What will it take?

Many of us love this familiar passage:

“”And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”

‭‭Joel‬ ‭2:28-29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

However, we tend to overlook some verses that lead up to it:

“”Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.”

‭‭Joel‬ ‭2:12-13, 15-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Can you imagine pastors in a region issuing a call for prayer and fasting — and having all of God’s people respond, with parents bringing their children into the prayer gatherings, and newlyweds leaving their honeymoons to come and pray? How desperate would we have to get for something like that to happen? How much more violence, bloodshed, civil unrest, and terrorist attacks will it take for the Church in America to repent, fast, weep, and allow our hearts to be broken? What will it take for us to make joining together in prayer a priority?

Weeping may endure…

Resurrection Sanctuary

“Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”‭‭

-Psalms‬ ‭30:4-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I thought of this passage this morning as I caught sight of the sunrise while leaving the house.

Via Facebook had come the news, moments before, that a man I’d never met — but had been alerted to pray for — had turned out to be one of those killed by the killers in San Bernardino yesterday:

“We lost one of our own yesterday. A good man. A solid Christian. A husband and father. A member of our church. He was apparently in the room where the shooting started. 

If you live on our mountain, or in the San Bernardino area I…

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Answer to prayer

There is a famous sermon title about Christ’s death and resurrection: “It’s Friday, but Sunday is Coming”. I’m reminded of that this morning as I think about a recent answer to prayer.

It was Friday, but now Sunday is here.

Resurrection Sanctuary

Recently a young couple came to Resurrection Sanctuary during our prayer chapel hours, because they had seen the “open for prayer” sign out front while riding the bus. They spent some time in quiet prayer, soaking up the peaceful atmosphere, before they introduced themselves as newly arrived in our country from India and on staff with YWAM.

We had a nice conversation and I had the privilege of praying for them.

A week later, they were back. In the meantime, they had called me with a prayer request: they desperately needed a new place to stay, immediately. Now it was Thursday, and they needed to move on Saturday. We joined together in prayer.

Today I got the good news. My urgent request on Facebook had put them together with a family who had an extra room. They were given a few extra days to move. Wow! What a quick dramatic…

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Living the adventure

I would like to write that the reason no new posts have appeared for awhile is because I’ve been far too busy having adventures in prayer to write about them. While that might sound quite pious and spiritual, it isn’t exactly true. The truth is that I’m finding it difficult to articulate those things that I have wanted to express on this blog.

But, I did want to share my latest adventure. Hopefully I’ll follow this with a longer post in a few days, describing my experience.

I’m writing this from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.
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I’ll have to save the story of how I got here…and why I’m here for the next few days…for a future post.

In the meantime, I’ve been spending the past hour and a half worshipping, praying, and meditating on Scripture. And writing this blog post.

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Praying the Bible

As I’ve been getting acquainted with various aspects of today’s prayer movement, I’ve grown to appreciate a greater emphasis on Scripture. I was familiar with taking a Psalm and making it a personal prayer, but this goes beyond that.

This morning I stood in Resurrection Sanctuary and prayed through Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 and through about half of Philippians. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would illuminate what I was reading, that He would apply those truths in my life. I was open with God about my own struggles. I shared my thoughts about what I was reading. I prayed that I would be obedient to what I was reading, and I prayed for my family and for the Church, getting very specific to what I was reading.

Years ago, during a time of discouragement and wanting to do my own thing, I told my parents, “I’m not cut out for Christianity!” Today, I was reminded of that. It’s still true. After all, I’m prone to wander. I fall so very, very short. I have a long ways to go before I can confidently and truthfully say, as in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” 

Christianity without the constant, indwelling presence of Jesus will never work for me. I don’t have what it takes to be a good Christian, or to follow the teachings of Jesus on my own. The only way I could do that is to twist the Bible all around, and ignore the parts I don’t like. In other words, I might as well make up my own religion.

  
So I stood in this little old church this morning, and once again pleaded with God for mercy and grace. I want to know Him more…want to serve Him better, even as every selfish bone in my body balks…and I want to love Him more. I want more of Him. I’m lost otherwise.

But it’s not just that. I want to know Him more because He is so worth knowing. I want to know this amazing, all-powerful God of the universe who cares so deeply for little old me. I want to know the Father who loves me so much and has done so much for me. Why wouldn’t I want more of such a wonderful God?