The Bride – Restoration

As I was praying last week and in worship at Church I had a picture of a bride.     I first saw a picture of a lion and knew that this was Jesus – the lion of Judah.     The Lion was looking at something and when I followed his gaze, I saw that He was looking at a bride.

The picture shocked me.   Although the bride was dressed in a beautiful white dress and veil -the dress was truly beautiful – spotless and pure bright white, the bride herself looked grey and gaunt, withered and frail.    Her beauty had faded and she had no vitality or joy.    Her skin was stretched tautly over her bones and was grey and papery.    She looked weary as if she had no strength in her from lack of food.   She reminded me of a living corpse.     It was a terrible sight.     The bride was not old which accounted for her appearance.   She was young.

I thought is this a picture of the church at the moment- the body of Christ as a whole in the world?   Is this what Jesus sees when He looks at us?    That the body has lost its vitality, its beauty and is famished and without strength.      I was encouraged that the bride’s dress was pure and white.   Jesus’ blood truly cleanses us from all sin and purifies us.    It reminded me that Jesus is coming back for a spotless bride, but I believe He also wants to come back for a radiant, beautiful and strong bride who is full of His life, joy, power and strength and who radiates His glory and goodness in the world.

I pray that if this picture is correct that the Holy Spirit will reveal it and show us our true condition.   That our hearts will be convicted of our lack of His life working in and through us.    That we will acknowledge and repent over our condition and turn again to the living hope which is in Christ Jesus by the power of His Holy Spirit to be restored and refreshed.    We will realise our desperation and need of Jesus and that without Him there is no power for living.   He alone is the bread of life and the living water.   John 7 v37 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink, he who believes in me as the scriptures say out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”.   John 6: 48 Jesus said “I am the bread of life”.     Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and His words are life to us.   The bible is food for our soul.  

Jesus is in the business of restoration.      The Lord reminded me of the picture of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 later in the same day and God’s question to Ezekiel – can these dry bones live?    In my picture – Can the bride’s strength, joy, life, beauty and power be restored?  In faith I believe that the answer is Yes and I say Yes to God.   As Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones – we say to the Church – hear the word of the Lord.   “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live” V5  “I will put My Spirit in you and you shall live” v13. 

Isaiah 40 v 29 says “He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might, He increases strength”.  V31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”.   I believe God wants to restore our strength for these days ahead so that we will not grow weary in doing good but will have the strength to continue in the face of adversity and persecution and persevere.   We are called to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.   May our vitality be restored.  May we be filled with the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God.

This is the way walk in it..

Isaiah 30: 21 says “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying “This is the way walk in it”. Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left”.

road nature trees branches

If you are looking for direction in your life and seeking the path that God wants you to take or a new door is opening up to you then take encouragement from the promise in these verses.   God will direct your way.

This is a season for stepping into the new things of God.  It may be paths that you or no-one else has travelled before, areas which you have never ventured into, things you or nobody else has ever done but take comfort that God will make it clear that you are on the right path.    God will direct you to move forward into new things.    Don’t look back at the old or try to do things in the same way but with boldness step into the new.    This is a season for God to show you how to do things in a different way.    Don’t worry or be anxious that you don’t know what’s up ahead – trust God.    If you are walking where God wants you to walk then you are going in the right direction.

You may face discouragement – people may think you are crazy even to attempt something new but God will give you the vision and you will hear His still small voice saying “This is the way walk in it”.    You will know it is God speaking to you.    I encourage you to be bold in faith today as you hear Him speak to you.   Take hold of the opportunity which God is bringing your way.

I sense this may be a season for some that God will completely turn things on their head.  God will flip things upside down but you will emerge unscathed.    Allow God to be in the driving seat.

I pray God will increase your vision in these days.  To stir in you a new vision, a bigger vision and to break new ground for Him.   To see new things and create new opportunities for the gospel to be preached and people to be reached with the good news of Jesus Christ.

 

Restoring the Church’s appetite for God

Over recent weeks God keeps bringing these verses from Isaiah 55 back to mind.   v1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”
Many years ago our Pastor had a vision in which he felt God say the following to him. 
” I am going to restore the appetite of the church for the manifest power and presence of God.    A spiritual famine has touched your land.  It’s not the result of the lack of or withdrawal of God’s presence and power but it’s a famine of the appetite of God’s people.
Then I looked and saw two groups of people.  The first group looked thin and drawn and slightly withered, they were frail and looked prematurely old.  God said to me,  these people are not the result of an imposed famine.  Their condition is the result of a famine in their appetites for the presence and power of God.   They have withdrawn in their faith, belief and expectation of God.  As a result their appetites have been suppressed, reduced and their health is at risk.
Then I looked and saw another group of people,  they were overweight, large people.  I said to myself, they must have an appetite Lord.  And I felt the Lord say to me “they are also part of a famine.  They have just filled their lives with something other than the manifest power and presence of God.  They have substituted their appetite for God for other things, as a result they too have suppressed their appetites.   I was reminded of this scripture. Isaiah 55 v 1-2. Ho everyone who thirsts come to the waters and you who have no money come buy and eat, come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to me and eat what is good and delight yourself in abundance. “ 
I pray that God will restore our appetite during these days so that we may hunger and thirst for righteousness and will overflow the “goodness of God in the land of the living”.

Prayer – Our authority in Christ

I believe that our authority as Christians only comes from Christ and our position in Christ through his death on the Cross and resurrection. When you become a Christian you are given authority in Christ.   You don’t have to be a Christian for x years to earn authority – it is a legal thing settled in the spiritual realm.  You become adopted children of God, raised up with Christ to sit in heavenly places and given an inheritance in Christ the minute you accept Christ as your saviour. Authority is not a feeling – it is a legal right – settled in the heavenly realms.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 1 v 6-7

It is all about what Jesus achieved on the cross for us.

As a Christian you already have authority in prayer and the biggest breakthrough will be achieved in prayer when we understand and act on our authority and position in Christ. I think as Christians that too many times we ask God to do things for us when He has already given us the authority to implement His rule and reign on earth and we just need to exercise that authority in faith in prayer.

Settle it in your spirit and say to yourself “I have been given authority in Christ” Keep saying it in faith. God wants you to exercise the authority which you have in prayer which Christ has given to you.

Jesus said -Mark 16:17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Luke 10 19-“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

This scripture doesn’t mean rush off and start taking on massive demonic strongholds or go looking for demons to cast out– that would be presumptuous and dangerous. You need to make sure before you take on satanic forces directly that satan has no legal foothold in you, that you are not moving out from the covering of God’s grace, that you are prepared.  In my experience, you should only go into battles which God leads you into but:

It does mean that when the Holy Spirit reveals attacks from the enemy or the presence of the enemy we can confidently “submit to God, resist the devil and He will flee from you”  James 4:7

We only have authority because of Christ’s finished work at the cross when he took back authority from Satan.

I am sure that you have seen this example before as it is used in many Christian teachings on authority but it is good at getting the point across in a way that we can understand.

1.In Genesis Ch 1 v 26 & 28 God creates man, gives man free will and gives him DOMINION over the earth. i.e. the right and the responsibility of ruling and exercising authority over creation.   The right to subdue the earth under him. God GAVE that authority and dominion to man. God’s intention was to work with and through us to oversee His creation.

Imagine the scene – God hands over keys (representing authority) and sceptre (representing rule) on earth to man.

2.  Satan who has already been thrown out of heaven for rebellion sees that man has  been given dominion over the earth and deceives Eve into disobeying God.   She then induces Adam to disobey God. In disobeying God,  man (Adam) gives away the authority and rule that he had over the earth to Satan. Satan then legally had a position and the rule over this world and the keys to death & hell as sin brought curses and death. Jesus called him the “prince of this world” John 12:31

Imagine the scene – Adam hands keys to satan.

3. God has already put in place the plan of redemption – Hallelujah. Gen 3:16 he says to satan “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers, he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel”. This is fulfilled when Jesus the son of God becomes man and dies on the cross to pay the ransom for sin and obtain redemption for us. Jesus said of satan before he went to the cross “ the prince of this world now stands condemned.” John 16:11

Imagine the scene – Jesus leaves the glory of heaven and his position and comes to earth.

4. Satan comes to tempt Jesus in the wilderness and offers him the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said “All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me”.  Satan is able to offer Jesus earthly power because Adam had given it to him.   As the prince of the world he has a position which he can offer Christ.   You’ll notice in scripture that Jesus didn’t rebuke satan for lying.

Imagine the scene – satan offers Jesus conditional rulership – strings attached – but Jesus declines.  This was to ensure that when Jesus went to the Cross he was the spotless lamb of God.

“for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me” John 14:13 i.e. satan had nothing on Christ. He had refused all temptation. “ but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.”   Hebrews 4:15

5. At the Cross Jesus defeated satan just when satan thought he had won. Satan didn’t kill Jesus, Jesus gave up his life for us. Colossians 2: 15 says “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. i.e. He stripped satan of authority at the cross and he took the keys back from satan of hell and death (Revelation 1:18)

Imagine the scene -Jesus takes back from satan the keys and the rulership

6. Jesus didn’t keep that authority for himself.  Hallelujah.  He put it into the hands of his church – us- so that we can in prayer and by the Word of God in daily life enforce the rule and reign of Christ over satan on this earth until He comes back. The inheritance we have in Christ is the Authority and Power (of the Holy Spirit) given to us when Jesus died and rose from the dead. Satan’s power over us has now been broken by Christ’s blood – we no longer fear death.

1 John 3:8 says “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil”.

Romans 5:17 “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ”.

Imagine the scene – Jesus puts the keys and rulership into the hands of the Christian – Amen.

There are things to remember with such authority. We do not rule by our own will but by God’s revealed will.   Rulership is also not over people – We don’t control people or seek to control them through prayer – that is manipulation and control which is clearly a sin. This authority and rulership is to be exercised over the works of the enemy. The bible is clear that we do not fight flesh and blood but evil forces.

Before the Cross satan’s name had an effect and meant something in the spirit realm. When Christ died on the cross he made a public spectacle of satan. When God raised Jesus up and gave him a name above all names – satan’s name in the spiritual realm was DEMOTED. The name satan means the opponent, the hater, the accuser, adversary, enemy, one who resists, obstructs and hinders whatever is good.   He is the hateful enemy opposed to everything of God.

When you come under attack from satan or evil/unclean spirits, as you surely will as a Christian, rebuke them in the name of Jesus, remind them of the blood of Christ and Christ’s victory at the cross.

Revelation 12:11 says that “they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”.

The battle is not between satan and God – that is no contest.   God is Omnipotent (all-powerful) satan is not. God is Omniscient (all-knowing) satan is not.   God is Omnipresent (everywhere) satan is not -he can only be in one place at a time.

The present battle is between us (the Church of Christ who satan hates) assisted by God’s angels against satan and his demonic spirits.

Christ gave us the victory at the Cross but it is only Christ’s church at the moment who can through prayer be used of God to bring His kingdom rule and reign to the earth. We know that satan still has influence in this world because he continues to influence the behaviour of people and this is shown clearly in the Word. Christ has not yet come back to rule and reign over the earth and until he does it is our job as Christians to keep praying –Matthew 6:10 May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Le us pray for humility, to have the mind of Christ & an obedient heart. 

Philippians 2: 5-16  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour for nothing. 17

May we continue to develop JESUS’ Character –

He was humble – “But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant”

He was selfless – “poured out his life an offering for all”

He was obedient – “and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”. He said to His father “not my will but yours be done”

He was forgiving – “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

He was compassionate – “When He saw the crowds his heart moved with compassion”

 Let us pray for more revelation of Jesus, His victory on the cross & the power of His blood.

 An extract from the book: Nothing but the blood

We overcome satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us (Rev 12:11)

Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil (Ephesians 1:7)

Through the blood of Jesus, all my sins are forgiven (1 John 1:9)

Through the blood of Jesus, I am continually being cleansed from all sin (1 John 1:17)

Through the blood of Jesus, I am justified, made righteous, just-as-if-I’d never sinned (Rom 5:9)

Through the blood of Jesus, I am sanctified, made holy, set apart to God (Heb 13:12)

Through the blood of Jesus, I have boldness to enter into the presence of God (Heb 10:19)

The blood of Jesus cries out continually to God in heaven on my behalf”   (Heb 12:24)Prayer – Is God hearing my prayers?

 

 

 

In whose name are we praying?

I believe that we can only approach God’s throne through the blood and in the name of JESUS CHRIST.

Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”

In Christ alone we can confidently come before God’s throne.

Hebrews 4:14 – Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Jesus also said: “but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father, in My name, he may give you” John 15:16

What does the name of Jesus Christ mean in terms of authority and power:

a) The name JESUS CHRIST means literally JESUS “THE ANOINTED ONE”.

The word Christ comes from “Christos” and “Christos” translates the Hebrew “Mashiyach” i.e. “Messiah”.  Jesus was the anointed one of God – The Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.

We have lost a little in translation and can think Jesus Christ was his full name – a surname. The name Jesus Christ the anointed one denotes a TITLE and POSITION. In the Old Testament when someone was anointed it meant “to consecrate by applying Holy Oil to an individual”.   Jesus was the one anointed by God. The Old Testament pictures the Messiah as one who will put an end to sin and war and usher in universal righteousness and through his death will make vicarious atonement for the salvation of sinful people. Jesus is the Messiah; he claimed to be the Messiah (Matthew 23:63-64; Mark 14:61-62; Luke 22:67-70; Jn 4:25-26) and the claim was acknowledged by his disciples (Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20; Acts 4:27; 10:38).

b) There is authority in His Name.

We need to understand the authority in Jesus’ Name when we pray – particularly in the spiritual realm when dealing with demonic influences.  We can bring all situations under the name of Jesus because He is superior.

The Bible says:  “Therefore God has highly exalted him (i.e. lifted him up, an exaltation to the highest position, a super exalted position of honour and glory) and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Philippians 2: 9

Jesus said “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth –” Matt 28 v 18

“when He (God) raised Him (Christ) from the dead and seated Him (Christ) at His (God’s) right hand in the heavenly places FAR ABOVE all principality (rule) and power (authority) and might (power) and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He (God) put all things under His (Christ’s) feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all”. Ephesians Ch 1 20-23

There is authority and power in the name of Jesus Christ.   If we recognise this when we pray then we will pray with more authority, understanding,  faith and boldness.   Satan has tried to demote the name of Jesus and it is now used by many people in a blasphemous way. We need to use His name in the correct way when we pray.    We will see results and situations change as prayers are answered.

 In Revelation 19 v11-16 we get a further revelation of Christ and the authority and power which is his:

“Now I saw heaven opened and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called FAITHFUL and TRUE and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes were like flames of fire and on His Head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called THE WORD OF GOD

v 16 And He had on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

c) There is power in His name:

Smith Wigglesworth used to say that all things were possible through the name of Jesus Christ.   He had a testimony of the power in Jesus’ name when it came to raising a sick man called Lazarus.   Lazarus was an old miner in Wales.   Smith Wigglesworth had been told by God to go and raise Lazarus up.  He sent a postcard to him telling him he was coming to do it.   What faith.  However, when Smith arrived he was told by people not to bother and that the moment he saw Lazarus he would be ready to give up and go home because Lazarus was just a mass of bones with skin stretched over them with no life hardly left in him.   Instead of giving up and going home (like most of us would have done I’m sure) that night Smith went and found seven more men and women of faith to fast with him and pray for Lazarus and then they all went to the house the next day. This is what Smith says in his book happened when they circled the bed and kept repeating the name of Jesus:

“We all knelt down and whispered that one word, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” The power of God fell and then it lifted. Five times the power of God fell and then it remained. But Lazarus on the bed was unmoved. Two years previously someone had tried to raise him up and the devil had used his lack of success as a means of discouraging Lazarus.  I said “I don’t care what the devil says; if God says he will raise you up it must be so. Forget everything else except what God says about Jesus.

The sixth time the power fell and the sick man’s lips began moving and the tears began to fall.  I said to him “The power of God is here, it is yours to accept it”. He said “I have been bitter in my heart and I know I have grieved the Spirit of God. Here I am helpless. I cannot lift my hands, nor even a spoon to my mouth”. I said “Repent, and God will hear you”. He repented and cried out “Oh God, let this be to Thy glory”. As he said this the virtue of the Lord went right through him. I have asked the Lord to never let me tell this story except at it was for I realise that God can never bless exaggerations. As we again said, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, the bed shook, and the man shook…. I sat and watched that man get up and dress himself. The news soon went abroad that Lazarus had been raised up and many came to hear his testimony. God brought salvation to many. All this came through the name of Jesus, through faith in His name, the faith that is by Him gave this sick man perfect soundness in the presence of them all”

Peter said to the crippled man “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength, and he went into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.     Acts 3 1-16

When we pray let us ask the Holy Spirit for more revelation of the authority and power that there is in the name of Jesus Christ and teach us how to use His name in prayer effectively. The name of Jesus is a weapon of spiritual warfare and evil/unclean spirits recognise and have to submit to the authority of the name of Jesus.

Let us read portions of scripture which uplift the name of Jesus and meditate/memorise them.  Revelation ch 19, Ephesians ch1 or Colossians 1 & 2 which are on the pre-eminence of Christ.

Let us lift up the name of Jesus as we pray and in our worship – Singing songs which exalt the name of Jesus.

Let us not be afraid to speak out the name of Jesus and bring the problem or whatever it is you are praying about under and in subjection to Jesus and His name.  Prayer – Is God hearing my prayers?

Prayer – Prayerful Confession part 2

In part 1 we focussed on how meditating and confessing the names of God and discovering the character of God (which is revealed through His names) can help us in our times of prayer.    Other things to help us in prayer are:

1. ATTITUDE; – The word “confess” comes from the Hebrew word “Yadah” meaning “an open or extended hand” – In prayerful confession we are reaching out to take hold of God and Him alone and declaring that we are putting our trust in Him alone.   We are acting humbly by putting God in His rightful position and focusing on Him.

This humble attitude is a KEY to God hearing and answering our prayers:

“If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land ”  2 Chronicles 7 v14

A HUMBLE ATTITUDE in our hearts can be demonstrated physically in prayer by KNEELING, LYING ON OUR FACES BEFORE GOD, RAISING OUR HANDS etc.

Jesus’ model prayer demonstrates humility in his final words “FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER AMEN”.

Let us not forget (particularly when prayers are answered or when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation) that the glory always belongs to God and Jesus.

2.THE WORD OF GOD;   If we are going to give voice to our faith and understanding of GOD’S Character, His Works, His Wonders, His Glory and confess our belief in God, His promises and His Word then we need to have our bibles or other access to the Word of God to hand whilst we pray so that we can confess scripture out loud or meditate on the Word.

Try and get into the habit in your prayer times or meetings of praying with your bible to hand or other access to the Word of God through your phone, tablets etc.

Isaiah Ch 55 v 11 “ So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth: It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing which I sent it”.

When you proclaim the Word it will build you up spiritually and encourage you in your faith. You are also proclaiming God’s word to spirits, principalities & powers and you will learn to use it as a sword. e.g. if you were in a situation where you needed to be assured of God’s victory/might in battle you could read out the song of Moses in Exodus 15 1-18 when God rescued the Israelites from the pursuing Egyptians. If you needed to declare Christ’s sovereign position and authority then read out Revelation 19 11- 16.

It will take some effort initially to look up relevant portions of scripture but the Word of God is the sword of the spirit (Ephesians Ch 6 ) and one of the weapons of warfare so we need to know how to use THE WORD effectively in prayer.  This doesn’t mean picking out scriptures without any thought to throw at situations but by prayerful meditation on the Word allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to passages of scripture.    When you meditate on the Word in prayer it also gives God the opportunity to speak to you through HIS WORD and His still small voice in your spirit.

3. WORSHIP –   Prayerful confession of God’s name is also part of WORSHIP which literally means – giving worth to HIS NAME . Our response to the name of the Lord is to worship (Psalm 66:2) and to give thanks, praise and bless (Psalm 100:4) and to lift up our hands (Psalm 63:4) – See later notes on Solomon’s attitude in prayer.

It changes the atmosphere when you speak out and give voice to the praises of God and Jesus in your prayer times. Praise and worship should always be part of our times of prayer as it is the pathway of praise & worship which leads us into His presence.   If you find it difficult to praise and worship on your own or in a small group then perhaps start by reading a Psalm of praise out loud/ putting on worship music/reading out loud the lyrics of a worship song.   I have found that repeating the name of Jesus over and over and meditating on His name and telling him how much I love him is helpful at such times.

ln Psalm 103 we are encouraged to “Bless the Lord O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” and in Psalm 99 “Let them praise Your great and awesome name – He is holy”

4.REPENTANCE – Confession/revelation of God and His character will lead us into repentance. Ask God by His Holy Spirit to reveal areas of our lives where we are not living right. Take time in prayer to allow God to search our hearts. Pray and meditate on Psalm  51 v 10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me”.   Repent of anything revealed and receive and thank God for his forgiveness and cleansing by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.   Remember this is conviction not condemnation. We should repent of sin (including sins of omission, bad attitudes etc) then receive forgiveness through Christ and move forward. We can’t be effective in prayer if there is sin between us and God. We need to be right with God before we can pray effectively.   It is the “ FERVENT PRAYERS OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN WHICH ARE EFFECTIVE” James 5:16

PRAYERFUL CONFESSION in SCRIPTURE;

An example of prayerful confession and the importance of declaring God’s name is found in many of David’s Psalms but also Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple to God in 2 Chronicles Ch 6 v 12-42.

In these verses first of all we see Solomon demonstrate a humble attitude before God by kneeling down before all the people and lifting his hands up towards heaven.     Kneeling before God in prayer/lifting up our hands to heaven demonstrates submission to God as mentioned earlier.     Solomon did this before “all the people”. He was the king but he wasn’t too proud or embarrassed in front of the people to adopt this humble posture before God.

Solomon starts by confessing who God is “v 14 LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with your servants who walk before you with all their hearts”.

Then Solomon goes on to ask God to hear and answer the prayers which the people will make in the temple. He points to the responsibility of the people to seek God for mercy and the importance of repentance and confession of God’s name (v24 & 26) as part of this.

RESULT: “ When Solomon had finished praying fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the temple” Ch 7 v1

If we want the fire of God to fall on us and spiritually ignite us in prayer so that we experience God’s glory then I believe we need to give God a sacrifice of prayer, praise and worship. This means spending time in prayer and making prayer our lifestyle.

THE BIG QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES IS AND I COUNT MYSELF IN THIS TOO – AM I WILLING TO SACRIFICE TIME IN PRAYER TO SEE REVIVAL IN MYSELF, MY FAMILY, MY CHURCH, MY COMMUNITY & MY NATION?

If the answer is yes, particularly in these troublesome times, then let us all spend time each day seeking God in prayer and asking Him to increase our desire for him, actively seeking Him, for Him to give us an urgency in our spirits to pray and to pour out the Holy Spirit upon us in power and the fire.

John the Baptist said of Jesus “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire”

Let’s agree to pray for some of that fire.

“I pray that you will know God and the Lord Jesus Christ in a new and deeper understanding. That you will have a deeper revelation of who Jesus is and the power which is His.

I pray that the eyes of your heart will be opened.   That your spiritual eyes will be opened.   That you will have a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ from this day forward.

I pray that fire from heaven will fall upon you and the power of the Holy Spirit. That you will be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and will go out and do great works by the power of His holy name, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Let the fire fall and let your heart be aflame with love and revelation of Jesus and the power that is in Him. Never tire of doing His good works and walk in His footsteps forever and ever. Amen”

Prayer – What’s in a name? Part 1

Prayer – What’s in a name? Part 1

KNOW YOUR GOD – To be effective in prayer we need to know:

WHO we are praying to;

in WHOSE name we pray;

and the AUTHORITY and POSITION we have in CHRIST :

One of the main purposes of prayer is to develop our relationship with God by actively seeking/pursuing HIS FACE through the person of his son, JESUS CHRIST, with the help of the HOLY SPIRIT who will lead us into further revelation of CHRIST and GOD.

Through our fellowship with God and Christ in prayer and meditation on scripture we start to change (REVIVAL) and become more like JESUS. We then reveal Him to others as our characters change (through the fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT in our lives) and by our witness lead them to salvation in CHRIST.

As we get to know God more intimately we become more conscious of His “still small voice” and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our prayers will be shaped by our revelation of GOD and we will pray with more effectively with understanding, faith, authority & power.

A             THE START OF DEVELOPING OUR PRAYER LIFE WE NEED TO KNOW WHO WE ARE PRAYING TO:   BEING GOD FOCUSED

“In the beginning GOD”     Genesis 1:1

Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6: 9-13 starts “Our FATHER in heaven, Hallowed be Your NAME

Hallowed means – to revere, sanctify, consecrate, set apart, worship, lift up, exalt HIS HOLY NAME

One way to achieve this is by CONFESSION – This is not to be confused with repentance here but means actively:

1              PROCLAIMING WHO GOD IS;

2              ACKNOWLEDGING WHO GOD IS; and

3              CONTEMPLATING WHO GOD IS:

It is a statement of our faith and understanding of GOD’S Character, His Works, His Wonders, His Glory –as are revealed in scripture and through the Jesus his son and the Holy Spirit working in us to draw us into deeper relationship and intimacy with God

It involves confessing (speaking out) belief in God and His promises and His Word.

Studying the names of God is one way to help us to do this more effectively in prayer as each one of God’s names reveal a part of His Character. Names have great significance in the Bible and in the spiritual realm.   A name denotes not only character and identity but authority and power as well.   The Hebrew word for name is “onoma” and was used to signify rank or authority, character and reputation.

These are some of the things which the Bible says about the Name of the Lord:

The Name of the Lord is a defence (Psalm 20:1)

A help in time of trouble (Psalm 9:10)

A comfort (Daniel 11:32)

A strong tower (Proverbs 18:10)

A weapon (1 Samuel 17:45; 2 Chronicles 14:11)

An ointment poured forth (Song of Solomon 1:3)

“In the name of our God We will set up our banners: The Lord fulfil all your petitions “ Psalm 20:5

In Exodus 34 when God descended and revealed himself to Moses v5 “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there AND PROCLAIMED THE NAME OF THE LORD; And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed. “The Lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation

Every name of God in the Bible reveals a characteristic of God but God doesn’t just want us to know His names.  In and through prayer, He wants us to experience true fellowship and communion with Him and find out that He is all the things He says He is:

NAMES OF GOD REVEALED IN SCRIPTURE;

1.“ELOHIM” – GOD THE CREATOR – Genesis 1:1 – GOD is revealed as the creator of heaven and earth who has all authority, power, greatness, dominion and glory in the whole of the universe. Elohim is the plural form because Jesus and the Holy Spirit were there at the beginning with God when the world was created.

In prayerful confession we can acknowledge and thank God that He alone is the creator and sustainer of all things and that He is sovereign God. We can acknowledge His glory and power demonstrated in creation.

2. ”EL – SHADDAI” – GOD ALMIGHTY – Genesis 17:4 & Exodus 6:3 – GOD is revealed as the God who is all-powerful, the God of impossibilities. He is mighty, unconquerable, all-sufficient. Able to do anything and supply all needs.     He is able to keep all His promises to us.

Declare in prayer that God is all-powerful and that you can trust Him and rely on Him in all situations (even when we don’t know what is happening and it’s a painful place!). Confess that nothing is impossible for God and He can fulfil all his promises in His Word.

3. “EL ELYON” – THE MOST HIGH GOD – Genesis 14:18 God is revealed as the Most High – There is no-one above Him. He occupies the highest position and throne.

Declare that God is the only one who is worthy of praise and to be highly exalted. Take a humble attitude towards Him by kneeling in His presence.

4.“JEHOVAH” – Exodus 3 v 13 “ I AM THE I AM.” – God reveals himself to Moses at the burning bush as the I AM. i.e. God is everything and in everything. He reveals himself as a HOLY GOD and tells Moses to take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground.

Acknowledge that God is everything you need. That God is a Holy God and that He desires a Holy people. When meditating on God’s holiness take time to let God search your heart and reveal any sin which needs to be repented over. Receive God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ.

5.JEHOVAH JIREH – Genesis 22:8-14. God revealed himself to Abraham on Mount Moriah that he is the GOD of PROVISION. God provided a ram for the sacrifice instead of Isaac. Abraham saw the provision of God.   God later provided Jesus as the sacrifice in our place (on the same mountain) so that we could be redeemed.   Jesus tells us to take our needs to the Father and ask for what we need so that God can provide.

Acknowledge God’s provision to us.  Ask God to help us rely on His provision rather than trusting in ourselves. Acknowledge Christ’s sacrifice on the cross which provided the ransom for us so that we are now redeemed and righteous in God’s sight.

6.JEHOVAH ROPHE – Exodus 15:26 – God reveals himself as the GOD WHO HEALS. God is a healer and a restorer– It is His nature.

Acknowledge that God alone brings healing and restoration. Thank God that He is the God who heals physical illness & diseases, emotional hurts, spiritual brokenness. Ask Him to move in specific areas where healing or restoration needs to take place. Read and meditate on Isaiah 53 4/5 & Isaiah 61

7.JEHOVAH NISSI – Exodus 17:15 – God is revealed as “The LORD is my BANNER”. He revealed his protection of Israel by defeating their enemies the Amalekites.  He is also EL GIBBOR –Mighty God (Champion/hero) Isaiah 9: 6,7

Acknowledge and thank God for His protection and the He is victorious in battle. He is undefeated. Acknowledge that the battle belongs to Him and we wage war against our enemy Satan under His banner. Acknowledge Christ’s victory over Satan at the Cross over sin and death when He took the keys of death and hell from Satan and that we are victorious in Him. Christ is our champion. We fight a defeated enemy and final victory will happen.

8.JEHOVAH SHALOM – Judges 6:24 – the Lord is PEACE.

Acknowledge that in God alone perfect peace is found. Thank him for His peace that passes all understanding. Shalom Peace means rest, harmony, wholeness, completeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquillity, and prosperity i.e. total wellbeing.

9.JEHOVAH TSIDKENU – Jeremiah 23:6 – the LORD our RIGHTEOUSNESS

Acknowledge that God is righteousness and that it is only through the blood of Christ that we are righteousness. Ask for righteousness to be maintained in our lives and that we reject sin in our lives.

10.JEHOVAH SHAMMAH – Ezekiel 48:35 – the LORD is THERE.   God reveals himself as always being there. He is in the past, present and future. He is omnipresent and eternal in nature.

Acknowledge and thank God that he is always there with us. A very present help in time of trouble. We cannot go anywhere as the Psalmist said and not find Him. He is everywhere. He is the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (end). He is there when we get up and when we go to bed. He is not surprised by anything!! Even when we are.

11.JEHOVAH SABAOTH – 1 Samuel 17:45 – “The LORD of HOSTS”. God is the captain of all the hosts (angelic) of Heaven.

Acknowledge & thank God that angels are sent forth by Him to be ministers to those who will inherit salvation. Ask God to release and send angels into specific situations to help others and us.

12.JEHOVAH – ROI (Ra-ah)– God is revealed as our SHEPHERD – Psalm 23: 1

13.ABBA FATHER – Matthew 6 9-13 – Jesus reveals God as our Father for the first time in scripture. It reveals a new more intimate level of relationship.

14.The whole Bible reveals that God is LOVE (AGAPE)– His Character is LOVE – 1 John 4:8 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

AGAPE means “undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable good will that always seeks the highest good of the other person”. It describes the unconditional love which God has for the world.

Practical Focus:

Practice some prayerful confession and pray through a portion of Psalm 23 which reveals God as our shepherd – JEHOVAH ROI (Ra-ah)

Read PSALM 23: verses 1-4

 Example PRAYER; –

“ Lord, your word says that you are my shepherd. I choose to believe your word and declare in faith that you are my shepherd . Thank you God that you are Jehovah Roi – My Shepherd. I declare that I belong to you and you alone and you are Lord of my life. Thank you God that you are the one true shepherd who tends, cares and provides for me.   Thank you that you make me lie down in green pastures where I can rest and be refreshed in you.   Thank you Lord that you lead me every day. Help me to follow in your footsteps and to be obedient to your voice. Thank you God that you are JEHOVAH JIREH – the God who provides for me and that I shall not want. Lord, your word declares that you will provide all my needs according to your riches in glory. Help me to see Lord that these are not my wants but my needs.

Thank you Lord that you are JEHOVAH TSIDKENU the God of righteousness who leads me in paths of righteousness.   Lord keep me from temptation and sin and keep my feet on the rights paths of your presence. Thank you God for Jesus who your word declares is the good shepherd who by his death on the cross has opened up the way for me to come before your throne. I thank you for the blood of Christ that cleanses me and the robes of righteousness which cover me.

God, help me to share the love of Christ with those who don’t know you so that they can see and know Christ as their Shepherd.   Lord give me compassion for those who don’t know you.

Thank you God for [name people] in this church who you have put in positions to be shepherds of this flock. God bless them and help them to be good shepherds filled with your wisdom as they love us, lead us and care for us.

Lord, help me to feed on good food – building up myself and strengthening myself in you and your Word. Lord, renew my appetite and thirst for you because I know that you are the only one who can satisfy.   You alone are the bread of life.

God finally, I acknowledge that your word says that “Know that the Lord, He is God. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves. We are His People and the Sheep of His pasture”. Lord, let me have a true revelation of who you are so that I will not boast in me but in you alone. That I will walk humbly before you.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I encourage you to continue to practice some prayerful confession using the names of God.  Choose one of God’s revealed names and in your own words pray making confessions of that name – it may be that you need more revelation of that aspect of God’s name/ or there is someone you know in a particular situation who needs a revelation of that name. Let the Lord lead you as you pray and be open to what He will reveal to you.

Amen.Prayer – Let’s be inspired