Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Effective Prayer’

Making a Symphony Together

When the disciples were unsuccessful in driving a demon from a young boy (Matthew 17), and after they observed Jesus successfully accomplishing it, they asked Him why they were unable to do what He later accomplished. His response to them informs believers today:

Because of the littleness of your faith {that is your lack of firmly relying trust}. (Matthew 17:20)

This same verse in the Message Bible says:

Because you’re not yet taking God seriously.

Throughout the Gospels and on through the New Testament letters, God encourages, exhorts, and trains us concerning the power of our words – or more precisely the power of our voice speaking out His Word in faith. We are to be imitators of our God (Ephesians 5:1):

Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things {He has foretold and promised} as if they {already} existed. (Romans 4:17)

Even before the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on the cross to restore us back into the grace and family of God, even before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), God indicated the potential of accomplishment within His creation in Genesis 11:6:

Behold, they are one people and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them.

And that was God’s assessment of man’s ability on a natural level, without the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit:

…you shall be baptized with (placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit… you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses…to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:5, 8)

As God’s born again children, we are to carry on the faith that Abraham demonstrated, for he was:

…fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. (Romans 4:21)

And Jesus assures us in Matthew 18:19:

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever {anything and everything} they may ask it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in Heaven.

When this prayer of agreement between believers honors God’s Word, demonstrates firmly relying trust, and takes God seriously –
then we operate in a kingdom rhythm that pleases God (Hebrews 10:38), moves mountains (Mark 11:22-24), and brings demonstration and manifestation of Hebrews 11:1 – speaking reality to spiritual blessings – “perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.”

Jesus demonstrated for us what firmly relying faith will accomplish – the dead are raised, the blind see, the deaf hear, disease is healed, provision overcomes lack, wisdom replaces confusion, love defeats fear(1 John 4:18)

Taking God and His Word seriously is reality altering. Our Abba calls us to mountain-moving faith. He calls us to stand unwaveringly upon His Word (James 1:6-7). He calls us to harmonize together in firm expectation that His promises will manifest in our lives. Write your symphony!

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What’s in a Name?

Proverbs 18:10 – The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the {consistently} righteous man {upright and in right standing with God} runs into it and is safe, high {above evil} and strong.

Psalm 9:9-10 – The Lord also will be a refuge and a high tower for the oppressed, a refuge and a stronghold in times of trouble (high cost, destitution, and desperation). And they who know Your Name {who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy} will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for You) {on the authority of God’s Word and the right of their necessity}.

Despite Shakespeare’s assertion that there is little significance in a name (“a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”), the Lord and His Word teach otherwise. Our Father, throughout Scripture, leaves us in no doubt as to His character and His intentions towards men. We become intimately acquainted with our Abba through the names He uses to define Himself. Not only are these names revelatory, they become a lifeline to us. For to understand the meaning of His name(s) as well as His unshakeable , immovable adherence to the fulfillment of what each name promises is to dramatically increase our faith –

1 Timothy 1:4 – …that leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence.

His various names extend covenant promises to us about the role He will undertake to fulfill in our lives through our faith.

Psalm 145:2 – Every day {with its new reasons} will I bless You {affectionately and gratefully praise You}; yes, I will praise Your Name forever and ever.

Every day with its new reason, I praise Your Name! Every day we face new challenges, a variety of developing needs, issues, and situations. Effective prayer relies on our understanding of Who God wants to be for us in each instance. Calling on the Name of the Lord, praising His Name – His revelation to us of the role He is so very willing to assume on our behalf – is the first step in exerting mountain moving faith. We say, “You have told me that this is Who You are, Father. Today I am relying on that aspect of Your Fatherhood in my life. Today I am asking You to undertake on my behalf according to Your Name.”

The very first name God uses to reveal Himself is “Elohim”, found in Genesis 1:1. The Hebrew “El” is a plural word suggesting the Trinity – the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Scholars also indicate that “El” is related to the Hebrew word meaning “to swear” (as in taking an oath), which would characterize the covenant nature of God. For our purposes, then, in understanding the revelation of our Father’s character through the names He uses to teach us about Himself, “Elohim” means “the great, mighty three-in-One God Who establishes and keeps covenant forever”.

Because the name “Elohim” is used 2700 times throughout the Old Testament its quite clear that God wants His children to understand and rely on this aspect of His Being; the Covenant Keeper – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All believers understand that God is Three-in-One. But many of those same believers do not have full grasp of all that the covenant entails. That our Father holds of paramount importance the promise of keeping covenant will be further revealed as we look further into the names of God.

Psalm 72:17 – His Name shall endure forever…and men shall be blessed and bless themselves by Him.

Entering Into Holy Spirit Consciousness – Part Two

The topic of the gift of tongues and the extraordinary dimension they add to our spiritual lives is quite controversial in “Christian circles”! It should not be, for that is tantamount to debating whether of not the Word of God should be believed. Every beneficial aspect of praying in the Spirit, as taught in Scripture, is as pertinent and available today as it was at the church’s beginnings. The Holy Spirit continues with us today. He was poured out upon believers at Pentecost (Acts 2) and has never left. And the fullness of His ministry continues to bless.

When we know not how to pray, or when we need to pray about that which we know not – the Holy Spirit prays through us in that heavenly language that circumvents our understanding and our finite minds (Romans 8:26). Many believers have shared concerning instances in their own private prayer life or in group prayer when they have prayed for people and situations they had no knowledge of except for Holy Spirit intervention. Prayers utilizing tongues were interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:27) through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and they discovered that His ministry and leading had been in that direction. They understood that they had been praying concerning people and issues far removed from their natural understanding – issues around the world that needed prayer coverage.

This is an aspect of the ministry of the Holy Spirit that many Christians do without for various reasons. They have not been well and fully taught in this area, they come from a religious tradition that disavows the practice of praying in tongues, claiming that it has been done away with, they are uncomfortable with the entire subject, or they have not searched the Word diligently for themselves to fully understand all of the implications and blessings of this most unusual heavenly Gift.

For one who speaks in an {unknown} tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the Holy Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things {not obvious to the understanding}.
1 Corinthians 14:2

This Truth is further enhanced in the Message Bible version:

If you praise Him in the private language of tongues, God understands you but no one else does, for you are sharing intimacies just between you and Him.

Sharing intimacies with God! Working together with the Holy Spirit on concerns that touch the heart of God and that need an intercessor – a willing voice and spirit to be obedient to the Divine will. Believing God’s Word over the opinions and doctrinal practices of men – man’s traditions that so often nullify the Word of God (Matthew 15:6, Mark 7:8) – is a necessary resolve if we are to walk in the fullness of life lived in the realm of the conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit within; if we are to permit Him to accomplish His ministry on our behalf and if we are to give a willing tongue on behalf of His ministry to the world.

Entering Into Holy Spirit Consciousness – Part One

There is a way to see, hear, act, and speak that is not only available to God’s kids but mandatory to their successful life in the Spirit. There is always a “word fitly spoken and in due season for him who is weary” (Isaiah 50:4); there is encouragement, exhortation, and prophetic utterance that we can offer to others as we tune in consistently to the Holy Spirit; there are paths we are meant to take for Heaven’s purposes that can be known and clearly understood only through our purposeful attention to the Spirit’s leading.

God’s assignment in a life doesn’t just happen; it is not an automatic occurrence. Yes, in our obedience to His call, He works in us “to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight” (Philippians 2:13), but first there must be the obedience – the willingness and desire to listen for that assignment.

One of the best and most effective ways I know to be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit within is to pray in tongues. For it is relinquishing that most powerful of human muscles, the tongue, for His use (James 3:5-10). As we pray in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15, Ephesians 6:18), He is actually praying through us. He communicates with our spirits through His ministry of teaching and guiding and upholding us in our daily kingdom walk. Authority and dominion belong to God. Submission to that understanding, full acceptance of the Truth of His Word, establishes His Lordship. Our Father tells us through His Word that without the infilling, the baptism, of the Holy Spirit, we will not be up to the task He sets before us (John 15:7, John 16:7, Acts 1:4-5, 8).

See what Paul says to the Corinthian church in chapter 14 verse 15:

…I will pray with my spirit {by the Holy Spirit that is within me} , but I will also pray {intelligently} with my mind and understanding; I will sing with my Spirit {by the Holy Spirit that is within me}, but I will sing {intelligently} with my mind and understanding also.

And so that there is no doubt that he is referring to speaking in tongues when he says, “pray with my spirit”, he goes on to say that if we pray only in the Spirit, others will not understand the message for they cannot interpret the tongues. Read 1 Corinthians 14 in its entirety for an in depth explanation of the value of speaking in tongues.

Confusion concerning the availability of this gift hinders many Christians in their prayer life, weakens their walk in the Spirit, and prohibits full growth into all of the fullness of life in Christ. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you {the priestly nation} have rejected knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6). That certainly is true of the gift of tongues offered to all of God’s kids through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is a powerful Gift from God often left unclaimed; a Gift that profoundly alters our relationship with our Father. It deserves careful attention for through the use of tongues in our prayer life we acknowledge and submit to the Spirit’s ministry to and through us. Do not permit incorrect teaching (or no teaching at all) on the subject to hinder your pursuit of all God has for you. Let the Word form and fashion your future days!

Receiving the Gift

In her book The Master is Calling: Discovering the Wonders of Spirit-Led Prayer, Lynne Hammond shares with readers her experience in receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

“When a person is spiritually hungry, the deepest part of his spirit begins to call out to God for something to fill that hunger…That’s how I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  At the time I didn’t even know what the baptism of the Holy Spirit was…I’d never even heard of speaking in tongues…Even so, my heart was yearning after God, but I had no idea what to do about it.

I would pray as far as I could with my understanding, but when I said all I knew to say to Him, I could still feel my heart reaching out for more…I cried out, “Help me God.  I’m just so hungry for You.  I just want to know You.  I want to be able to talk to You.  Please, help me pray.”

It is just this level of spiritual hunger that results in mighty changes.  Wanting more of God, wanting to know Him more and more, wanting the “richest measure of the divine Presence” becoming “a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself” (Ephesians 3:19) is the deep in you calling out to the deep in Him (Psalm 42:7).  For when your spirit man cries out for more of God, your attention toward all other things that would distract – worldly issues, fleshly pursuits and cravings, personal concerns, or taught misconceptions- is greatly diminished.  All that you want is more of Him.  Lynne Hammond goes on to describe the result of her prayers:

“…suddenly, the power of God flooded the room. The deep in Him answered the deep in me, and His Presence shook me with great and overwhelming waves of glory…It was then that this beautiful language I didn’t know started flowing like a river from within me…In the years since I’ve looked back on that experience and wondered about it.  “Lord,” I’ve asked, “why did you fill me that night?”  “Because you were calling out for it,” He answered.  “You were hungry for it.  And you get whatever you’re hungry for.”

I’ve taken the time in this entry to share extensively from Lynne’s testimony, because it is so very instructive.  Reluctant dabbling in the things of God because you think you ought to, or inconsistent seeking for the things of the Spirit because you’ve heard some teaching in that regard will never achieve the life-changing results that life in the Spirit brings.  What will absolutely alter your daily existence is your heartfelt desire to truly know your Father.  He will honor that hunger in you with more and more of Himself.

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly]… (Philippians 3:10)

So ask, that your joy might be full!  (John 16:24)

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Acts 2:4                 Acts 9:17               Acts 10: 44-46

The Sovereignty of God – Part One

When you encounter “unbelief” – and there are many faces to this – how do you respond?  What is your immediate reaction?  How does it affect your spirit?   In Mark 9, Jesus came upon a situation in which the disciples were unable to successfully heal a young boy controlled by a dumb spirit whose mastery over the child is described in Mark 9:18:

And whenever it lays hold of him [so as to make him its own] it dashes him down and convulses him, and he foams [at the mouth] and grinds his teeth and he [falls into a motionless stupor and] is wasting away.  And I asked your disciples to drive it out and they were not able [to do it].   (Emphasis mine)

Our Lord’s response was two-fold.  First, He addressed spiritual poverty concerning their faith.

Verse 19– “O unbelieving generation [without any faith] How long shall I have to do with you?  How long am I to bear with you?”   (Emphasis mine)

Secondly, He extended a blank check of blessing.

Verse 23 – “[You say to Me] If you can do anything? [Why] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes.  (Emphasis mine)

Let’s look at the Lord’s first response.  Imagine for a moment that you, as did the disciples, come across a person with symptoms as described in Mark 9:18And let us further suppose that, like the disciples, your prayers on behalf of this person were unsuccessful.  What would be your spiritual response?  What heart lesson would you take away from that encounter?  How would your experience define your doctrine, your “theology”, your faith walk?  (This extends to any prayer need you encounter.)

Many would reason – “I asked in faith, but it did not happen. I stood on His Word and I expected a result, but it did not happen. It must not be His will for God is sovereign.  Having exercised my faith, and I have great faith in God, I will not fall into disappointment or question my faith walk  – I will simply accept His sovereignty in this matter.”  (Darkness 1, Light 0!)

And yet, Jesus’ response was “Unbelieving generation…How long am I to bear with you?”  Our Lord does not mince words! If we will allow His words of reprimand to inform our faith, they are, ironically, a truly remarkable encouragement!  They enhance our understanding of God’s will, and under gird our determination in “having done all to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).  When we realize that not seeing the promises of God manifest in our lives reflects unbelief, and may create unbelief, it has the potential to truly revolutionize our faith walk.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Mark 9:14-29

Be Healed – Part Two

   When you first begin to understand what the Word has to say about health and healing, the process of walking in that Truth can be challenging.  After all, we’ve had years of practice in the acceptance of bodily ailments.  As children, we have, most likely, been pampered and gently nursed through times of illness, and we feel so inclined to treat our own children in the same loving manner – TLC through the “rough spots”.  We have “learned” to accept the progress of illness – that it must run its course – and the treatment of illness – medicine, bed rest, etc.  We have learned the accommodation of, the saying, “Yes” to, the welcoming in of sickness.

   Saying, “NO!” to sickness is the result of a well-fortified faith walk.  You build yourself up in your most holy faith – sitting under Gospel teaching that fully holds to and preaches the Truth and reliability of the Word of God, reading books written by men and women who do not compromise God’s intention towards us, listening to CD’s of the same character, practicing your faith in big and little ways – viewing God’s Word as your final authority.  It is God’s Word that will change you and enable you to stand for your health. 

   I always ponder the incredible length of prayer lines at churches where teaching and preaching along the lines of divine healing has gone on for years.  Sometimes half of the congregation – hundreds of people – go forward for prayers for healing.  Yes, we certainly are told to pray one for the other (James 5:26), and to call for the elders of the church to anoint us with oil “and the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick” (James 5:14-15).  And the prayer of agreement is a powerful scriptural principle with the promise of certain success:

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything} they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in Heaven.  For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My Name, there I AM in the midst of them.(Matthew 18:19-20)  [Emphasis mine]

   Interestingly, the James 5:14-15 Scripture begins with the question, “Is anyone among you sick?” suggesting that it might be an unusual occurrence!And James 5:16 continues with:

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

   God intends for His children to mature in faith, growing up in and evidencing the reaped benefits of taking Him at His Word.   For it is that assumption of the manifestation in a life of all that God has accomplished on our behalf that preaches the Gospel more powerfully than a hundred sermons.

 

God’s Word on the subject: 

James 5:14-16 

In the Face of Unbelief – Part Two

In His earthly ministry Jesus demonstrated the power of unbelief in quenching the promised outcomes of faith; once as a limit to His own abilities, once as a lesson in establishing an environment for success, and once as an assessment of faith in the one requesting healing.

We are told in Acts 10:38  that our Lord “went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him” [Emphasis mine]. However, when preaching in His own hometown of Nazareth, the familiarity of the townspeople (“Is not this the carpenter’s son? [Matthew 13:55]), and their resulting disdain for His teaching (“And they took offense at Him [that is they were repelled and hindered from acknowledging His authority, and caused to stumble]” –Matthew 13:57) created an atmosphere of unbelief.

And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief (their lack of faith in the divine mission of Jesus) (Matthew 13:58)

In the account of the healing of the daughter of Jairus, the Lord first had to remove the mockers and the scoffers before the girl could be restored to life:

But when the crowd had been ordered to go outside, He went in and took her by the hand and the girl arose. (Matthew 9:25) [Emphasis mine]

Had the negative energy of unbelief remained in the room, the results would surely have been quite different, for otherwise our Lord would not have removed the doubters.

In the account in John 5 of the invalid at the pool named Bethesda, Jesus demonstrated the importance of faith cooperation in the process of healing when He asks, “Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?]” (Verse 6)

Here’s food for thought; a weighty concept to ponder; a condition of the spirit to inventory and evaluate. If mustard seed sized faith moves mountains, if“It shall be done for you as you have believed”, if “all things are possible for him who believes” – and you are not healed yet, or if the promises of God in Christ are not evident in your life yet – is your level of unbelief outweighing or compromising your level of faith in that area?

God does not lie.  He does not make empty promises. He would be a poor and unfair Father if His expectation of faith from His children yielded no results, or inconsistent results.  We must look to our hearts, to our spirits, to our thought life.  It is unbelief that keeps us from the full manifestation of the promises of God. We have faith in God.  We love Him.  We trust in His Word.  Then how do we reconcile the presence of unbelief?  In a faith-filled life, how do we recognize unbelief?  When we are not fully receiving what God has promised is ours in Christ.

Numbers 23:19 – God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man that He should feel repentance of compunction [for what He has promised].  Has He said and shall He not do it?  Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?

God’s Word on the subject:

Matthew 8:13          Matthew 9:25               Matthew13:58

On the Ground of Your Word

George Muller a brother in Christ of great faith and the head of an orphanage, prayed faithfully each morning for the children’s daily bread (Matthew 6:11).  He relied fully on God to supply all of their needs (Philippians 4:19).  One particular morning he was informed that there was no food or money for the children’s breakfast.    He did what his daily habit had always been – he went to prayer thanking the Lord for the food they were about to eat (Matthew 6:31-33, Luke 11:3).  The “reality” was that there was no food, but Muller did not regard that issue as worthy of notice!  A knock at the door as he completed his prayer revealed a local baker who was there in response to a dream he had experienced the night before.  God had told the baker in the dream to bring a good supply of bread to the orphanage and he was there with enough bread to last the week.  In addition a milk truck had broken down right in front of the orphanage and the driver was asking Muller to take his entire supply of milk and serve it before it spoiled.

In Luke 5, Peter gives voice to the underpinnings of faith.  Although his all night fishing trip had produced no results (“we toiled all night [exhaustingly] and caught nothing”), at the Lord’s direction he went fishing again with entirely different results.  He said to Jesus, “On the ground of your Word” I will do this.  George Muller and all of God’s children who operate daily in faith and “receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36) do so on the ground of His Word.  It is a heart attitude concerning the faithfulness of God and the integrity of His unchangeable character and His constant adherence to the covenant which He has established.

On the ground of Your Word” is faith speaking.  It is the key that unlocks the door to full manifestation of kingdom blessings in a life.  It reveals total heart acceptance of God’s goodness and the reality of the spiritual realm and its profound implications for, and impact on, our day-to-day lives.  “On the ground of Your Word” is the spirit’s acknowledgement that our Father always, without exception, means what He says and says what He means.  It establishes entirely new parameters within which we comprehend life.  It reframes our actions, decisions, and word choice.  It relinquishes all personal throne sitting; it demolishes all ideology, philosophy, and political correctness that might attempt to deify men; it recognizes the correct order of all things!

Time in the Word of God finding out all that is in there will give you that new ground to stand on.  It truly will reconfigure your reality and strengthen and mature your faith.  Accept nothing less than God’s highest and best for your life.  Delight yourself in the Word and Presence of God.  Then you too will say, in the face of all circumstances, “On the ground of Your Word”.  And the resulting testimony will feed and guide many!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Malachi 3:6             Luke 5:4-10             2 Timothy 2:13

“Never Let the Mountain See You Cry”

“Never let the mountain see you cry.”  What a wonderful statement. It is not mine. It is found in what I consider a “must-have” primer on prayer called Secrets to Powerful Prayer: Discover the Languages of the Heart by Lynne Hammond and Patsy Cameneti.

For thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel: In returning (to Me) and resting (in Me) you shall be saved; in quietness and in (trusting) confidence shall be your strength.  But you would not.(Isaiah 30:15)

What is the first thing you do when a “mountain” tries to get a firm foothold in front of you?  A mountain of debt, symptoms of illness, perplexity and confusion over a particular situation, concern over children, or a troubling decision.  There are any number of possible responses to this (but only one right one!).  Those not trained in kingdom realities might accept the problem as a normal occurrence in life and deal with it to the best of their own ability and human understanding.  Those growing in their understanding of kingdom principles and spiritual realities might jump into action.  But:

“…the next time you get a bad report, don’t jump up and start shouting at the mountain.  Don’t chant at it and start flailing around trying to push it down.  Don’t even try to pray real hard…Don’t bawl and squawl while you’re telling Satan to flee from you.  Don’t ever let him see you like that.  When you deal with mountains and devils, you act like a victorious son (daughter) of God. You come at him as more than a conqueror.”  (Hammond/Cameneti)

Those who have established their lives and understanding on God’s sovereignty, reliability, and authority in all situations will go to their Source of peace, provision, and success. They will speak to the mountain from a place of calm, and authority.  Connected vitally to the vine – they speak words of power from a heart that knows God; a heart so filled with the purposes of the Holy Spirit of God that mountain-moving becomes a joyful certainty.

From the Lord one morning:

“Speak the Word. Speak it into situations, into dead places, into seeming hopelessness.  Throw it at strongholds.  Demolish evil works with it.  You have been given mountain-moving faith.  See with the eyes of your spirit.  Speak what you see in the Spirit and believe for manifestation.  From this quiet place, this quiet time with Me, you walk out to change your world – to rearrange – to create.  The time with Me is the significant piece – the foundation – on your own in this endeavor there is danger of the misdirected step.  Allow Me to show you what each day holds.  Not everyone prays the same, not everyone hears the same directions – all purposes flow from Me but they are all unique.  You simply need to quietly assume that what you are hearing and what you have heard is true and accurate.  No amount of straining – no effort on your part will accomplish this – just quiet knowing.”

 

God’s Word on the Subject:

Isaiah 30:15                     Matthew 17:20             Mark 11:22-24

John 5:19                          John 15:5, 16