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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

[Excerpt from soon to be published A Voice in the Wilderness, Volume 5]

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.”  I Kings 18:41

Last night, as we were in a prayer meeting of saints crying out for a fresh new move of God, the Lord opened my ears to hear what Elijah heard.

The events concerning Elijah’s ministry have deep significance for these last days.  From the time when he first presents himself to Ahab and declares a drought unto the time when he is chased into the desert by Jezebel’s persecution, we see a picture of how end-time events will unfold.

In a time of seeming great prosperity for backslidden Israel, Elijah’s prophetic word of a coming drought seemed absurd.  The judgments of God seemed far away from the lush green fields and prosperity that was all around.  Life was good, and no one expected it to change.

And out of nowhere, comes this hairy man that no one has heard of and stands right in the face of the king to declare something that on the surface seems laughable.  Who was this unknown peasant with an outrageous attitude to rebuke the king himself right in the middle of the king’s court?

But three years later, no one was laughing. 

We have gone through several years of spiritual drought.  Prophets of God – real prophets of God – have warned us, but no one was listening.  On the contrary, we have been inundated with hordes of preachers declaring peace, prosperity and blessings upon the people of God.  We have flocked to their seminars, bought their books and videos, and paid them money to hear more.  For a season, it seemed so prophetic — we have found a new path into God’s prosperity that all the old-timers from the brush arbor revival days were never aware of.

They preached the Fear of the Lord and a crucified walk of sacrifice, but we have heaped up to us teachers that have illuminated a new, better way of “love” that is so much more enlightening.

But now, like Gideon, we wonder where are all the miracles that we used to see?  Where are the piles of discarded crutches, the packed altars with broken hearts, the supernatural outpourings on our services and all-night prayer meetings – for that matter, where are our prayer meetings?  We are in the midst of the drought, and we are just now noticing our dry throats and cracked lips that once were anointed with the Spirit of God.

After 3 years of drought when there was no moving of the Spirit of God in Israel, Elijah called forth a final showdown with Baal.  Judgment was set upon a mountaintop where the fire of God fell and devoured the priests and prophets of the established churches of the land.  And still, there was no revival – just a mumbled acknowledgment of what was obvious, but no heartfelt repentance.  After all, not only had the people just witnessed the death of their beloved local pastors and prophets, but with them, the demise of their hopes for prosperity and a life of religious ease.

But then Elijah turns to Ahab and tells him that he hears the sound of an abundance of a rain. 

I heard that sound last night. 

It was the sound of desperate hearts crying out to God to please forgive us for our idolatry, to have mercy on us and send a revival, not just for us, but for all those souls out there who have been lost because of our apostate ways.  I could hear the echoes of Nehemiah and of Daniel when they too had cried out in repentance for God to have mercy on His people and restore us once again.

There was a melding of voices as I could feel them funneling straight up to the Throne of God, driven by the sorrow of tears that flowed from broken hearts.  And then, intermingled with them, was the drip, drip, drip of the tears of God falling to the Earth for His people.

It was the sound of abundance of rain.

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“When we become too glib in prayer we are most surely talking to ourselves.” – A. W. Tozer

Passionless prayer is not what Paul referred to when he wrote about striving in prayer. The word he used was “agonizomai“, which means to struggle in a wrestling match, not to just finish, but to win against all odds.

Is your prayer hour like that, or is it just “a little talk with Jesus”? Is your prayer time described as contending with God like Jacob or Elijah, or is it your “quiet time with Jesus”?

A.W. Tozer knew what he was saying would ruffle some feathers because people without passion will almost always choose comfort over contending. But he said it anyway because it is true.

There is no substitute for contending prayer. I was taught early on that when you have a problem, to take it to the prayer room and seek the face of God. Keep praying until you get an answer – fast if you have to — but get your answers from God. If you don’t understand something, give it to God, and when you are ready to receive the answer, He will give it to you.

But this generation has instead made a habit of seeking to Christian self-help books for answers to their spiritual problems. They read book after book seeking answers, and then they will check with the Bible to see if it lines up with what they have chosen to believe. They are substituting reading books for prayer.

I can hear all the voices rising up to tell me about all the wonderful things they’ve learned from books. I would answer that, besides missing a personal experience from your Father, the real problem is that you don’t know if they are right or wrong. Maybe they’re mostly right … like 99% right. And we all know that that 1% is the pebble in the stream that nudges your direction just a little bit off the true course, setting you up for the next pebble, and the next, until the stream ends up in a very different destination.

Am I too old-fashioned? Maybe. But I’d rather get my answers from God because He is always right.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

 

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Do You Get an Answering Machine When You Pray?

Ever wonder how in the world the Lord can really hear and pay attention to you when you pray?  Let’s face it.  He has got to be pretty busy. He has to pay attention to billions of people, what they do, what they saying, even what they’re thinking.  On top of that, He writes all this stuff down in a Book, and He can’t make any mistakes– people’s souls depend on its absolute accuracy!  If that’s not enough, He has to be mindful of the entire universe.  The rivers, the seasons, the wind and the weather, the animals and plant life, even the stars and galaxies are dependant upon His Word to be held together in order.  And you mean to tell me that He not only knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, but He actually numbers the hairs of your head?  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…  We’re talking busy here!

Is it a small wonder, then, that so many of us don’t expect a personal answer each and every time we go to pray?  When you pray, do you get a personal response, or do you get an answering machine?  “Thank you for praying.  I’m away from the prayer line right now and am either answering another prayer, or not at home right now.  Please leave your prayer at the sound of the beep, or press 0 to talk with one of the angels … Oh, and have a nice day!”

Do you pray with the attitude that you will just leave a message, and somehow, when God gets around to checking His messages, He’ll handle your request?  After all, He is pretty busy and we do have to cut Him a little slack.

Or do you pray expecting an answer?  When you call, do you ring the phone until you get an answer?  When you go to visit, do you hang on that doorbell until He answers the door?  You know He’s at home.  Answer the phone!  Open the door!  You didn’t come just to hear the cute little sound of the bell.  You need an answer!  Right here, right now!

We’ve got a contract with God that is written in Blood, and sealed with the Holy Ghost. That contract gives us rights to the Throne of God.  God is a Jew; He makes deals; and that’s part of the deal!  I’ve got it in writing.  I am not going to be satisfied with some dumb answering machine, or some angel for a secretary, or some saint.  I want the real thing, and I’m stubborn enough to hang in there until I get it.  So was the guy in Luke 11 who harangued his neighbor with his importunity until he got what he wanted.

We need powerful prayer warriors who know how to get answers from God. If there was ever a time the people of God need to stand strong, it is now in these last days. Each and every one of us needs to believe God for a personal answer when we contend before God with effective, prevailing prayers. That’s where you get your strength.  If we don’t learn to pray like that, our souls will become weak and insipid with a lack of faith and will eventually fall prey to the storms of Satan.

Elias was a man of like passions as we, and he stopped up the heavens from rain through prayer, and then he prayed again and it rained.  That’s what I call knowing how to get an answer from God!

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

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“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17, 18)

I’d like to clarify one of the things I wrote about yesterday.

I have started doing something new in my revival meetings. I used to have healing lines where almost the whole church would line up to get prayed over. I’m not sure about the early years, but for the last 10 years, everybody that would get in line would get healed. Sometimes, they would get healed while still standing in line before I got to them. Sometimes they would get healed when they stepped inside the door of the church or under the canopy. I know because I ask them.

When I pray over someone, I first ask where the problem is, and then we pray over that spot. If it is a woman, I ask her to place her hand where the pain is and I place my hand on top of hers. If she does not get healed, we pray again. Either you believe or you don’t. If she doesn’t get healed the 2nd time, we pray again. Rarely have I ever had to go more than three times.

Once the people in the meeting see others getting healed, guess what happens. The line goes out the door, and it usually takes over an hour before we get to the end. Everybody has something they need prayed for.

All that is great, but what happens when I leave? Do the promises leave with me? I believe that it is important for these people to realize that they have the same access to the Throne of God that I do, and that if they begin to take hold of the promises God has given them, they can start performing miracles. When that happens, what do you think the unsaved community around them will do? They will come. When they see that the power of God is real, that it can deliver them, it can heal them, and it can save them, then the wheels of revival will begin to turn.

So I am doing a new thing. I am making them pray over the sick themselves. I start by getting someone that has a pain or a headache to stand up. Then I look for an unlikely candidate to pray over that person. At first, many of them are looking away, or down, or hiding their eyes, hoping that I don’t call on them. But those are the ones that I’m looking for. I bring them forward and tell them to pray with authority to cast out the sickness and take power and dominion over all sickness, pain, and weakness. Pray like Elijah! And they do!

Guess what happens. That’s right. The sick are healed! And THEY did it, not the white guy from America. Then I do it again with another set of candidates. And again. You can watch the realization dawn across their faces that this power is not reserved for special people or big shots, but it is for them. God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty.

There are two things that I want them to understand. One is that once the miracles start flowing, the unsaved will begin to believe in the gospel once again. Right now, they have dismissed church as something good people do, but that it has no power and is not for them. All that will change when they see and hear the power and glory restored to the church.

The other thing is even more important than that. I want them to fully realize that they can change the world. Not somebody else. Not some well-heeled preacher from the West. Not the apostle or the bishop or the big-time VIP, but them. The little people. The foolish things of the world. The fishermen at the Sea of Galilee. The little shepherd boy. The widow with two mites or an alabaster box.

Once this concept awakens in their heads and they rise to the challenge that God has placed upon them, they will be the stones that God will raise up to change, not just their community around them, but the entire world.

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Trust in God is dependent upon your prayer life.

In today’s religious environment, we hear all about how we should trust God. Don’t worry about anything because God will take care of you. He loves you and will not let anything bad happen to you.  I’m sorry, but that is neither faith nor trust. That’s presumption.

Just because you say something or make some “prophetic” proclamation does not necessarily mean that it is true or will happen. But I often hear supposedly real Christians quote the passage in Romans 4:17, “…before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were”, and use it to claim that we can call things into creation or that just because we proclaim it, it has to happen.

Where did we get that from? That statement applies to God and God only. That does not give you power to “name it, and claim it”. Neither does it bequeath unto you power to make anything happen. To access power through the words you speak is sorcery, not faith.

1st Corinthians 4:20 tells us that the kingdom of God is NOT in word, but in power. Power in God – real power – does not come with the snap of your fingers. It is earned slowly the hard way. It comes from hours on your knees in deep, prevailing prayer. Your little “quiet time with Jesus” will not break through the holy of holies to pierce the heavens. Matthew 11:12 says that the violent take the kingdom of heaven by violence. Is that how you pray? Is your prayer room a place of battle, a contending before the Throne of God, and a place of violent spiritual warfare?

Crucifying your flesh through fasting and prayer breaks your fleshly desires and paves the way into the presence of God. The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. (Gal. 5:17)  We cannot get to a place of real power in God if we are still walking in uncrucified flesh. We have to break through ourselves first before we can see breakthroughs in our walk in God.

Everybody wants to be a prophet, but nobody wants to pay the price. They think it’s as easy as “speaking the word”.  Just click your heels together three times, hold a good thought, speak a word of prophesy, and BINGO! Just like that, we are in the Land of Oz!

We have lost the fear of God that should have kept us back from such foolish sin. Prophets of peace and prosperity abound because we love to hear fake prophesies about our prosperity and blessings, but real prophets of God who are called to bring us to repentance, (Jer. 23:22) are rejected as being too judgmental, hard, caustic, and legalistic. So we heap up to ourselves teachers that tell us what our itching ears want to hear (2Tim. 4:3). But God says that because we did not love the truth, He would turn us over to believe a lie (2Thess. 2:10-12)

To fully trust God, you must find your place in Him – that secret place of the Most High (Psalm 91:1) – and when you have touched the Throne of God, you know that you know that you know that you have solid confidence that your trust in God is not based on wishful thinking or presumptuous flesh, but upon your communion with God Himself.

You get your trust in Him when you touch the Throne of God,

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Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” (John 12:3)

Praise contradicts pride. If you are praising God, He becomes your focus, not yourself. The fragrance fills the room and the presence of this world and its hold on you is squeezed out. Pride melts away along with your attention on self. You – your position, your title, your benefit and welfare, your prosperity and blessings, even your place in God – dissolves in the cloud of unfettered praise carried in the beauty of holiness.

Pride is really nothing more than putting yourself above everyone else, including God. It has a ravenous appetite and will take over every place it enters. Just as the flesh wars against the Spirit, so pride is the antithesis of praise., and just as sin separates us from God, so also is grace unable to function in the presence of pride.

If you do not let go of your pride, your praises to God will ring hollow, and it will not be long before you are bored with repeating the meaningless phrases of “praise you Jesus, thank you Jesus”. The flesh takes precedent over lifeless words and renders your praises impotent. Your connection to the Holy Spirit is then broken and your feet remain planted in this world.

How then do we anchor our praises in the Spirit, break the stranglehold of the flesh, and release true praise and worship? The answer, as always, is to immerse yourself in the Word. All power comes from the Word of God. The Word of God created the universe. It cleanses you, gives you light and understanding, and because it is the source of faith, it gives you the power to pray. And prayer is the key that opens the door to praise.

There is one more step, however, in releasing the full power of praise. You have to break your heart. Mary broke the alabaster box that held the ointment. In so doing, you break open the bars that hold praise captive, and liberate it to fill the room.

The power of praise is one of the secrets to answered prayer. You “enter His courts with praise” (Psalms 100:4). Praise opens the door to the Throne Room of God. When you are totally immersed in praise and worship, the Holy Spirit will cover you and carry you into the presence of God. Once you are standing before Him in all His glory, nothing else matters.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
(Helen H. Lemel)

 

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“He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”  John 9:7

What a moment!  What an incredible moment!

Here is this guy who had been blind all his life, and Jesus passes by and changes his entire life in one moment.

Now, why did this blind man let someone just come along out of nowhere, plaster spit and mud on his eyes, and tell him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam?  Jesus could have just been some “would-be wanna-be” who was promising all kinds of stuff that he would not be able to deliver on.  Hadn’t this guy had a tough enough time sitting on the side of road all his life begging for scraps to survive on without being mocked on top of it?  He might have just blown off this Jesus, but he didn’t.

He had hope.

Hope is something that reaches past all reason, past all common sense, past everything that the world would condemn us to, and grasps for that slender thread that says that there is something more to this life that what you see around you.  There has to be something more than this temporal existence that gives meaning to the essence of life.

You hope because you can feel it in your soul.

And then there’s that incredible moment when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior – you wash the spit and mud off your eyes and all of a sudden, you can see! You can see! This man didn’t just come back … he came back seeing!

All the colors!  All the things that were just sounds before!  People’s faces!  Rocks and trees!  Oh, and look at the sky!  He didn’t just come back – he came back seeing!

The neighbors stood looking in amazement.  Was this the same guy?  Some said yes, but others said, “I don’t know.  He looks like him, but he’s not the same beggar we used to know.  Something has changed about him!”

They didn’t get it, did they?  Nobody seemed to understand.  Even his parents were taken aback.  They were so afraid of getting kicked out of the church that they sidestepped the whole issue.

But he didn’t care.  He was saved!  He could see!  He was alive for the very first time!  Really alive!  If others didn’t understand, it was only because they hadn’t tried.

Those who should have known couldn’t see what he saw. They couldn’t feel what he felt, and since he didn’t go to church, then they figured it must not be of God.

Why, herein is a marvelous thing that they couldn’t figure it out with all their theological expertise, and yet he had been touched by the power of God.  But he didn’t have to figure it out – he could see! — And that’s all he needed to know.

If you have never experienced that incredible moment of Salvation, it may look strange to you.  It doesn’t follow any set formula that you know about, and you can’t see the invisible Spirit of God, but if you have hope, if you just have hope, then reach out anyway.

And when you do, you will touch the face of God, and you will see like you’ve never seen before.  The Spirit of Life will raise you up from death; it will open your eyes,

… and you will come seeing.

 

Brother Dale
dale@revivalfire.org 

 

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“Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly …” (Jonah 2:1)

I imagine it was a bright sunny day – blue skies, birds singing, gentle breeze blowing in from the sea. It must have been a beautiful day. At least it was for Jonah.  He might have been slimy and acid-eaten, but at least it wasn’t raining because the whale had spit him out onto dry land. That whale had beached itself just so Jonah wouldn’t get his feet wet. Yeah, it must have been a beautiful day.

The survival of 120,000 people was depending on it. I’m not sure if Jonah actually knew that God would deliver the Assyrians and did not want them to be delivered or if he was just plain scared to death to walk into the midst of this fierce, merciless people and tell them they were going to hell. The point is, he didn’t want to go.

But God did.

Acts of mercy that we perform are generated, not from our own wells of charity, but from the heart of God. He just allows us to participate.

And most often it is prayer that unlocks the door to that mercy. We may be praying for something entirely different – Jonah was certainly not praying for the Ninevites – but the effects of prayer, like the random twists and turns that a stream takes on its way to the sea, can often take circuitous routes to reach God’s intended consequence. We are just required to pray. And prayer moves God.

We may scoff that our little tiny prayers could move continents and drop mountains into the sea, but are we limiting God or ourselves?  James 5:16 says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. While there are conditions for prayer to be effective, there are no limitations.

Everything in your Christian walk distills down into two things: reading and prayer. The Word of God gives us the power to pray, and prayer unties the hands of God to move in ways that we cannot imagine.

Including saving 120,000 people who you never intended to save.

 

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Brother Dale

 

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I’ve been waking up every morning with an impending sense of doom. The devil keeps trying to tell me that I’m going to die in Africa on this trip. It’s like waking up in a dark and cloudy morning until I shake off the cobwebs and realize who’s talking to me. When I’m fully awake, I feel like answering him with, “Promise?”

Nope. Not this time. Or the next one either. I consider it an encouraging thing for Satan to threaten to kill me. That means two things – one, I’m not going to die. He’s a liar, so the opposite must be true.

The other is that he is scared.

Lately, I have been hearing a lot about sacrifice and of willingness to launch off into the unknown. It’s scary to some people. Common sense tells you to be organized, responsible, and ordered. Be an adult. Leave the wild and crazy stuff to others. But I’m not so sure that isn’t what God asks of us.

Calm and placid hearts never shake kingdoms, start revolutions, or move mountains. That is only for those with outrageous faith and an unrealistic vision; the ones who don’t choose the beaten path, the easy challenge, or more responsible way. They are the ones who believe God in spite of whatever the world tells them. They are addicted to the fire of vision and inspiration of God. They believe in the impossible because that’s where God leads.

Satan can’t control them, he can’t predict them, and he can’t stop them. So, of course he’s scared! There is no telling what God can do through someone who casts all common sense aside to leap off the cliff into God’s hands, trusting in Him who died so they can live.

Faith is not defined or described by common sense. There is nothing common about the kind of faith that destroys all the barriers that the world has constructed to corral and limit Christianity to the barriers of their church walls.

I believe that a true Holy Ghost revival is powerful enough to change the world, solve social problems, cure disease, relieve the poor and afflicted, and bring peace to this world. The devil agrees. That’s why he is scared.

I am heading to two countries where I have brought this message of revival. Both places have strong leaders who believe the same thing that I do and believe it so much that they are willing to take it to those same extremes. Their torches are lit, the power of God is responding, and the fire is starting to burn.

Of course Satan is scared. That impending doom is his.

 

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