.  Also I began to have a greater understanding of my calling as an intercessor.  Though I have not seen the last area answered, just the faith that I have that God can restore my family is a testimony in itself.

I had forgotten about the power of fasting during my past couple of years at IHOP.  But this fast has been such a pivotal season for me, and I am so grateful that the Lord is speaking to me and answering my prayers.  I really encourage you, that if you feel led, to start a fast.  It doesn’t have to be much, it could be fasting one meal a day, or even just eating fruits and vegetables.  But I really believe that fasting is powerful and I am so grateful to God for hearing my cries.

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I have about a month left till I graduate from IHOPU. It is amazing that the four years have gone by so quickly, but as it draws near I feel a sense of completion and accomplishment. Through my time at the school I have wanted to quit about four times. And in many ways these four years were much harder than my undergrad because of the rigor of the lifestyle encouraged at IHOP.

I remember hearing a former graduate of IHOPU say upon completion, “I feel like I have a solid foundation for the rest of my life.” And in many ways I feel the same way. This is a huge milestone for me and I feel well equipped to be grounded in my life with God through prayer and the word. I still have much to learn and areas to grow in, but the maturity that I have obtained through this season is astounding. I am looking forward to the completion of this chapter in my life and hopeful to see what the next one brings.

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This was a short poem or reflection of sorts after I watched the movie Invictus, a movie about Nelson Mandela’s fight to rebuild a nation torn from the devastation of Apartheid.

For the past few days I have become so self-focused that I have lost sight of life itself.

I forgot that I was born into a war that I did not start.
I did not choose to enter a world full of hatred, despair and conflict…but I did.

And so I have before me a choice:
Whether to lay down as the bullets whiz by my ears or to stand up, wounds and all and step forward.

The pain is inevitable, but I want to fight…to live for something more than myself.
To live with courage and soul…to live for the very things that I feel incapable of.
To live with heart in a war I did not start

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We are living in great and terrible times.  With the rise of moral decay concerning issues like abortion, human trafficking, and the issue of marriage, America is in great need for revival.  One of the main institutions that have been the impetus to historic revival has been colleges and universities.  Not only are they the places that raise up the next generation of leaders for our nation, but over 100,000 international students come to our soil to learn.  What if God touched these students’ lives with the power of the gospel and went back to spread the fires of revival in their respective countries?

Thus, Lou Engle, along with the intercessors at IHOP invite you to participate in crying out for colleges in America: that God would pour out his spirit and awaken students for a holy love for Jesus.  For the next 40 days from March 1-April 9, we will be participating in a Daniel fast (no sweets, no meats – Dan. 10:3) and asking that God would bring revival in America, and particularly college campuses.  God truly hears our prayers and will answer them, so I encourage you to join us in whatever way you feel like the Lord may be stirring you to pray and fast during this season.

If you want to hear more concerning the 40 day fast click on this link to the 6pm evening FCF service:
http://www.ihop.org/Groups/1000048153/International_House_of/Events/Weekends_IHOP_KC/Weekend_Services/Weekend_Services.aspx?redirected=1

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The issue of beauty is central to Christian spirituality.  To take it one step further, it is central to being alive.  What exactly is beauty?  It seems easy to recognize what is beautiful, but hard to define it.  Sunsets, a Mozart concerto, a beautiful bed of flowers on an open field, and many other things would be seen as beautiful.  Some words that can be connected with beauty are awe-filled, fascinating, lovely, thrilling, and wonderful.  Ultimately, they are the things that we can see, hear and feel that inspire us and touch our hearts.

Yet, with the rise of sensual over-stimulation through media, entertainment, advertising, and the internet has caused us to become numb to what is truly beautiful.  Thus we have become apathetic and unmoved by the beauty that surrounds us.  Thomas Dubay in his groundbreaking book on the theology of beauty writes, “To respond to reality and to appreciate it are normal; not to respond is abnormal.  It seems fair to say that a person blind and deaf to beauty, uninterested in anything noble in literature, science, philosophy, religion, and the arts, focused on sense pleasures alone (licit or illicit), is not only unattractive to others, but most likely incapable of genuine love and delight” (Evidential power of beauty, pg. 73).

If lifelessness and boredom characterizes our lives, what are we to do to begin to feel again?  How are we to truly appreciate beauty and thus be alive?  There are two specific ways that can help develop our sensitivity to beauty again.

1.  Minimize sense pleasures in our lives – The constant noise and stimulus that fills our lives through the dramatic rise of technology has inculcated us to experiencing the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis.  Thus, to begin to appreciate beauty we have to minimize the exposure to the sense pleasures around us.  This will help us to slow down long enough to be able to hear the whispers of beauty that are in our daily lives.

2.  Be a learner – If you are one who is not immediately drawn to classical music, art, or literature and classify them as boring, before you throw this piece of advice out the window stop yourself and contemplate whether you are the one who is actually boring.  Be willing to take the posture of being a learner and actually sit under some of these works of art or nature and allow yourself to hear and see what they are saying.  Do not be so quick to pride and aloofness that you miss out on the opportunity to experience beauty, which ultimately comes from God.

The Evidential Power of Beauty - Where Science and Theology Meet

These are just two small ways to cultivate the journey of being truly alive in appreciation for beauty.  As Dubay says, “God made us for , “a joy so glorious that it cannot be described” (1 Pet. 1:8)”” (Evidential, pg. 18).  Therefore, let us all decrease sense pleasures and increase humility to sit before the beauty that surrounds us.  For just as God was able to appreciate his creation and call it “good” (Gen. 1), let us also, who are created in his image, deem what is beautiful around us, “good.”

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In Matt. 6, Jesus’ disciples ask him how they are to pray.  It is possible that they saw Jesus’ prayer life and wanted some help with their own, or perhaps it was a normal question that disciples ask their teacher.  In any case, Jesus’ answer was immediate and clear.  He responded by saying pray in this manner, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come…”  Jesus gives to his disciples a concise prayer that they were to memorize and pray regularly.  The phrase that I want to highlight is “your kingdom come.”

Jesus gives the disciples content on what to pray and the first request after the adoration of the Father in heaven is “let your kingdom come.”  Now what is the kingdom of God?  In essence it is the rule of God that was promised to Israel in the OT.  This kingdom would be characterized by agricultural provision, peace from their enemies, the knowledge of God, and great joy.  Thus, when the disciples were to pray “let your kingdom come,” they were praying for a dramatic inbreaking of God’s kingdom into the present evil world.

Jesus’ prayer is the request for the kingdom of God to come to our broken world.  Thus, intercessory missionaries are those who join with this prayer with great vigor and diligence.  They realize that the present evil age is not ok with them or with God.  Therefore, they actively participate in prayer to bring the kingdom of God to the world.  This is prayer for the greatest transition in human history: the culmination of the kingdom of God coming to the earth.  This is the great privilege that intercessory missionaries have.  They get to be agents in the present evil to transition humanity into the next age of the kingdom of God.

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