Category Archives: Prayer

If you think you really know The Lord’s Prayer, think again!

If you think you really know The Lord’s Prayer, think again!

I was getting closer to it when God opened my eyes to it being Hebrew poetry, a royal psalm. But God has opened my eyes even more through a dry, technical book by a German academic, Joachim Jeremias, who really puts it in context.

  • It is radical, urgent and immediate.
  • A prayer for revival and for the end times.
  • A prayer for the hallowing of God’s name where it is defiled.
  • A prayer not to fall from belief in the great apostasy that will precede Jesus’ return.
  • A prayer linked to communion, to Jesus our spiritual food.
  • A prayer for the New Covenant.
  • A prayer recognising God’s kingdom is here, now, and seeking its complete fulfilment and consummation on earth.
  • It is both a prayer to be spoken and used at regular times of the day, and before communion, and a prayer outline.

If you think you know The Lord’s Prayer, think again!!!

Galatians 1:23-24 – Persecutor to Proclaimer!

… they only heard it said, ‘The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me. (Galatians 1:23-24 NRSV)

People who were once like Saul, and most adamantly against Christ, when they come to know the Lord, and some of his most powerful proclaimers.

This is the future for Richard Dawkins. God is after him as he was after Paul. If I look back at my own life I can see a time when God was pursuing me even though I resisted him. Eventually all I could do was run to the one I had once run away from.

If you are reading this then please stand with me and others around the country who are praying for Richard Dawkins to be saved.

Lord Jesus, give Richard Dawkins a Damascus road conversion experience, where you break in and shine your light on him and open his spiritual eyes as you opened Paul’s. Amen.

(The Apostle Paul was known as Saul before his conversion. It is quite possible that Paul was one of the three names he would have had as a Roman citizen. It was possibly taken as a name by his father (or forefather) when he was freed from slavery or sponsored for citizenship and was part of their former owner’s or sponsors name.)

Kingdom Prayer Movement

God has given me a national vision for growing prayer in the nation and a vision for stadium prayer including for stadium evangelistic events, the aim is not to do what is already being done, but to promote those ministries in the areas (geographical or spiritual) where they work. The aim is to reach across all streams and denominations and to play a part in the work of growing prayer in this land that God has been doing for a long time, and to play its part in seeing revival in this land. Here is a short précis of what I envisage its work will be (I am currently re-writing the complete vision statement).

KINGDOM PRAYER MOVEMENT.

Growing Kingdom Prayer in the Kingdom of God.

The KPM is a movement that aims to encourage growth of prayer within the church by:

1. Networking church leaders, prayer leaders and prayer ministries nationally, regionally and locally both in person, through social media and a website.

2. Equipping churches and the saints in prayer through conferences, consultancy work, preaching, teaching and training, and the Kingdom Revival Prayer initiative encouraging the church to pray with unity, not uniformity.

3. Supporting other para-church ministries and church leaders through raising up prayer support, helping them to develop prayer strategies for initiatives, legacy after initiatives, stadium prayer and backstage prayer support.

4. Transforming the way prayer is viewed and taught and bringing it back to the Kingdom pattern established by Jesus, and transforming the way prayer support is asked for by para-church ministries. This is about praying and working together to see God’s Kingdom come and will be done on earth as it already is in heaven, to pray for revival and be the revival, to see the Kingdom United in the United Kingdom and beyond.

The 7 Ps of Revival.

Coal Fire

The seven Ps of revival:

PROMISE – God gives general promises from Scripture and specific promises from prophetic words.

PRAYER – This is not nice tidy prayer, but costly prayer as we humble ourselves before God and seek him and his face and hand before everything else. Continuing prayer movements is also a mark of revivals

PROCLAMATION (1) – This is both bold proclamation of the Gospel and of what God is already doing elsewhere.

PRESENCE – One hallmark of a true revival is the presence of God, both in a building and beyond it and associated with people wherever they are.

PURITY – One response to God’s presence is confession of sin and sin being dealt with radically, compromise is no longer an option.

PRAISE – Whenever God moves in revival power a new sound of praise and worship comes out of it as people sing a new song to the Lord.

POWER – Revival is a power encounter with God, God moves in healing, deliverance and miracles in an extraordinary way.

PROCLAMATION (2) – Continued boldness proclaiming the Gospel and new missionary movements are born out of revival.

I’ll look at each of these in turn in blog posts and link them to this post as I do them.

1 Kings 18:41-46 – A Cloud The Size Of A Man’s Hand

I originally blogged about ‘A Cloud The Size Of A Man’s Hand’ in October 2011 when my blog was elsewhere, and had shared about it in the church I was in about a year before that.  I was just thinking of reposting that blog post after mentioning about it the other day on Facebook, but on re-reading it I could see that a complete rewrite was in order, so here goes!

Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of rushing rain.’  So Ahab went up to eat and drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; there he bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees.  He said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look towards the sea.’  He went up and looked, he said, ‘There is nothing.’  Then he said, ‘Go again seven times.’  At the seventh time he said, ‘Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand is rising out of the sea.’  Then he said, ‘Go and say to Ahab, “Harness your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.”‘ In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind; there was heavy rain.  Ahab rode off and went to Jezreel.  But the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; he girded up his loins and ran in front of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.  (1 Kings 18:41-44 NRSV)

The land was dry, Israel had been in drought for three and a half years, it hadn’t rained since Elijah had prayed that it wouldn’t.  God had answered Elijah by fire when he burnt up the sacrifice on Mount Carmel and the false prophets of Baal had just been killed, but the land was still physically in drought.

The land was still physically in drought, but it was no longer spiritually in drought.  Like Jesus centuries later Elijah saw and heard  what God was doing and responded accordingly.

Elijah HEARD and PROCLAIMED, he PRAYED  and EXPECTED, then he PREPARED and RAN.

Elijah HEARD ‘the sound of rushing rain’ in the Spirit. He heard it because in the spiritual realm it was already raining.

Elijah PROCLAIMED what God was doing to Ahab.  It is powerful when we start to speak out God’s word.  Even before Elijah prayed he proclaimed what God was doing. In the spiritual realm it was already raining, it would soon also be raining in the physical realm.

Elijah PRAYED for the rain, in fact it could not rain until he had prayed for it, which he did.  He returned to Mount Carmel to pray, he had prayed for fire which God had answered there, now he was praying for rain which he knew God would answer.  Elijah’s prayer was prayed in faith, he was expecting God to answer.  In fact, God not answering would not even have been considered an option by Elijah.

Elijah EXPECTED rain, he sent his servant to see the physical signs of the spiritual reality, if there was going to be rain then there would be a cloud.  It wasn’t until the servant had been seven times that he was able to see what Elijah already knew was there.  We do not know if Elijah just prayed once or if he prayed more than once, but both his actions that of praying and of sending the servant to look were done out of faith expecting to see the answer, than out of fear worrying that it might not happen.

Elijah PREPARED himself. He ‘girded up his loins’, or to put it another way he hitched up his garments and tucked them in his belt. This was a short time of preparation and change for Elijah, now was the time for him to change his focus from prayer to action.

Elijah RAN in the power of the Lord. It is between 15 and 20 miles from Carmel to Jezreel and although we cannot say for certain what that chariots top speed would be it would probably have been at least 12 miles an hour. Elijah could have done this in human strength alone if he was a world-class marathon runner on flat ground. The terrain is definitely not flat, and though probably very fit by modern standards I doubt that he was a marathon runner! If the chariot pace was higher he couldn’t have humanly done it at all. Elijah ran because the hand of the Lord was on him, we too must run in his power as his hand is upon us.

So where are you? Are you hearing and proclaiming the future in faith? Are you praying in faith and expecting the answer from God? Or are you preparing to run or running in the power of the Spirit, with the hand of God upon your life? Where are we as a country? Can you hear the rain? Can you see the cloud the size of a man’s hand? Are you running in the rain?

Different people and different churches and areas are at different places, so wherever you are seek God to move you on. What if you can’t sense anything at all? Than ask God to open your spiritual senses and let you hear and see what he is doing.

Heavenly Father, thank you that you are on the move in this land once again, you are speaking revival and the rain is coming. Help me to hear and proclaim your word, to pray and expect you to answer in power and to prepare and run with your hand upon me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer is … #2 Conversation

Prayer is a conversation, it is a two-way dialogue, not a one-way monologue.

You’re overstating it, you may say from looking at the previous sentence, but it is a point that cannot be overstated!  I could refer to places in the New Testament for this, but you may be surprised to know that this was well understood in the Old Testament.  Here are a few examples.

The example of Abraham.

Well there is Abraham for starters, ‘he was called a friend of God’ (James 2:23 NRSV), and what do friend do but talk with each other!  When he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah he was involved in a literal, physical conversation with God see Genesis 18:16-33, he was also bold enough to negotiate with God, but was wise enough to know where the limits were.

This is quite a challenge!  How much are we prepared to argue someone’s case before God?  Not for a Christian, but for a non-Christian to be saved!  After all, ‘The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9 NRSV).  We should not think that Jesus is slow in returning which is the context of this verse, but as with Sodom and Gomorrah, when he does there will be judgement, and by then all choices about eternal salvation will have been made.  Until then, let us be like Abraham praying for mercy and salvation, and wrestling in prayer for those who don’t know Jesus.

The example of Moses.

Moses is another great example of how prayer is a conversation, and again the best example we have of this from his story are when he was interceding on someone else’s behalf.  We see this in the time when Israel sinned by worshipping the golden calf (see Exodus 33).

God was angry, the people he had brought out of Egypt had spiritually returned to Egypt by making and then worshipping an idol.  God was more than angry, he was going to destroy all of Israel except Moses and his family, and make a nation out from him alone.  But Moses stood up for the Israelites, not because they had not sinned, but for the sake of the patriarchs and because if God destroyed them all the Egyptians would have a cause to celebrate and say that God could not complete what he started!

The result of this pleading.  God ‘changed his mind’ (Exodus 32:14 NRSV) because Moses had asked him to, ‘Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people’ (Exodus 32:12 NRSV).  We may deserve God’s judgement, but if we humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face he can, and will, send revival (see 2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

Like Moses we can cause God to change his mind, or we can stand by, be fatalistic about it and see others perish.  Prayer is so powerful if we only grasp it, it is not just for the weak, and for old ladies (though it is for them also), in fact to pray like Moses did takes both strength and humility, and comes first of all out of a close relationship with God.

Are we, like Moses, prepared to lay down something that could be to our advantage, to see God’s kingdom advance?  What a challenge!

Prophets, priests and kings.

I could give other examples, when the nation of Israel came to together to pray, it was the prophets, priests and kings who would pray.  Why?  Because these were the people who would not just speak to God, but who could listen to God’s reply!

Under the New Covenant we are all prophets, priests and kings so this responsiblity of prayer and intercession now falls on us, and we can fulfil that task because we can have a conversations with God!

Lord Jesus, help us to learn to listen as well as talk when we pray, because only then can we pray and intercede effectively for those who don’t know you.  Help us to take up the challenge, and to lay down our agendas for the sake of others to build your Kingdom.  In your name we pray, Amen!

Revelation 8:3-4 – Incense, Prayer & Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

In Revelation 8 we have a lovely picture of incense and prayers rising before God,

‘Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.’ (Revelation 8:3-4 NRSV)

This is such an amazing picture of prayer, and more than that, of our prayers coming before God.

There are two other verses which refer to incense and prayer, one more from the New Testament and one from the Old Testament:

‘When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.’ (Revelation 5:8 NRSV)
 
‘Let my prayer be counted as incense before you’ (Psalms 141:2 NRSV)

Prayer is incense, is like incense and is offered with incense!

This says a great deal about how important prayer is to God.  The incense that was used in Tabernacle and later Temple worship was not cheap!  It was made from costly ingredients, some of which came from long distances away.  It was also to be made to a specific recipe that was to be used only for worshipping God (see Exodus 30:34-38).

Prayer that God listens to costs!  Now there are times when we pray and it costs us nothing, God still hears those prayers, but they do not really grab his attention.  Jesus’ prayers were answered by his Heavenly Father because he put all of himself into them.  This is also something we see in great hero’s of faith, they know that they have to put themselves on the line when it comes to prayer.  It can be very hard to say, ‘yet, not my will but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42 NRSV) as Jesus does in the garden of Gethsemane, but this is what the hero’s of the faith have done, and it is also what we can do too!  This is where we get our depth in prayer.

Prayer is made up of different ingredients!  This may surprise you, but this is one reason why breadth of prayer is so important.  In the incense recipe different things were to be mixed together in equal quantities, this would have balanced the scent, and made the incense more beautiful to smell!  It is no wonder that the incense was to be burnt before God alone.  What do you mix in your prayer?  There should be worship, petition, intercession, listening, praise and thanksgiving to name but a few things.  We should also pray in different ways, both individually and especially corporately.  This is why we need breadth of prayer.

In this association  between incense and prayer we also see something else.  They seem to be especially closely linked when prayer is being answered by God.

As I said in my post 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 – The Fragrance of Jesus that last week I smelled incense in the service at Maswell last week.  This was during the worship and God’s presence was really there.  One thing that I did not share though was that during the service we had prayed for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to be released, and I did feel that God was really happy with that.

Today, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani had been released and acquitted, that is God!  He is now back with his family, and with the other members of his church.  I praise God for his faithfulness, a reflection of God’s faithfulness to him!

Now I know that incense had two meanings, although I only at first recognised one fo them.  That Jesus was there among his people, and that all the prayers of all the church (including Maswell) for Pastor Youcef had come before God, and that the answer would soon be revealed!

WOW!!! WHAT A GOD!!! HE IS SO AMAZING!!!

Heavenly Father, help us to realise how highly you value prayer, and how it should be made up of different ingredients.  Help us to be prepared to give all we have in prayer as Jesus did, and help us to have balanced prayer lives.  And thank you that you do answer prayer, help us to be expectant to see your answers, praying in faith to see you act.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.