Tag Archives: Christian

God and the Small Prayer Group

Praying Together -- PixabayAre you part of a small prayer group? Does it discourage you that your group is small?

Our human thinking tells us that bigger is  better — especially when it comes to accomplishing goals. We tend to equate larger numbers with more success, more effectiveness. But when it comes to the kingdom of God this is not always the case. The amount of power or answers to prayer does not automatically increase proportionally with the number of people who attend your prayer group.

Perhaps Jesus wanted to encourage us away from the big-is-better idea when He said  in Matthew 18:19, 20, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father Who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them.”

The prayer group we lead is small, with current average attendance being about six of us. We’ve had as many as twelve at one time, but we’ve also gone as low as three some weeks. The most glorious times in God’s Presence, with the greatest sense of having accomplished much in intercession, have actually taken place when there were only a very few of us.

If how many attend isn’t the most important factor in receiving answers, then what is?

Unity — Sometimes it is easier to have common vision and agreement in smaller groups. Unity with the Spirit and with each other is a vital part of receiving the answers we seek.

When Jesus said, “If two of you shall agree on earth,” He was not referring to a half-hearted assent or tolerance of what each other are praying. He was talking about entire oneness of purpose, hearts joining together in faith for what we know is the will of the Father.

Part of achieving unity with each other is coming to a place where we are bonded with each other in love. That tends to happen more easily in smaller groups. Unity is the most important component of effective group prayer.

Attitude — Coming together with an expectancy that we will indeed hear the Lord and receive His answers to our petitions is also vital. A small group of prayer warriors who are committed to doing big business with God when they gather will be effective in changing the circumstances they pray into.

Prophetic Connection — Praying by revelation of the Holy Spirit is also a key factor. However, as much as I value praying according to what we hear from the Lord, that doesn’t mean that only those who are acutely prophetic can receive answers.

God is not impressed with how highly gifted we are in tapping into spiritual revelation. After all, He is the one who distributes revelatory gifts in the first place, so we can’t use what we are gifted in as a merit badge. He does not listen more intently to the highly prophetic person than He does to the brother or sister who less able to hear and see clearly in the spirit realm.

Sometimes people get prideful about how good they are at praying by revelation. They look down their noses at those who are less spiritually perceptive. We can’t do that. Maintaining a humble, fervent heart is more important than getting every last iota of what we pray correct. God sees our earnestness of heart, and He makes up for any deficiencies in our ability to pray correctly.

So, don’t be discouraged if your prayer group is small. God will unite your prayers with those of thousands of other small groups of intercessors across the nation and the world. You please Him by your faithfulness, and He will send you mighty answers as you stick with it.


House of Prayer ~ House of Power, by Lee Ann Rubsam

  House of Prayer ~ House of Power

The LORD God … Before Whom I Stand (Part 2)

Yesterday I talked a little about Elijah’s intimate relationship with God being a “throne room experience.”  It was in the throne room, where he stood before the Lord, that Elijah received how to pray, what to decree, and the powerful answers to those prayers and decrees.  Today, we’ll take a closer look at what it means to “stand before the Lord.”

What is standing before the Lord like? In detail, what is involved? I have pondered these questions a great deal, and I believe the Lord has given me some understanding on the subject:

1.)
  It is standing at attention before Him in His throne room as His servant,
a.) watching for the least gesture of His hand or the least eye contact,
b.) knowing what He wants and moving to do it.

This requires an acute sensitivity to Him. Psalm 123:2Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a  maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God ….

2.) It means having face-to-face relationship with God (intimacy).

3.)  It means to be one who is invited into His war council room, to take counsel with Him for His strategies.

4.)  It is a place of honor, and is not to be taken casually. Although it is every believer’s potential privilege, not everyone achieves this kind of intimacy with the Lord.  It is not an easy place to come into. It requires a total abandon of all self into the Lord’s hands. It involves painful refining at His hand.

I began to wonder just how close to God Elijah stood. Was he standing at a distance in a massive palace, just one attendant among thousands and thousands, waiting his turn and hoping to be noticed and called upon? At first glance this may seem like a foolish question, but since I desired to stand before the Lord like Elijah did, I desperately wanted to know how close I could get! As I pondered my question, God simply spoke to me, “Put your hand in Mine.” Mentally I obeyed, putting my hand in the hand of the King on the throne. And then He quietly said, “This is how it is.” I suddenly understood what Elijah had experienced. He did not receive his revelation in an impersonal manner from the Lord. He took the hand of the King, gazed intently into His eyes, and they communed over the plans of God. Awesome! It was an entirely new idea for me. It has revolutionized my intercessory prayer life.

Notice that Elijah never said, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I have stood.” His words were, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand.” It is always a present tense expression of his relationship with his God. I believe that Elijah not only phrased it in the present tense; he lived a present tense experience of continually being in the throne room. That is where God wants to take modern-day believers as well. It is possible to come to the place of being so continually in the Lord’s Presence, that it is as though we never step out of the throne room. We commune constantly with the King of Kings. I’m not there yet, but I’m convinced that that’s what God desires – here on earth, not just after we die. It’s a goal to reach for, to hunger after, to get as near to as we possibly can.

So, where do we start? Once again, it is the way of the Diligent Seeker — “… he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) I’m on my way. Would you like to come along?

Previous: The LORD God … Before Whom I Stand (Part 1)

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

BeforeWhomWeStandsm

  Full Gospel Family Publications

Character Building for Families

The LORD God … Before Whom I Stand (Part 1)

For many years now, my heart’s cry has been to see and hear in the Spirit as accurately as Elijah and Elisha did.  Elisha seems to have been more of the seer, while Elijah was the one who knew the voice of the Lord.  I love His voice — more than just about anything.

One of the phrases Elijah used repeatedly was, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand.” Standing before the absolute Potentate of the entire universe — what an awesome privilege! Yet, it is the place God wants every New Testament believer to have.  Throne room access was purchased for us by Jesus’ blood, but very few of us have it as an experiential reality in our lives. Why? It is about relationship. Although Elijah lived under the old covenant of the law, he managed to tap into what God desires for the Spirit-filled believer today. Elijah knew experientially, vividly, what it meant to “stand before the Lord.” What did he have that so many of us – even baptized-in-the-Spirit, tongue-speaking, faith-declaring believers – are lacking?

Elijah was a diligent seeker. Hebrews 11:6 says, “… he [God] is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” Elijah went after his God with his whole heart. He listened to the Lover of his soul with intensity, because he loved God’s voice. What do you think Elijah did during the years of the drought he had prophesied, while he sat by Cherith Brook (1 Kings 17:5, 6)? He didn’t just think, from morning until night, about the next meal of bread and meat that the ravens would bring. He spent time with God, interceding for his beloved people Israel and listening to God’s heart.

God holds up Elijah as an example for the rest of us:

James 5:16The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. He prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth fruit.

Elijah did not begin his life as an intercessor and listener at Cherith. The time spent alone with God there was an extension of what was already Elijah’s way of life. He already clearly understood what it was to stand before the Lord. We know this, because when he first appears in the Bible, a virtually unknown prophet, he tells King Ahab that he comes in the authority of one who stands in the Presence of the Lord. (1 Kings 17:1)

Sometimes people get a wrong idea of what decreeing things is all about. They use Elijah as an example of decreeing and receiving. They say that because we speak, our innate authority as believers makes it happen. I think there might be a little more to it than that.

God did not hold back the rain for three and a half years just because Elijah spoke it. Elijah’s decree was established because he was in intimate communication with God, and he knew that it was God’s directive that it was not to rain until Elijah said so.  He had his decree from the throne room, where he stood and received God’s counsel.  He spoke what he had heard from God.  This is why some folks decree right and left, and nothing happens.  They didn’t get it from the throne room; they just thought it was a good idea.

Jesus Himself said, “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things. … for I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:28, 29) Jesus also said, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father….” (John 8:38) I think that is what Elijah also experienced: doing and speaking what he had seen and heard in the very Presence of God.

I am suggesting that when Elijah said, “The LORD God of Israel … before whom I stand,”  what he was talking about was knowing experientially what it was to stand in the actual throne room of heaven, and it was from that experience that he derived his prayers, his strategies, and the amazing decrees that he so boldly pronounced (and which God backed up with thunderous answers).

Elisha also knew what it was to stand before the Lord. He referred to his relationship with God in the same words as Elijah had used before him, which is not surprising, since he received Elijah’s mantle. No doubt during the years that Elisha served as a prophet-in-training, Elijah poured into him all that he knew about having intimacy with God.

I believe Jeremiah and Samuel both “stood before the LORD,” as well.  God promised it conditionally to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 15:19“…and you shall stand before me.” The condition for Jeremiah to get to stand before God was that he needed to repent of questioning God’s faithfulness and truth.  He needed to repent of doubt.  He needed to “take forth the precious from the vile” in order to be God’s mouthpiece — which meant separating out of his life wrong speech and carnal ways of acting and thinking, but especially the speaking part. (See Jeremiah 15:15-19.) Samuel must have “stood before the LORD” also, because “the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1 Samuel 3:19) This involved prophesying and decreeing.

Next time we’ll talk about how “standing before the Lord” applies to blood-bought, New Testament believers of our day.

Next: The LORD God … Before Whom I Stand (Part 2)

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

BeforeWhomWeStandsm

leeannrubsam.com
Full Gospel Family Publications
Character Building for Families

Soaking Prayer Journey, Part 1

I’ve been trying to discipline myself to do “soaking prayer” for many months now.  Basically, soaking prayer is quieting oneself before the Lord for an extended period of time for the purpose of intimate contact with Him, giving Him the opportunity to speak.  It hasn’t always been a fun adventure for me.  Sometimes it’s so frustrating that I want to permanently pitch the whole idea out the window.

My particular circle of Christianity is the charismatic, prophetic community.  Most of the people around me insist that soaking prayer is a must, if one does not want to be a pygmy Christian.  I’m not so sure they are completely right.  The following five-part series explains what soaking prayer is and how my own experience with it has been to date.

Soaking prayer became very popular during the Toronto Blessing revival, but it’s really been around as long as the Church has.  Some people weird out about it, thinking it is “meditation” or “mysticism” and therefore it’s Eastern religion, not Christian.  Soaking prayer is not yoga and such things, however. Psalm  104:34 says, “My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.”   And Genesis 24:63 tells us Isaac was “meditating in the field” when he first met Rebekah.  There are lots more references in the Bible to meditating on God and on His Word.  And, if you use a concordance to look up words like “mystery” and “mysteries” in the New Testament, you will find that Jesus and the apostles spoke frequently about the mysteries of the Kingdom, or the “hidden wisdom.”  So “mysticism” — which involves mysteries (hidden things) — is not necessarily bad.

I’ve heard many ideas from a variety of  people about this type of prayer.  Sometimes it has sounded very ooky-spooky, depending on who was talking about it.  I’m finding that there are some expert soakers that I trust, and some that I do not, based on what I see happening in their lives.  The people who are balanced, godly people, who exhibit wisdom and grace, I listen to.  Those who are not showing the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, I do not like to listen to — no matter how stupendous their heavenly experiences sound.

I am mystified by people who are into soaking prayer for hours a day and say they are seeing all sorts of heavenly visions, but they do NOT exhibit Christ-likeness.  There must be some kind of disconnect going on in their lives that is not normal.  If we are truly connecting with God, and seeing into His supernatural realm, our lives should be changing.  When Isaiah saw the Lord (Isaiah 6:1-8) he said he became “undone.”  I hear that phrase thrown around a lot.  I don’t think, for Isaiah, that being “undone” was a momentary experience of chills and thrills.  It was a life-changing deal.  He took on a new purity.  The revelation of God’s holiness became a deposit of holiness in Isaiah himself.  Encounters with The Holy One should mean we take on a measure of the character of Jesus.  Transformation into His likeness should be the fruit of spending great amounts of time with Him.  This seems pretty basic to me.

I think sometimes the problem is that some of the expert soakers are not spending much time reading the Bible.  I mean reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, not just the portions that talk about heavenly visions (like Revelation and Ezekiel).  I like spending time with the Lord in prayer.  But I also know I need to commune with Him through His Word.  Sometimes in reading my Bible, I sense God is speaking directly to me through a verse or passage.  Sometimes I go for days where that direct speaking is not the case, but I am still learning general concepts that I need to be reminded of.  For instance, God talks a lot about how to relate in a godly fashion toward other people, especially in the New Testament letters to the Church.  I don’t always feel like God is giving me special, personal conviction or instruction when I read the Bible, but He is still speaking to me.  I am taking in His way, His concepts.  I still become like Him by absorbing these truths in a general way on a regular basis.

All Bible reading need not take us up into heavenly visions in order to be productive in our lives.  I don’t believe all time spent in prayer communion with God must necessarily involve heavenly visions, either.  It’s about Him, not about what glorious visions we can get out of Him — which is where I’ll pick up next time.

Next — Soaking Prayer Journey, Part 2

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