The Right Response in the Season
As we find ourselves continuing in this governmental shut down, political upheaval, and our cities being on fire, we must lean into the most powerful thing we have in this time: our connection and attachment in loving covenant with God expressed through communication, worship, and adoration with and to Him. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency at times to even make my prayer life a work of activism, rather than rest and connection with my loving Father.
Bill Johnson once said, “If I only had 10 minutes to pray, I would spend the first eight in worship.” This statement seems radical until you consider what Jesus said about our prayers:
5 "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:5-13 NKJV)
Our prayers are not about being seen (verse 5), or being eloquent with words (verse 6), rather, they are about connection, relationship and attachment to Papa God, the Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit. Prayer is the natural expression of an intimate relationship. Connection. Attachment. Relationship.
I fondly remember John Wimber saying that prayer was intimate communication with God, and that authority, even in the spirit realm, did not come from knowledge or forceful shouting, but from that very place of restful love.
When I heard him say this, the Church was in a season of rediscovering authority and power, but was rapidly losing sight that power and authority are granted out of ongoing, connected relationship and not simply belief. “…the demons also believe and shudder.” (James 2:19:b NASB). In that time, people were concerned about “right belief”, i.e., knowing the right things, but praying the “right thing” is not nearly as important as being connected with God. I can say all the right things and yet be disconnected in relationship. (See that scripture from James 2:19 again). Relationship, intimacy, connection, and attachment to God was the key issue then as well as now.
Every thing we are about, as individual believers and as a church family at Fusion, is about connection with God in intimacy. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NASB)
Our Sunday mornings continue to be powerful and precious. They afford us the time to be in Papa’s presence. They give us an opportunity to celebrate Him, first and foremost, and then respond to Him, as He loves us in return through prayer, ministry, and the word. The witness I have received from people visiting us for a Sunday or two is always, “We have never experienced anything like this,” and “We haven’t felt God like this in years”, or simply people simply being overwhelmed and tearing up. Never, ever lose our wonder in this. We are blessed to be a people that He has taken residence with. We exist to facilitate this ongoing connection. It is our highest priority, value, and our very culture to do so.
As beautiful, wondrous, and precious as this has been, there is more!
I would like to call us to even deeper prayer. I’m not talking about more time, or more ferverency, however helpful and beneficial both of those may be. Instead, I am asking us to never put a period at the end of our prayer; to pray like breathing. I am asking us to speak with Him early and often, as a forethought rather than an afterthought. I am calling us to make prayer the court of first resort, rather than the court of last resort. Talk about everything, yes, including the weather. Let your heart be focused laser-like on Him in the midst of your day. Share with Him everything you are experiencing, thinking and doing. Invite Him to accompany you and ask where He wants you to accompany Him. Then, unload your cares, personally, for your family and friends, for our church family, our nation, and for the earth. Experience the mind and spirit altering beauty of intimate communication with God.
Oh, and leave them there. Let His grace-filled genius, answer with solutions and peace.
I am near the end part of an extended fast from social media. For accountability’s sake, I only get on to respond to what’s happening with the church, and to wish a few people happy birthday. I have gone through withdrawls, ache, and the moments where I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, to my shock and chagrin. Needless to say, for me this was necessary. It has brought clarity, and, as one sister said to me last Sunday, a new kind of purity. I have curtailed my news input, my interaction with just about everything outside of the basics (bill paying, etc.) and just focused on Him.
For you, it might be something different. If there is something that you could lay down and subsequently embrace Him, then I encourage you to do so. We are in the beginnings of an unprecedented season, which calls for extraordinary measures in receiving His grace and kindness. It is more alertness in the midst of rest, rather than striving and trying to discipline oneself. It is replacing the insecurity and labor of religion with the surety and ardor of pursuing a Lover who has loved us first.
We are called to explore the mysteries of His love for us and make them known. As Graham Cooke has said, “Our main job is to simply let the world see how well-loved we are.”
Seize today. Be open to encounters with Him. Let your thoughts flow to Him and pray for one another, especially those who cannot join us physically. Reach out and love everywhere, it is your natural state. Joy flows from this kind of life: (John 16:24 NASB)
"24 Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
Do you see it? Our prayers flow from connection and were meant to be answered in that intimate connection so that joy would be overflowing.
There is so much more I want to say, but for now, let’s “lean back in the loving arms of a beautiful Father.”
Excuse me. I have an appointment to keep with the Lover of my soul...