Category Archives: prophetic intercession

Praying from a Place of Weakness

Do you ever come before the Lord feeling like the puniest pray-er on the face of the earth? Sometimes we get the impression from prayer teachers that it is a shameful thing not to be a muscle-bound intercessor — because we’re prayer warriors, right?

Additionally, we’re frequently taught that we should never pray “up” from the place of earth toward the Lord, because He’s already delegated His authority to us. We are seated together with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), so we’re supposed to use our authority to legislate down into the earth from that position. Always decree downward, never plead upward, right?

Yet, I think if we’re honest, most of us experience times of frailty, when we don’t know where to begin, much less how to carry our prayer to a successful outcome. We’re not feelin’ our warrior status, and we’re certainly not sensing that throne solidly beneath us, are we!

It’s OK. You don’t have to give yourself an “F” in Prayer 101. There are many facets of prayer. Legislating downward from your heavenly throne place is one. Praying from earth upward is another. Both are biblical. In fact, until we’ve learned to pray upward, we’ll never be much good at legislating downward. Let me explain.

God does not scorn our weakness, “for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). Weak or strong, He answers us, for it’s about His goodness and our relationship with Him, not our ability. He sometimes deliberately puts us in a place of acutely knowing our frailty to help us recognize our deep need for Him. This is why He said, “God … gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7).

When we come before the Lord confessing our weakness and inability, reaching upward in our helpless state to Him, that is powerful prayer, because it fixes our attention in the right place — on the Lord. Indeed, it is the message of Psalm 121:1, 2: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, where my help comes from. My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”

God uses these times of weakness to bring us into yieldedness, where we submit to His limitless sovereignty and trust Him there. He teaches us to know Him as “He with Whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13) and “He Who ought to be feared” (Psalm 76:11).

The Lord doesn’t leave us in the place of weakness, though. As we pray through our doubts, fears, confusion, and need for Him, inch by inch we gain His strength and eternal perspective. He takes us into “building up ourselves on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20), which is, I believe, about using our prayer language. We get to the place where we see our situation as He sees it, so that we can, in the right moment, speak into it from our position of being seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Don’t beat yourself up when you feel your prayers are weak. Use your weak times to lean into the Lord for His strength. For His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and He receives glory.

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intercessor handbook

 

 

The Intercessor Manual

 

 

 

Bible verses for prayer

 

 

The Intercessor’s Companion

 

 

 

intercession questions

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

 

 

Knowing God’s Heart in Troubling Times

Annie OakleyIn recent weeks, I have been seeking the Lord for greater sensitivity to Him. I’ve been asking for an opening up of my spiritual senses (especially my seeing capacity), so that I can understand His heavenly perspective and be able to better discern what is of the Lord and what is not. I’d like to share with you what He has been speaking to me as an outflow of that prayer.

“The seers will see and know how to pray.” It’s interesting to me that the Lord singled out the seers, since the hearing gift is more dominant  in my life. Those of us who are primarily hearers or feelers (those who perceive God’s direction more by a deep knowing inside than by either hearing or seeing) can also draw on the Spirit’s promptings for prayer direction. But I also know that when I see something, it nails it more concisely for me. I am more sure of what I am receiving. Seeing is not superior to the other spiritual senses, but I believe God does want all of us to see more than we do. We should not be content with only using some of our spiritual senses. Therefore, I will be pursuing Him for more seeing.

intercessor handbookThe Lord mentioned that we would know how to pray by what we see. Seeing, hearing, and other forms of receiving are not just so we can have something spectacular to talk about. They are given for specific purposes, and a big one is so that we can pray accurately and receive answers. This is why I used Annie Oakley’s picture on the front of my book, The Intercessor Manual. Annie was a sharpshooter, and that should be our goal in prayer as well — to hit our targets as quickly and cleanly as possible.

Probably all of us still have moments when we aren’t sure how to pray, when we take some stabs in the dark. Because He knows our frailties and our limited understanding, God still answers many of those petitions, but the more we gain sharpshooter intercession skills, the less time we spend needlessly wearing ourselves out as we try to find our way in prayer. Honing our skills comes through listening to the Lord, which brings me to the next point.

God wants us to watch His body language carefully and respond to His slightest gesture. By that I mean being acutely aware of His smallest whispers, nudgings, and promptings. Psalm 123:2 illustrates this for us: “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until He has mercy upon us.”

It takes a lot of practice for a servant to know his or her master’s body language well. He learns by watching, by studying, until he can almost get inside his master’s head, so to speak. He knows what that twitch of the eyebrow, a certain glance of the eye, or an ever-so-slight sigh means. With the Lord, we can only accomplish this intimate knowledge by investing time in being with Him — by carefully reading and meditating upon His Word, and by waiting quietly in prayer. There are no shortcuts, special techniques, or three-point methods to speed up the process. This is about  “dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). It is costly to our flesh!

At this time, the Lord is looking to see who will be faithful. For many of us, our faithfulness will be measured by how we use our time — especially during this coronavirus lock-down season. If we’re forced to be at home more, will we use our extra hours indulging in recreational pursuits to relieve boredom, or will we heed His wooing to come away into the secret place of quietly waiting on Him? Will we pursue knowing His heart?

Extra time on our hands is not everyone’s story. Perhaps you have family at home who are not usually there all day with you. For you, faithfulness to the Lord might be measured in your patient and loving service to your children or spouse. If that is where you are at, be wholeheartedly faithful in caring for them. This is priceless in the Lord’s eyes too!

Each of us has specific opportunities to either ignore or follow the Lord’s promptings moment by moment. May we make the right choices, thereby pleasing and honoring our Father.

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Prophecy and You (Part 2)

prophecyLast time, I shared with you the apostle Paul’s admonition not to despise prophecy, but to discern it (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21). Paul also said to desire to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1, 39). Today, we’ll look at some ways we can fulfill our call to prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:3 mentions three reasons prophecy is important: it builds people up, it encourages or exhorts them (spurs them on), and it brings comfort.

It convicts its hearers of their need to change. 1 Corinthians 14:24 says, “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all” (ESV). This is especially true if the prophecy points to Jesus and His holiness. While  this verse addresses prophecy’s effect on those who don’t yet know the Lord, God uses it to convict believers as well. Consider chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, where Jesus spoke prophetically through John to correct sin areas in local churches.

Some prophecy foretells future events, so that God’s people know how to respond and be ready. Jesus prophesied many futuristic things about His death, resurrection, and the last days before His return to earth. Agabus foretold a coming famine, so the Church could take necessary steps to prepare (Acts 11:28). Amos 3:7 tells us, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, without  [first] revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.”

God also uses the prophetic word to tear down anything opposed to His plans and to plant and build His purposes in individuals’ lives and nations. “See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10).

While some of these aspects of the prophetic happen largely through those who hold the ministry function of a prophet, we can all be used at times in each of them, if we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us. Remember, prophecy is simply uttering aloud what God has spoken to us or shown us. And keep in mind that prophesying is not confined to congregational settings. It can be part of our daily life, as we go about our Father’s business.

Encouragement

This is one of the easiest ways we can prophesy. It can either be on a personal, one-on-one basis or directed toward a group of believers. It’s not prophecy if you are only attempting to help people feel good by sharing your own ideas, but when the Spirit of the Lord is impressing a thought upon you, it will carry weight and bear fruit in others’ lives.

A word from the Lord doesn’t have to feel like fireworks going off inside. It is more likely to manifest as a gentle, persistent sense of what God has for someone. Even if you aren’t entirely sure, take the step of faith to share what you are receiving. You might be surprised at how it blesses someone, once you have the courage to speak it.

Sometimes we don’t realize in a moment of encouraging others that the phraseology we are using is a prophetic word for them — until they tell us they heard the same thing from God or from another person.

Prophetic encouragement isn’t always warm and fuzzy. Some words are meant to stir people up or spur them on into God’s purposes for them. God isn’t into just making His people feel good; He wants us to go deeper with Him, too. Don’t be afraid to share these exhortational words. Just do it in the spirit of love, not criticalness.

Prayer

Maybe you’re praying with someone, and words pop out of your mouth you weren’t anticipating saying. You are in the flow of the Holy Spirit, speaking forth His understanding of the situation in the moment. This is actually a form of prophecy, and it can be powerful.

Or, perhaps God puts a burden on your heart for a region, and you begin to pray things by the Spirit that you couldn’t know on your own. Years ago, I found myself suddenly praying our Pledge of Allegiance, but it was for North and South Korea to be united as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Later, I found out many Korean Christians were also praying for the reuniting of the two nations. Since then, I’ve heard several prophets say that this is what God will do. But my first revelation of God’s heart on the matter came through prayer proceeding from my own mouth — and it surprised me at the time. Praying the thoughts of God, as He gives them to you, is a key way to prophesy.

Counsel

Maybe as someone shares his or her problems with you, you know exactly what to say to bring help  — but you realize the thought did not proceed from your own intellect. That is the word of wisdom, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8, and it is closely allied with prophecy.

Testifying to God’s goodness

When we proclaim God’s goodness, testifying of what He has done for us, sometimes prophecy gets intermingled with that. How? For one thing, God will use your testimony to personally speak to others, to encourage, build up, exhort, convict, or comfort them.

You may also find that as you testify, your words begin to  shift from just telling your story into applying the truths you have learned to the lives of those in similar circumstances. You feel the Lord’s urging to say, “God has miracles for you, too. Trust Him, and watch Him work out your circumstances beyond what you could have imagined.” It’s a subtle form of prophecy. The more you proclaim the goodness of the Lord, the more you open yourself up to prophesying, because “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

Prophetic writing

The Internet is a wide-open window for anyone who wishes to be used by God in this way. When I write books and articles, I seek the Lord for what He wants me to say. I rarely do it any other way. Do you have a blog? Use it to share what God is speaking to you. You don’t have to be a blogger, though. How about using social media to encourage others with what He is saying to you? How much better is that than the opinionated wrangling so many get caught up in!

Does God bring a particular Bible verse to mind for someone? Communicate that. It may be just what the person needs to hear. You are giving them the word of the Lord for their situation.

Wherever you go, be open to the Lord’s promptings to share insights, personal words, ideas, encouragements, and Bible verses God has spoken to you. As you are faithful to do that, God will increase what you have for others. You will end up prophesying blessing to those around you.

personal prophecy

 

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(audio teaching)

 

 

Prophecy and You (Part 1)

prophetic visionRecently, I was talking with a young friend about the gift of prophecy. Although she is Spirit-filled, she was cynical about it, due to having been burned by a number of personal words which were not genuine. Still another thing bothering her was how many times well-known prophets have given word after word which did not come to pass, were hype-filled, or seemed trivial or ambiguous.

Folks, we do have some deep problems in the prophetic wing of the Church — including inaccuracy with no followup repentance, as well as gross sin taking place behind the scenes, some of which is finally being exposed. These things should shock us and cause us to be cautious.

However, it’s important not to reject the gift of prophecy just because some people are making a mess of it. We cannot let a few bad apples — or even a barrel full of them — steal from us this precious gift from the Holy Spirit. Indeed, God knew ahead of time that controversies would arise around prophecy. That’s why He gave us this advice in His Word:

“Do not despise prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21).

Those few words give us the needed balance: don’t reject, but do discern. Discernment means we measure what is said against the Bible, our plumb line. It means we pay attention to whether the prophetic word “witnesses” to our spirit, too. I believe we must also discern the people who are prophesying. Are there repeated rumors that they are not living holy lives? Why would we want to sit under their ministry, then? Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said,

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits you shall know them.Matthew 7:15-20.

Desire to Prophesy

Not only are we to cherish prophecy when we hear it from others, but we are to desire to prophesy ourselves. The apostle Paul opened and closed 1 Corinthians 14 with this message: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy” (v. 1), and “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy…” (v. 39).

Each of us can and should prophesy at times — because, according to 1 Corinthians 14:3, “He who prophesies speaks to men for their edification (building up), exhortation (encouragement), and comfort.” It is an avenue through which we bless others.

You might be thinking, “But I’m not a prophet. I can’t prophesy.” Let’s demystify what prophecy is, because it’s not as difficult as we sometimes make it. Each of us can hear God speak to us personally, whether through impressions, words, or visual images (visions) God  plants in our spirit. Prophecy is simply speaking forth to others what God has said to us or shown us. You can do that, because as a child of God, you hear His voice. (If you have doubts about whether you can hear Him, see what Jesus had to say about this in John 8:47 and John 10:3-5, 8, 27.) Although not everyone is a prophet, we can all prophesy, and we should — because we will serve others when we do.

There’s a variety of ways we can prophesy, too. It’s not limited to uttering a message from God in a church service. That might be intimidating for you, but it’s not the only avenue open to you.

In my next post, we’ll look at simple ways you can prophesy. You might be surprised to find you are already doing it, and you didn’t even know it.

personal prophecy

 

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(audio teaching)

 

 

Prayer — Let’s Not Complicate It!

prayerIf you have been following Out of the Fire for a while, you know I like to provide practical steps to effective prayer, hearing God, and the gifts of the Spirit. That’s because it’s how I personally like to learn. “Show me how! Give me the down-to-earth scoop on this!” My goal is to share principles from the Bible which make whatever aspect of the Christian life we’re talking about as easy to grasp as possible.

However, I don’t want these how-to steps to become some kind of methodology. They are guidelines, not rules. God is not about formulas. He wants us to develop ever-deepening relationship with Him — a growing hunger for the “more” He invites us into and an increasing awe of His infinitely beautiful nature.

In my last post, I talked about the self-help mentality which has invaded the Church. Since the fall into sin in the Garden of Eden, we’ve had a tendency to insist on doing things for ourselves, rather than depending on the Lord. The realm of prayer is not exempt from this error. We want a method which will give us answered prayer every time, where, if we input the right stuff, God will automatically spit out the desired response. We like having everything neatly boxed and wrapped, don’t we?

As a result, teachings keep arising which promise us that magic prayer bullet. We saw it with the extremes some Word of Faith people got into: “Say it, and it’s yours.” “If you speak the right Bible verses over your situation enough times and with unwavering faith, you’ll have what you need.” Many people slipped from having faith in Christ and His Word into trying to have faith in their own faith. When things didn’t happen as they had hoped, they either condemned themselves, became disillusioned with God, or walked away from believing He does miracles today. (This does not mean everything brought by the Word of Faith movement should be rejected. I am only speaking of extremes that some got off into.)

A rapidly spreading fad in charismatic circles is the “courts of heaven” teaching. It depends on formula, personal experiences, and shaky application of Scripture coming from an Old Covenant law mindset. The basic premise is that you must know how to present your case in a heavenly court room. The reason you haven’t been getting answers to prayer is because you weren’t aware of the legal court system in heaven, so you didn’t present your case correctly there. Therefore, the devil has a “legal right” to hinder your petitions. Buy the books, attend the conferences, and you will learn how to “navigate the courts” to receive answers. Voila! You have your magic prayer bullet.

Various teachings on how to get breakthroughs are nothing new. Trying to find the cure to unanswered prayer has probably been a concern since the Church’s inception. Over the decades, I’ve heard lots of teaching involving lists of multiple conditions we must fulfill and step-by-step formulas for how to attract God’s favor. At its core, it’s really all about works, isn’t it? We hasten to say we are saved by grace, not by works, but then we attempt to live out the Christian life (including prayer) in a totally works-based fashion.

Here’s a simple hint: When your prayers become about you doing/saying everything exactly right, rather than about Jesus’ unlimited ability and eagerness to help, something is radically wrong. When you become fearful that you might not get your answer because you didn’t fulfill a list of qualifications, this is bondage.

So, how should we pray to get answers?

1. We listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading. That starts with a lifestyle of filling ourselves with His written Word. It is His primary way of speaking with us. Even when we listen for His voice in our hearts (the other thing we want to cultivate), much of what we hear will be drawn from the Bible. The Holy Spirit loves to bring Scripture and Scripture principles to our remembrance.

Maybe you’re thinking, “But I don’t know my Bible very well yet.” Just start reading it now. Trust the Lord to still help you, even if you are weak in this area. He will be your teacher, and He’ll make up for your inadequacies.

2. Lay aside your concerns that you might fail at praying rightly. You will make mistakes and have some false starts here and there. That’s just life on earth. Prayer is something we continually grow better at, especially as we come to know the Lord more intimately. But we will never do it all perfectly. We will always need to depend upon Him.

Your heavenly Father is compassionate toward your limited understanding, your emotions, and your fears about the outcome. Pour it out to Him. You might start out with prayers which are less than faith-filled, but as you continue to come to Him, He will get you there. Remember, this is not all about you. It’s about how big and completely able the Lord is.

3. Expect God’s course correction and move with Him. He will show you new angles on how to pray in any given situation as you persist in coming to Him. He will correct any wrong direction you start out in and get you headed on the right course, as long as you stay open to His leading and don’t stubbornly resist Him.

4. Ask Him for His input. “How do You see this? How should I pray? Please guide me.” What a wonderful opener! We don’t tell Him how it’s got to be; we ask Him how it’s supposed to be. This is part of staying yielded to Him.

5. Pray in your prayer language. The Holy Spirit knows exactly how to intercede according to the Father’s heart, so even if your inclination on how to pray isn’t exactly right-on, you will still end up praying correctly as you pray in tongues. It is direct communication between your spirit and the Holy Spirit, without the human mind getting in the way. It opens you to a greater understanding of the need and God’s desired conclusion to it, so that you become better equipped to pray correctly in your native language, too. Praying in tongues also builds faith, according to Jude 20: But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”

While we tend to complicate prayer, God does not. It is simply coming to Him, in all our inability, and asking Him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We bring Him our lack, our hope, and our trust. And we keep doing it. Psalm 62: 5, 8 says it best: My soul, wait only upon God, for my expectation is from Him. … Trust in Him at all times, you people. Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.”

If you would like to learn more about how to pray effectively, please take a look at the Article Series tab at the top of this site. You will find a wealth of info there. You might also find my books for intercessors (listed below) helpful.

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intercessor handbook

 

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

intercessory prayer

 

 

The Intercessor’s Companion,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

intercession, prayer

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 7) — Other Attributes of the Church

Supreme Court buildingWe’ve talked about the Church being a family, a body, an army, a house of prayer and worship, and a healing center. Here are a few other attributes of the Church which should not be neglected.

 

The Church is a governing body upon earth.

We carry out our governing function in a couple of ways. One is by bringing the power and presence of God with us wherever we go.

We are meant to influence and bring change in our world through our words and actions. We are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), meaning that what Jesus did to demonstrate the Kingdom of God, we do also. Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38); we do likewise. He spoke light and truth; we are to do the same. Jesus said of His disciples, “You are the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”“a city set on a hill [that] cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:13, 14). Paul worded it, God “makes manifest by us the savor of His knowledge in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:15). So, we govern by bringing the Lord’s kingdom to our world in how we do life.

Each of us can do this in the process of going about our daily occupations. But in order to be as effective as possible, we should stay aware that this is why we have been placed by God in our particular spheres of influence. We must not miss our opportunities!

The second way we govern on earth is through prayer. In Matthew 18:18, 19, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by My Father Who is in heaven.”

In his book, Secrets of a Prayer Warrior, Derek Prince said this: “The Bible reveals that this world is not really ruled by presidents and governors and dictators. They only seem to rule. The people who really rule the world are those who know how to pray.” We need to grasp this idea and run with it!

Our governing function is carried out both individually and as a church body. While each of us should be an ambassador and a prayer warrior, when we join together in unity with other believers, our effectiveness is greatly multiplied. Corporate governing as a body ties in with what we already saw in Part 4 about the Church being an army. No man fights a war all by himself.

Ultimately, we will physically govern on earth with Christ when He returns (and we with Him) for His millennial reign as King. The governing we do now is a seed, a foretaste of what is to come.

discipleshipThe Church is a center for discipleship.

What did Jesus tell His disciples before He left earth? “Go, therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations… teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you….” (Matthew 28:19, 20).

Paul called this discipleship “the perfecting [equipping] of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come, in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, into maturity, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we are no longer children, tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery and cunning craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:12-14).

Some of our local churches are fulfilling the discipleship function well. However, based on the amount of serious doctrinal error which has become commonplace in the Church today, apparently many of our churches are not getting the job done. In Charismatic / prophetic / apostolic circles, we often focus on “equipping the saints” in how to do the supernatural works of Jesus, but we have neglected to lay the firm foundation of the core doctrines taught by the original New Testament apostles. Indeed, we have neglected teaching the Bible as a whole. On the other hand, in fundamentalist / non-Charismatic streams, there is often a great adherence to Bible teaching, while not emphasizing pursuing intimacy with Jesus Himself. As you can see, the Church needs a lot of improvement in the discipleship area!

The discipleship function can be worked out in a variety of ways. The Word of God should be preached from our pulpits (in many cases, this is not happening as it should). Home Bible studies and Bible classes within the local church can further enhance the work. One-on-one discipleship, with mature believers mentoring newer Christians, is just as vital as what we receive through sermons and structured teaching.

I personally believe we should see more teaching from the Bible on God’s nature. If we understand Who He is and how He acts, we can then apply that understanding to develop Christlike character in our own lives. Too many believers in our day have little understanding of either God’s nature or how to live like Jesus. These things can be taught systematically, however.

It is a large task, and may seem overwhelming, but each of us can do our part by being connected into a local fellowship where true discipleship is taking place, and by being willing to disciple others who are just beginning their life in Christ.

In our next post, we’ll wrap up this series with one more aspect of who the Church is and a few final thoughts.

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 1)
Part 2 — We Are Family
Part 3 — We Are One Body
Part 4 — We Are an Army
Part 5 — We Are a House of Prayer and Worship
Part 6 — We Are a Healing Center
Next: Part 8 (Conclusion)

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nature of God

 

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Christian character

 

River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

intercession, prayer

 

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

What About Contemplative Prayer? (Part 3)

Thus far, we’ve talked about two components of contemplative prayer: biblical meditation and quieting ourselves so that God can speak. I also mentioned conversational prayer — asking God questions and waiting for Him to answer.

Journaling is another important facet of contemplative prayer. What is journaling? The term means different things to different people. Those who are highly critical of contemplative prayer usually have no problem with recording prayer requests, Bible verses, and what they talked to the Lord about during their prayer time. But they stumble at the idea that God would actually speak to His people through an inner voice or vision — because they think He only speaks through the Bible. This viewpoint usually goes along with cessationism — the belief that once the Bible was written, all supernatural gifts such as healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc. ceased.

For believers who have not bought into the idea that God no longer speaks to us personally, recording whatever He says or shows us is a normal, healthy part of journaling. We expect and look forward to hearing from Him, and we love what He says enough to write it down.

Journaling what we believe God is speaking is not putting pen to paper and mindlessly letting the pen wander and write whatever it will, as several critics of contemplative prayer assert. That would definitely be an occult practice, much like using a Ouija board. Honestly, I have never encountered Christians who do this. You will hear journaling advocates speak of “letting your writing flow” as the Spirit interacts with you. Some testify of moments when the Holy Spirit gave them revelation so rapidly via writing that their thoughts could not keep up. But our minds should not be blanked out while we journal. We are not in a trance-like state. It’s just that at times the interaction between our spirit and the Holy Spirit is so accelerated that the mind has not quite caught up yet.

Journaling what God speaks was practiced by both Old and New Testament believers.

In 1 Chronicles 28:11-19, we are told that God Himself gave David the blueprint for the temple Solomon would one day build. David received the plan by sitting with the Lord and recording what God showed him. Verse 12 explains that he got “the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit.” In verse 19, David remarks, “All this … the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.”

In Habakkuk 2:1-3, we see an interaction between the prophet and the Lord:

I will stand upon my watch, and set myself upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say to me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. (Ahem. Contemplative prayer in action!)

And the LORD answered me and said, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie. Though it may tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come: it will not tarry.”

The apostle John was instructed by the Lord, “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” (Revelation 1:19).

Journaling, including what we hear God say, is a time-honored practice among multitudes of Christians. As we have just seen, it is backed up by Scripture. Furthermore, sitting with the Lord with pen and paper in hand tells Him, “I am serious about hearing from You, Lord, and I value what You say to me so much that I will write it down. I want to cherish Your words in days to come.” When we demonstrate that attitude, He often responds by speaking.

In our final post, we will recap what is acceptable contemplative prayer procedure and what is not. I will also mention a couple more practices which I believe we should not indulge in.

Contemplative Prayer (Part 1) — Meditation
Contemplative Prayer (Part 2) — Listening to God
Next — Part 4, Conclusion

inner peace

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

names of God, KJV

 

The Names of God,
by Lee Ann Rubsam