Just an Echo or Oracle?

EchoFor most young people yelling in a cave for the first time is fascinating. Hearing their own voice as it becomes distorted after each echo bounces off the wall will keep them engaged for long periods of time.

What is an echo? An echo originates from an original voice, and, as it goes forth, it begins to repeat itself over and over until it is distorted. It loses its clarity and has no effect, because you cannot really hear or understand what the original message was anymore.

Unfortunately, in the same manner many Christians have lost their effectiveness as being a voice to this generation, because they have become just another echo. We lose our impact when we stop being a pure oracle with a clear message. We go around speaking things that have no life in them anymore. We are repeating things over and over that had been words of life sometime in the past but now they’re just empty words. If we are going to be relevant in this generation we cannot live in the past anymore but must live in the now! Even in 2 Timothy 2:16–17, Paul exhorts us to not be entangled in vain and useless words. “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer.”


We lose our impact when we stop being a pure oracle with a clear message.  (tweet)


With the role of the church becoming too professional in our day, we have focused on being good orators instead of being a voice for the Lord. An orator is somebody who is eloquent with words and has all the right things to say. Every time they speak, it soothes the ears. Most politicians and radio personalities are good orators.

By no means, is it wrong to be a good orator? I wish I were a better orator myself. But, when we choose to be good with our words over being one who speaks God’s Words, then we are off base and will quickly get in serious trouble. Our objective cannot be in tickling people’s ears but in speaking words of life. Paul even said in 1 Corinthians 2:4 that he did not come as a smooth talking orator but in God’s power. For he said, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”

When we choose to become an oracle for the Lord, then we open up our life for the power of God to flow through us. Man leaning on his flesh is an orator, but when man yields himself to the Lord and acts in obedience to God’s will, he becomes an oracle for God.


When man leans on his flesh to speak he is an orator, but when man yields himself to the Lord, he becomes an oracle for God. (tweet)


Paul reminds the Corinthians that when he came to them, he came as a voice for God, which brings the manifestation of God’s power! In a sense, we need to be a piece of conduit pipe, so that God can pour his word through us. It says in Isaiah 55:11, that when God speaks, it’s not just empty words. It says, “It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Just the same, if God speaks through us as his vessels, then things are going to happen, for our words will not be empty words either. God wants us to be his voice to the hurting and down cast in our generation.

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Blessed is the Nation that Comes Together in Prayer

praying in a huddleAs the clock struck twelve, the crowds had only one thing on their mind—getting to the place of prayer. The whole city was shut down, businesses closed their doors, schools dismissed class early, and even the legislature had called it a day. The year was 1905, and from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., the eyes of the city were looking to God for his guidance. The mayor of Denver had declared a day of prayer, resulting in more than twelve thousand in attendance in downtown prayer meetings.

During this same time, over two hundred businesses closed for three hours of prayer in Portland, Oregon. In Burlington, Iowa, many stores and factories closed to allow their employees to go to prayer meetings. There seemed to be a yearning and anticipation for a fresh move of God sweeping through people of every social and ethnic level. Churches were bulging full of people praying and seeking God. The news of the great Welsh revival spread through the land like wild fire, causing a hunger to be aroused in America. The result of this great move of prayer was powerful. Many denominations recorded a significant increase in their membership. Things were beginning to be stirred and get in place for the soon coming Azusa Street Revival in 1906.

Nearly fifty years earlier, a similar movement of prayer took place, bringing our country to its knees. It all started in 1857, in Manhattan, New York, area, with an individual named Jeremiah Lanphier, who had a burden from the Lord to start a noon prayer meeting. He advertised and promoted it, which soon brought a steady increase in attendance. Before long, prayer meetings began to spring up in almost every public building downtown. The local newspaper’s publicity thrust a landslide of prayer, beginning a movement that spread throughout New England

The revival that followed had no boundaries going out in every direction changing lives. Shortly after the revival had begun, the country found itself in the middle of the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil. Yet, due to the moving of God, many of the men who lost their lives had been prepared for eternity through God’s grace and mercy.

The effects of this revival touched even the White House. President Lincoln, being concerned about America and how it had become too successful and self-sufficient, full of pride, gave his Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer. On April 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said, “It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” The results of this great revival not only carried on, but also lasted for many years. It had begun in a passion for prayer and was sustained with faithfulness of prayer!


When God’s people come together in persistent powerful prayer, God breaks in with radical results!       Tweet


Mathew Henry once said, “When God intends a great mercy for his people, he first sets them a praying.” We must find the place of prayer! Revival has never come through great preaching or successful programs. We must set ourselves to prayer, seeking to be changed by the power of God. Only when we have touched the hem of his garments will we see a visitation of God!

The Nature of Prayer

sunrise2I’d like to briefly highlight six different characteristics of prayer that we find in scripture. These are definitely not the only ones in scripture, but will be a great benefit. Each one is vital to the over-all power and strength that comes through a life committed to prayer.

First, there is adoration, which is to love deeply, to worship, idolize something. We see that in Matthew 14:33 where it says, “Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Adoration brings our heart into focus and positions us to receive from the Lord.

Second, a more common aspect of prayer is confession, which is the disclosure of our wrong doing or our sins. In Nehemiah 1:6 it says, “Please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now…and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You…”  Also, in 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us…” Someone once said, “Confession is good for the soul,” but it’s equally valuable for the spirit. It is crucial to make time in our prayer life where we are able to confess and be cleansed.

Third, there is petition and supplication, which is a solemn request, an entreaty, to ask for something humbly. We read in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Just as a parent loves to hear their children’s requests even so our Heavenly Father listens to us as we come and ask of Him.


I believe those that selflessly intercede for others in times of need will themselves reap great breakthrough    (Tweet)


Fourth, is intercession, which is entreating God on another’s behalf. Some refer to this as standing in the gap for someone else. In Acts 12:5 we read, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” This group of believers was specifically praying for Peter’s protection and deliverance, which was the key for his supernatural breakthrough. I believe those that selflessly intercede for others in times of need will themselves reap great breakthrough.

Fifth, is communion, a time of intimate interaction and sharing ones heart. It is much greater than just filling the time with talking. He desires for us to come into His presence and sit at His feet communicating our inner most thoughts with Him, with or without words.  We see Mary communing with Jesus in Lk 10:39 as she sat at His feet.

The Sixth and last characteristic of prayer that I will touch on is thanksgiving, which is the act of giving thanks to God. We need to have an attitude of thankfulness for what God has done or is doing or even what He is going to do. Giving thanks to the Lord is a big part of prayer. In Colossians 4:2 it says, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” We are also to “enter His gates with thanksgiving,” (Ps.100:4, nas).

All six of these facets compose a beautiful and powerful communication with our Savior and Lord. There are so many different aspects of a life of prayer. I encourage you not to be limited by man’s traditions or manmade formulas. Having your prayers filled with these different characteristics will bring a freshness and fulfillment in your time of prayer.

I Want It Now!

200157668-001A society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything, brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit. Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving, unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way. The scriptures teach us in Colossians 4:2, “to continue earnestly in prayer,” and in Romans 12:12, it says “continuing steadfastly in prayer.”  We are exhorted to be persistent in our prayer life.

Jesus shares a parable in Luke 18:1-8, driving home the point of persistent prayer. It says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily…”

                        A society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything,                                   brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit.    (tweet)

            When I was young, I was told that if I asked or prayed for something more than once I would be praying in unbelief. That’s totally contrary to scripture! The continual knocking or coming to the judge brought the widow’s answer. The Bible does say in James 1:6-8, that we must have faith when we pray, but being continuously in prayer doesn’t mean you have unbelief. On the contrary, I think it indicates that you do have faith in God. Your action of continual asking shows you believe He will answer.

I like what Marilyn Hickey says, “Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.” If you think about the farmer’s process, he plants his seed then waters it day after day until he sees a sprout breaking through the soil. The farmer is like the diligent believer who plants his seed and then through continual prayers of faith waters it until the answer breaks through and comes to pass. Keeping with this analogy, if praying continually is wrong then the farmer watering his seed daily would also be wrong.

                    Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving,                          unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way     (Tweet)

            Let’s look at I Kings 18:41-45. We see Elijah telling Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of an abundance of rain.” Then Elijah went to the top of Mt. Carmel to pray. That’s when this story gets very interesting. After Elijah prayed, he sent his servant to look for rain clouds. Six times his servant checked and didn’t see anything, Elijah continued in prayer. The scriptures say, “Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!’ The downpour from that small cloud broke three and a half years of drought. This all happened because Elijah wouldn’t quit praying—he had faith to be steadfast in prayer.

            Living a life of prayer will always be a life of adventure and power. Ephesians 6:18 tells us, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication … with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  In other words be tenacious and persistent in prayer. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the answer to your prayers immediately. Keep knocking on Heaven’s door.

This Place Works Great!

praying-for-rainDriving to church one Sunday I was so encouraged when a car passed me with the driver in serious prayer. It was obvious to me by her actions and demeanor that she was interceding for the upcoming service. She was transforming her car into a prayer room on the way to her church.

The scripture describes prayer as taking place in many different settings. We see in Matthew 6:6, “… when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” In Luke 6:12, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray. He also prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk. 22:39) and Peter prayed on the housetop in Acts 10:9.

Susanna Wesley the mother of Charles and John Wesley prayed during the day in her rocking chair. She had nineteen active children and as you can imagine finding time and place for prayer was almost impossible. But, knowing the need and the power of prayer she would sit in her chair placing her apron over her face making it a place of prayer. Her children were instructed never to disturb their mother when she was praying under her apron.


            “The intensity of the storm paled in comparison to those who were bombarding Heaven with cries for revival”   (Tweet) 


There are so many different places of opportunity to nurture your prayer life. Families can pray together at the kitchen table after breakfast or evening dinner. Those in the marketplace can have prayer meetings in their office cubicle or conference room before work. On your commute to work every day turn your car into a holy time of prayer.

Being in Guatemala, in a flimsy tent under a cloudburst, along with hundreds of serious prayer warriors impacted my life to my core. The intensity of the storm paled in comparison to those who were bombarding Heaven with cries for revival. Few were even aware of the storm outside. These hungry hearted believers were not going to allow anything to hinder their prayers. I was reminded of how often, back in the blessed U.S.A., we allow our prayer focus to get off track. Yet here in a remote area of the Guatemalan mountain, these people didn’t even flinch at the raging wind, pounding rain or the flapping tent. It was a glorious time of intense intercession that is seared in my memory.

Our places of prayer should be a place that helps keep our focus on heaven and not those around us. If we are praying so that others can see us and our pride can be stroked, then we have missed the mark and purpose of prayer. Matthew 6:1-6, lets us know if we are looking for man’s approval and praise then we will receive the rewards of man. Wouldn’t we rather have our rewards come from God who sees in secret and rewards us openly? Therefore, wherever you find your place to be, make it a holy place with Him.

The overall view in scripture is that there is no one place to pray that is superior. The only criteria is that we pray in a place and manner that allows us to focus on the Lord. God wants us to spend quality time with Him, wherever that might be on a roof, in a tent or elsewhere. He longs for our undivided attention. Remember prayer is communication with our heavenly Father, whether we are alone or with others, it is talking and conversing with Him.

Any Time is the Perfect Time

clock time The times of prayer can be as different as the places of prayer. Looking back to my childhood I can remember my parents, being involved in many different prayer meetings. Therefore, they would bring different ones of us children with them to the various meetings. In fact, I feel I had the privilege of cutting my teeth in prayer meetings. As I look back over the many years there is one definite fact that I’ve come to realize about prayer. That is, there is no one set time to pray, on the contrary the scriptures reference many different times of prayer.
In Psalm 55:16-17 we read David’s words, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” The religious culture of that day held prayer three times a day. We see this also in Daniel 6:10, “…he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”


The perfect time for prayer is any time that allows you to connect

to the God that loves you. (click to tweet)   


For many years, I have been involved in morning prayer meetings. I started this routine when I was just out of bible school and attending a church in Rockwall, Texas. God used my pastor to stir thousands to pray in the mornings for one hour. The scripture Mark 1:35 was the inspiration, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out …and there He prayed.” This teaching swept through America and abroad. motivating multitudes to get up early and find their place of intercession each morning..
Some churches hold all night prayer meetings. Luke 6:12 tells us that Jesus prayed all night, “… He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” When I was a youth pastor my pastor would call the whole church, to an all-night prayer meetings. Different departments were assigned to lead different hours through the night. As well, I remember a time in Haiti some years back where I had the privilege to attend a prayer meeting. Thirty of us, with the stars as our backdrop, prayed from night until early morning on the housetop.
In 1857 New York City was ablaze with the fire of prayer. God had placed a burden to pray at noon for revival and spiritual renewal on Jeremiah C. Lamphier. This movement of noon prayer spread like wild fire across the city and then the country. At one time the famed newspaper editor Horace Greeley sent a reporter by horse and buggy to count the attendance at the different noon prayer meetings and was only able to get to twelve locations, but counted 6,100 who had come to pray.
We see in the last 10 years across the globe the explosion of 24 hour continuous prayer and praise meetings. Inspired by David’s tabernacle (1 Chr. 23:5; 25:7), where 288 singers and 4,000 musicians that were dedicated full-time to minister to the Lord and serve others. In Luke 18:7 Jesus says that God will bring justice to those that “cry out day and night to Him.
Believers are crying out to God in prayer every hour of the day and night. Whether it is morning, noon or evening, once a week or special times, there is a stirring in the belly of the church to cry out to Heaven in prayer. The perfect time for prayer is any time that allows you to connect to the God that loves you

I Caught Something!

Image   The April sun broke through our kitchen window. I had sleep in my eyes. My siblings and I sluggishly forced ourselves to eat our morning oatmeal. There was nothing uncommon about this morning in 1967. It began like any other typical day. Until, the telephone pierced the silence and brought all of us to attention. My mother answered in her normal cheery voice, but immediately her tone changed. Her cheerfulness went to a devastating, “Oh my God” and from that moment my life changed forever.

Our daily priorities were obliterated by the news that my dad had just suffered a heart attack (that would later become fatal). As my mother hung up she insistently cried, “Everyone go and pray in the front room for your dad.” The sluggish sleepiness that just moments earlier was so prevalent vanished as we all began to cry out to the Lord. In the midst of disaster, we prayed!

Praying became a natural response in times of crises and need in our household, because it was instilled in us as a daily way of life. I can remember how my mother loved to take walks on our ranch in the beautiful Rocky Mountains to pray. On several occasions we would run up the trail to catch her only to find her deep in prayer. It was memories like this that had a profound impact on my life.

I believe some things must be caught not just taught. Joshua had evidently caught something as he followed Moses. The young Joshua saw the results of Moses’ communion with God. He talked to God and then walked in His power every day.  Joshua caught the spirit of prayer and abiding in God’s presence. I love Exodus 33:11 where it says, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face-to-face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” Picture this scene: Moses returned to camp and to his responsibilities but Joshua stayed in the Lord’s presence. Evidently Joshua caught something; he understood that a life of intimate prayer and communion with God will result in a walk of power.

A lifestyle of prayer was birthed in my own life through being raised in the shadow of many great men and women of prayer. Even once I had left for college and then continuing down the road to marriage and raising a family; it seemed that God would always place me in the midst of men and women of prayer. Through colleges and seminaries rooted in prayer such as Christ for the Nations Institute and others. Speakers that taught and motivated us to minister out of the place of prayer such as Dick Eastman, Mike Bickle, Bill Bright, as well as, great Pastors such as Dr. Larry Lea, who were used to call a generation to pray. God was definitely orchestrating in me a lifestyle of prayer.

Over the years I have reflected on many of those days and memories and have been encouraged that I had caught an attitude of prayer to sustain me in and through my life. It has kept me through many trying times and has become a lifelong message of mine as well as a book I have published, “Igniting the Power of Prayer”.  It is my desire to see God’s people live a life empowered through a life of prayer