Monday, January 18, 2016

Post-answer Wisdom

You've prayed and prayed and prayed; then suddenly, the answer comes!

There's rejoicing, thanksgiving, telling your friends and family, testifying at church, maybe even writing a book--but where do you go from there? And what do you do with all that time you tirelessly spent crying, seeking, and promising in prayer?

The answer: pray, pray, pray, pray, pray some more!

Prayer is more than just reaching a mountain top or obtaining a near-impossible favor. Prayer is faith animated, a relentless reliance on God, the inhaling and exhaling of a spiritually awakened soul.

Pray without ceasing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Protocol and Patience

Recently, I opened a checking account for our new ministry here in Portland, Oregon. I had already opened a personal  account with the same account manager, so he knew from our previous conversations what I am planning on doing for the Lord in the city. As we were going through this second setup process, the manager kept apologizing for asking me many and detailed questions. "These are routine," he said, "Even though most of these don't apply, I have to ask you them anyway."

Of course I completely understood. Much of business and politics is made up of going through formal, mandated procedures. I also knew that without carrying the lengthy interview out, I would not be able to have an account. Protocol is important!

The same, it seems to me, holds true for prayer. There are certain requirements that must be met before spiritual strongholds will come down: heart conditions, timing issues, obedience follow-through, etc.. Daniel seems the best example of this: although he was heard the first day he prayed, it took 20 more days of crying out to the Lord to receive his breakthrough. The old prophet had to stay on his knees until everything in the heavenlies was right and ready.

I know there is much I could say along this line; but the point is, we can't be impatient in prayer. Things are happening and processes are being enacted without our knowledge of how or how far along they are. We must continue believing in the guidance of the Spirit and trusting that when we pray in Jesus' name, Father IS listening and IS answering.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

You and I, regardless of our spiritual heritage and experience, will never be able to claim the attributes of invulnerability or unsusceptibleness. Alas, divergence, deception, and just plain foolishness are where we inevitably find ourselves at some point (if not often) in life--and that leads to another somewhat forgotten facet of prayer.

Whether it is in the "Lord's Prayer," the Psalms, or some other scripural reference, we Christians are instructed to ask God to keep us from sin, failure, and temptation itself.

As much as there is some truth in it, the you-can-do-it approach to life can only take you so far, and certainly, it can never fully guarantee that results so desired will be realized. Only Christ Jesuz can clinch victory and achievement every time. He is the one and only Undefeated Champion of Life.

We who follow the Master have laid down our claims of being powerful and right, cunning and self-established. We know better! We know our hit-and-miss background, that we've had far more misses than hits. And we know that there is high wisdom and consummate truth in cofessing God's greatness and our smallness by asking for basic, regular help.

The Answer is In Front of You

Jesus said it from the get-go: the Kingdom is here, within reach; meaning that what God wants to do in your life isn't about waiting for some long,  drawn-out process. There is participation and activation NOW! There is heavenly power and intimate fellowship NOW!

We can say the same thing for religious revival and a "move of the Spirit" (something we Western Christians so earnestly desire). As strange as it may seem to us, it is the Spirit of Jesus who is calling for change, for commitment, for outpouring, for revival; but He is calling for it to begin AT THIS HOUR!

Christ is not hesitating. He is not the hindrance to us entering "the Promise Land,". He wants breakthrough and victory more than we do (and for better reasons); but He is saying, "Stop looking in the future. I'm right in front of you! I am your answer!"

So what are we waiting for? Let's get to the business of prayer.