Tag Archives: Prayer

A Disciple-making Movement

We read in Acts 9:31, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.”

The Acts of the Holy Spirit is the history of a disciple-making movement that multiplied all over the Roman world in ONE generation. What made this movement so unstoppable?

The early church had its sails set so the Holy Spirit of God could mightily blow into those sails to bring about a movement of disciple-making and church planting. The early Church had its sails set with “peace, being built up,” and multiplying because of a healthy fear of the Lord and the presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit used a rag-tag bunch of nobodies to transform the known world through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus with a disciple-making movement.

Why can’t we get there? What are the obstacle stopping us? We could blame the culture for being so hardened to the Gospel. We could blame the church for being so program-centered. We could blame the Holy Spirit for not blowing His mighty wind into our sails. Those are easy cards to play, but that keeps us in the victim role.

Who is to blame? I am the biggest obstacle. I need to repent, run back to the Cross, and cry out to the Lord for blaming everyone and everything else except ME for a lack of disciple-making movement.

I believe we are on the verge of the greatest persecution against the church in America in our short history. The “obstacle” of persecution led to an explosion of the early church in Acts 8:1.

How will we respond? Members of the early church got on their knees fervently and corporately praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for boldness (Acts 1:14, 2:42, 4:24-31, 6:4). We must do the same.

Let’s not fret and worry about what is happening to our culture. Let’s join together in fervent, corporate prayer crying out to our Lord for a mighty blowing of the Holy Spirit into our set sails and prepare for a great harvest of souls and a disciple-making movement all for our Lord Jesus’ glory and praise.

You can join us on a ZOOM call each Wednesday, 8:30-9:45am, for fervent, corporate prayer.

Our Lord’s Heart: A Restored Royal Priesthood

What is on our Lord’s heart in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, economic upheaval, and global fears? The Lord Jesus reveals the passion of His heart early in His Passion week.

And they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a robbers’ den.

Mark 11:15-17

This IS His passionate heart today. Our Lord’s heart has always been for His people to be His royal priests in His Presence interceding for His glory in all the nations.

Our Lord is presently cleaning out all the personal kingdom building, self-promotion, factions, divisions, rock-throwing, Gospel-less, powerless, flesh-driven, man-centered idolatry in His Bride and restoring the royal priesthood to seek His face for His glory and Presence. He is doing that in my life, and in His Bride in our neighborhood, state, nation, and world. That has always been the passion of His heart.

In our LORD’s Eagles’ Wings speech in Exodus 19:5-6 He says to His people, “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.He makes ALL of His people royal and holy priests fit to intercede for His glory wherever they are.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14 our LORD promises, “[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” God’s will is to do a mighty work in His people as they stand as His priests seeking His face and crying out to Him in humble, fervent prayer.

In Ezekiel 22:30, the LORD passionately searched for just one person who would intercede for His people. The calling of all priests is always to intercede: “And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found no one.” Our Father’s heart is always to spare His people, but He found NOT ONE royal priest who would be a wall-builder and gap-filler.

What an amazing promise and reality about the Holy Spirit making us praying priests is given in Zechariah 12:10, And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication. The Holy Spirit is poured into His people to experience the extravagant grace of God for the purpose of prayer to advance the Kingdom.

The Lord Jesus promises in His Upper Room teaching in John 14:13-15, “…whatever you ask in My name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Jesus promises His Presence in the Holy Spirit of grace and supplication for anyone who asks for Him.

The Spirit reminds us who we are in Christ in 1 Peter 2:9: “…but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Royal priests intercede for and proclaim the glories of our Lord Jesus, everywhere for everybody.

Our Lord Jesus is revealed in Revelation 1:5-6 as “the faithful Witness, the First-born of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth.” Then He tells us who we are in Christ, “to Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom of priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Answer His cry for us to be His Royal Priesthood for such a time as this! In these critical times He is calling you and me to repent of our prayerless, passionless, painless lives and run back to His Cross for cleansing and forgiveness. How?

  • First, get on your face before Him and cry out to Him to forgive you for missing your calling as His Royal Priest(ess).
  • Second, run to His bloodied Cross, and confess and repent of your passionless, painless life of prayer, and ask Him to pour out His Spirit of grace and prayer upon you. That is the Gospel. Thank Him and praise Him for His cleansing and pouring into you His Spirit of grace and prayer.
  • Third, find a group of people to corporately pray with and for during these troubled times. Ask the Holy Spirit when He is calling you and the group to fast and pray for spiritual breakthroughs, revival, and spiritual awakening among the lost.
  • Finally, pray with them.

If you are looking for such a group, RIGHT NOW, this week (March 15-21, 2020), at 7 am and/or 7 pm, call 605-475-4000. access code 624991#. (Sponsored by The Columbia Call To Prayer)

Restore your own call to our Lord’s Royal Priesthood so His house may be a house of prayer for all the nations. You will be amazed at what the Lord does in and through you to revive His people and bring spiritual awakening to our land.

Prayer alone will NOT get it done!

Standing at the abortion mill in Augusta as I did last week and just praying will NOT get it done. Praying to end the genocide of over a million image-bearers each year in America will NOT get it done. Begging God for revival of His Church in our monthly Columbia Call to Prayer will NOT get it done. Going to church weekly and sending up prayers for a nation that has already gone over the cliff spiritually, morally, ethically, financially, educationally, and culturally will NOT get it done.

God’s Word is very clear that prayer is critical to the advancement of the Kingdom. When troops go into battle, communication with headquarters is vital. Headquarters knows what is happening on the ground and can send reinforcements, firepower, and resources to direct and empower the troops. But communication alone will not get it done. There must be warriors on the ground taking enemy territory. The same is true in this cosmic spiritual battle.

Prayer alone with not get it done! It is time for the Church to NOT just pray, but to SPEAK! Yes, our Lord has commanded us to pray, but He has also commanded us to SPEAK. And it the Gospel that we must SPEAK.

Just look at a few of our Lord’s commands and the example and words of the apostles:

  • What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. (Mt 10:27)
  • And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. (Mk 16:15)
  • And He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations. beginning from Jerusalem. (Lk 24:46-47)
  • But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
  • How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:20-21)
  • For we are not like many peddling the Word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the Presence of God. (2 Corinthians 2:17)
  • But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, there we also speak. (2 Corinthians 3:13)

Did you catch the last one? The Apostle Paul said, we believe, therefore we speak. If we believe the Gospel, you and I are commanded to SPEAK the Gospel.

One of the great lies foisted on the Church over the last thousands years is the one by St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Church, we are commanded by our Lord and His Apostles to speak the Gospel and live the Gospel. It is NOT enough just to pray. It is NOT enough just to live out the Gospel in your personal life. You must SPEAK the Gospel to the lost.

Not all of us are called to be open-air preachers, However, all of us are commanded to SPEAK the Gospel. If you are not SPEAKING the Gospel, repent and run into the arms of Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit for boldness in SPEAKING the Gospel with your family, friends, and school/work associates.

Our culture is largely in the mess it is in because the Church lives in fear of people and their rejection. Paul’s two greatest motivations for SPEAKING the Gospel was the “fear of the Lord” and the “love of Christ” (2 Cor 5:11.14).

Church, our Lord Jesus commands us to SPEAK the Gospel using words. Yes, it is time for the Church of the Lord Jesus to “fervently agonize in prayer” (Col 4:12) crying out for the glory of the Lord to spread to more and more people. But it is also time for the Church to boldly go and SPEAK the Gospel in the face of a world that grows increasingly hostile to the Gospel. We must SPEAK the Gospel no matter the consequences.

If you are interested in getting help in this, please contact me. I would love to help you SPEAK THE GOSPEL.

Praying in the Spirit: Resting or Wrestling?

Several years ago I was making hospital visits with a friend of mine. We were to visit three elderly ladies who were located on the 4th, 5th, and 6th floors of the same hospital. One lady’s husband had recently died. We walked into her room on the 4th floor, and she was not available. We then went up one flight and into the next lady’s room. In a moment of confusion, I greeted her with, “I am so sorry your husband died.” She sat up in bed and cried out, “WHAT?! I just saw my husband earlier this morning!” My friend, standing beside me, was frantically, but quietly, trying to tell me, “Tim, this is the wrong lady!” I was confused and embarrassed, and, fortunately, the hospitalized, non-widow did not have a heart attack.

I have the same reaction as that lady to some of the commands in Scripture? WHAT?! I mean, “love your wife as Christ loves the Church.” WHAT?! “Love the LORD with all your heart, soul, and mind?” WHAT?! “Forgive your brother from the heart.” WHAT?! I do not know how to even come close to any of these. Then there is the kicker that I have struggled with for years in Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20, “pray at all times in the Spirit.” WHAT?! Great command, but what does it mean, and how do you do it?

I have heard some teach that it means praying in tongues. Others have said it means praying Scripture promises. Still others have taught you listen for that “still small voice and pray as He directs.”

Colossians 4:12 may give us some insight. In this verse you can see the biblical tension of resting in prayer and wrestling in prayer as you follow the Spirit’s lead. The Apostle Paul describes Epaphras as a bond-slave of Jesus Christ who is “always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers . . . ” The Greek word for “laboring earnestly” means “to fervently agonize, battle, wage war.” It is a picture of intense wrestling. The Greek word for “prayer” used here is the most common word for prayer in the New Testament. The word suggests the idea of a small child crawling up into his father’s lap to make a request. It is a picture of resting. So was Epaphras always resting or wrestling in prayer?

I believe he did both. At times he wrestled with all his might as Jacob wrestled all night with the Angel of the Lord in Genesis 32:24-30. At other times he rested as David describes in Psalm 131:2, “my soul is like a weaned child within me.” There is no formula for prayer. There is no equation for prayer. There is no “right” way to pray except with three basic requirements: pray in Jesus’s name (Jn16:24), pray for His glory (Jn 14:13), and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16). The result: you will be “praying in the Spirit.”

Prayer is about an intimate relationship with your Abba Father, through His beautiful Son, in the power and leading of the Spirit. At times, He will lead you to battle in prayer. At times, He will cause you to worship in overflowing praise and, at other times, with great thanksgiving to God. At still others, you will experience the dark night of the soul in anguishing prayer. But all prayer must lead to surrender and rest. That is what our Lord did at Gethsemene (Lk 22:39-46). He wrestled in prayer. He was in anguish in prayer. He surrendered to His Father in prayer. He was set free to do His Father’s most unfathomable will: go to the Cross at Calvary.

So what? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you to pray and lead you in prayer. He will. Remember you are free to follow Him and pour out your heart to your Abba Father knowing the Holy Spirit will conform your prayers to the Father’s will. And, as you wrestle and rest and everything-in-between in prayer, know your Heavenly Father delights in the prayers of His saints just like a new Daddy loves to hear the cooing of his newborn baby. And He never gets confused because your name is written on the palms of His hands (Is 49:16).

Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Buck, our parrot

So almost every morning for the past 24 years I have gotten up, gone downstairs, and been greeted by our demanding, squawking parrot, Buck. Buck has not missed a meal for almost 9,000 days in a row! Yet, this morning, again, Buck started screeching like I have never fed him. Even after I feed him, he just keep demanding MORE! In parrot-squawking, Buck screeches, gimme, gimme, gimme!

I am no different than Buck with my faithful heavenly Father. Every day I cry out to Him, “gimme more of the Holy Spirit, gimme more of Your love, gimme more hope, gimme more grace, gimme more power, gimme more patience, gimme more of YOU, gimme, gimme, gimme.”

Just like me with Buck, my heavenly Father, must think, “Tim, why are you demanding what I have already given you. You already have it!”

Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 1:27 state that Christ is in every believer. Over 220 times the New Testament epistles tell us Christ is in every believer, and we are in Christ. Colossians 2:9-10 states, “For in Him [Christ] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete and He is the head over all rule and authority.” We as followers of the Lord Jesus are complete, or made full, in Him already. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us with resurrection power and the life of Jesus (Romans 8:10-11). 2 Peter 1:3-4 cannot say it any clearer, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness . . . so that by them you may become partaker of the divine nature . . . ” I already have everything I need through the Spirit of Jesus living in me. So do you if you are a believer in Jesus.

I do not need more of Jesus. I already have Him. I do not need more of His love, I just need to allow the love of Jesus to flow through me. I do not need more hope. I already have the God of hope in me. I do not need more strength, or grace, or patience, I just need to believe I already have it and allow His life to flow through me (John 7:37-39). In Jesus Christ, He has already imparted to me everything I need for today, tomorrow, and forever!

So what should I do when I start demanding from my heavenly Father, “gimme, gimme, gimme” just like Buck? I need to repent of my unbelief, run to my Crucified and Risen Jesus, and believe He has already given me “everything for life and godliness” in Him. I end up in worship and praise, giving thanks to my incredible Father through His beautiful Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. So should you!

By the way, anyone want a 25 year old squawking, demanding, ungrateful parrot (who is just like me)?