Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Watch With Me" - the Lost Art of Intercession.

I was reading through the previous few pieces of writing that I have done and meditating on the exciting passion for the restoration of God's House, the glorious end-time church, and I suddenly felt a little tug - how will it come about? Are we to sit idly by and wait for God to sort His own business out? Or does heaven actually indeed wait with bated breath for saints on earth to pray?

Mahesh Chavda wrote: "Prayer is the backbone of the Church ... the Lord is speaking a new word about an old word. The old word is: "Pray!". The new word is: "Pray corporately!". The Lord is opening our eyes to this simple truth: Prayer is where everything begins and ends in the realm of the Spirit".

Two of my greatest living heroes; Terry Virgo and Stanley Jebb are both so, because they are men of prayer. I have suddenly realised that when I am in their presence and hear them pray, I am not only standing on extremely holy ground but that I am also listening intently to what they pray - because it is an outstanding teaching opportunity. Two of my favourite quotes of Terry Virgo came while he was praying. I wonder if he would even remember saying them! The first one was when he was praying at the Brighton Leaders Conference 2002. He prayed:

"Let our Doctrines adorn our Name".

The second was when he was praying at Church of Christ the King, Brighton. He said:

"Your Desire to Bless Us Exceeds Even Our Desire to Know You".

I don't think you can become men of prayer overnight, like these two heroes. I think it takes a lifetime of intense and deep communion with the Lord! And I have no doubt they would be the first to claim that they have had their mornings when they have overslept or been "not in the mood" - but their testimony speaks volumes now. I want to learn from them!

Then secondly along the same theme, I was up this morning reading the Word (no I wasn't up at 5 o clock!! And no I'm not going to say when I was up!!) and I found this breathtaking passage, from Numbers.

(Numbers 16:44-49) "And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, "Get away from among this congregation that I may consume them instantly". Then they fell on their faces. And Moses said to Aaron, "Taken your censor and put it in fire from the altar and lay incense on it, and then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them for wrath has gone forth from the Lord, and the plague has begun!". Then Aaron took it as Moses had spoken and ran into the midst of the assembly for behold, the plague had begun among the people. And he took his stand between the living and the dead so that the plague was checked".

“Do you hear? Do you see? My anger burns against my moribund church. I had such hopes, such dreams, such visions for My People yet there they sit week after week - a lifeless people. My people squabble like children over lifeless pools of stagnant water - when I have provided a torrent of fresh Living water! My people stubbornly block their ears when the fresh bread of My Word lies on the desert week after week, yet they wrestle, fight and squabble over diseased, mouldy old bread that came from years hence! I tell you this; a plague has gone out among My people and I move among them - ready to remove their lampstands and extinguish their lights. Their crimes are too great. How I wish that the doors of their meeting halls would be shut! I am sick of their pious worship. Even as they lift their faces to Me, they sneak subtle glances around to ensure that noone else is exceeding them in outward manifestation. Shut the doors! Silence them! Let them die! I've had enough!

Yet I tell you this - My mercy shines like the morning day star, just as potently as My anger is burning like the fires of Hades itself. Just one glance - just one look from My people and I will stay My hand. But they do not look. So I am moving! I am calling! I look for a man who will stand between the living and the dead and will halt Me, who will arrest My attention by that sweet adorable aroma of costly worship rising on the fumes of the fires of My Spirit. Is there a man? I call you - will you answer the call? Do you remember where the censor is? Do you remember what the incense smells like? Is the fire still burning? I told you it mustn't be extinguished - have you been tending the fire that I lit when I poured My Spirit out upon you? Seize the censors My priests - anoint them with incense and run to stand before Me. I promise you - that smell will be sweet to Me. I will hear your cries and will listen to your petitions - for know this! My Son still stands! Radiant! Glorious as the noon day sun! And His cries and prayers will match yours! Are you going to answer the call? Will you become priests who will stand alone for Me? Hear Me, answer Me, My heart beats with excitement, thrill to see if you will answer My call", says your God.

There is a divine response to our uplifted fire and incense-filled prayer:

"Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord's house". (2 Chronicles 7:1-2).

I don't know about you - but I'd LOVE that to be my church on Sunday!! I can't actually enter because the glory of the Lord had filled the house!!


SJ said...

Wow awesome post and awesome call to prayer. Thanks for that. Oh so true - have we neglected intercession and let the fires of the prayer meetings grow dim in the light of our bickering over spiritual gifts?

Have we called the watch of the Lord off because we think we have nothing to watch for? Because after all if you don't believe in revival and the coming of the Lord like a flood then why keep watch?

Yes - yes I hear this call and answer it. We must get back into the practice of knowing how to speak with our God, how to commune with Him, how to give Him no rest!

Anonymous said...

Who got and gave that prophecy after the text from Numbers?

Baxter's Boy said...

Oh it was just something I felt God was saying while I was mediating on the Scripture.

ollie boy said...

Tis v v interesting. Soaked full of Scripture and so in line with the heartbeat of God and His Word.

Stewart Potts said...

Knowing you to be an avid resurrectionist, and suspicous of those who you don't think emphasise that enough, i thought you might be interested in this quote by J. Knox Chamblin from his book, "Paul and the Self: Apostolic Teaching for Personal Holiness."

"His gospel is "the word of the cross" (1 Cor. 1:17-18); nowhere is there a comparable reference to "the word of the resurrection." In 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 it is "Christ crucified" who is identified as "the power of God and the wisdom of God," not, as might have [been] expected (especially in the case of "power"), Christ resurrected...

Both the cross and the resurrection of Christ are "of first importance" in Paul's gospel (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Unless Christ has risen from the dead, the preaching of the cross ( and of the resurrection) is a watse of time (1 Cor 15:14); but once the resurrection has occured, the cross remains central."

Baxter's Boy said...

That is interesting. Thanks. I haven't heard of Knox Chamblin before. I like that title you gave me though; "Avid Resurrectionist".

Baxter's Boy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hmm Dan the "Avid Resurrectionist" eh!?! I do like it!! But back to the issue under discussion. I think that a very vital thing has been touched upon here. That our generation has indeed forgotten something that men like Terry Virgo and Stanley Jebb grasped - that we must be people of prayer and that we are nothing more or less than what we are on our knees before God in prayer.

And that renewal after renewal has faded and not become revival because we have just enjoyed the "party" and not grasped that surely the whole point of it is that we get to see the back of our God. Didn't Terry say: "The whole issue is that I might KNOW Him?".

Lets stop abandoning and marginalising the prayer meetings and get on our knees again.

Baxter's Boy said...

On the "Avid Resurrectionist" note, I found a comment in the following blog which suggests I'm not alone in thinking these things through. The guy said:

"Where does the resurrection fit into all of the discussion around the "cross".

I remember that John MacArthur wrote a paper many years ago titled "Don't forget the Resurrection".

The thought being that the "gospel" takes into account the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. While the cross only focuses on his death - though many would say that the cross is symbolic of his entire life and death. Paul, in Philippians, says that he wants to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and in other passages he references the cross.

We are not really going anywhere with this discussion other than to think through how to best convey the whole message of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. Maybe the "gospel" is a better term to encompass the whole picture".


Baxter's Boy said...

And I just found the paper that the gentleman was referring to. "Don't Forget the Resurrection" by John MacArthur:

It's excellent!

Don said...

Thanks, Dan, for shining a light on the Resurrection and providing those links. Perhaps the Spirit is doing something interesting today: at a time when people don't even know the definition of "sin" (and it's my conviction that Christians shouldn't even use the word "sin" with unbelievers unless we *explain* the biblical meaning of the word and its implication for them), and when Christians ourselves take sin lightly, maybe the Spirit sees a real need for focusing attention on what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

(The danger, as you have noted and I have witnessed, is that some people become cross-idolaters and forget that Jesus requires faith in Himself, not His cross, for salvation -- the message in John's gospel to the Jews was their need to transfer faith *from* the tool of Moses' law *to* the person of Jesus, in order to attain eternal life through a *personal relationship* with God. How little discussion there can be of Jesus Himself, when a speaker gets enraptured by The Cross! How little focus on what *He* did, who *He* is and is doing now by His Spirit, when a speaker gets enthralled by what He did for ME ME ME! though the *only* reason for His sacrifice was to bring humans back to God, and not *as well* to "destroy the works of the devil" (1 Jn 3:8, Heb 2:14) and speak clearly of God's mercy and justice to the entire heavenly host and creation itself! (Satan rebelled against God *before* Creation occurred.) I'm so thankful God didn't allow that wood to survive to this day, and so become a physical idol of worship for the last 2,000 years.)

Maybe next, then, will be the Spirit's focusing attention on the assurance of forgiveness of sins demonstrated by God *accepting* Jesus' sacrifice by raising Him from the dead -- how can the intellect alone explain and grasp that?! -- and then, by focusing on the Ascension as the beginning of the unveiling of the *Spirit's ministry* in power and revelation on the Earth (which involved a serious call to 24-7 prayer and fasting before Pentecost).

And regarding anyone's fear of losing a focus on Jesus, when working intimately with the Spirit in power today: I'm so glad Luke wrote (in Acts 16:7) that "...the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to," and Paul wrote (in Phil 1:19) of thanks for "the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ...." These passages show plainly that the 1st century church understood that the Holy Spirit is *continuing* the work of Jesus on the Earth today, and that, as Jesus said, the Spirit "take[s] from what is Mine and make[s] it known to you." (Jn 16:15). They eagerly partnered with the Spirit in His work, knowing they were continuing their *experiential* (not doctrinal!) relationship with Jesus in that way, and not minimizing Him as they preached and demonstrated the power of a Jesus-focused gospel.

arnt1990 said...

How can you have Jebb as a hero. A self obsessed power crazy man whose ambition, pretty much fulfilled in Dunstable, was to have a cult with himself at its centre. I have a small life ruined by his suffocating 'shepherding' and I will never forget or forgive what he did to me