Keeping the fire of God burning in your life

hqdefaultIn the midst of the early wintery conditions I found that my fire was essential during my time high on the mountaintop. It was at the foot of the summit overlooking a crisp mountain lake on one side and a steep intimidating ravine on the other, where I chose to set up camp. I had taken time out of my schedule to clear the clutter of the daily routine in my mind and refresh my passion for the Lord. Over the years I have found it necessary at different times to disconnect from the white noise of our society so to reset and re-ignite the fire of God in my daily walk with Him.

We read Gods instructions for the priests that He gave through Moses in Lev 6. It says in verse 12-13, “And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, … it shall never go out.”

In like manner as it was the priest’s responsibility to keep the fire burning it is our responsibility to keep a spiritual fire burning on the altar of our hearts, since our lives are to be “living sacrifices” as Paul declared. It was God who started the physical fire on


God Starts the Fire but we must maintain the Fire


the altar as we read in 2 Chr 7:1, the “…fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices…”. Therefore, it is the same spiritually; God starts the fire, but it is you and I who must keep it burning.

This simple but over looked responsibility became very real as I began my adventure on the mountaintop. That fact is when the fire goes out after the Sun goes down, it quickly becomes cold, dark and so quiet it becomes deafening. It is the same for the believer when our spiritual fire goes out we become spiritually cold, our lives become darkened by our surroundings and the things of God become silent to us.

The pile of wood that I thought would last all-night rapidly diminished in the grips of the consuming fire. I can’t help but think King Solomon himself must of experienced this same phenomenon when he wrote in Prov. 30:16 “… the fire never says, “Enough!”.

The intensity of work that it took to keep a fire burning in my camp was totally amazing. I have always loved sitting and enjoying the soothing crackling and popping of a campfire, but when it is a necessity you find that it goes from enjoyable to just plain work. A fire demands your time, strength and attention to keep it going. Getting plenty of firewood to last through the night must become a priority. You see once the fire goes out it is much harder to remake a completely new fire than nurturing one already burning or at least having embers that you can blow on to rekindle the flame.

In the same manner, as believers we must make fueling the fire of passion for the Lord, a priority! Though it can be exhausting and even inconvenient at times, it is our responsibility. It will take “roll up the sleeves” kind of work to tend the fire of your souls. Prayers, communion, worship and Bible study are all part of keeping the fire burning on the altar of our heart. For God calls each of us to be His ministers a flame of fire. (Ps 104:4) We must do our part! Remember, it is God who started the fire within us but we must keep the fire burning!

 

Advertisements

The Convenience of Instant everything has Brought a slow death to Tenacious Prayer

a1 InstantA 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…” When I was young, I was told that if I asked or prayed for something more than once I would be


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


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. 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


“Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.”


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.

It’s always a good time to pray!

prayersThe 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 throughout our upbringing. In fact, I feel I had the privilege of cutting my teeth in prayer meetings. Looking back over the many years, there is one definite fact that I’ve come to realize about prayer. That 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.”

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 18 years across the globe the explosion of 24-hour a day 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. Paul understood this and exhorted the believers to pray without ceasing in Thess. 5:17-18.

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 people of God 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.

 

Let us not wait till it’s too late to do something

IMG_1150The Scripture says whoever will come after Christ, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Christ. (Mk. 8:34) It doesn’t come easy or cheap, but the effects are life changing. Leonard Ravenhill declares, “Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, GIVE ME REVIVAL in my soul and in my church and in my nation—or GIVE ME DEATH!”

Have you gotten to the place that ordinary routine is nauseating? I believe just religiously going to church, receiving nothing more than entertainment causes decay and a slow spiritual decline. If we are not going to obtain the best God has for us, then we might as well just go home to heaven. The choice is easy—either it is life or death! We must press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God!(Phil 3:14)

In the story of Esther, we see the divine orchestration of God. The Jews were in a desperate situation, with death lurking at the door of their comfort zone. It looked hopeless for they needed a miracle to get themselves out of this tight spot. They didn’t go looking for the hottest and most fiery Jewish evangelist to bring in a change. No! They got on their faces and began to fast and pray. They began to beseech God with fasting and prayer for his intervention and deliverance. In the end the stamp of approval on what she had done was God’s great deliverance for the Jewish people.

Anywhere you look in our society, you can see the destroyer at the door. The thief comes not but to steal, kill, and destroy. (Jn 10:10) Whatever we have, whether it is our life, our family, or our nation, it is his aim to destroy it. America, the great unsinkable land of opportunity, is on a course headed for destruction. The signs are in the sky. The evidence is clear. It is now the time to lay hold of the reason for which Christ has laid hold of us! Let us seek the Lord while he may still be found. I cringe at the thought of ever having the Lord speak about me as he did about Jerusalem. In Luke 19:44 Jesus says, “Because you did not know the time of your visitation,” there would be no peace, and Jerusalem would have destruction. Now is the season of our visitation. It says in Joel 2:28, “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.”

The church must awake out of its slumber and receive God’s visitation on his people. Then the church will reap in righteousness and see revival. Let us not wait till it’s too late to do something. The night is far spent; the hour is at hand. Using the words of the Psalmist, let us cry out to the Lord, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You.” The church must humble itself and repent from its arrogance and haughty attitudes. Peter speaks to the men of Israel in Acts 3:19. He tells them to, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Only through our brokenness and turning away from sin will we truly see the refreshing of the Lord. The time is now for us to sow in prayer and fasting. Instead of decreasing our prayer time, we need to increase in prayer power. We must search the very intent of our heart and get , getting rid of every hindrance that would stand in the way of revival. Then ask the Lord right now to begin to stoke the fires and passion for revival in your hearts.

Not On My Watch!

knights-templar-prayingEvery young boy dreams of being a knight in shining armor protecting his castle—fighting off a vicious enemy’s onslaught coming to hurt and harm. Movies through the years have helped portray the stoic watchmen walking the wall and protecting their kingdom. Their keen and alert eyes are of utmost importance to those who live behind the walls trusting the watchman’s protection. A soldier must be loyal, alert and ready to lay down his life defending those who live in their community.

In the movie A Few Good Men, Demi Moore played a military attorney who defends two marines accused of killing a fellow soldier. After being asked, “Why do you love them so much?” she answers, “Because they stand on a wall and they say, ‘Nothing is going to happen to you. Not tonight; not on my watch.” That is how we should view the call of intercession. We stand on the wall and keep watch for the enemy’s attack, saying, “Nothing is going to happen to our families or the church on my watch.” We must stand on the wall of intercession for our generation.

God has placed different ones in key positions to stand watch with keen eyes of the Spirit. In Isaiah 62:6-7 the Word of the Lord says, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent”.

God has placed watchmen on the walls of His church, men and women to watch and cry out day and night. God has called them to knock on the door of Heaven continually. This word watchman refers to guarding and protecting as a hedge of thorns might keep the enemy away.

The Gospel of Mark says it like this, “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is,” (Mk. 13:33-37). Every believer is called to be alert, standing on the walls of the church and guarding His kingdom.

Picture with me the Great Wall of China. Built thousands of years ago it has outlived warlords, dynasties and changing opinions. It spans over 5,000 miles and proceeds through mountains, grasslands and deserts. For centuries, it has kept out those who wanted to come against the kingdoms of ancient China. Today this magnificent monument stands as a great historical wonder but is empty of any significance. The kingdoms and territories that it once protected have long been defeated and plundered. All across Europe and even America there are incredible buildings, markers of great moves of God, now only empty religious relics. The body of Christ has built walls and stood watch over the many years of history, but at times the watchmen have been distracted, slack and weak. Isaiah 56:10 says, “His watchmen are blind, They are all ignorant; …Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”

Unfortunately, those who once were energetic and zealous have become spiritually blind and ignorant of the coming danger. So many believers have chosen to shut their eyes or stop up their ears. The prophet Jeremiah spoke the word of the Lord, “Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen,’” (Jer. 6:17). The watchman has the weight of responsibility on his shoulders to warn the people. Whether through an act of ignorance or rebellion, we will be found guilty if we do not warn God’s people of the danger at hand. It’s time to get back on the wall!

 

Window Rattling Prayers will Change Cities!

images-71In the book of Acts we see believer’s praying so intensely that they shook the very building they were in. Peter and John had been arrested for teaching and preaching the Gospel (Acts 4:31). We read in the chapter before this where a lame man was healed at the gate Beautiful resulting in five thousand people believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:4). Then after being released, Peter and John reported to their friends what was told to them and they began to tenaciously pray. so hard that the walls began to trembled. It was probably similar to when a storm moves in with cracking thunder that rattle your windows and shake the house.

The story continues in Acts 4:31-32, when they had prayed together not only was the place shaken, but they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the Word with boldness. Prayers that shake foundations and rattle windows come when we understand God’s love toward us and have a personal relationship with Him. It’s because of those kind of prayers that they saw the evidence of His power in their midst and brought change in their cities.

Gordon Lindsay was the founder of Christ for the Nations Institute and also the key organizer of the Voice of Healing Fellowship along with being an author of the magazine by the same name. Many mornings as his wife was getting the kids off to


We must be people who bring down the rain of Heaven with our prayers.


school Gordon was just going to bed after being up all night praying and fasting. His accomplishments such as the many books and bible school he founded are a direct result of his life of prayer.

There are many different elements to praying, “window rattling” and “building-shaking” prayers but let me highlight a few. The first element is to be surrendered to God’s will when we pray. We read in John 5:14-15 that we will have confidence when we pray in His will. Why? Because He will hear us and if God hears us then we know He will answer us. Knowing God’s will is knowing the very heartbeat of our heavenly Father.

Second, we must be serious in prayer. In James 5:16-18 it says that Elijah was earnest in prayer. He was a serious prayer warrior and because of it the clouds were shaken to rain. We must be people who bring down the rain of Heaven with our prayers.


When we bring our prayers in line with God’s thoughts and desires, then and only then will we see radical results in our surroundings.  


Third, we must be relentless in prayer. We can’t have a wimpy, quitter’s attitude. In Colossians 4:2 we read, “Don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God’s answers, and remember to be thankful when they come,” (TLB). Let us be relentless when we pray!

Fourth, we must have a humble spirit as we pray. A person who is puffed up with an ego or pride will hinder their prayers. Self-exaltation will cloud our perspective and will position our will before His will.

Fifth, we must not pray with idle words. Religious jargon and empty words are useless and insulting to God’s love. In Matthew 6:7-8 we read Jesus’ words, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do…”.

The bottom line is this, when we pray with a pure heart and press in with a tenacious spirit we will connect with God’s heart. Effective prayers come from individuals who live a life of communing with Him. When we bring our prayers in line with God’s thoughts and desires, then and only then will we see radical results in our surroundings. The course of cities and nations will be supernaturally changed before our eyes and God’s purposes will become reality. God is looking for those who will surrender their agendas for His.

A life of prayer is a life of Victory!

praying in churchA life of prayer is a life of power! The degree of power in our life is a direct reflection of our prayer life and habits. If you find weakness and fatigue in your faith then you can be sure that you are weak and impotent in prayer. The deeper our intimacy with God the stronger our prayer life will be. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Our prayer life is strengthened as we get to know Him experientially and understand who He is.

In times of spiritual dryness, we need to be saturated in God. In Topeka, Kansas just before Christmas of 1900, Charles F. Parham instructed the forty students at Bethel College to study the scriptures, to determine what would be considered the New Testament evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which they did. Then these students began to pray fervently that they might experience this same New Testament experience.

Clare Davis in her book, The Move of God writes of this experience. On the watch-night of 1901, they had a hallowed time of prayer for God’s blessings to be upon them in the coming year. During the first day of 1901 the Spirit of the Lord was with them in a marked way, stilling hearts to wait upon Him for greater things. The spirit of prayer was


God doesn’t want you to go through life with powerless prayers but being filled with the life changing power of the Holy Spirit.


upon them in the evening, and about 11:00 p.m., one of the students, Agnes Ozman, asked for prayer that she might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. As the students laid hands on her she began to be filled with more of God. She later stated, “I had the added joy that my heart longed for, and a depth of the presence of the Lord within, that I never knew before. It was as if rivers of living water were proceeding from my innermost being.” Days later Parham, himself and soon all of the students received the Holy Spirit. The news spread quickly and many people were filled with this wonderful outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Parham went to Houston and began to teach this Book of Acts experience.”

God wants every believer to hunger for more of Him. Just as these students desired to experience the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit, you and I need to come to that same place of hunger for more of God. The apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy


Our prayer life is strengthened as we get to know Him experientially and understand who He is


saying, “I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting,” (I Tim. 2:8). This isn’t for a select few but for every believer. God wants all Christians to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit so that they can pray effective prayers.

God has so much more for each of His children. He doesn’t want you to go through life verily getting through with powerless prayers but being filled with the life changing power of the Holy Spirit. We need to make powerful prayer a way of life. It’s our life source and spiritual umbilical cord. What’s holding you back today? I encourage you to take time out of your busy schedule and pray, asking God to give you everything He has for you. There’s great power in prayer.