Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Move of God Only Comes Through Prayer

The last Monday night of each month, we are trying to take more time for intimacy with God and spend time asking Him to send the power of His Spirit that we can fulfill his purposes.  We recognized this monday night was right in the middle of the Pentecost season.  Pentecost was when 120 ordinary people were encountered by the power of the Holy Spirit and were used by God to launch the church age.

These 120 again were just ordinary people who had gathered together for prayer.  The answer came as God equipped them and gave them a mission.  The first fruits of that mission happened then and there, 3000 were saved in one day.

With Acts 2 in mind we began to pray.  For us prayer begins with adoration.  We had a four song worship set.  One great song in that set was "Dance with Me".  This song quotes many verses from the Song of Solomon which is said to be the greatest love song ever.  Sometimes it is called the Song of Songs.   It is obvious, the people at Monday night prayer love to worship.  One of these nights we are going to have a night of worship for all of prayer.  It's funny because every once in while someone will say to me "Why do we sing on Monday nights, doesn't that take away our prayer time ?"  I get the opportunity to share with them how much worship through singing is prayer.  Prayer at its deepest core is relationship with God.  What better way to be in relationship with Him than to let Him speak words of love and adoration to Him.  I have found that this is the avenue that takes us to the place of His heart and He lets us know then what is on His heart to pray.

We opened mics tonight and let anyone with a prayer for revival or asking God to fill us come up and pray.  We spent about 15 - 20 minutes here.  I was so encouraged that many in their teens and college years were the ones praying for God to move in our city.

Prayer that stayed in my mind for the night: A prayer for another great awakening like the second great awakening, a prayer that we would seek revival not just for one hour a week at prayer but that we would have lifestyles of revival and another prayer for God to bring His light in dark places within us and our city.

Parker Foster shared about being a college senior and how he got sick and was out of the loop for over a year.  He talked about how he was broken in a good way.  God dealt with pride in his life.  He told of how he began to have a real relationship with God and not just a hobby of God. 

The hour went much to quickly.  We had our prayer teams come up and saw people waiting to be prayed for.

We do understand that a move of God can't be generated by us, but that we can call out to God and ask Him to move mightily among us.
12 people committed their lives to Christ this past week.  That is why were here.  Sharing these numbers never gets old.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pray and Never Give Up

Luke 18:1 says "One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up."

This was the theme for Monday Night Prayer this week.  Pray and never give up.

Just coming to pray encourages us.  There is something that happens every week at our corporate prayer times.  People come up to me afterward and say something like "I came in tonight feeling blaaa and now I am pumped up again, or I was feeling so discouraged and now I have hope or I was dealing with this "thing" and now I know God is going to take care of it."  There is an element about people coming together with expectation and meeting with the King of the Universe that changes us. 

We pray for others, we pray for our services, we pray for missions in other countries, we pray for our own families and in the midst of all of this God changes us.  For me it is like coming to the well and getting a drink and being refreshed.  Connecting with Jesus in prayer and taking part in this divine relationship does something in us as well as through us.  Another picture I have of prayer is that it connects us with the river of God.  We begin to know what He is interested in and how he wants to handle various situations.  We are not relying on our own solutions.  We are encouraged to find God solutions to our lives.

Disciples should always pray and not give up.  There are hopeless situations we find ourselves in or our friends in.  Jesus encourages us to always pray.  When things don't immediately change we can have a tendency to give up.  We say often, prayer puts Gods super into our natural.  Sometimes that takes time and at other times exact timing is involved. 

After a moving worship set by the Elife Band, we moved on to pray. We prayed for Keith Beasley who was in an accident last year and has been in a coma since then.  His wife and son are left to carry on without Keith with them.  An impossible situation but God can use in great ways.

We also prayed for marriages last night.  Gods grace is not just for some marriages.  God will give his grace in any marriage situation.  We prayed that God would put His super into every specific natural situation of marriages.

We prayed for those who had walls up and could not sense the Fathers love.  Those that struggled with self hate.  We prayed God would break down any of those walls.

We also took time to pray for various missionaries on the mikes tonight.  We had about 10 - 12 people come up and do that.

We believe we are changing history one prayer at a time.
17 first time commitments this past weekend.  God continue to bring people into your kingdom.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Adoration: Giving Prayer the Right Focus

On Monday nights we try to set up an environment that is conducive for prayer, but even more than that we try and set up an environment that is conducive for the human heart to encounter God in prayer.

Worship is at the front end of prayer.  About a year and a half ago we added worship time to the front end of prayer.  For us this usually means 3 or 4 songs that lean more toward intimacy.  There were a few comments when this happened that we were cutting down on our prayer time, but actually we were creating a time where the human heart could connect with God in Adoration and get in tune with who he is.

Many times prayer is begun from the vantage point of what we need, when in actuality the proper place to begin prayer is with a focus on who God is.  Recently I hear one of our missionaries say "Don't tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your God is."  The premise of this is depending on God and putting our focus on how big he is.  We have found that at Monday Night Prayer, when we begin in worship we put our minds on how Big our God is and it brings the correct perspective to all else.

Another facet of starting prayer with Adoration is that adoration is a catalyst to connecting with God in real and tangible ways.  It is hard to fake telling God you love him.  An amazing thing happens as we begin to get vulnerable and intimate with our God, we begin to encounter His amazing love for us.  This is a place where people are truly changed.  They encounter a real love, not one told in stories, or one memorized.  It isn't a head knowledge of Gods love.  It isn't a belief that happens because of an intellectual assent to facts.  It is a true relationship, a true encounter with God.  This kind of encounter transforms us.

Another thing we have found helpful in preparing peoples hearts to focus in prayer is playing more intimate worship music before and after the actual prayer time.  The music creates an atmosphere of encounter that people pick up on as soon as they enter the building.  Again most of this music is adoration.  We have people who will come early and just sit and listen and connect with God before anything formal ever begins.