Tag Archives: Prayer

As necessary to our spiritual life as breathing is to our body: our ongoing dialogue with God through the Holy Spirit.

Faith comes from hearing…

Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”
(Psalm 40: 7-8)

How often do we step out of our daily routine to draw aside with God, and then bump into a word that speaks directly into a situation that we are praying about, in a portion of Scripture that we read that very day? What never ceases to astound me as how that word has been waiting for this moment. I want to invite you to put on sunglasses for a moment and stare with me into the blazing glory of the substance of the Word of God.

The psalmist writes that Gods word is “settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89) The Hebrew word for settled means established, standing firm. This is the word that created the universe, and that sustains “all things;” (Heb 1:3) it is the Word that was in the beginning before becoming flesh. (John 1:14) Jesus says that His words will remain even though Heaven and Earth pass away (Luke 21:33). He tells us that His words are “Spirit and they are life.” He does not say that they are from the Spirit or that they bring life; He says that they are spirit and they are life. God’s word is living and active. It seems that the substance of the word is actually part of the substance of God himself. John 1:1 affirms this, because the gospel writer tells us clearly that “the word was God.” God’s words do not just come from Him; they are part of Him.

Speaking through David by the Holy Spirit, Jesus says (Psalm 40 verses 7 to 8) “Behold I come, it is written about me in the scroll of your book. I delight to do Your will Oh Lord.“ He made it clear to the scribes and Pharisees that the law and the prophets revealed Him: He was written there long before He came in the flesh. We find many messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, but I think the clearest of them all is actually Psalm 22, where we find not only Christ’s experience of the crucifixion described in great detail, but also His birth and life (vs 9-10), His resurrection (v 21), the Church age (v 22) and His coming Glory (vs 27-29) as well.

The Psalm famously starts with Jesus’s cry from the cross: “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?“ And it tells how He can count all his bones, how He is “poured out like water“ and “all His bones are out of joint“, how His hands and feet have been pierced. how His enemies cost lots of His garments, how He is mocked and taunted. (vs. 12-18) Then, like a blazing comet in a dark sky, comes a single sentence set on its own: “you have answered me.“ (v 21)

Following this, we see in quick succession the establishment of the church “my praise should be of You in the great assembly“ (v 22), and the fulfilment of the kingdom promises of justice and mercy: “I will pay my veins before those who fear him. The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him will praise the Lord.“ (v 26) The final declarations of this wonderful psalm focus on the end time promise that “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations. (Verses 27 to 28)

When Jesus came to do the Father’s will, these words were already settled in Heaven and written about Him in the scroll of the book. When He cries out “My God My God why have You forsaken Me?” He is not only declaring God’s judgement of and turning away from the sin of all mankind, He is also connecting with the eternal word of His purpose and His posterity that is settled in the scroll of Heaven. In the extremes of the greatest anguish known to man, the Son of God is trusting the Father because He had already declared that He was, and that  His prayers had been answered, 1000 years beforehand. It was settled in heaven.

As Jesus so powerfully and finally demonstrated from the point of the cross, when God’s word comes alive in our circumstances it comes with all the power of Heaven. Our lives too are written in the scroll of God’s book, as we know from Ephesians 2:10 that talks of the works prepared for us beforehand “that we might walk in them.” When we pray and speak words from that book we too are taking hold of words that are “settled in heaven,“ and we are bringing something of the very substance of the spiritual dimension into space and time. We know that we are praying prayers that will be answered, because the answer is there already, just as it was for Jesus (verse 21: “You have answered me.“)

We read in Romans 10: 17  that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“ When we hear a word spoken by the Holy Spirit, whether it is a word of scripture or a word spoken directly to our hearts, we know it will be fulfilled because God’s word never returns to him void ( Isaiah 55:11) God hasn’t only given the word that is spoken, He is also actually in its very substance in order to fulfil it. Our challenge as disciples of Jesus is to always try to make sure that the words we are speaking and the prayers that we are praying are words that are settled in Heaven. Jesus said more than once: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.“ (E.g. Matt 11:15) Peter says that we are “born again of the incorruptible word of God, ”(1 Pe 1:23) and I believe that these “Ears to hear” are the  “hearing” that comes by the word: it is ours at the new birth, and ours to refine as we mature in Christ. It is only this “hearing,” these spiritual ears, that is able to hear heavenly words.

We know that Spiritual things are spiritually discerned; (1 Cor 2:14), and also that “the flesh profits nothing.” (John 6:63) If we read words from Heaven that are written in the Bible with our ears of flesh, they cannot impart faith: we cannot receive the life that is in them, and the consequence will be disappointment.  We will profit nothing. We know that Heaven’s answer will always come from Heaven, but we can so easily forget that our prayers, like the prayers of Jesus on the cross that we read in Psalm 22, must also come from Heaven if they are going to bring Resurrection life into situations. These are prayers of mustard-seed faith; this, as well as praying in tongues, is praying in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray (Romans 8:26). If we want to see more prayers answered, we must always remember to ask Him for His help.

The Leaven of the New Creation

The DNA of the Kingdom of God

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” (Gal 6:15)

When we preach Christ, we preach the new creation. When we receive Him, it is the New Creation that we step into. Jesus is King of the New Creation: in His Kingdom, all things are made new. On his first missionary journey, Paul had preached the gospel to the Galatians, and now the “Judaizers” were trying to lead them away from the Life of the Spirit and back under the law. This was the first of Paul’s epistles, and his message rings clear: the life that is ours in Christ comes by the Spirit, and not by the law. Paul stresses that there is just one characteristic, ‘the only thing that avails,’ in the New Creation, and that is faith working through love. This is the hallmark of their new life in Christ. “Faith working through love” is the very DNA of the Kingdom of God.

In the shortest parable that He gave, Jesus said:  “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” (Matt 13:33) In the Kingdom of God, the New Man is charged with the same command as was the first Adam: “Go forth and multiply.” We are instructed to go into all the world and make disciples, multiplying this Kingdom that we are part of, as disciples make disciples and pass on the DNA of the new creation until, like the stone that destroys the kingdoms of the world, it becomes “a great mountain and filled the whole Earth” (Daniel 2: 35). The Kingdom of God is like yeast, because yeast multiplies. The yeast that multiplies – this DNA of the Kingdom – is faith working through love.

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) The book where I think we can see the Word of God dividing between soul and spirit more than anywhere else in the New Testament is the letter of James, the brother of Jesus and one of the “pillars” of the Jerusalem church. James “divides” heavenly and earthly wisdom, wealth and poverty, trials and perseverance, sensual and spiritual prayer requests, empty faith and fruitful faith, the untamed tongue and “perfect” speech, pride and humility, judgement and grace. He lays out clearly the blueprint of the Kingdom of God, where faith flourishes in the context of a loving, Christ-centred lifestyle, and he succinctly wraps it up in a single verse: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) The “works” of faith that are central to James’s message (James 2:18) are both the supernatural results of Elijah-style prayer that this verse refers to, and the grace-filled lifestyle of the “righteous man” who prays them – faith at work in a setting of love.

James makes it clear that a fruitful Christian life requires full commitment to the Kingdom of God, because a “double-minded man” is “unstable in all his ways” and will “receive nothing from the Lord.” (James 1:8). His epistle progresses from portraying various characteristics of the “carnal Christian” whose faith is fruitless, to the picture of Elijah, who “was a man with a nature like ours” and whose faith both stopped and started the rain. In the new creation, where faith works through love, the prayer of faith raises up the sick person, the hungry are fed, and the needs of “widows and orphans” are met.  Elijah is praying in faith, and people are being loved.

The goal of discipleship, as expressed by Paul to Timothy, is “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This is a recurring theme in the New Testament, revisited from different angles. Paul prays that the Ephesians will be “filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:19). James exhorts his readers to “let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4) Paul prays that the Corinthians “may be made complete” (2 Cor 13:9), and his final exhortation to them is, again, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete…” (2 Cor 13:11) He tells the Colossians that “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Col 4:12) The writer to the Hebrews prays that his readers “may be made complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. ”

Finally, Jesus tells us “therefore be perfect, just as your father in heaven is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Throughout the epistles, the Holy Spirit takes these words of Jesus and makes them known to us (John 16:14) so that we can see the goal of His discipleship programme. If the Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, then faith working through love should be multiplying “perfect”, “complete” believers in our churches, as double-minded, carnal, babes in Christ learn to “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal 5:24)

This is the trajectory of discipleship: the babe in Christ who walks after the flesh becomes complete, like Elijah, and walks after the Spirit, as the DNA of the Kingdom multiplies in his or her heart. It is the bottom line of what it means to make disciples. It is what God will be seeking to restore in the church when He pours our His Spirit in the coming revival. He has been seeking it since Pentecost.

Paul said to Timothy: “Those things you heard from me, commit to faithful men who are able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:2.) In one verse, we see the leaven of the Kingdom multiplying three times: from Paul to Timothy; from Timothy to “faithful men,” and from those faithful men to “others also.” I see three questions arising out of this scripture:

  1. Are we training up “Timothys?”
  2. If we are, are they hearing from us the same things as Timothy heard from Paul?  
  3. Does our church model promote multiplication of that leaven as far as the “others also,” who will in turn eventually be reaching Timothys of their own?

The new wine is coming, so that as we drink of it the double-minded babe can become, like Timothy, the complete Elijah. He has poured it out many times before, and every time it has stayed around for a little while, then the wineskin has broken and the wine has drained away. If the next revival is going to be different, it won’t be the wine that has changed; it will be because the wineskins don’t break.

We’ve all had a chance over the last year to inspect our wineskins. Have we got the new ones ready? Or are we going to ask God, yet again, to pour the new wine into our old wineskins? Because we know what will happen if we do.

The Bus Stop

A prophetic word of encouragement

When we wait at a bus stop, we know that a bus will be coming, although we don’t always know when. The other night, I felt the Lord just say “bus stop” to me. I believe this is His word to us:

“You are at a bus stop, waiting for my bus to arrive. Nothing happens at a bus stop, the surroundings aren’t particularly exciting or beautiful, and it could be that you are standing on your own. You may be cold and wet, but you stay at the bus stop because you know the bus will be coming. You aren’t hoping that it might come; you know that it will come, so you stay where you are in full expectation of its arrival. And however cold and wet you are, however tired you might feel because you have been standing there for a long time, you know that the bus is coming, and when it arrives it will be warm and dry and you will be able to sit down. You don’t need to walk any further, because the bus will take you on to your destination.

My bus is on the way. The revival that you have been praying for is on its way. Don’t worry about your ticket: it is booked. And when the bus arrives you will find it full of people who are on the same journey, although they have come from different places. You will know some of them; some you will remember from a while back, and others will be strangers. But you will all share the joy and excitement of the journey, and soon you will all be friends. You may wonder where the bus is going because it will be taking you to places that you didn’t expect, but don’t worry because I will be driving the bus myself. There will be other stops to pick up more people, but don’t be tempted to get off before I say we have arrived. The tempter will try and draw you away, saying “This is your stop,” but it will be a lie, because when we arrive at the destination I have planned for you, everybody will leave the bus as one, perfect in one.

So carry on praying and waiting. Don’t give up or be drawn away. The bus is coming.”

Sunday 13th Sept: discipleship

It’s great to have a “live stream” of the prophetic in our Sunday meetings again, even though we aren’t physically together. As I write this, I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians ; “For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit.” (1 Cor 5:3). We use the phrase “with you in spirit” a lot, so much so that it has basically lost its meaning. I think it’s time that we rediscovered the spiritual power of these words. Our born again spirits really are in the same place, seated in Heavenly places in Christ.

There were two prophetic words this morning.

Jake had the following scripture
“Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)

He felt the Lord saying “There is a battle coming, but I want you to know that I have given you everything you need to be more than conquerors, so that you will be standing strong at the end.”

The Lord spoke to me during the worship.
Anne and I were sitting on the sofa watching the meeting on my laptop. I was quite happy; the laptop was adequate for the job. But as we were watching, Anne was sorting out the connection between the wi-fi and the TV, so that we could enjoy the meeting on a bigger screen and with better volume. As she was putting in the password, I felt the Lord say to me: “Are you content with just the laptop, or do you want more?”

God want us to press in for the big screen. He wants us to move onto a new level in our relationship with Him, and not to be content with what we have at the moment.  His desire is for us to have Him on that big fixed screen and stay connected all the time, not to fold up our laptops and switch them off when we feel like it.

Discipleship is not a part-time activity. As Rob’s message that followed emphasised, it is an all-in, full time call.

We Have the Fire

“And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings : 15-17)

In recent times there has been an emphasis in the prophetic on an increase in the intensity of the heavenly battle that we are engaged in. There have been words about God sending angels to earth, and His heavenly army being drawn up in battle array. But where is this battle taking place?

The battle is taking place all around us: not just in our churches, but in our private lives, in our family lives, and in our schools and workplaces. In some contexts it is also taking place visibly in the geopolitical sphere: in Israel, now as always; and where ever political and religious systems or legislative acts are standing in opposition to the Kingdom of our God and His Christ. The growing civil unrest in the USA is also largely an expression of the clash between liberal humanistic values and the values of the Conservative Christian foundation of the nation.

Individually, we can expect to face more and stronger temptations, and more frustration and opposition (especially in areas of ministry) as the devil unleashes his forces against the people of God. Where they are fissures and cracks in relationships the enemy will seek to drive in a wedge and force people apart. He will intensify his attack on Christian marriages and Christian families. Where we are neglecting to adhere to Romans 12: 1-2 and we are not “presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice” as our “reasonable service” to the Lord, the enemy will exploit all the weaknesses of our carnality to do as much damage as he can. The intensified battle over our own lives will often come down to the ongoing war between the flesh and the spirit – (Romans 6:19, Galatians 5:17, James 4: 1 1 Peter 2: 11), so we need to take seriously Peter’s warning to ”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Now is the time to stay closer than ever to the commander of our army, and to tune our ears even more finely to His voice. Jesus reminds us in John 10:27 that we, His sheep, do hear His voice; but very often we are listening to too many other voices as well, so His quiet whisper is drowned out.  Now is the time to ask the Lord, Just as Elisha did, to open our spiritual eyes so we can discern the spiritual forces around us: not just the forces of darkness, but the angelic forces of the Kingdom of God whose work it is to minister to the Saints (Hebrews 1: 7). We need to remember that we are not alone in any situation: that there is a spiritual dimension all around us that is peopled with beings who are both against us and for us. We need to pray at all times, not just for ourselves but for one another, and especially for those in church leadership; and those of us with the gift of tongues need to spend more time than ever praying in our spiritual language, because it is given to us for our edification.

But, as Paul says, “we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor 2:11), and the truth is that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world, and that those who are for us are greater than those that are against us. The enemy may have his “horses and chariots” arrayed against us, but against them are “horses and chariots of fire.” Although the battle may rage, the war is already won, and we can stand firm in the hope of partaking in the fruits of that victory, whether it’s in this life or the eternity that Jesus has won for us. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

Jesus told us that the “violent” take the Kingdom of Heaven ”by force”.  There is a land to take, but we are going to have to fight for it. The battle is on. But we have the fire; and the Lord says to us today what He said to His old covenant people through Moses and Joshua: “Be strong and very courageous, for I am with you.”

And if God is for us, who can be against us?

Ask, and it shall be given.

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5)

We all know how Solomon responded to this. Even if you have never read any of the Bible you will have heard of the wisdom of that God gave to Solomon because it is what he asked for, and you will have heard of the great wealth and power that God also gave him because he didn’t ask for them. I sometimes used to wish that God would appear to me like that, and I would think about what my answer would be if He did, and all the amazing things He would give me that I hadn’t asked for. Have you?

The point is: God has said the same thing to us. Jesus said “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened… If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him” (Matt 7:7-8, 11)

Luke renders this slightly differently. He says (Luke 11:13)”… how much more will your Father who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”

Paul writes (Romans 8:32) “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

This is not God appearing to us in a dream in a specific time and place; these are words that are written in Heaven for every child of God for all time, for us to appropriate by faith and make our own. The only question is: what is God exhorting us to ask for? Is it “good things,” “all things,” or “the Holy Spirit?” We need to know what to ask for.

I understand it like this. “Good things” have to be God’s things. Since Jesus said that only God is good (Luke 18:19), this has to mean that Jesus would not call anything “good” that does not come from Heaven, where God dwells. Everything that is good exists in the realm of the Spirit. As James 1:17 tells us: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.” Whatever we receive from the Father of lights comes to us through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, so when the Bible says that God will “Give the Holy Spirit” to those who come to the Father with requests, I think it simply means something like: “the entire storehouse of Heaven is available through Him; what exactly are you looking for?”

Scripture shows that there is no doubt that Jesus wants us to ask for “good gifts” from the Father:

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matt 18:19)

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matt 21:22)

 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)

and whatever we ask we receive from him, becausewe keep his commandmentsand do what pleases him.” (1 John 3:22)

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5: 14-15)

There are clearly some conditions; nevertheless that is a lot of encouragement to ask! God is emphatic about it. When we pray in the name of Jesus and our prayers are answered, “the Father is glorified in the Son.” Jesus tells us that it is “The Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.”  (Luke 12:32) Our call as disciples is to carry on the work of the Master and see His kingdom come. We can’t build the Kingdom of God for Jesus: He has to do it Himself, by His Spirit; and He won’t do it unless we ask Him. He appointed us to bear fruit by asking the Father to give us the Kingdom. In the Spirit it is all ours already, as we are seated in heavenly places with Jesus the King. But on Earth we need to pray it into being: every time a prayer is answered we bear lasting fruit, the Father and the Son are glorified, and that is another bit of the Kingdom that has come on Earth as it is in Heaven.

So what are the conditions? Really, they can be summed up in two statements: we have to ask in faith, actually believing that we have received what we have asked for; and we have to be walking in His will. If there is sin or disobedience in our lives the heavens will be brass. If God has told you to do something, do it. You’ll just be walking through cobwebs in your spiritual life until you do. James also gives us a useful clue: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4: 3) If our motivation is worldly or carnal, we are wasting our time. Such things do not come into the domain of “good gifts,” however good we may think they are.

What if we feel that we have fulfilled the conditions, we are praying in the Spirit and not in the flesh, we are seeking God’s kingdom and not the fulfilment of our own desires, and we are still not seeing answers? There may be reasons, often to do with the timing of other situations in the bigger picture, that only God knows about; but there is one common one that we can do something about ourselves, and it’s this: we are giving up too easily, and are not being fervent enough. We have to remember that we are in a battle. There is opposition. Daniel waited 21 days for the answers he was seeking while a battle with the demon prince of Persia was being played out in the spirit realm. Maybe we need to fast. Maybe we’re just not on our knees for long enough. Maybe we should actually try getting onto our knees instead of praying on the sofa. Maybe we just need to ask God what the problem is. But as Smith Wigglesworth put it, the fact is that God wants to answer far more that we want to ask.

When Jesus posed the unsettling question “Will the Son of Man find faith on the earth when He returns?” (Luke 18:8) it is preceded by the story of the unjust judge and the persistent widow. It would seem that faith, in this context, is knowing that God will eventually answer if we just keep banging on the door. The tense of the verbs in the “Ask, seek and knock” verse is the present continuous: ask and keep on asking; seek and keep on seeking; knock and keep on knocking. . When Bible teacher Andrew Wommack held prayer meetings at the start of his ministry they used to keep praying, sometimes through the night and often doing battle with the enemy, until they saw breakthrough; because they believed that God had the “good and perfect gift” for them. It’s the fervent effective prayer of a righteous man that avails much. (James 5:16).

A final point. David just asked for one thing:

One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)

I think Jesus may have been alluding to this when He said (Luke 10:42) “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Jesus made it clear throughout His teachings that if we seek first the Kingdom of God, “all these things” – the things that “the pagans” ask for, from the world and the flesh – will be given to us. If we give to others, God will give to us. Whatever we “forsake” on earth for the Kingdom’s sake will be given back to us, multiplied a hundredfold. (With persecutions!) This is not to say that God doesn’t care about our material needs. He does, and we can remind Him of His promise that “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. …” (Phil 4:19). In fact we are explicitly taught to ask for our daily bread, and not just to assume it will be on the table. By asking for it, we are recognising that everything we have comes from Him: it’s an acknowledgement of His provision, and as such can even be considered part of our worship.

To put all this together, I suggest the following:

1) Like David, we hunger above all for God’s presence. Apart from anything else, this is the only place where real faith is stirred.

2) We recognise that God is our provider, we trust Him to supply our needs and we remind Him of His promises over our lives. I put this before the next point because it means what we can take our personal “stuff” to the cross and leave it there, while we get on with the business of number 3 below.

3) We get on our knees, physically or metaphorically, and realise that God is saying the same to us as He said to Solomon all those years ago.

So what are we asking for? Is it a good and perfect gift that will increase the Kingdom of God on the earth? Do we really believe it is there for us? Are we in a right place with God, or does something need dealing with so that we ourselves are walking in His Kingdom ways? Is our priority, above all else, to know the presence of God? If the answer to all of these is yes, then we keep asking until it “comes down from the Father of lights.” And if it’s taking its time, that may simply be because we are in a battle, and we need to “endure to the end.”

God is saying to us all, “Ask! What shall I give you?” And we aren’t dreaming.

Prayer Time

School of Prophesy 25 July 2020.

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

We are weak, and we need the Lord’s help
How can we presume to know how to pray, when God has an infinite variety of ways to respond to a situation? We so often rush into prayer, either in conversation with somebody, or in a meeting, without recognising that we are weak and we need the help of the one “who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is.” We need to learn from King Asa, who prayed Lord, there is no one besides Thee to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength.” (2 Chron 14:11) Every time we pray we are in Asa’s position, as the enemy will be at work to hinder our prayers. We cannot expect to overcome the enemy without the Lord’s help.

Unity of purpose
When the disciples prayed “of one accord” in the Book of Acts, the earth shook. Being of one accord is not just saying “Amen” to another’s prayer, but being committed to seeing the same answer. When we pray together we would often to better to put more time and more openness to the moving of the Holy Spirit into fewer prayer topics. We do not know what we should pray for as we ought – but when the Lord starts to guide us it is an opportunity to strengthen the bond of our unity in the Spirit by standing together in fervent (see below) spirit-led prayer.

Effective prayer comes from a heart that is wholly after God
David’s constant cry was to be pure. The last three verses of psalm 19 encapsulate his attitude:

Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19: 12-14)

Solomon did not have David’s passion for purity of heart, and in the end he fell.

After Asa’s great victory he enjoyed a period of peace, then he faced another attacking army. This time he took the gold from the Temple and paid the King of Aram to come to his aid: instead of turning to the Lord again, he acted on his own. From that time he went into decline.

The Eyes of the Lord Range Throughout the Earth to Show Himself Strong on Behalf of Them Whose Heart Is Fully Committed to Him” (2 Chron 16:9)

We can see the gold in our temples as an image of our commitment to keeping our hearts pure before God. If we want to be effective prayer warriors this is pivotal to our lives: we must not give away our gold for the sake of expediency.

The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 3:5)
Prayer must be fervent – wholehearted, earnest, desperate (Jonah would have been quite desperate in the whale, for example). How fervently do we seek God’s purposes, for the church, for other people? How desperate is our intercession? Revival tends to start when a small group of people cry out to God in desperation, and push through in prayer until they see the answer, which may be delayed because of God’s timing or because of enemy opposition, as in Daniel 10:12.

Thirst for God
“As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God? (Ps 42:1-2)

John Lake (Healing evangelist, Founder of the Healing Rooms, saw thousands saved and healed) said that our starting point has to be a thirst for God. The 1904 Welsh revival started with three young ministers being driven by an unquenchable thirst for God, and as the revival spread the meetings always began with a prayer for God to send His spirit, and then send more of His Spirit. 90 years later the outpourings at Toronto began with the same prayer: “More, Lord!”

God has so much more – but if we want God’s more, there must be less of our agendas and our assumptions. Holiness requires sacrifice. Do we have time for More – or is it time for dinner? Or bed? Life in the Spirit is not convenient for the flesh.

Fire and Wind combine (A word given to Jake on 22nd July)
“Only once my people’s hearts are on fire, will I send my wind. It’s my breath that will spread the fire, but my people’s hearts have to be set on fire first. Remember, fire isn’t a selective force, so anything that is not of me will be burnt up. What I am doing is dangerous and uncontrollable, unlike any wildfire you have seen or head of.”

Effective, fervent prayer is born out of the fire.

Brace Yourself! Dana Coverstone’s Prophetic Dreams

Between December last year and now an American pastor called Dana Coverstone has received three prophetic dreams concerning the state of the USA. What he saw in the Spirit in graphic detail in December was what we watched in the news between March and June: Covid and the current civil unrest around black lives matter.

Google and YouTube are now awash with comments about his dreams, which Pastor Coverstone described in a YouTube video towards the end of June. I have had a couple of thoughts myself: here there they are.

In 1983 a man of God called Tom Zimmer, who was a war veteran living in Italy who spent all his time in prayer and worship, interceding especially for the nations, received a prophecy which specified the man called Donald J Trump would lead America back to God. He shared this with an American friend of his, who said that he must be wrong: Donald Trump was a New York playboy, and hardly the man that God would choose to lead America back to Him. However Tom Zimmer was convinced he had heard the Lord. Tom lived in the town of Loreto, where everybody knew him as a holy man, like Simeon and Anna who spent their time in the temple at the time of the birth of Jesus.

Fast forward to 2020 and Dana Coverstone. He is not a well-known pastor leading a big church; his calling is to go into churches who have lost their moral compass and turn them back to the Lord. He is not a known prophet, and in fact repeatedly says “I am not a prophet.” Responses to these dreams vary from scepticism to full belief, but whatever people think about the things he says, his integrity as a man of God appears to be in no doubt.

The first of his dreams accurately prophesied events in America between March and June. The second dream which he received at the end of June, I think it was the 24th, looks forward to the period between September and November, the time of the US presidential election.

He saw America in meltdown, with Washington burning and troops on the streets. It was full-scale Civil War. You need to see the videos yourself: just google “Dana Coverstone Prophetic Dreams.” I won’t get into details here, but they are a warning from the Lord to the church of America to “Brace Yourself!” We might say, “What’s that got to do with me in the UK?” I can’t answer that, other than to say I expect that the ripples will be felt around the world if the predictions come true. Pastor Coverstone says: “Believers, STOP MESSING AROUND if you’re not living for the Lord as you ought to be!” I think we can all hear this, whatever the context.

What we don’t necessarily realise in our peaceful United Kingdom is that the polarisation between the Republicans and Democrats in the USA is practically on a civil war footing already. The fuse is already burning,and it’s helped along by the partisan reporting of the two main TV news channels: Fox (Democrat) and CNN (Republican). There is a battle raging in Heaven over the whole world between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, and I believe that much of it is being played out on the streets of the United States, as the fight for the soul of the nation rages. What pastor Coverstone saw, was, I believe, the time when the burning fuse reached the dynamite at the time of the presidential elections in November.

We don’t know, of course, how the last stages of this battle will be played out; but if we believe that God spoke to Tom Zimmer, as I do, we can trust that the final outcome of this “civil war” will be a re-elected Donald Trump leading America back to God. As you read this, please don’t think that I believe that God endorses Donald Trump’s politics. This is not about politics at all, but about the eternal destiny of millions of people, and about the part that a spiritually restored USA will play on the world stage in the events leading up to the return of Christ. Whatever his failings, and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, it would appear that Trump has a part to play.

A detail that I find particularly interesting, and prophetic, and which as far as I know hasn’t been picked up by anyone else, is this: the 1983 prophecy was about Donald Trump restoring the moral and spiritual compass of a country that has turned away from God’s ways. The Dana Coverstone prophecies were given to a man whose ministry to the church is to do exactly the same thing. I take this unlikely connection as a sign that these things are in fact going to happen.

See also the post “The battle and our part in it” – Click here or follow the link below.

Effective Fervent Prayer

There are a number if situations at Wildwood that we are praying for at the moment. James 5:16 tells us that “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. Whatever and whoever we are praying for, we want our prayers to “avail much,” so if we want to see our prayers answered we can do worse than take on board what the apostle is saying in this verse.

What is effective in us is the Word of God (1 Thess 2:13). God has magnified His word above His name (Psalm 138:2). This can be interpreted on many levels (just look up a few sermons on google!), but a literal understanding is always a good place to start. Without exploring any other possible implications, Psalm 138:2 tells us that praying in the name of Jesus is obviously good, but praying the Word of God in the name of Jesus is even better.

Any word of God? No. Any relevant word of God? Maybe sometimes. The specific word of God that is given to us by the Holy Spirit as we are praying? Yes. We don’t know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit helps us. (Romans 8:26) The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, as we know from Ephesians 6. It’s the sword that belongs to the Spirit, and He is the one who knows best how to wield it. This word is “living and active” (Heb 4:12), so it isn’t going to be the same every time. If we take the word that He gives us, and not just the one that we think fits the occasion, we can expect it to be effective.

Fervent is passionate, burning with God’s love. We can’t be passionate if we just repeat a formula. We can’t be passionate if we pray just because we feel we ought to. When the Israelites cried out to God in the Old Testament, He often said, usually through one of His prophets, “I have seen your tears,” or “I have seen how you have humbled yourself.” I believe God wants to see us emotionally engaged with Him over the people we are praying for, and above all to seek His love for them. The Shunammite woman had to make a journey to seek the man of God (Elisha) for her son, and sometimes we have to make a journey as well before we have truly taken hold of Jesus and cried out to Him to see a need met.

So if want our prayers to avail much, they have to be guided by the Holy Spirit, rich in the word of God, and inflamed with His passion. Jesus prayed differently for every situation he was in: He put mud on eyes, stuck His fingers in ears, told people to get up on their feet and told demons to leave. He was the living active Word Himself, He was guided supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, and was always demonstrating the love of the Father. If we can learn to do this too,  I think we will start to see some significant results.

Bob Hext

Let not your heart be troubled…

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1)

Judas had just slunk out of the room to betray Jesus; their lord and master had just washed their feet; the disciples had just received the new commandment to love one another as He had loved them; having followed Him for three years they were told that they could now not go where He was going; and faithful, passionate Peter had just found out that he was about to deny knowing Jesus three times. Against this tumultuous setting Jesus tells them: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

If our hearts are troubled our faith is hindered. If we focus on Jesus we can find a path through our troubles, but if we focus on our troubles Jesus becomes remote. In 2 Kings 4: 19-37 we find the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman. The son that had been born to her according to Elisha’s word had died. This was her only son, the vessel of all her hopes for the continuation of her family. Her heart had every cause to be troubled. But this is what we read is vs 21:

“And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out.”

She shut the door on him. Do we shut the door on our troubles, or do we let them invade our hearts? The Shunammite woman had one thing on her mind now, which was to run to the man of God:

“Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.”

Shut the door on your troubles; run to the man of God. Let not your heart be troubled; believe in Jesus. Keeping that door closed is an act of the will, because troubles can come knocking very loudly. The woman’s husband said: “”Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.” Do we open the door by lamenting our difficulties, or do we saddle the donkey and run to Jesus, declaring with the hymn writer that “it is well, it is well, with my soul?”

“Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” (Psalm 46 2-5)

Elisha saw her coming from where he was on Mount Carmel, and sent Gehazi, his assistant, to her. “Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “It is well.” She still refused to let her heart be troubled. Only when she had physically taken hold of Elisha’s feet did she speak of the death of her son. If we would only speak of our troubles when we are safely in the presence of the One who can either take them away or help us bear them, how much stronger our faith would be!

Elisha sent Gehazi ahead to lay his staff on the boy’s face, but the woman was adamant:  “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” (vs. 30) Her trust was in the Man of God: not in his staff, not in his assistant. We need the presence of the Lord in our own lives, not just in the life of someone with a staff of ministry. She shut the door on her troubles, ran to Jesus (Elisha), took hold of him and stayed with Him until her child was restored to life. Not only did she believe, but she persevered in her faith. The writer to the Hebrews says:

”And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb 6: 11-12)

I think many of us are quick enough to run to Jesus, but instead of shutting the door on our problems we put them on the donkey and take them with us, telling everyone about them on the way. Instead of persevering in our faith and seeking Jesus, we persevere in our problems and He stays remote. Of course we pray. We are exhorted to pray at all times. (Eph. 6:18). When David was in the cave hiding from Saul, he wrote:

“I cry out to the LORD with my voice;
With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.” (Psalm 142: 1-3)

God knew David’s path, and David knew that. But David always trusted God for His divine plan; he didn’t ask God to bless his own agenda. He didn’t carry it around on a donkey and ask God to bring it to life. When the Shunammite woman shut the door on her son she shut the door on the hopes and aspirations she had for his life. What she didn’t know was that a 7-year famine was coming to Israel; that God, through Elisha, was going to send her and her son away to live among the Philistines for that time so that they wouldn’t suffer; that Gehazi was going to tell her story to the King; and that when she came back she was going to have all her fortunes restored, including the value of any crops that were harvested during her absence. (2 Kings 8). God can always “do infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine. ” (Eh 3:20) Believing in Jesus means not letting our hearts be troubled by anxiety over our own agendas, but trusting Him to know our paths and fulfil His purposes, His way.

Many of us have “dead sons:” words that have been spoken into our lives that seem light years from being fulfilled. Many times we may have put them on the donkey and carried them to the Man of God, or gone for prayer and had the staff of someone’s ministry laid on their face, but life has not come. But Jesus says: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” He doesn’t want us just to believe that God is able to answer our prayers:  He wants us to shut the door on what has died and run after His presence, so that He can personally come and revive them Himself.