fireseekers.jpg

Dear Ministry Leader:

The LORD appeared to Abraham and said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

It seems as if the LORD desperately wanted not to destroy these cities. If they were as bad as He had heard, the only hope was an intercessor. So He remained standing before Abraham. (According to scholars, the earliest texts say it was the LORD who stood before Abraham, not Abraham before the LORD.)

Abraham became Sodom’s intercessor. But he failed to persevere. His intercession did save Lot and part of his family but did not save Sodom.

Today God is standing before us. He does not want to destroy America nor the other nations because of our grievous sins. So He stands before the only ones who can prevent Him from doing what His justice requires—persevering intercessors.

“Fire Seekers” strives to unite and encourage intercessors. If you join, you will receive daily devotionals. The focus on Tuesdays will be on prayer.

Fire Seekers 48: Am I Living by Faith?

An evangelist was coming for revival services at S. A. Keen's church. When he arrived, the evangelist casually asked, "Do you have faith in God?"

Keen replied that the church services had been good and the conditions appeared favorable for a soul-winning revival. Instantly the evangelist warned, "We can't depend on good meetings or favorable conditions. Do you have faith in God?" As Keen thought about it, he realized that he had great faith in the good meetings and in the coming evangelist but very little faith in God for that revival.

The Lord wants to teach us to recognize the signals of "living by sight"-of trusting in our own efforts or in the efforts of others rather than in God. Too often we find our faith growing because a situation has improved. But when all such signs of answered prayer vanish, we begin to doubt God.

Then rather than "live by faith," we begin living by our own efforts and find we're trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit. If we try to do the work of the Holy Spirit, He will let us.

But the results will be only human-often negative. For example, a mother concerned about her wayward son wrote to him every week for years trying to persuade him to become a Christian. Even when the son was an old man, he resented those letters his mother had written.

We stop trying to work things out through human efforts when we're trusting God to be in control. The situation may appear desperate and we may be tempted to feel we must do something, but we are doing the most we can do when we're waiting in faith. Strong faith allows God to do His work without interference from us.

God, I know You are pleased to work when the Holy Spirit has freedom to control. 

"My soul, wait thou only upon the Lord; for my expectation is from him" (Psalm 62:5 KJV).

Fire Seekers 47: He Answers Impossible Prayers!

Are you praying for a "hopeless" situation? I learned something about this kind of praying by comparing some of the battles of the Israelites.

Judah drove out the inhabitants of the mountain, but they "could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron," Judges 1:19. When Judah was brought to face these chariots of iron, they hesitated, wavered, gave way to fear, and lost their faith in God. Then there was no driving out the enemy. They decided it was hopeless and lost heart.

But were the iron chariots really the reason for their failure? We might think so if it had not been that Joshua and Barak had conquered despite iron chariots. (See Joshua 4:9 and Judges 4:15.) They refused to give up because, while they could not defeat iron chariots, God could. They kept their focus on God.

Have you met up with the "impossible iron chariots" in your praying? We might be tempted to think of some reason God "couldn't possibly answer" and believe that if it were not for a certain factor or situation, we could trust God for victory. But when we get to Heaven we'll not be able to say, "Lord, I would have conquered my discouragement and doubts if it had not been for those "iron chariots." When in eternity we glimpse God's glorious power and faithfulness to answer persevering prayer, we'll see that our excuses made no sense.

Thank You, Lord, for the hope I have in You.

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God'" (Mark 10:27).

Fire Seekers 46: You Can Be Confident God Has Heard

I enjoy thinking about Psalm 119:162: "I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil." The psalmist is not saying he is rejoicing because the battle is won, but because He believes a promise from God. Great spoil speaks of the wealth taken after the battle. When we believe God's Word, we have the same joy we would have after the battle is won.

Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4) We don't need to wait to rejoice until we see the victory with our physical eyes; the victory is ours and we rejoice when we believe God's promise.

After Hannah prayed for a child, Eli said, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." She believed and rejoiced before she felt any signs of life inside her, because she was confident God had granted her request.

"Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast" ( Sam. 1:17-18). Her praying brought her to a point where she could believe God and her victory was as real the moment she first trusted Him as it was months later at Samuel's birth.

Phoebe Palmer spoke of this assurance that the Holy Spirit gives. "With me, this witness has, I think, invariably been given the moment I have unwaveringly believed God...When we talk to each other, we are aware whether we believe what the other says. Is it unreasonable then to believe that we can receive the communication of the Holy Spirit and not have an internal consciousness that we do believe?"

Andrew Murray said, "Let your prayer be so definite that you can say as you leave the prayer closet, "I know that I have asked from the Father, and I expect an answer."

Thank You, Lord, that it is possible to know You've heard and will answer our prayer.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15)

Fire Seekers 45: Satan's Allergy

"How shall I pray now?" The caller was desperate. He had prayed and fasted but could see no evidence that God was answering.

"Why don't you try praise," I suggested, reminding him that after King Jehoshaphet's army had prayed and fasted, they went forward praising God.

When we skip praise, we are missing the part of prayer that strengthens us. Jesus implied this when he interchanged the word "praise" for "strength."

Psalm 8:2 KJV says, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."

Jesus quoted this in Matthew 21:16 but substituted "praise" for "strength." He is saying that even the simple, the toddlers and babes, can stop the enemy with praise.

Satan is repelled by praise. The evil spirits controlling Israelite's enemies became so confused that the enemy soldiers turned upon each other. The Israelites spent three days gathering the spoils from this battle they won because they expressed their faith in God through praise.

Judges 1 tells that Joshua had just died and the Israelites were faced with fighting their first battle without their leader. They pleaded desperately, "Who will be the first to go up to fight for us against the Canaanites?" (Judges 1:1).

The Lord replied, "Judah is to go" (Judges 1:2). The word Judah is significant because it means praise. Praise is to lead the way when we're approaching the throne of grace."Satan is allergic to praise, so where there is massive triumphant praise, Satan is paralyzed, bound, and banished," Paul Billheimer suggests in Destined for the Throne.

Thank You, Father, for the strength I have when I praise You.

"I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies" (Psalm 18:3).

Fire Seekers 44: Pray for Jesus' Sake

A lady came to our prayer group with deep needs. She had been abused as a child and had suffered through a difficult marriage. As we wept before the Lord for her, the Spirit said to me, "I'm so glad you're doing this. Now I can do what I want to do."

Our prayers open up possibilities for others that they would not have if we had not prayed. We are, indeed, our brother's keeper.

Samuel recognized that he sinned against the Lord if he did not pray for others. "As for me, I will certainly not sin against the LORD by ending my prayers for you" (1 Samuel 12:23 NLT). Our prayers are vital to Jesus' activity.

So we pray for others out of love for Jesus. He wants to bless, to send truth to those in darkness, to encourage the discouraged. We please Him and give Him joy when we give Him access to hearts by bringing their names to Him.

Dick Eastman tells of a Sunday School teacher who helped bring many students to Christ. After her death, her diary was found to contain such resolutions such as: "resolved to pray for each scholar by name;" "resolved to wrestle for each by name and expect an answer."

When we commit to daily bring names to the Lord, our prayers are powerful. Our feeling of responsibility and love will deepen as we pray. God doesn't entrust those who scarcely pray with a prayer burden, but if we regularly come to Him with specific requests, He'll see us as ones He can bless with a deepening concern for those we love.

Jesus, help me to pray with compassion so that You can accomplish Your will in others today.

"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers" (1 Thessalonians 1:2).

Fire Seekers 43: What Does It Mean to Use His Name?

Recently I was studying what it means to take God's name in vain as the third commandment teaches us not to do. In fact, God says He "will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." So it is not a light thing in His eyes for us to use His name casually.

 I discovered a new thought, though, as I read what Commentator Adam Clarke suggested. He believed it is possible to use God's name in vain in prayer if we say His name without deep reverence.

We often end our prayers in Jesus' name, but I wonder how many of our prayers are truly the petitions Jesus would ask of the Father. If that is taking His name in vain, then I must be more careful what I pray. In private prayer, I have found it helpful to begin my prayer by telling the Father, "I am praying in Jesus' name through the Spirit."

Jesus is eager for His Father to be glorified, so He answers when we pray in His name. Prayers which He Himself would ask, those prayers in perfect harmony with the Spirit of Jesus, will be answered so that the Father will receive glory.

I praise You, God, for You are worthy of all honor and reverence.

"Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete" (John 16:24).

"With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name" (Hebrews 13:15).

 

Fire Seekers 42: Are You Praying for Your Family?

Several of us had dinner with the international evangelist Sammy Tippit. He said that for years he often stated he grew up in a secular home with no spiritual heritage.

But then recently he discovered a written description of his grandmother who died five years before he was born. It referred to her as a woman of prayer and said she prayed so fervently the doors of the church shook when she prayed.

Then Sammy understood why the first time he heard the Gospel, he repented and received Christ. Two nights later he was called to preach. His godly grandmother's prayers were answered for her son, too. Sammy's father came to Christ shortly before he died.

God answered his grandmother's prayers in greater ways than she could have anticipated. Through her prayers, she made an impact on millions of lives around the world. Sammy has preached in more than 80 countries and in evangelistic stadium events in such places as Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Rio de Janeiro, and Albania.

She was one of those who "were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance" (Hebrews 11:13).

Dear Father, if we knew how wonderful Your plans are for answering our prayers, we would pray even when we are weary.

"The desire of the righteous shall be granted" (Proverbs 10:24).
"He does not ignore those who cry to him for help" (Psalm 9:12 NLT).
"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results" (James 5:16 NLT).
 

Fire Seekers 41: Teach Me, Lord, to Wait

"We're a nation of quickaholics," says Sue Monk Kidd in her book When the Heart Waits. We have fast-food restaurants, jiffy markets, instant coffee, express lanes, and express mail. We can get our glasses in an hour and our oil changed in ten minutes. Fast-food restaurants were timed in Pittsburgh and the winner took forty-six seconds to serve a hamburger, fries, and a soft drink. The loser, a slow three minutes.

The danger is that the lure of the quick and easy will seep into our relationship with God. Jesus said for the disciples to go into Jerusalem to wait--to wait for the promise of the Father. In Luke they were to told to tarry until they received power. Expectant waiting yields power.

Recently I was seeking the Lord's help. The Holy Spirit was helping me pray when the doorbell rang. I started for the door, but then heard the UPS truck and knew the driver had left a package outside my door.

At that moment I had a choice. I could have shown the Lord I was truly waiting on Him. But, I thought, I'll just bring the package in and then continue praying.
I was surprised to see that the package was a dress I had ordered. I almost succeeded in putting it aside, but thought, it wouldn't hurt just to peak at it. By the time I looked at the red dress and decided it was too large, the Spirit of prayer had gone. The hunger to know God's answer, to hear Him speak, had been deferred by a minor interruption. It was almost as if the Spirit, who is very sensitive to our desires, read from my actions, "She doesn't want Me as much as she said." I realized I had lost an opportunity to demonstrate to the Holy Spirit how very much I wanted Him.

Dear Lord, deliver us from a complacency toward prayer that is the cause of our failing to wait.

"I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God" (Psalm 38:15).

Fire Seekers 40: Jesus Wants to Share His Burden

G. C. Bevington, a man of great faith, said he learned the importance of praying until he could discern what request to make. In doing that, he would sense the burden on Jesus' heart.

If we pray for a desire God has put into our hearts, then the request comes down from Him and when it returns to Him, He will hear and answer.

I find it interesting that the night Jesus was arrested and He and His disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray, He shared His distress with only the closest three. He left the others about a "stone's throw" away--far enough that they would not have heard the burden on His heart.

"He took Peter, James, and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,' he said to them" (Mark 14:33, 34).

Jesus wanted to share His burdens with those closest to Him. He still does.

Jesus, help Me to pray until I know what is on Your heart.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will" (Romans 8:26, 27).

Fire Seekers 39: Welcome Your Eminent Guest

When we learn to commune with God, we come to deeply appreciate the quiet inner joy of God's abiding presence. Paul prayed that for the Corinthians: "...the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all" (2 Corinthians 13:14 KJV). Ghost is an old English word for guest. May the communion of the Holy Guest be with you all! Perhaps we take this Holy Guest for granted and fail to realize the magnitude of this Gift.

When our spirits feel depleted, we can find refreshment. Time in His presence clears our vision and strengthens our spirits.

What was the secret of Moses' relationship with God? "He kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.." (Hebrews 11:27 NLT).

Andrew Murray, commenting on this verse says, "Faith sees what others cannot see....The eye of faith can be trained to see God everywhere. Abide in His presence till the heart is filled with it. Recognize Him in every thing that happens. Seek to walk in the light of His countenance. Seeing the Invisible will make it easy to forsake the world and do the will of God."

Communion is an attitude of loving contemplation of God, of seeing Him who is invisible. God gave us a longing for Himself so that He might satisfy it. King David said, "I will not enter my house or go to my bed...till I find a place for the Lord" (Ps. 132:3, 4).

Thank You, Jesus, for rewarding determined desire with communion with the Holy Spirit.

"God...is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:9).
 

Fire Seekers 38: How to Pray Like Jesus

Passion originates in the heart of God. He who gave mothers hearts of passionate love yearns with deep maternal love for His children. He who created fathers' hearts is the great Father Himself.

The passion of the Father's heart was passed on to His Son.

Jesus' passion is now expressed through His intercession. "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

The same passion that was in Jesus' heart is in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, though, has no body of His own. His passion must be felt within us, the body of Christ. Jesus wants to live a life of intercession through His body on earth as He does in heaven.

Passion satisfies God. Isaiah, speaking of the Father and His Son, stated, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11 KJV). It is equally true that when we pour out our strong emotion for others, God sees and is satisfied with us.

Both Paul and Jude wrote that we are to "Pray in the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:18; Jude 20). We could read that as God saying, "Allow Me to express My passion through you."

Lord, I invite the Holy Spirit to express His passion for others through me.

"The Lord is...not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9).
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (Romans 8:26).

Fire Seekers 37: Multiply the Results of Your Prayers

One summer some of us met for prayer each morning Monday through Friday at church. On our prayer list was a neighborhood woman someone had contacted but who had refused to come to church. We prayed daily, "Dear Lord, save Patty and her husband if she has one."

That fall she still showed no interest in attending church but agreed to attend a home Bible study if we would find a babysitter. God had prepared her heart. During the first class, she gave her heart to Jesus.

A praying group can make an impact. Our pastor told the man who arranged home prayer meetings, "When I walk into the pulpit on Sunday mornings, I can tell if your group met to pray for the services that week."

The director of the Evangelism Explosion program made an important discovery. He asked each church to enlist church members to pray for every worker, especially on the Tuesday nights when the program was in operation. The evangelist was responsible to report back to his intercessors weekly. They discovered that when intercessors prayed, the number of professions of faith doubled!

Some may feel self-conscious when they pray aloud with others. With God's help, though, we can think of prayer, not as a performance, but as a private conversation with God. The Holy Spirit teaches us to pray to an audience of One.

Thank You, Jesus, for multiplying the results of our prayers when we unite our hearts for the same request.

"If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:19, 20).
 

Fire Seekers 36: The Impossible-to-Answer Prayer
I saw an article titled "How Do You Pray for the Impossible?" I didn't read the article but since seeing that headline, I've wondered what the impossible could be. God didn't seem to accept the idea of the impossible.

In Genesis, God asked Abraham, "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" (18:14). In the Hebrew, a negative answer is implied.

Then Jeremiah prayed, "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you" (Jeremiah 32:17).

Gabriel assured Mary, "Nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37).

God had another way of stating His unlimited power when Moses was unable to comprehend how God could provide meat in the desert for 600,000 men for an entire month. "Is the LORD's arm too short?"

Again in Isaiah, God said, "Was my arm too short to ransom you?" and "Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save" (50:2; 59:1).

In Genesis 17:1 God speaks to 99-year-old Abraham who has been promised a child by God. By this time his body is "as good as dead" (see Romans 4:19-22). In the face of all his very understandable doubts, God reassures him by calling himself El Shaddai, which means Almighty God. It was God's way of saying, "Don't look at yourself, Abraham. Look at me. If I say you're going to have a son, it's going to happen. I am Almighty God."

Thank You, our Father, for making a way where there seems to be no way.

"I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible" (Matthew 17:20).

Fire Seekers 35: Help For Those Who Pray

Andrew Murray noticed the universal lack of an adequate prayer life. Although everywhere he went people confessed, "We pray too little!" they seemed to fear that because of work pressure and the force of habit it was almost impossible to change.

But Murray insisted that God's call to much prayer need not be a burden nor a cause of continual self-condemnation. In his book The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer, he said that we often attach a limited meaning to the word "grace." Grace actually gives us strength every moment for whatever God would have us be and do. The continued failure in our prayer life is often due to trusting in ourselves rather than in God's grace. If we confess our failure and go down before in utter helplessness, God's grace will give deliverance.

The Holy Spirit dwells within us as the spirit of supplication (Zechariah 12:10). He indwells us for the very purpose of enabling us to pray in the manner God would have us pray. When we cannot find words or when our words appear cold and feeble, we can trust the Holy Spirit to pray through us. Our failure in prayer may be because we have not trusted the Spirit of prayer to pray through us.

Dear Father, help me to look to Your Spirit to pray through me.

"Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1).

 

Fire Seekers 34: No Problem is Too Difficult

One morning when one of our children was in high school, I  recognized that many teens succumb to Satan's tactics during their high school years. Then I remembered that after Elisha had put flour into the poisonous stew, what would have been deadly was made into wholesome food. (2 Kings 4:41) This encouraged me to believe that through prayer, situations that might otherwise have been fatal could be made safe. If touched by God, they could even be beneficial. Satan loses his ability to harm in the areas we cover with believing prayer.

A paragraph in Wesley Duewel's book, Mighty Prevailing Prayer encourages us to keep praying despite those situations that appear to be beyond our control.

 "Never say 'impossible' when you are praying for something in the will of God. God is sovereign over nature and over people. God can act in wisdom, grace, and power until one aspect of a situation after another yields with a divine domino effect until God's complete answer is given and His full will done. Never rule out an intervening act of God. Never doubt the possibility of a miracle."

Thank You, Lord, that no problem is too difficult for You.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20 NLT).

Fire Seekers 33: Why Be Faithful In Prayer

George Watson, in A Pot of Oil, says the will, more than any other part of our nature, expresses the depth of our character in the sight of God. When prayer seems dry and we can't concentrate, we must deliberately choose-set our will--to pray anyway. Such praying may seem very unsatisfactory to us, but it is very pleasing to God. He knows that our prayers are rising from a deep determination.
In fact, much of our true spiritual development come during the dry and hard times.

When I was a little girl, one of the good men in our church testified that he had had a dry spell in his praying. He kept going to his regular prayer time, but nothing seemed to happen. Then one day, once again God's presence was there, and it was as though God said to him, "I saw all of those times you were faithful. I heard you even when you had no spirit of prayer."

Cornelius prayed faithfully, and he often may have seemed to be only saying repetitious words. But one day God sent an angel to give him this message: "Your prayers...have come up as a remembrance before God" (Acts 10:1-4). God remembered all those faithful prayers, even those prayed more out of routine and duty than inspiration.

"You armed me with strength for battle," King David prayed in one of his final prayers (II Samuel 22:40). Some days we don't have strength for prayer--the will power, the strong desire that enables us to keep our minds on petitioning. So we can take heart to learn that even David had to pray not only for victory in battle but also for the strength to enter it.

Dear Lord, help us to be "followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12).

"A faithful man shall abound with blessings" (Proverbs 28:20).

Fire Seekers 32: Your Prayer Moves God's Heart

In the first chapter of his book Growing in Prayer, Mike Bickle tells of a life-changing encounter he had in the summer of 1988. He had been leading a Saturday morning prayer meeting each week for nearly four years. About 20 people regularly attended.

One Saturday he arrived around fifteen minutes early.  The two cars in the parking lot belonged to the guys who ran the sound system.

As he approached the building, he heard loud music that sounded like something from the "Hallelujah Chorus" in Handel's Messiah. It was glorious and beautiful. He thought, "Oh no, the sound techs are playing with the sound system, and they will surely blow out the speakers by having the volume up so loud."

He ran to open the door and ask them to turn the volume down, but when he opened the door, everything was quiet. He wondered what was going on.

When he entered the sanctuary, he saw that the only two guys there were not in the sound booth but rather at the front of the sanctuary praying together. He was perplexed and wondered what that loud music was he had just heard. Then it dawned on him, with a sense of awe, that he had just heard angelic choirs.

He assumed that that prayer meeting would be the most powerful he had ever attended. Surely hearing angelic voices was a sign they were about to have a breakthrough into God's presence.

The meeting began, but nothing unusual happened. It was as run-of-the-mill as it was on many other Saturdays. In fact, he felt very dull as he prayed.

After the prayer meeting was over, Mike Bickel sat quietly  for about 20 minutes after others left and wondered. "Hearing that angelic choir was one of the strangest things that has every happened to me. What did it mean?"

He could not come up with an answer. Then suddenly the Lord gave him a very clear word. The Holy Spirit impressed him with this thought: "This is what happens every time a few of My people gather to pray." He understood in that moment that angelic choirs rejoice every time God's people gather to pray, even in a small, seemingly uninspired Saturday morning prayer meeting.

Dear Lord, help me to never measure my prayers by what I feel. When I pray in agreement with Your will, my prayers move Your heart even if mine is not moved.

"Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God" (Acts 10:4). (Words spoken to Cornelius who no doubt often prayed out of habit and felt nothing.)

 

Fire Seekers 31: A Resting Place for our Faith

Jeanne Seaborn has four children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. In A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh Leigh DeMoss and Joni Eareckson Tada, she tells how she organizes her prayers for her family. At the beginning of each year, she asks each child and grandchild to write down their main prayer requests for the year. Then she prays for those each day.

In addition, she has a page for each child and grandchild with scriptures that she prays for them. Each day she prays in-depth for one child using those verses. For example, for her son-in-law who travels during the week, she prays Psalm 119:54: "Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge." Each child has at least one verse dealing with keeping a clear conscience, as well as other verses that she personalizes and prays back to God for that individual.

God delights in prayers we pray repeatedly that are based on His Word. Dick Eastman wrote in The University of the Word that he had prayed daily a specific prayer for his family based on Luke 2:52: "Lord, help my family to grow mentally (in wisdom), physically (in stature), spiritually (with favor toward God), and socially (with favor toward man)." After seven years, God revealed to him how He was answering this prayer for each one.

How it must please the Lord to see our hearts hunger for the exact things He has promised to give. When we bring His promises to Him and wait in expectation, He will not fail to give us according to His written Word.

Thank You, Father, for giving me Your words to rest my faith on.

"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).
 

Fire Seekers 30: God's Call to Prayer
(A burdened intercessor requested I re-post this devotional.)

Dr. Ruibal of Cali, Colombia, South America, reported that 22,000 Christians fasted and prayed all night for their city of Cali. Within 48 hours, police arrested a primary drug lord from the Cali Cartel. Many others were soon arrested, causing the demise of the entire Cali drug ring.

God multiples the results when we unite! Many light bulbs shining together make a bright light. But if they are concentrated into one light beam, they give a laser beam effect capable of doing amazing things, such as penetrating metal or repairing detached retinas. Similarly, the power of united prayer and fasting goes beyond our comprehension.

 The Old Testament prophets seemed to recognize that at times corporate fasting and praying were necessary to bring victory. On one occasion, the eleven tribes saw that they could not stand against the inhabitants of Gibeah, so they fell before the Ark on their faces and lay there until evening without eating. (Judges 20:26) God responded with an assurance of victory over their enemy. "Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands."

Many problems would be eliminated overnight if we followed the example of Samuel, Amos, and the Ninevites who called for corporate prayer and fasting.
"Samuel said, 'Assemble all Israel at Mizpah and'...they fasted and confessed...and the LORD answered'" (1 Samuel 7:5, 6, 10).            
                 .
"I proclaimed a fast , so that we might humble ourselves before our God...So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer..." (Ezra 8:21, 23).

"The Ninevites...declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth...[God] did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened" (Jonah 3:5, 10).

In each of these, God answered. God values unity so much, that He says, "If together you pray and fast, I will reward you!" When we all desire the same thing, our prayers become synergistic and Leviticus 26:8 is again fulfilled: "Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand."

Dear Lord, give Your leaders the desire to call Your people together for united prayer and fasting.

"Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly...And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people" (Joel 2: 15, 28).

Fire Seekers 29: Come and Adore Him
In the preface to The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer writes that we have lost our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. But how pleased God is with every attempt we make to gain that ability!

When Henry Nouwen visited Mother Teresa, he asked how he could live out his vocation as a priest. She said for him to "Spend one hour a day adoring your Lord." She might have said something else to a mother with young children, but she affirmed the truth that intimacy with Christ grows out of an intimate encounter with our Lord.

The amazing thing is that when we delight in and give our entire devotion to Him, we find we have the desires of our hearts. Joy floods our lives.

Our knowledge of what would make us happy is so superficial. But when we delight ourselves in drawing near Him, we receive what will satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.

Jesus is eager for our fellowship! When He told the disciples, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you" (Luke 22:15), He used an emphatic word for "eagerly desired." In other contexts, it is translated as "lust." He was saying, "I have set my heart upon having fellowship with you." Jesus is still longing for our times of drawing near Him in adoring silence.

Saint Thomas Aquinas remarked, "When we see Jesus as he is, we must turn away or else shamelessly adore him."

Jesus, I come to adore You.

"I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken...you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16:8, 11).





 

Fire Seekers 28: If Praise is Difficult
When giving thanks is the last thing we want to do, it is time to respond to Paul's words, "Set your mind and keep them set on what is above" (Col. 3:2 Amp.) We can and must choose where we will place our thoughts.

Here are three suggestions.

The psalmist tells us to "Enter his gates with thanksgiving" (Ps. 100:4). We can do what one young man told me he did during a difficult time. Throughout his day he kept a yellow note pad close by and recorded anything he thought of for which he could praise the Lord. The next morning during his devotions, he would set his timer for five minutes and begin thanking God for the things he had written down the day before. He said, "Within three minutes, I was 'in the gate' and by the end of the five minutes, His presence would just wash over me."

Another help is to make sure that we are thinking of God. Paul said, "I thank my God" (Phil. 1:3), no doubt thinking on God's goodness and power. It is easy to thank God for something and hardly think of Him at all. If I allow my mind to continually dwell on the problems I am praying about, it can be quite a stretch from there to always giving thanks. But it seems to be a small step from thanking Him for His good and perfect plans to trusting Him to fulfill those plans.

A third suggestion is to remember that the Spirit of Christ within us is a Spirit of thanksgiving. To always be giving thanks is simply to respond to His Spirit within us!

Dear Lord, some day in Heaven I will be saying, "Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever," and when I look back over every detail of my life, I will see Your faithfulness. I will see You always provided all I needed in every situation. I will finally understand that You did not allow anything but what could bring good to me and glory to You. I will see reasons for praise in everything! Help me to choose by faith the eternal perspective now and praise You for Your perfect faithfulness. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen

 

 

Fire Seekers 27: The Blessing of "Soaking" Prayer
When Wanda Alger and her husband, pastors in Winchester, Virginia, learned about "soaking prayer," they decided to incorporate it into the life of their church.* They discovered that God would share His active presence with those who spent time worshiping Him with no agenda other than taking time to simply linger in His presence with an atmosphere of quiet worship music.

Earlier they had tried interspersing praise and worship with intercession, and though this brought a measure of success, it wasn't the same as "soaking" prayer.
Her husband Bobby felt led to set aside Saturday nights for soaking prayer to prepare for Sunday morning worship. They noticed a change in their services immediately. Although only a handful had participated, the tangible presence of God was evident the next morning. More people participated in singing, and the atmosphere was saturated with the sense of the Holy Spirit's work.

It didn't seem to matter how many were involved. God wasn't looking at numbers but the posture of their hearts. If only three people sincerely desired to align their hearts with His, God responded.

People present in these times consistently testified of the "heavy weight" of God's presence. Every one was refreshed and renewed. After setting aside a significant time in His presence, their prayers were then not simply a list of needs but reflections of God's heart.

This principle of "soaking" prayer bringing God's presence is applicable to our individual as well as family lives also. God always responds with His manifest presence to hungry hearts desiring to draw closer to the Father.

Dear Jesus, teach us to seek for a divine visitation of Your awesome presence.

"Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs" (Psalm 100:2).

Adapted from The Connecter, December 2014, Intercessors for America newsletter.



 

Fire Seekers 26: How to Pray with Confidence

"We really don't deeply desire very many things, do we?" a friend sighed as we thought on Mark 11:24: "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (KJV).

Nothing is more important in prayer than to desire what the Spirit wants to give.

One afternoon I was praying for a missionary nurse in Papua New Guinea. "Help her win someone to You today in the clinic," seemed to be a Spirit-implanted desire. The Spirit helped me pray until I was confident God had heard. I later received a letter from her that I realized was written the day I had prayed. She wrote, "Today two men came to the Lord in the clinic!"

Our goal in prayer is to learn what the Holy Spirit desires to do and then allow the Spirit to express that longing through us.

When we have a listening spirit, God will direct us to pray correctly. If we don't know what to pray, we are to be quiet before God and be sensitive to the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will teach us how to be specific in our petitioning. Andrew Murray suggests, "Let your prayer be so definite that you can say as you leave the prayer closet, 'I know what I have asked from the Father, and I expect an answer.'"

The greater our intensity for a particular need, the longer we're willing to stay in God's presence until we know exactly what to ask and that He's heard us.

I thank You, Lord, that when the Holy Spirit implants a desire within me, I can pray with faith because You never give a desire to pray for anything You do not plan to answer.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him" (I John 5:14, 15).

Fire Seekers 25: Let's Adore Him (Part 2)

Mary of Bethany expressed her love for Jesus by pouring out a year's worth of perfume on Jesus. Her sacrificial giving and her profuse worship affected all those around her. The fragrance filled the house, and Jesus promised that the memory of her lovely deed would last forever. Many people did wonderful things in Jesus' day, but she was the only one who received this amazing promise.

Some watching thought, What a waste! Our adoration might seem like a waste of time to others, but not to Jesus.

Through our loving adoration of Christ we become carriers of His presence, and our sacrificial worship becomes a fragrance that others notice. We then inspire both Christians and non-christians to want to draw closer to the Lord. Everyone wants Jesus, even if they do not know it.

Mother Theresa said, "We did adoration two hours, one in the morning and one in the night. We fell more in love with Jesus and got more intimacy. And our love for each other and the poor become stronger. It's through Jesus' presence, and in the most Holy place, that we can give a Hope to the world in Him."

What would be a costly praise for us to offer? Perhaps it could be one referred to in Hebrews 13:15: "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise." A sacrifice calls for death, and to praise continually often calls us to give up our own opinions of what God should do in our situation. When we honor Him by offering praise for all He allows, He considers it a costly praise. Such extravagant worship is precious to Him.

I praise You, Father, by accepting everything in this present moment as coming from Your good hand.

"He who offers sacrifices of praise prepares the way for the salvation of the Lord" (Psalm 50:23).

Fire Seekers 24: Let's Adore Him (Part 1)

I recently read this quote by H. MacGregor: "With the single exception of adoration, in which God alone is the object, there is nothing higher than intercession." The rest of the chapter was on intercession, but that sentence stopped me. There is nothing higher that we can do than simply adore God.

Last week I had lunch with a friend who has learned the secret of adoration. She said that we often pray "me, me and me day in and day out." But she shared, "I became so hungry for more of His presence. I wanted to experience the Lord in a way that would capture my whole life, that would conquer my heart with His love and passion."

She discovered that adoration is a prayer of love to the Lord. Love is the Lord's language. He is love! And we want to hear Him, to know Him, and to have fellowship with Him. Adoration is to enter in through love.

She explained, "In adoration, we declare who He is! His awesome nature, what He does and all aspects of Him. We proclaim His nature, character and everything that makes Him good.

"We don't ask anything. We take our eyes away from ourselves. We exalt Him and decrease ourselves and our own problems. We see Him for who He is. For instance, we could say, 'God, You are the healer, You are the King, etc.'"

Once she began spending time adoring Christ, things started to change in her life. She said, "I got more intimacy with the Lord and loved Him more and more every day. Miracles started to happen around me without my asking or telling God how I wanted things to happen."

Dear Jesus, teach me to express my love for You in ways that satisfy You. Then, I, too, will be satisfied.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart" (Mark 12:30).

Next week's Fire Seekers: Part 2

Fire Seekers 23: Be the One Who Seeks God

One evening while we were on vacation, I took my Bible to a quiet spot where I could read, meditate, and watch the sun set behind the mountains. That evening God arranged a most spectacular sunset. Brilliant pink rays outlined the rolling clouds. I sat in awe and read Psalm 104, "O Lord my God, you are very great....He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind." I was overwhelmed with His majesty as I thought on His Word and His chariots.

"Oh, God," I thought, "it would be so neat if You would give me some signal in the clouds in response to my worship of You." Immediately a tiny thread of lightning streaked from the top to the bottom of the cloud in front of me. There was no thunder and no more lightning-just that one white streak assuring me that He accepted my worship. I was humbled.

When God says for us to be still and know that He is God, He invites us to reflect upon what He has told us about Himself. I like to use David's words in 1 Chronicles 29: "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all."

Worship is a rich experience when I spend time considering what each of the words and phrases in those verses mean.

God invites us to "Come into his presence with singing" (Psalm 100:2), so we open our hymnal to such songs as "O Worship the King" or "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." While writing this, I received an email with this worship song. Enjoy it as you enter into His presence.

God's Spirit can be a more certain assurance of His presence than even a tiny streak of lightning.

"True worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks" (Jn. 4:23).

 

Fire Seekers 22: Why Does God Wait?

Audra, a missionary to the Muslims in Yemen, had moved with her family to a new area. She thought about boys she had just met who had never heard of Jesus' love, and prayed, "Lord, there are four million people in the Tihama like those boys, people hungry to know more than they do, hungry to be loved as only You can love. Work in this land, Lord," she prayed. "Move Your mighty hand and draw them to Yourself."

She prayed passionately, longing for these people to hear and know Jesus. Then, as she prayed she became suddenly overwhelmed as she saw God's power. She saw His ability to move across Yemen as the Almighty God, pouring His love, surging forward to bring His peace and reconciliation to every man, woman and child.

She was ecstatic. "Yes, Lord! Do it! Move forward," she cried.

But then she saw God holding back. It was as if He were standing on the crest of the mountain ready but waiting. He was capable, with every resource at His command, fully able to take over the valley. But He was not moving. He was waiting.

She was confused. "Why, Lord?" She did not understand. "Why are You waiting? You desire that every one of these people be saved and come to know the truth. Your Word says so (see 1 Timothy 2:4)! Why are You waiting?"

She heard the Lord's clear answer. "I am waiting until My desire is the desire in the hearts of My people. I am waiting for My people to want what I want and to ask Me for it."

Tears misted her eyes as the picture faded slowly away. Did God's people desire Muslim nations to hear God's message? Were God's people praying like they desired it? Were they praying like they believed God could do it?

Dear Lord, I want my heart to long for what Your heart  desire? I'm asking You to give me that heartfelt longing.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to" (Matthew 7:7).

Fire Seekers 22: 2015 Come to the Fire News and Praise Power

Last week I attended "The Awakening" hosted by Crossroads Tabernacle. Beth Jones, the pastor's wife, told the following incident.

Nine-year-old Willie was walking in his back yard when he saw some money on the ground. Just as he leaned over to pick it up, a man grabbed him from behind. He put Willie in his car and drove away.

Willie later told the news reporter that he remembered a song he had learned at church, and he began singing, "Every praise is to our God." He sang the song over and over.

His captor became angry and cursed and yelled at him to stop singing, but Willie continued to sing, "Every praise is to our God...."

The captor could not stand it. He pulled over, stopped the car, and shoved the boy out.

Whether we are being held captive by an individual, in prison like Paul and Silas, or in a prison-like circumstance, praise brings deliverance.

2015 Come to the Fire News
Many of you are asking, "Where will Come to the Fire be in 2015?" God has made His will clear and has confirmed it again and again. We are taking a sabbatical and not having a conference. We will still be maintaining the office, sending devotionals, having council meetings, and doing whatever God puts in our hands to do for Him.

I read this wonderful definition of the Hebrew word for LORD: He is the One who freely influences and molds history according to His plans. With that blessed assurance, we go forward with confidence in Him.

"At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed" (Numbers 9:23 KJV).

Fire Seekers 21: Why Spend Much Time Praying?

Occasionally I ask myself, "Why do I spend extended times in prayer?" and the answer is simply this: "I want what God has to offer more than I want anything else." Andrew Murray reminds us, "If once we really felt that intercession is the most important part of our work - the securing of God's presence and power is our first duty - our hours of work would all be made subordinate to this one thing."

If we hunger to be effective in prayer, the time we spend will be important. E. M. Bounds wrote in Power Through Prayer, "Much time spent with God is the secret of all successful praying. Prayer which is felt as a mighty force is the product of much time spent with God....Jacob's victory of faith could not have been gained without that all-night wrestling."

We may think we have faith, but if our faith has not been nurtured by much time in His presence, it is a feeble and surface faith. Faith that is steady under pressure is a result of much time alone with God.

J. Oswald Sanders wrote in his book Spiritual Leadership, "Mastering the art of prayer, like any other art, will take time, and the amount of time we allocate to it will be the true measure of our conception of its importance. We always find time for that which we deem most important." In the same paragraph, Sanders comments on Martin Luther's busy schedule, stating that extra work was a compelling reason for spending more time in prayer.

None of us wants to have to say to God some day, "I was never able to devote much time to being with You, because there was always something else to do."

Dear Lord, help me to express my desire for You through arranging my schedule so that I have extended time alone with You.

"Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God" (Luke 6:12).

"Couldn't you watch with me even one hour?" (Matt. 26:40).

Fire Seekers 20: God Saves Prodigals

Helen saw the closeness of their family shattered when one of her children went the way of the world. She and her husband prayed and cried together and painfully asked each other, "Have I done something wrong?"

Helen began giving special time to night praying, each night assigning herself a promise to study and pray through. One promise was Isaiah 45:11: "Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands" (NASB). Her child was to be given over to God. He was the work of His hands (Psalm 139:13-16).

She learned from Daniel 9:21 that Daniel prayed in extreme weariness and that God strengthened him when he prayed (Daniel 10:19), so it was not always time to quit praying when she was tired.

Four years passed and during that time the pain caused by their child's rebellion never diminished. But God's promises gave her spiritual strength and assured her that His answer would come... "Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:3). She learned to say, "My times are in your hands" (Psalm 31:15).

Their family is whole again. The once wayward child prays with them and relishes opportunities to be with them.

Thank You, Lord, for teaching us to pray so we can use the greatest power on earth.

Promises for parents:
 "I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save" (Isa. 49:25).
"This is what the LORD says: 'A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.' This is what the LORD says: 'Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,' declares the LORD.
"They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your descendants," declares the LORD. "Your children will return to their own land" (Jer. 31:15-17).
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth" (Isa. 43:5-6).
 

Fire Seekers 19: A Day Off From Interceding

After Michele had been praying for a friend for years, she complained to the Lord, "I've invested all this heartache and burden praying for this person, but I wonder if anything is happening. Are my prayers making any difference? I want a day off from interceding."

Despite that prayer, she specifically prayed for her friend's physical protection. She later learned that on that day he was involved in a dreadful accident in which he could have been killed.

"The Lord showed me that He's working via my feeble attempts at intercession. It was as if the Lord put a billboard in front of me and said, 'I am doing a work in this friend, and you need to keep praying.'"

Elijah climbed to the top of Mt. Carmel and began to pray for rain. "Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant hoping for a sign of rain.

"There is nothing there," the servant said. Six times the servant gave the same report.

Have you ever prayed and there is nothing? No sign that God heard? If Elijah had stopped praying then, there would have been no rain.

A stone cutter hammered away at a rock ninety-nine times and didn't make even one crack in it. But after one more blow, it split in two. It was not the one blow that did it, but all that had gone before.

Every prayer counts. Don't stop on the99th prayer.

Dear Jesus, help me to be faithful so I will have no regrets.

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Hebrews 10:35, 36).
 
 

Fire Seekers 18: Would Corporate Worship Bring Transformation?

Larry Lane and eight other pastors met together each week for prayer in Chico, California.* Their city was known for its Mardi Gras atmosphere-especially during its annual festival called Pioneer Days that led to out-of-control (often violent) Halloween celebrations.

In 1999, the Lord spoke to Pastor Lane's heart and said it was a problem for the Church to do something about, not a problem of the city. He told the other pastors and they thought, Why can't the churches chase away the darkness with light?

After researching Chico's history and meditating on scripture, they realized the celebration was a form of false worship rooted in paganism. They asked, "What would happen if true worship took place simultaneously?" They got permission to use the downtown gazebo and planned a time of praise and worship.

On the night of the event, tension grew and the intercessors and worshipers became nervous. Fights broke out in the crowd and many were drinking to excess. The police asked the Christian group to leave.

But that is when the presence of the Lord entered the park. "Some who had been mocking the worship team became silent. Three girls who were dressed in Playboy bunny costumes and were dancing sensually, stopped and began to cry. Others were in tears also. That night, 13 people gave their lives to Christ. Prodigals felt the presence of the Lord as He penetrated the darkness and made Himself known through the worship."

The next year the intercessors humbly relied on God for the next step rather than on a formula. God told them to pray within their churches rather than downtown. Surprisingly, that year was a nightmare and a stabbing occurred. But God knew what He was doing.

Through their interactions they had become friends with the city leaders. The council voted to completely shut down the event. They asked the police to help them and the third year there was no event. Plus, Chico's police chief received Christ.

Dear Lord, I praise You that when You lead, we never lose a battle.

The LORD gave David victory wherever he went" (2 Sam. 8:10, 14; 1 Chron. 18:6, 13).

*Adapted from October 2014 ChurchPray! Sunday Bulletin sent by Intercessors for America. May be used without permission.

Fire Seekers 17: God's Love Language

A friend asked me recently if I had read the book The Five Love Languages-the book that says we each have unique preferences for how we want love to be expressed. I have not read that book, but last week I believe I discovered God's love language.

In Psalm 69, David wrote, "I am in pain and distress...I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than than a bull with its horns and hoofs" (69:29-31).

Even the most perfect animal the Old Testament worshipers could offer as a sacrifice to God was less in the sight of God than grateful praise-especially when they were in pain and distress. We, too, please God when we praise Him when our outward circumstances seem to call for sighs more than songs.

David said, "How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?" But a few verses later He voiced His confidence despite his discouraging situation: "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation" (Psalm 13:5).

So in our immediate unpleasant situation, we say, "I trust that You have ways to show me Your unfailing love. I will rejoice in whatever deliverance You choose to give." God receives such confident praise as expressions of our love.

If we promised someone we would send them money, they would thank us even though we had not given a cent.  We should treat Jesus' precious promises as well. Charles Spurgeon said, "Shall not heaven's bank-notes pass as cash?"

The highest expression of love we can offer God is to praise Him as David did recognizing that we are in the hands of a loving God no matter what happens.

Dear Jesus, You are worthy of praise, and I choose to praise You.

"My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise" (57:7).

Fire Seekers 16: Corporate Prayer Was God's Idea

Dr. Ruibal of Cali, Colombia, South America, reported that 22,000 Christians fasted and prayed all night for their city of Cali. Within 48 hours, police arrested a primary drug lord from the Cali Cartel. Many others were soon arrested, causing the demise of the entire Cali drug ring.

God multiples the results when we unite! Many light bulbs shining together make a bright light. But if they are concentrated into one light beam, they give a laser beam effect capable of doing amazing things, such as penetrating metal or repairing detached retinas. Similarly, the power of united prayer and fasting goes beyond our comprehension.

 The Old Testament prophets seemed to recognize that at times corporate fasting and praying were necessary to bring victory. On one occasion, the eleven tribes saw that they could not stand against the inhabitants of Gibeah, so they fell before the Ark on their faces and lay there until evening without eating. (Judges 20:26) God responded with an assurance of victory over their enemy. "Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands."

Many problems would be eliminated overnight if we followed the example of Samuel, Amos, and the Ninevites who called for corporate prayer and fasting.

"Samuel said, 'Assemble all Israel at Mizpah and'...they fasted and confessed...and the LORD answered' " (1 Samuel 7:5, 6, 10).        
                     .
"I proclaimed a fast , so that we might humble ourselves before our God...So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer..." (Ezra 8:21, 23).

"The Ninevites...declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth...[God] did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened" (Jonah 3:5, 10).

In each of these, God answered. God values unity so much, that He says, "If  you pray and fast together, I will reward you!" When we all desire the same thing, our prayers become synergistic and Leviticus 26:8 is again fulfilled: "Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand."

Dear Lord, give Your leaders the desire to call Your people together for united prayer and fasting.

"Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly...And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people" (Joel 2: 15, 28).

Fire Seekers 15: Tina Learned God's Will While Fasting

When Tina Nguyen was seven, her family moved from Vietnam to the US where she attended Syracuse University and later worked. A friend told Tina about Jesus, and in 2009 when Tina was alone in her bedroom, God revealed Himself to her. She repented and accepted Jesus. Later Tina was baptized and committed her life to serving God.

God led Tina to fast and pray for seven days to seek His will. She heard Him say in a small soft voice within her heart, "Return back to the land [of Vietnam] and show them the love that I have shown you." Then she "saw" an image of a small mountain girl with a naked baby sleeping in a sling wrapped around her shoulders. Her arms were opened wide toward Tina.

Tina replied, "But Lord, I don't know how to read or write or even speak Vietnamese properly. How can I go there and serve? Could you send me to India instead? So many orphans there need help!"

Immediately, God's Spirit blessed her with the ability to speak, read and write the Vietnamese biblical language fluently!

Months later the Lord revealed Himself to her again--this time through His Word: "One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me" (Mark 10:21).

Tina said, "It was the most difficult decision I ever made in my life, to let go of everything and follow the call of love. But because of my love for God, I submitted in obedience and sold my house and car, resigned my job at Syracuse University and closed down my life in America. I bought a one-way ticket to Vietnam and with only Jesus by my side, my provider, my very all, we headed for Vietnam to deliver the Gospel to the unreached peoples."

God led Tina to fast again--this time for a period of 40 days. After that He provided dual citizenships for her and enough financial support to build a Pre-k school. She started Emmanuel Fellowship through which over 100 students have heard the Gospel. She also has a college ministry that gathers adults for Bible study. In addition, she started a feeding program for tribal people to serve the orphans and widows.

In a recent email she said, "For the past 4 years of living with Jesus on the field, I have come to realize how blessed I am to be able to cry with Him, to laugh with Him, to suffer for Him, to walk hand in hand with Him and labor for love."

We never know what gifts God has to give us if we faithfully respond to His call to seek Him through fasting and prayer.

Dear Jesus, we come to You fasting and praying believing that you often choose to reveal your will in times of fasting.
     
"While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" (Acts 13:2).

Fire Seekers 14: The Powerful Prayer of A Pure Heart

"One day while sitting in my office, I had the strong impression that Satan was in the room," a friend said. "The scripture came to me that Jesus said of himself, 'The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me' (John 14:30)." The Amplified Bible explains this verse by adding, "there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, he has no power over Me."

Satan could find no attitude in Jesus that was unlike a holy God. How important it is for us to possess a holy heart when we want God to answer our prayers!  The author of The Kneeling Christian said, "Believing prayer from a totally cleansed heart never fails."

When we are being continually filled with the Holy Spirit, Satan finds the same attitude in us that He found in Christ. There is nothing in us that the evil one can claim as his. Instead, we have the attitude Jesus mentioned when He said, "I seek not to please myself but him who sent me" (John 5:30).

Seeking to please God is an indication of a holy heart. If our lives are characterized by living to please God rather than self:

-we grieve when we realize we have displeased Him.
-we don't get offended. Getting offended is often a sign of a proud heart.
-we are happy when others are honored, even if it is at our expense.
-we wait on God rather than trying to force things to go our way.
-we trust the still, small Voice rather than our own plans.

   "Search me, O God, and know my heart today.
   Try me, O Savior; know my thoughts, I pray.
   See if there be some wicked way in me;
   Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free."

Thank You, dear Lord, for giving me a desire for You to search my heart. I want no sinful attitude to hinder my prayers.

"Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing" (1 Tim. 2:8 NKJV).

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness" (Malachi 3:3).

Fire Seekers 13: God Prepares to Answer Prayer
One of the ladies participating in the corporate fast wrote that God showed her a thick layer of spiritual pride that made her see herself as "good enough and definitely better than some..."

The week of fasting began with God stripping off her blind fold in regards to her relationship with her husband (who was at the top of her list of "pray for this during fasting..."). God would not let her remain blind to her self-righteousness while she fasted for others.

"This morning in the pre-dawn moments as I spent time with Him, He came and showed me many things in my heart that have gotten "off-center" -- even though I hungered for Him. He showed me that I was seeking Him according to my own desires, selfish and self-assured that I was doing it 'right.' He so graciously, lovingly yet firmly brought conviction and understanding about dying to self in ways I had not seen before."

God is preparing her to be a powerful intercessor. He told Jeremiah to "Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem...If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city" (Jer. 5:1). Just one person who repented of  pretense, hidden pride, or covered sin would have been able to save Jerusalem.

Abraham attempted to learn the least number of righteous people needed to preserve the whole city of Sodom from judgement. He began with fifty. He worked his way down to ten, and God assured him he would spare the entire city for the sake of those ten.

What was the population of Sodom? Judging from information available from other cities in that day, Derek Prince believed we could safely say the the population of Sodom in Abraham's day was at least 10,000. This gives a ratio of one to a thousand emphasizing the power with God one righteous person has.

God begins the verse that promises, "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" with the words "Confess your sins" (Jam 5:16). When we repent, we are increasing our effectiveness in prevailing prayer.

Dear Jesus, You are welcome to reveal my heart to me as You see it. I want no covered sin  hindering my prayers.

"Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]" (Jam. 5:16 Amplified).

Fire Seekers 12: Stirring Ourselves to Pray

I recently awakened one morning at 1:30 and the words "Stir yourself" were in my mind. I found the word "stir" in Isaiah 64:7: "And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You." (NKJV)

I looked up the word stir and found it means "to rouse oneself, to awaken." It also means to "be hot, be ardent, be alert, watchful." The opposite is to be asleep or idle.

These words follow Isaiah's cry to God: "Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down...come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you" (Isaiah 64:1-2).

Isaiah desperately wanted God to come down and cause the nations to quake, but it was a sad time. There was no one who would rouse himself awake and stir himself to pray.

Our stirring ourselves to pray during the night or in the early morning makes a strong statement to God of our sincere desire for Him to rend the heavens and come down in revival fire. He wants to know that that we are not so sunk in spiritual lethargy that we cannot even awaken ourselves to pray.

Before going to sleep at night, I often say, "Please, Jesus, wake me up tonight to spend time with You." I know from experience, though, that sometimes we can crawl out of bed but find that being alert is a different story. I've learned to add to that prayer, "And help me be alert so I can pray and read Your Word."

John Angier wrote in 1647, "Worship that is performed with a sleepy, drowsy body is a weak worship." The same can be said of prayer. Perhaps that is why the psalmist wrote: "Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song." (Psalm 57:8 NLT). A. W. Tozer stirred his heart in the mornings by reading two worship hymns.

Dear Jesus, help us to know how to "stir" ourselves so we are alert enough to seek you early.

"Now it is high time to awake out of sleep" (Rom. 13:11).

Fire Seekers 11: A Call to Pray and Fast

When a friend began a 40-day juice fast, she thought she would be praying for her family. But as she prayed, God re-directed her burden. She was to intercede for revival in America. She is one who understands the price required for a revival in our nation.

Dr. Bill Bright reported that during his fast, something extraordinary happened. "I distinctly sensed a sobbing in my spirit and, amazingly, I knew our Lord was weeping. I was startled at first. And although I did not know why He was weeping, I began to sob, too. Then I sensed Him saying, 'My people have forgotten one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life, the major key of revival.' And I knew He meant fasting with prayer."

Dr. J. B. Chapman, speaking of past revivals, said, "If the revival did not come readily, we called a fast, and sometimes these fasts lasted for three days on the stretch. I remember one fast that ran three days, then a day off for eating, then another three days, then a day off for eating, and then another three days' fast. And I don't need to tell you that the revival broke."

God never does anything as major as sending a revival without someone first fasting and praying for it. Jonathan Edwards who was God's instrument in the revival in New England, fasted for 22 hours prior to preaching his famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

Fasting is a very powerful tool the Lord has given us. He waits for our praying to be so desperate that we cry out, "I want You, God, more than the pleasure of food!"

I invite you to join us in praying and fasting for revival. If you are willing to pray and fast for revival fire to come during the October Come to the Fire conference in Grove City, Ohio, please reply to this email.

"Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD" (Joel 1:14).

Fire Seekers 10: Praying for His Name's Sake

When my husband and I drove through a rural area we saw a house that looked as if it had not been repaired for decades. The broken windows and peeling paint were surely an embarrassment to the owner.

Immediately I thought of God's people who are "a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit" (Eph. 2:22). He repeatedly said He created us as His dwelling to be for the display of His splendor. (See Isaiah 49:3; 44:23; 61:3).

We must be a sad embarrassment to God. When George Barna did a survey of 152 separate items comparing the lost world and those in the churches, he found virtually no difference between the two. Many in the church live the same self-indulgent lifestyles as those who do not know Jesus.

The non-Christian looks to his position, power, and natural joys for his security and pleasure. So do many of us. Few can say with Christ, "I seek not to please myself but him who sent me."

The result? Millions profess to be indwelt by Christ, but His life is seldom visible. All of this is not lost on the world. They wonder if we have a weak God who calls us to be holy as He is holy but who is unable to keep us from sinning.

But God promises there is coming a day when "never again will my people be shamed" (Joel 2:26, 27). He will put His Spirit in His people so they will be careful to keep his laws, and the reason He gives is interesting. Twice He says, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel" (Ezek. 36:22, 32). Instead, it is so "the nations will know that I am the LORD declares the Sovereign LORD when I show myself holy through you before their eyes" (Ezek. 36:23).

Let's join together in this prayer:

"Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'" (Joel 2:17).

"God, we long for You do something for Your Church to restore the fame of Your name."

Fire Seekers Week 9: Prayers That Defeat Satan

At our Citywide prayer, Amy told that because she had been a frail child, her Buddhist parents dedicated her to, not just one, but to two gods. When she was in her twenties, she became a Christian. One night as she lay in bed, she felt she was being choked. The next morning she had black eyes and bruise marks on her arms as though she had been pinched repeatedly.

She told a Christian friend about it and her friend replied, "The next time this happens, plead the blood of Jesus and praise the Lord."

A month later, Amy felt as if a great evil power had swept over her. She said, "I remembered my friend's advice, and called out 'The blood of Jesus!' Immediately the evil power disappeared!"

Mentioning the blood of Jesus seems to stop Satan in his tracks. Nothing is more precious to us than the blood of Christ but nothing is more terrifying to Satan. However, we often neglect to use Christ's blood as our powerful weapon in spiritual warfare.

For the Israelites in Egypt, the blood over their doors was their total protection against the death angel. The blood Jesus shed on the cross is still our protection from the enemy.

In Mighty Prevailing Prayer, Wesley Duewel wrote, "Plead the blood of Jesus. It is agony to Satan. He will want to flee from the sound of your prayer...Satan cannot fight the blood of Jesus and must flee from its reminder. It is your battle cry; it is your spiritual weapon. Use it to defeat Satan. Plead and praise the blood of Jesus, and drive Satan from the battlefield."

The death of Jesus defeated Satan and now the very mention of the blood of Jesus is torment to his ears and is our powerful weapon in prayer.

Thank You, Jesus, for shedding Your blood that gives me access into the Most Holy Place and that reminds Satan that He is defeated.

"We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10:19).
"He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross" (Col. 2:15).

Fire Seekers Week 8: Praying for His Honor

When a friend heard her pastor was getting a divorce, she wept.“I was not weeping for their children,” she said. “I was weeping for Christ.” She felt sorrow for the children, but her deepest concern was for the Name of Christ.

Right at the opening of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Holy be thy name,” or, “May your name be honored.” Effective prayers in the Old Testament frequently called upon God to protect the honor of His name. God cannot resist our prayers when our greatest concern is for God’s holy reputation.

King Hezekiah must have understood that. When the king of Assyria sent a terrifying word to him, Hezekiah prayed, “Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God” (Isaiah 37:18, 20).

More than his own survival, Hezekiah wanted God’s name to be honored. As John Oswalt appropriately states, “What happened to Judah was not of ultimate importance; what happened to God’s name mattered to all eternity.”

In Ezekiel 36:20-23, God declared five times that His disobedient people had profaned His holy Name. He promised to give them new hearts and put His Spirit in them, but He  announced: “It is not for your sake...but for the sake of my name.” He must act to salvage His own reputation. God will have a people through whom He can show His holiness. (Ezekiel 36:23).

---Ask God to cleanse His people so others see His holiness in His people. “It is time for you to act, LORD; your law is being broken” (Ps. 119:126).

---Pray that He will give us His deep sorrow when there is immorality, unforgiveness, pride, disunity or any other sin in the Church hurting God’s reputation.

Dear Lord, will You do something for Your Church to restore the fame of Your name? Reveal any prayer I pray that is not wholly for Your glory. Give me a deep hunger for You to be honored. Purify Your Church for Your sake, O Lord!

“Although our sins testify against us, O LORD, do something for the sake of your name. For our backsliding is great; We have sinned against you” (Jeremiah 14:7).

“Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake” (Psalm 79:9).

 

Fire Seekers Week 7: Spirit-guided Praying

Doris wrote that one day in prayer God asked her if she would be willing for Him to use her prayer time according to His choosing. She surrendered to Him, and allowed the Spirit to pray through her. He burdened her to pray earnestly for a family problem. Later the Lord answered and totally resolved her family situation.

In prayer, as in all of our spiritual life, God declares it is "not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit" (Zech. 4:6). Biblical scholar Richard Trench wrote, "We must pray in the Spirit...Do not address yourselves to prayer as to a work to be accomplished in your own natural strength."

When we request what we think is needed and don't trust the Spirit to teach us what to pray, it is as though He says, "You mean well, but I have a higher desire." So before we trust Him to answer our prayer, we trust Him to teach us what to ask. Our prayer may then simply be a heartfelt, "My deepest desire is for You to be glorified in this situation."

If we say our own words, He will let us pray on our own, but if we trust Him to give us His desires, He will do that. The Holy Spirit will deepen our desires when we are asking for what He wants us to request. Then we can pray with faith knowing He will give what we are asking.

Dear Jesus, I trust the Holy Spirit to guide me into the specific prayers that express Your desires. Now as I submit my requests, I trust You to answer in whatever way gives you the greatest glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.

"Pray in the Spirit on all occasions"" (Eph. 6:18).
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God." (Rom. 8:26, 27). 

Fire Seekers Week 6: Extended Praying

Occasionally I ask myself, "Why do I spend extended times in prayer?" and the answer is simply this: "I want what God has to offer more than I want anything else." Andrew Murray reminds us, "If once we really felt that intercession is the most important part of our work--the securing of God's presence and power is our first duty--our hours of work would all be made subordinate to this one thing."

If we hunger to be effective in prayer, the time we spend will be important. E. M. Bounds wrote in Power Through Prayer, "Much time spent with God is the secret of all successful praying. Prayer which is felt as a mighty force is the product of much time spent with God." Even Jesus felt the need for unhurried praying. "...he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12).

The rewards for an extended time alone with God are often greater than we anticipate. Early one January I set aside an afternoon to seek Him. I read the Bible, prayed, and sang. That evening as I sat in our family room, it seemed a blanket of peace covered me. The next day God spoke to me giving me new direction for my life. I knew He was responding to my previous afternoon time of seeking Him.

We can easily set aside time to go shopping or visiting with a friend, but forget God is longing for us. When we choose to give God a block of our time, He notices and responds to our expression of love. "Blessed are they which do hunger...for they shall be filled." Often it's not so much that we don't have the time but that we hunger so little to be in His presence.

Prayer Focus:
Ask God to increase your hunger to spend time with Him. To show Him that you are sincere, plan to give Him a gift of your time--perhaps as much as three hours.

 

Fire Seekers Week 5: United Praying

J. Edwin Orr, speaking at the National Prayer Congress some years ago, said, "There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in concerted united prayer." Perhaps we could say the same for a church. Someone sent me the following portion of a message that their pastor sent to his staff and board:

"We are asking that a group of prayer intercessors begin kneeling in prayer at the altars around 8:45 AM each Sunday morning, surrendering ourselves and this church to God afresh and anew each Sunday morning, and inviting Him to do whatever He wants to do through the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives that day...We are alerting the 'prelude people' that will be playing preludes to be aware of the Holy Spirit's presence as they play--we'll be praying while they play.  

"We believe God has called us to do this--and as people began to do this and the atmosphere becomes charged with the Holy Spirit's presence we believe it will spread and grow and prepare us for true Worship.

"We want such prayer presence and power that it changes people even as they wander in for service! We are calling upon God in these days--we ask you to join us."

A couple months later, here is how one man described their recent Sunday service: "God's presence was very, very real and it was Holy Ground! The Holy Spirit is healing and helping in powerful ways."

God multiplies rewards when we unite! When two or more people come to God with the same desire, their prayer power is not just added together--it's multiplied! Deuteronomy 32:30 speaks of one man chasing a thousand and two putting 10,000 to flight. What a good reason for us to join with even just one other in prayer!

Prayer Focus:
Prayer is where the battle is fought for the spiritual life of the church, and the pastor has the responsibility to lead this battle. Ask God to provide pastors creative and anointed ways to call people to prayer. Pray that God will give the people desire to respond.

Ask God to give you at least one person who will pray with you regularly.

 

Fire Seekers Week 4: Burdened Praying

When I was a teen I had a boy friend who did not meet my mother's approval. She had only one talk with me, but I knew she was giving the Lord no rest about the matter. A few weeks after our conversation, to my surprise, I discovered I was no longer attracted to the guy. Years later I asked her if she had fasted a lot during those days.

"I don't remember if I did much fasting, but I didn't have much appetite to eat," she replied. How grateful I am to her for being willing to allow my need to become her burden and then to intercede until God answered her prayers!

It is easy to sleep through the needs of others around us, just as Jonah did when God told him to go preach to the Ninevites. Trying to ignore God's voice, he got into a boat headed another direction and then "lay down and fell into a deep sleep" (Jonah 1:6).

That is what happens when we turn away from spiritual needs of others. We soon become "asleep" to their condition rather than allowing the Spirit to give us a burden for them.

When a storm came, Jonah was so asleep he didn't even realize there was a problem. The captain was amazed he could sleep in such a desperate time and demanded, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god!"

Could it be that is what others would say to us now if they could speak to us of their hopelessness?

Jonah did get up, but for him to save those with him, meant he had to be willing to die. "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he told the frightened sailors. They did, the sea became calm, and they worshiped Jonah's God.

Until we die to self-interests, those around us will not be rescued. When we are willing to sacrifice time, sleep--whatever burdened prayer requires--others have hope.

Prayer Focus  
Dear Father, have I turned away from the spiritual needs of some You want to put on my heart? Many have no one else who will truly care for them in prayer. Help me to awaken to the desperate needs of those people and situations You want to change if only I allow Your Spirit to express His passion through me. Unless Your Spirit helps me pray, I am unable to take others' burdens as my own. Holy Spirit, pray through me. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Fire Seekers Week 3: Night Time Praying

After hearing various women mention that they were awakening between 3 and 4 a.m. to pray, Carolyn Cofield began Daughters of the Dawn, a 6 a.m. prayer meeting the first Sunday of each month. Women eager to pray gather in a hotel in Kansas City to seek God for their families and their nation.

Through the centuries many have found great value in seeking God in the early morning. One of those is the late T. M. Anderson. One January, Dr. Anderson was suddenly awakened at Midnight. He felt he should sleep a few more hours, but at that moment Jesus asked if he could remain awake long enough to give Him time to talk with him in the quiet hours of the morning. He reminded him that there is a fast in denying ourselves sleep just as there is a fast in abstaining from food.

For five hours Dr. Anderson waited before the Savior in worship and communion. He later felt no weariness from the loss of sleep.

After that nighttime awakening, Dr. Anderson entered into a covenant of prayer with Jesus. The words of Psalm 5:3 formed a part of his covenant: "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord: in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."

Dr. Anderson said, "The hours between midnight and six o'clock in the morning are the most peaceful hours of the entire day...If one has retired at a reasonable time; and the body has rested for a few hours, and the mind has been cleared and relieved of the confusions of the day, then he can prevail with God in prayer, as at no other time. I find the most practical time of the morning is from three o'clock to five.

"In the morning, rising up a great while before day, he [Jesus] went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." (Mark 1:35)

Prayer Focus  
Dear Jesus, teach us to pray when You most want to meet with us. You know our schedules and needs. We are confident that the results of spending the mornings with you will exceed our expectations. Amen.
 

Fire Seekers: Week 2 January 14: Humble Praying

Pastor Ronnie Floyd said, "I am an expert on pride." When God brought major revival to his life, He addressed his pride dramatically. It was a Saturday night in the middle of a long-term fast. After wrestling in bed and unable to sleep, feeling that God was calling him to prayer, he got up about 1:00 a.m. He was lying on the living room floor praying with his Bible open. God led him to Isaiah 57:15 that said, "I live in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the oppressed." In that setting deep brokenness came upon him.  
 
He felt the Holy Spirit said to him, "Ronnie, you are the problem in your church. You are filled with pride."  
 
Since that moment he has never been the same. He commented, "There is nothing more deadly than pride in our lives, and the only cure for pride is humility and brokenness."
 
Humility is the first requirement in successfully praying for revival: "If
my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves ... then I will hear from heaven..." (2 Chron. 7:14).  
 
Will you join me in praying this prayer by Jessie Penn-Lewis asking God to reveal any thought or attitude that we fail to recognize as pride?
 
"Holy Spirit, apply the knife of the cross
         to every bit of the old life in me,
         wherever Thou canst see it;
         in the places where I do not know it,
         especially down deep into secret pride."
 
A Humility Check
God resists the prayers of the proud but He lives with the humble and contrite. (Isa. 57:15). The following questions will assist you in the discipline of humbling yourself. What are your reactions in the following situations? Wrong responses can send up a red flag that the Spirit may use to signal pride at work.  
 
--When we seek to defend truth, do we do it with humility? Paul warned, "Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ," but he said it with tears" (Phil. 3:18).
--Would Jesus say this about me: "Everything they do is done for men to see?" (Matt. 23:5).
--"What happens when I am not given credit for what I have done?"
--"How do I respond when people snub me or refuse to notice me?"
--"Do I look down on others who have less knowledge of Scripture or are less gifted?"
--"Have I, like the Pharisees, come to love the place of honor?"
--"Which would cause me more joy: Knowing that others were gaining spiritual help or that I was being selected to receive a high honor?"
--"Am I unwilling to take advice from those under me?"
--"Do I allow the Holy Spirit to use others' criticism to show me blind spots or do I 'consider the source'?"
 
"Seek the Lord . . . Seek righteousness, seek humility" (Zephaniah 2:3).

Prayer Focus  
Dear Lord, give me grace to allow the Holy Spirit to identify any pride in my own heart. Help me to humble myself so You will hear my prayers for Your visitation in my family, in my church and in my nation. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
 

Fire Seekers: Week 1 January 7: Desperate Praying

A pastor recalled being in a prayer meeting with about 60 powerful intercessors who were earnestly calling out to God. As he listened to them pray for two hours, he thought, They have something I don't.

As he pondered that prayer meeting the next few days, the word "desperation" kept coming to him. These people, desperate for God to answer their prayers, prayed with a fervency his prayers often lacked.

 Desperate Praying Satisfies God. 

     Isaiah, speaking of the Father and His Son, stated, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11 KJV). When we pour out our strong emotion for others, God sees and is satisfied. He is satisfied because it allows Him to answer our prayers.

     "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children" (Isa. 66:8 NKJV). The word "travail" means to "be in anguish." Paul understood this type of praying and wrote to the Galatians, "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you" (4:19).

     When Jesus "approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it" (Luke 19:41). No doubt Jesus is still weeping over our cities, over our churches, and longs for us to share in His weeping.

     Often it will be needs in our own family that teach us to travail in prayer. Hannah prayed desperately because of her inability to bear a child. After weeping and pouring out her heart to the Lord, she reaped her reward. "Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son" (1 Sam.1:20). God answers desperate prayer!

Ask for a Spirit of Supplication    

Although the following verses refer to the Jewish people, the principle remains. Deep mourning for the sinful condition of God's Church will open the fountain of cleansing.

"I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son...

"On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity" (Zech. 12:10, 13:1).

When our cry for revival resembles the mourning and humility described in this verse, the cleansing fountain will be opened for those we pray for.

Will you join me in asking God to pour out a spirit of grace and supplication? Let's unite in asking God for the grace to earnestly cry out for God to cleanse His Church. (The word "supplication" is often translated "cry for mercy.)

Thank You, God, that Your ears are open to desperate praying. I confess, though, that my prayers too often lack fervency. Will You pour out on me and upon all who long for revival a spirit of grace and supplication, a true Spirit-given desperation, so we can pray with great fervency and deep humility? I ask this in the Name of Jesus who is even now praying for us and with us. Amen.

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning”…he relents from sending calamity” (Joel 2:12, 13).