The pastor who is not praying is playing.
The people who are not praying are straying.
We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few prayers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters.
Failing here, we fail everywhere.”
Obedience in everything, even in the least, surrendering up our wills and taking the will of God.
And the next step is purity. God wants pure vessels for His service, clean channels through which to pour forth His grace. He wants purity in the very centre of the soul, and unless God can have a pure vessel, purified by the fire of the Spirit, He cannot use that vessel.
He is asking you now if you will let Him cleanse away part of your very life. God must have a clean vessel He can use.”
Excerpt from Praying Hyde: A Challenge to Prayer
In the secret of His presence
How my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
Which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me,
Neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me,
To the secret place I go
When my soul is faint and thirsty,
’Neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter,
And a fresh and crystal spring;
And my Savior rests beside me,
As we hold communion sweet;
If I tried, I could not utter
What He says when thus we meet.
Only this I know: I tell Him
All my doubts and griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens!
And my drooping soul He cheers;
Do you think He ne’er reproves me?
What a false friend He would be,
If He never, never told me
Of the sins which He must see.
Would you like to know that sweetness
Of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow;
This shall then be your reward;
And whene’er you leave the silence
Of that happy meeting-place,
By the Spirit bear the image
Of the Master in your face.
Ellen Lakshmi Goreh, 1853
Do you look back at all the times when you were alone with Him in His presence? When He had called to you “Come away” with Him and you hearkened His voice and went?
Do you have a “secret place…in the clefts of the rock
Where He can see your face,
Where He can hear your voice;” ? (see SoS 2:14)
Do you remember those times when you sat at His feet and wept?
When you sat there like Mary and learned of Him…?
When He shared Himself with you and He was revealed…?
When your eyes were opened to His beauty and glory…?
When He unfolded the work He has for you…?
Do you have a golden thread running through the tapestry of your life?
Times that you look back on with almost painful joy….
When the household was dark and quiet, asleep, but you were there on your knees wrapped up in the glories of heaven, tears streaming down your face?
All those times in the dark quietness of the prayer closet, where your roots went down deep. Where you were established. Where nobody else saw.
Only your Creator.
It is those times spent with God, where nobody else sees – where if you were to try to describe it to another that words just woudn’t do justice – that is the place where your relationship with Jesus is rooted and established, like the roots of a tree. That is where true Holy Ghost ministry is born. That is where His life is imparted to you and to me.
A secret history with God is necessary first to establish roots in each of us. Once the root system has been established below in the dark then the tree is able to begin its slow emergence up into the sunshine. This is the realm where others can see the result, or the fruit, of the work of the unseen deep.
“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls…” Psalm 42:7
The result of your time spent alone with God.
Get alone with God.
Spend time with Him. Don’t count the minutes.
Just be unhurried…
The secret is unhurried prayer.
God bless you friend.
It was in my prayer closet – my daughter’s bedroom.
A hairbrush was my microphone, the Lord Jesus my audience.
Just me and Him.
I wept and pleaded for sinners to turn to God, to flee from the wrath that is to come. I preached my heart out, to Him.
Then I fell on my face and wept and wept. I was under the anointing and I knew He was pleased.
Mind you, it took a long time to get me to even this point. First there was the call to preach years before, then sometime later He commissioned me with Isaiah 40.
Both of these occurred when I was alone with Him in my prayer closet.
The commissioning was terrifying. I was so scared that I was shaking and ran out to my husband crying “God has just commissioned me! But I don’t know what for!” I was almost too scared to ever return to the prayer closet again. Both times I knew He was calling me to something but I did not have a clear picture of what it was.
He had asked me “Will you feed the multitudes?” and I had said yes, but at the time I didn’t understand what that meant.
Then came the dreams and “visions”. One dream was of me standing on a box in the CBD of the city and preaching God’s coming judgment, warning people in suits to flee from the wrath that is to come.
Another dream was of hell. It so terrified me that in my dream I awoke and ran to my front door crying out “I have to warn people not to go there!”
There was the “vision” of me preaching during the day in the city with a certain huge guy standing next to me, almost as a bodyguard. (This was fulfilled last year).
Then I actually began going out to the street, Friday nights into the city. I didn’t preach for probably a year though. I spoke with people, prayed with them, handed out tracts. The pastor I went with kept encouraging me to preach but I’d say “No, no, I couldn’t”.
Meanwhile Jesus was training me in my prayer closet. He was having me preach to Him. Sometime around this time I discovered two other occurrences of God’s similar training methods:
- One was in Angus Buchan’s biography. This book details how God also first taught him to preach in his prayer closet, the cornfield. He would stand in the back of his truck and preach to the corn stalks.
- The other occurrence was David Wilkerson. Before he went to the streets of New York God had him walk the fields around his home and pray and prophesy to the trees.
My first night of street-preaching, actually on the street, eventually arrived. I can’t remember why this particular night I said “Yes” when the pastor asked me to preach, but I did.
I got up there, terrified, microphone in one hand, Bible in the other. I deliberately held the open Bible two inches from my face as I read it so nobody could see me and I couldn’t see them. I read out John 3:16. Someone said “Amen” as they walked past me, then I turned the microphone off.
That was it.
That was all I could manage at the time. But I have been trained since, and I am still being trained.
And it was the Lord who trained me.
He trained me in the school of the prayer closet. He trained me by the Holy Spirit, through tears and through prayer. He taught me that when I preach I am to preach to Him. Even on the streets. Even surrounded by crowds. It is Him I am preaching to, it is Him.
I felt to write this today. It is the season of Pentecost and I feel it is for someone in particular to read, so I pray that this will bless, encourage and inspire whoever it is for.
In Jesus’s wonderful Name, Amen.
Many times I said it. Even though I had always read the Bible, even from a young child. I read it a lot. I memorized verses even. I believed it was truth, I believed it was the Word of God. And over and over God used His Word to teach me and to speak to me.
But I didn’t love it.
I certainly didn’t desire to read it or look forward to reading it. I did it because I knew it was the “right” thing to do.
Then one day I watched that old “Jesus” movie…. In it Jesus picks up the scroll of the Old Testament in the Temple preparing to read from it. But before he reads Isaiah 61 he kisses the scroll. That simple act convicted me.
I blurted to the Lord in almost desperation: “Jesus, I love You, but I don’t love Your Word. Not like that.”
I knew I loved Jesus. I loved Him with my whole heart and soul and mind and strength. I could see that “in the volume of the book it is written of Him”, I knew that Jesus is the Word made flesh. And it didn’t make sense to me. If He really is the Word made into human flesh, and if I really loved Him, how could I not love His Word as well?
Well of course there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t make myself love it nor desire it.
Actually, there was one thing I could do – and that was to be honest with Him about it.
So I was. I just kept telling the Lord what was in my heart.
“Lord I love You but I don’t love Your Word.”
Then gradually my prayers began to change : “Lord, give me a love for your Word. Make it real to me.”
It took some time, but one day I realized that I could honestly say that I now loved His Word. And I still do. I LOVE it. I desire to read it. I can’t wait to find more treasures in it. I can’t wait to discover my Jesus concealed in the pages of the Old Testament and find His beauty and grace revealed in the New Testament. I love reading the apostles revelations and teachings in the epistles. I often cry as I read it now, I am so blessed with this wonderful, old Book. There is nothing like it.
So what’s the difference now? The Book certainly hasn’t changed.
No, the difference is that now the Holy Spirit is bringing life where before there was death.
This principle is true not only with reading the Word of God, but with everything in the Christian life – doctrine, preaching, church meetings, worship, fellowship, prayer, giving to the poor… it can all be dry and lifeless. It may all be cold, dead duty, ritual or tradition with no life in it if it’s done in the power of the flesh.
Without the Spirit of life breathing His life into something, anything, there is in fact, a ministration of death. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, so when He is in something – whether it is prayer, reading the Word, preaching- there is reality there. There is Life. It rings true to us, it ministers life to us and we are changed by it.
A long, eloquent prayer may bring death…. If there’s no anointing of the Spirit.
A sermon with all the right doctrine may minister death to the hearers…. If it’s not infused with the life of the Spirit.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not an added bonus or extra in the life of a believer – His ministry of Life is essential. As Watchman Nee said “We either minister life or death. There’s nothing in between.”
Let us pray for the reality of the life of the Holy Spirit in every part of our lives, worship and ministries.
God bless you!
In Jesus and the Altar of Incense we saw that the Altar itself is a type of Christ, pointing the way to Him.
|Old Testament Shadow||New Testament Reality in Jesus||The Church’s Application|
|It was made of a delicate blend of four different spices. Each spice had to be of equal quantity, exactly balanced.||Jesus Christ is the One in whom is perfectly balanced grace and truth, holiness and love, righteousness and mercy.||Christ lives His holy life through the Church, as His Body. “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”|
|Each spice had to be crushed to a fine powder before it was added to the incense.||Christ was “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities”. He was smitten, stricken, crushed. His perfect, sinless life poured out.||This points to “death to self”, the humbling of the believer.|
|Salt was added to the incense – salt is a seasoning and a preserver||Salt points to the holiness of Christ and the flavor of His life.||The Church is the salt of the earth –a preserving agent.|
|The incense was burned on the altar in front of the Ark of the Testimony.||Christ went through the fire of affliction in His sufferings and ultimately His death on the cross.||Our faith is tried by the fire of affliction and suffering.|
|The incense sent up a sweet perfume which entered the veil into the Holy of Holies, surrounding the Ark of the Testimony.||Christ’s sinless life of obedience was as a sweet perfume unto God. Christ has entered the veil and has made the way open for us too through His shed blood.||We are now able to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”|
|Aaron was to burn the incense in the morning and the evening when he also attended the lamps.||“As Christ ministers to the Church interceding for His own, He trims the wicks of the lamps and supplies the oil of the Spirit.”(1)||We are to pray in the Holy Spirit. “Prayer is the key for the day, the lock for the night” Corrie Ten Boom|
|No strange incense was to be offered on the altar, nor was anyone to make for themselves the incense. It was to be holy to God.||Points to Jesus being the only Way to the Father, there is no other Name under heaven whereby man can be saved.||It’s only through faith in Christ that we are saved. We are to have no other gods before Him. We are to pray in Jesus’ Name.|
|The incense was to be “perpetual…before the Lord”.||Points to Jesus as our High-Priest “who ever lives to make intercession for us.”||We are commanded to “pray without ceasing”. Our life is to be a perpetual prayer unto the Lord.|
The Golden Censer
“Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die” Leviticus 16:12-13
|Old Testament Shadow||New Testament Reality in Jesus and the Church|
|On the Day of Atonement the High Priest brought a golden censer full of fire and a handful of incense into the Most Holy Place. He put the incense on the fire in front of the Ark so that the cloud of incense covered the mercy seat. He then sprinkled the blood of the sin offering upon the mercy seat.||The mercy seat is a picture of Christ Himself. The sprinkled blood points to Christ’s shed blood. The censer of incense is significant of Christ taking the prayers of His people within the veil to God’s presence, on the basis of His shed blood. Read also Revelation 8:1-5|
Incense is simply an Old Testament shadow or type of prayer and intercession. God is no longer interested in the shadows or types, but rather in the eternal realities to which these shadows point.
He is extremely interested in the prayer and intercession of His Church. For the life of a believer to be truly saturated in prayer is well-pleasing to God.
“Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18
- Page 49, The Tabernacle of Moses, Kevin J Conner