Psalm 141:1-2 (NIV)
I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
It’s the unheard yet clearly discerned whisper in the middle of the night that awakens us. Or the heavy burden on the inside of one’s soul that beckons us to heavenly conversation. The urgency or quickening inside of our heart that causes it to beat quickly as if a hint of danger is in the air. It is the call to prayer. Perhaps, it is the Lord fanning the flame of our spirit so that the incense ember will become hot and rise up again. It is the very thing that draws one’s hands to Heaven in a sacrifice of praise and offering of Thanksgiving. It began in early evening last night. Out of nowhere the call to prayer. There was no shofar blowing in the distance or an alarm ringing in my head but urgency for lack of better word or understanding. I have learned to respond to it. I have made the mistake of ignoring it many times as well. What do I pray for Lord? It is not always clear but nevertheless cannot be ignored. So I prayed. I cannot even remember all the things I prayed for in those moments. I did not race to my prayer closet but with each circular scrub as I cleaned the counter, in each gentle fold of fresh laundry and as I continued to finish the day I quietly called out to the Lord to quiet my heart and still my soul.
What about you? When was the last time you prayed? It’s hard to entertain a one-sided conversation. It doesn’t have to be. God still speaks to those who listen. Those who want to hear what He has to say. Those who are willing to do as He instructs. Those who are willing to take Him at His Word. For the last 2,637 days, the Lord has met me in this place. It is a place of prayer. It is a time of learning. It is an ongoing conversation that comes across to you right here. The Lord is not silent just unheard. Too often we come to Him with our burdens and then tell Him what to do about it rather than waiting and watching for the Lord to respond in His Perfection and Sovereignty. Guilty as charged. It took a lot to change my approach and even more to see the importance of an active and ongoing prayer life with our Father in Heaven through His Son, Jesus Christ in partnership with His Spirit. The Godhead three in one is speaking to us. Are we opening our ears, heart and mind to listen? It’s time to pray.
When we stop praying and conversing with the Lord on a regular basis, it creates a ceasefire situation in our life. We have dropped our weapon and are now subject to the enemy’s attacks without a defense. Yet the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but against every argument and pretension that sets itself up against God. We battle not as the world does but by releasing Heaven on the earth to illuminate the darkness and setting every captive free. It’s time to return to our prayer closets. It is time to get on our knees. We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ. It is time to fully engage in the war against the flesh and rise up against every word and way contradictory to God’s Way. We cannot and will not be successful on our own. This is a fight that begins facedown as we rekindle the ember of incense surrendering to God in our petitions.
Matthew 6:9-15 (NIV)
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
It is simple. We complicate it. Jesus told us exactly how to pray. If we do nothing else but recite His Words each day – we release His Power in our life. If we choose to take one step further and unite our faith with Him, suddenly the supernatural is released. “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Is that your cry today? If this is our hearts desire, it is important to note that you are asking the Lord to radically change and shift your life into alignment with the Kingdom of God. This will always demand us to be the one in motion as God does not lie or change His Mind therefore we are the one’s placed on the turntable of repentance which is set into motion by the grace that we are given. God is not going immediately rectify your situation or solve your problem or at least this is not my experience. The Lord uses every situation to build up our faith, expand our trust and solidify our hope in Him.
“Lead us not into temptation.” Jesus told His Disciples when they could not stay awake to pray with Him, “Watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) Our flesh will never be overtaken by a willing spirit. We must strengthen our spirit by allowing the Holy Spirit to take over. We do this by surrendering our will and way to God each day beginning with our prayers and petitions. Not my will but Your Will, God. Not my way, but Your Way God. Have you given the Lord this day? Have you asked His Kingdom to come and invade your piece of earth yet?
The Power of God is manifested through our prayer life. Consider Elijah who was as human as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and the rain stopped for more than three years. He asked the Lord to send the rain and God did producing crops again. If Elijah and all the other prophets and disciples could experience supernatural power than why can’t I? We can when prayer becomes an earnest endeavor once again.
Matthew 21:21-22 (NIV)
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Do you believe? If you truly believe that power united us with God’s Power, why in the world would you stop praying? I pray every day. I want to pray more. I am convinced that if I became committed to prayer as much as I am to studying the Word of God, that my faith would spark a revival. I want to pray continually. I want to pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:16) I must have faith to make this a successful effort. What is the point of wasting my time if I do not believe it will improve or change anything? It would not be worth the moments that I wasted on it because without faith – we cannot please God. We cannot get any closer to Him without surrendering more of our life to Him. We will never experience the significance of such a choice without an ongoing conversation and commitment to communication with the Lord.
James 5:13-16 (NIV)
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Are you a righteous person? You have the ability to live in right standing with God through Jesus Christ. Aligning our life to Him and surrendering our way by faith and trusting Jesus enough to follow Him allows us to remain in right standing with God. When we come to the Lord it is with this thought in mind, however; soon the task becomes too difficult as real and genuine faith is pursued. This requires hard angles and sharp turns in our life. We don’t want to change but desire the miracles of it. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. The Word of God is our sword that cuts to the heart of things. As we read and study God’s Word and pray its activation in our life, we are secretly signing disclaimer to change for the better. You cannot live in sin and be a conduit to the signs and wonders of God’s Kingdom. We cannot speak with our mouth things that our heart does not believe and expect it to be a caveat of healing and deliverance to others. Effective prayer will always require that we have faith and believe. It will also be decided by how we live. Are we obedient to God’s Word? Do we strive to live God’s Way? Are we asking for and waiting on His Will to be accomplished? Just a thought…
Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
The Holy Spirit helps us in our human weakness to pray in accordance with the Will of God. He is our Holy Partner who gives us the Mind of Christ and teaches us how to live. He guides us in all things pertaining to godliness. He produces the Fruit in us that feeds our soul and provides for others. The Holy Spirit hung a “work in progress” sign on us when He came to live in us and it will remain so until Jesus completes it. (Jude 20-21) We must pray in holy faith and in the Holy Spirit to make it useful and effective and life changing. Our life is no longer connected to the outcomes of this world but we have been handed the Keys to the Kingdom. We do not have to remain subject to natural outcomes but supernatural opportunity belongs to those who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, live by faith and remain righteous before God.
Daniel 9:22-23 (NIV)
He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.
Daniel and his three friends chose to remain faithful to God under the powerful oppression of King Nebuchadnezzar. Read about the king sometime, he was not a very nice person. The power was passed to his son, King Belshazzar and finally went to King Darius. Though Daniel was granted much favor, it was not without oppression. His three friends were thrown into a fiery furnace and Daniel came face to face with lions in their den. Yet through all of these trials, God sustained him. Many people turned to God as His Power was revealed in these men. We must be faithful to the Lord in all things to have such a supernatural life.
David had been praying to the Lord when the angel appeared before him. The words of the angel have been written on my heart as I will cherish them always because they are for me, too. “As soon as you began to pray, a word went out.” When we choose to live God’s Way, and we decide to actively participate in His Plan, we will pray and immediately God will release a command in Heaven to respond to our faith and trust in Him. Right then. He doesn’t hesitate. He responds. God is responding to us today. Are we listening? Are we interacting? Are we waiting on Him?
Our prayers please God. (Proverbs 15:8) The Lord keeps His Eyes on the righteous. His ears are attentive to our prayer. Can He hear anything at all? Are we talking to our Savior and Lord? We must communicate with the Lord again. We must breathe on the coals producing the incense He calls prayer while lifting our arms in praise. We must pray continually. We must make it a point. It is a privilege to devote our life to prayer (Colossians 4:2), it produces God’s Promises. Are we taking advantage of an active prayer life today? If not, why not? Is it a lack of faith? Is it a trust issue? Are we too busy? Do we not believe? We must examine our heart and mind to find the breach and repair it? Why? Glad you asked.
Romans 12:11-18 (NIV)
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
It is easy to be overcome by distractions and detours that keep us from our prayer closet. All the “things” in life creating a barrier between us and the Presence of God. I listened as Christian friends vent about challenges, opposition and obstacles that they are facing, admitting that they are tired, stressed out and overburdened with life and all its responsibilities who in the very next breath that there is no time to pray. Make time. Turn off your phone. Close the door. Shut out the noise and pray. Prayer will change our life before we encounter it. It will dissolve the mountains before we even reach them. It will silence the enemy before he makes it to your ear. It will stop him at the doorway to homes and workplaces because the Holy Spirit beat him there. Prayer creates an atmosphere of peace born of our alliance with Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:6-7) It is perceptible yet incomprehensible when the Lord changes the heart and mind of another on our behalf.
Prayer changes us. By transferring our expectation from the earth to God’s Kingdom, we no longer live in constant disappointment and chronic discontentment. Prayer will change every relationship that we have for the better because it allows people to be people rather than what we desire them to be to fill a void in us. Prayer allows us to be limitless and totally free to set the world on fire. Jesus wishes it was already burning.
Prayer will change our churches. When Jesus entered the temple courts to discover it had become a market place, He was enraged. I wonder what would have if the Lord dared enter the modern day churches filled with gimmicky grace and half-hearted commitment to go with its half-filled overpriced cups of latte. He declared that His House is a House of Prayer. (Matthew 21:12-14) There is a difference. It is not in the find decorating, or fancy furniture. Doesn’t matter if there is a coffee bar or just a pot perking in the foyer. It is not about blab it and grab it or what you wear to worship next Sunday. Jesus said, “My house will be called a House of Prayer.” Do you pray at church? Do people still go to the altar, fall on their knees and cry out to God? If not, we should be. If we want revival, real soul-riveting, life-changing, body-healing, miracle-happening revival, it’s time to pray! The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force just as it was in the days of John the Baptist. Have we laid down our weapons? I sure hope not!
I Timothy 4:4-5 (NIV)
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
Today, right now, in the next five minutes, can we will we, reconsecrate our life to the Lord by His Word and prayer. We have the Power of God hidden within us trying to make its way out. We get in the way. We are challenged by the thought of certain change and radical undoing. Prayer is the beginning of such things so we avoid it until it is inevitable. Everything God created is good. Did you know that? Do you understand that God’s Goodness is hidden behind our inability to see it, hear it and take hold of it through doubt, disbelief and unwillingness to step aside and allow His Kingdom take over the earth beginning with me. Yes, me. I get in the way every time I attempt to do anything outside of the God in me. When I choose to do rather than pray first. When I decide I can get there myself rather than waiting on the Lord. When I am ready to make it happen even though the Lord is still working things out. This is not trust. This is not faith. This actually becomes a dream crusher and vision stealer when we forget to pray and seek the Face of God each day.
Ceasefire over. It is time to oppose the enemy’s assault on my life, God’s People, the lost and dying. Today I must ignite the passion for prayer in my life. I will tend the ember that has grown dim to make it produce the incense that obtains my Lord’s Attention opening His Eyes and perking up His Ears toward me. There are good things all around me trying to be birthed in my life. I must reconnect with my Jesus to make them a reality. He invites me to His Inner Courts. He desires intimate communication with me. How will we respond today when Jesus says, “Come…”
Psalm 27:8 (NLT)
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”