TIME ON THE SUMMIT
“I will climb up into my watchtower now and wait to see what the LORD will say to me and how he will answer my complaint.”
(Hab 2:1 NLT)
There are times in your life when you’ll have to shut the world outside and turn your face to God alone (Matt 6:6). There is a road that you can travel only with Him. There are issues in your life that you can only take to Him. There are answers that you can only get from Him. No other advice will do. He knows the best pathway for your life, and He will surely direct your steps (Ps 16:11).
Our King has granted us access into His presence. We can come to Him at all times to obtain wise counsel, understanding, insight, encouragement, strength or guidance. Do we truly understand what an awesome privilege that is? We have direct access to the highest seat of authority in the universe. We have direct access to the Creator of all things. We have direct access to the One who knows all things, from the end to the beginning.
Whenever we don’t know what to do, or don’t know what we’re up against we can run into the presence of God to hear what He will say to us. We desperately need time in the presence of God to regain our courage and strength. We need time in His presence to regain our focus. We need time in His presence to regain heaven’s perspective regarding our challenge. We need time in His presence to keep our sanity. And we need time in His presence to regain the joy of our salvation!
“But the question is: When I, the Messiah, return, how many will I find who have faith (and are praying)?”
(Luke 18:8 TLB)
Prayer is time on the summit. Prayer is time with God. As a matter of fact, God is always waiting for us to come into His presence!
You see, prayer is not a formula. Prayer is not a religious duty. Prayer is not something we do to impress people or to impress God. Prayer is not the heartless, vain repetition of words without connecting to the heart of God. No, prayer is much more than that. Prayer is a daily two-way communication with a living God who is devoted to you, who thinks about you all the time, who loves you, and who is intimately involved in every detail of your life.
You pray when you lift up your hands to thank God for all that you have, and all that you are. Prayer is when you worship and adore your God, telling Him how wonderful He is. You pray when you laugh with God, and share your fun with Him. Prayer involves exposing your deepest hopes and dreams to God because you trust Him with your life. Prayer demands stripping away all your pretences and religious masks to become sincere, honest, and transparent before God.
Prayer is not being afraid to tell God that you’ve failed, that you’re scared, and that you don’t know what to do. Prayer is being confident before your God, knowing that no matter what, He still loves you. Prayer is being comfortable in silence. Prayer is listening. Prayer is times of intimacy with your heavenly Father. Prayer is to tell Him that you need Him desperately. Prayer is often just calling out the name of Jesus over and over again. Prayer is sometimes just shouting, God help!
It’s during times of prayer that you’ll get to know your God, up close and personal. It’s in prayer that you’ll be changed more and more into His image. It’s in prayer that you’ll get the burden of God’s heart for His people. It’s in prayer that you’ll draw from Him the life He offers. It’s in prayer that you’ll find the answers you so desperately need. It’s in prayer that you’ll discover His plan. It’s in prayer that you’ll discover His direction. It’s in prayer that you’ll get a specific promise for a specific situation. It’s in prayer that you’ll get insight into your future (Isa 42:9). It’s in prayer that you’ll gain victory over life’s battles.
Now, knowing all these things, why is time in the presence of God often our most neglected priority? Good question.
Many times we wonder what in the world is going on around us, or where is God when it matters most, or what on earth is the next step in my life. But how often do we ask God to get involved? If we still have a mindset of whatever will be, will be, it leaves us with an excuse when nothing happens, and consequently someone to blame. Usually God.
Remember, God is sovereign, but He did choose to limit His involvement on earth by giving us the legal right to govern this planet (Gen 1:26). Prayer gives us the opportunity to take hold of God as our King, Counsellor, and Helper, and in return give Him the opportunity to get involved. If we will just pray He will do it (Matt 7:7-8)!
WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU WANT?
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.”
(James 4:2 NLT)
“But Abram replied, ‘O Sovereign LORD, what good are your blessings when I don’t even have a son?’”
(Gen 15:2 NLT)
You have not because you ask not. Well, maybe we ask not because we don’t really know what we want. Maybe we ask not because we were taught to ask not. Maybe we ask not because we feel too unworthy to ask. Maybe we ask not because we are too proud to ask. Maybe we ask not because we’re happy with life as it is. Maybe we ask not because we’ve been taught that if God wanted us to have it He would’ve given it to us anyway.
Sometimes we pray half-hearted prayers because we think God won’t answer us anyway. Sometimes we don’t pray at all because we’re afraid that once we pray, “let Your will be done”, God will keep us in our trouble, or keep us sick, or give us a disease, or kill us, or keep us poor. Maybe we’re afraid because we’ve never heard the rest of the sentence, “as it is in heaven!”
But listen, have you ever experienced some kind of holy dissatisfaction? Times when you felt deep down in your spirit that something is wrong and that you don’t have to accept anything less than what Jesus died for you to have (Phil 3:12)? Isn’t there a cause? Isn’t there something you cannot stand any longer?
A desperate place is a good place to be. Desperation throws off the masks and gets you straight to the point. That desperation, or holy dissatisfaction, will move you to reach out to God. It will move you to lay hold of the life Jesus died for you to have. It will move you to live in nothing missing, nothing broken – spirit, soul, and body.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
(Matt 20:32 NLT)
So, what is your deepest need? What can you believe Jesus for?
When Jesus asked the blind men, what do you want Me to do for you, He knew exactly what they wanted (Matt 20:29-34). Their challenge was no mystery to Him. But He wanted them to ask. Our faith is our connection to God, to release Him to do what He promised to do. That has always been God’s method of operation. He does not respond to our need. He responds to our asking; believing that we will receive (Matt 7:7-8).
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
(John 14:13 NKJV)
“Because of your faith, it will happen.”
(Matt 9:29 NLT)
Is there really any limit to “whatever” or “anything”? Have we really seen the end of what God can do? Can we really put a limitation on what is possible or not? Is anything to difficult for God (Jer 32:27)?
No. So ask! True humility receives the promises of God with gladness. You can be bold in your prayer. You can be specific in your prayer. You don’t have to be apologetic when you pray. You don’t have to beg when you pray. You don’t have to wait until you feel good enough or perfect enough to pray. Just pray! You’re a child of God and He loves it when you come to Him with childlike simplicity and boldness. And boldness is not arrogance, it’s being confident in knowing who you are in Christ!
“Oh Israel, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or understood?”
(Isa 40:27-28 NLT)
You can cry and run around and let everybody else pray for you but you’re not really serious about what you want from God until you commit yourself to time in His presence. Call it your private D-Day. That day that defined the course of the rest of your life. That day you made up your mind to plead your own case before God. Listen, nobody has your level of desperation. Nobody really knows your heart. And because they don’t know your heart they’ll never understand your passion or your perseverance against all odds.
“Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”
(1 Sam 1:8 NLT)
Hannah’s barrenness was a cause of great pain in her life. Even her husband could not fully understand her heart. Was having him not better than having ten sons? Well, Hannah knew there was more. In desperation she asked God for a son and her request was granted (1 Sam 1:1-18). Don’t ever underestimate the deep desires of your heart. Hannah simply had a baby in mind, but God’s plan was much bigger than that. Through Hannah’s baby, Samuel, He brought deliverance to His people.
A lifestyle of prayer will reveal your tenacity to pursue your inheritance. It will reveal your guts to go after God yourself. You’ll have to prove to yourself that God is faithful. You’ll have to prove to yourself that He is able and willing to come through for you. You’ll have to stir yourself up to take hold of God. You’ll have to stand on His Word and give Him no rest until His promises are established in your life (Isa 62:6-7).
DON’T JUST COPE, CONQUER!
“The man jumped up, took the mat, and pushed his way through the stunned on lookers. Then they all praised God. ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before!’ they exclaimed .”
(Mark 2:12 NLT)
God doesn’t want you to cope; He wants you to conquer. He never meant for you to fail in life. Jesus died for you to live in victory. You can confidently claim the seemingly impossible or the unthinkable.
If you really want the life Jesus died for you to have, you’ll have to make up your mind to press through your comfort zone, press through your fears, press through the crowds, press through delay, press through the opinions of people, and press through incorrect religious theology. If you reach out to Jesus you will not always be popular with the crowd. The moment you step out in faith you will threaten some people around you.
You might be on the brink of stepping into your promise. But suddenly you think, “What if my family reject me, or what if my church kicks me out, or what if my friends all leave me?” Well, people can leave you for a number of silly reasons. They don’t like what you’ve said, or they don’t like the way you dress, or they don’t like the way you do your hair, or they don’t like the way you talk, or they don’t like all this faith-stuff you’re always on about. But, is trying to keep some people happy worth losing your promise, your dream, or your life?
Oddly enough, you’ll get the most resistance from religious mindsets. Religion likes the status quo. “That’s how we always did it and that’s the way things are going to stay. To question the establishment is absurd. To ask God for something like that is really not acceptable!”
How many people today are still imprisoned by the opinions of others? So many people are afraid that their congregation, family, or friends will reject them if they dare to run after the life God promised them (John 9:22).
Why do we put the opinions of some people on such a high pedestal? The Word says that fearing the opinions of people is a dangerous trap (Prov 29:25). We can’t please God and people at the same time. In fact, we’ll never be able to please people. That’s why Jesus was only concerned with the praise of God, not of people (Matt 22:16).
Listen, not all people will like you or appreciate you. The same people who lift you up as a star today can crucify you tomorrow. Cynics and sceptics will always be around. There will be those who came into your life with no knowledge about the battles you fought, the victories you gained, or the battle that you face right now, but they will have their opinions about it. There will always be people who’ll laugh at you, analyse your life, gossip about you, disagree with you, or say bad things about you. There will always be people who’ll watch you closely, not hoping to see you succeed, but hoping to see you fail. No need to get bend out of shape about that. Just keep your heart pure. Don’t become permanently offended. Forgive, forgive, and again, forgive! Never allow bitterness or cynicism to take root in your heart.
You cannot build your life upon the opinions of people, whether good or bad. You’re not here to change the opinions of people about you. You’re not here to bow down to the opinions of people. You’re not here to prove yourself to people. You’re on earth with a mission – to establish the will of God on earth, as it is in heaven. The only opinion that should count in your life is the opinion of God!
STAND IN THE GAP
“God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God.”
(Rom 1:9 NLT)
Our highest privilege as believers is to pray for people. That is how we lay down our lives for others – to care about and love people enough to actually pray for them.
Prayer cannot only be focused on our personal needs. God wants us to stand in the gap on behalf of others. He needs us, as His co-workers, to battle with Him for the freedom of others. Through prayer we release God to intervene and become involved in our families. Through prayer we release God to become involved in our nations. Through prayer we release God to bring deliverance, hope, healing and restoration. Through prayer we unite with God to see that His will shall be done on earth, as it is in heaven. More than anything else, God needs people who will pray, and pray until!
Instead of condemning people to hell, rather pray that all people will come to the salvation knowledge of Jesus Christ. God has already saved the world through Jesus; people just need to receive their salvation. You know, the devil is known as the prince of darkness but when Light comes darkness goes (John 1:4-5)!
So pray that the blindfold Satan has over the eyes of people will be removed so that they can see the truth and find the life Christ offers (2 Cor 4:3-6). Pray that the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will shine upon the hearts of people. Pray that people will see who Jesus is and all that He had done for them. Pray that people will have a divine revelation of God’s love, compassion and acceptance. Pray that people will become spiritually hungry for God. Pray that the nature of Christ will be formed in their hearts.
Pray for those who have drifted away, to come back to Jesus. Pray for your enemies, don’t curse them. Pray for your government, all those in leadership, your spiritual leaders, your family, your friends, and the nations of this world (1 Tim 2:1-2). Lift up their needs to God. That is what we are here for – to bring people before Jesus. We’re not supposed to fight with people; we’re supposed to fight for them (Neh 4:14). We need to look beyond the visible and see people as eternal spirits who are either going to hell or to heaven, who are either slaves, or free in Christ.
If we ask the Holy Spirit to help us to see people through the eyes of God, we will show love, compassion, and mercy like never before. We’ll understand the unseen battle more clearly. We’ll see all people as forgiven by the blood of Jesus and heirs of a heavenly inheritance. We’ll see the lost and the hurting as sheep wandering around in darkness, bound by the lies of the devil, and desperately in need of a Personal Saviour. If we look at the world through the eyes of God we’ll do all we can to reconcile people back unto their heavenly Father!
“Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
(Luke 22:31-32 NKJV)
Jesus, as our merciful High Priest, is still praying for you. He is standing in the gap on your behalf before God (Heb 7:25). He is praying that your faith will not fail, that you will conquer, and that you will live in the freedom He secured for you. You need to imitate Him in standing in the gap for others. We desperately need prayer. We need a band of brothers that will fight with and for us. Christianity is not every one for himself. We’re all part of the body of Christ. We need to stand back to back. If one part of the body suffers, so will the rest.
PRAY IN THE SPIRIT
“But there is a spirit in man,
And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.”
(Job 32:8 NKJV)
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”
(1 Cor 14:14-15 NKJV)
You’re called to live a higher life, a life where you draw divine insight, wisdom, and understanding right from the Spirit of God. How? By praying in the spirit!
You have a native tongue, be it English or Spanish. Likewise your recreated spirit has a heavenly language, or a native tongue. When you are praying in your spiritual language you are praying from your spirit, not from your mind. You can pray in your understanding, and you can pray in tongues. What is there to argue about? God definitely never intended that praying in tongues should be a denominational issue of debate. That was a promise to all believers (Mark 16:17)! Of course your mind will tell you that it sounds senseless but get beyond your reason. We speak in our spiritual language by faith, not by reason!
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(John 4:24 NKJV)
Praise God in your spiritual language. Worship Him in your spiritual language. When you are low, pray in your spiritual language. When you are confused and you don’t know what to pray, pray in your spiritual language. When you need divine guidance, strength, or wisdom, pray in your spiritual language. When your faith seems to be at breaking point, build it up by praying in your spiritual language (Jude 1:20).
When you pray in your spiritual language you’ll pray according to the perfect will of God. When you pray in your spiritual language you pray nothing but the Word of God. When you pray in your spiritual language you’re talking to God, not to people or to the devil. When you pray in your spiritual language, you pray by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 14:2). You’ll unknowingly pray away lurking dangers. You’ll overcome the weakness of your flesh (Rom 8:13). You’ll receive insight and wisdom that you never knew you needed. You’ll pray out the plan of God for your life. You’ll pray out your future. You’ll pray out the mysteries of God (1 Cor 2:9-14). When you pray in the spirit God can guide you through visions or dreams (Acts 9:10-11). By the prompting of the Holy Spirit you can pray for people that you’ve never met, or for people who desperately need a divine intervention from God in their lives (Rom 8:26).
Have you ever wondered why Satan (through people) relentlessly debates and opposes speaking in tongues? Well, your spiritual language is the native tongue of the real you. It is evidence to the fact that you are in this world, but not from this world. It’s also a sign to unbelievers (1 Cor 14:22). And, the devil cannot understand what you’re saying because he is spiritually disconnected from God.
Of course this does not mean that if you’re not speaking in a spiritual language that you’re not a child of God or not destined for heaven. God simply gave us a heavenly language to help us to communicate more effectively in the spiritual dimension. It still is your choice whether you want to take Him up on that promise or not.