Prayer is not an event, it’s a lifestyle!

kneeling_in_prayerPrayer is becoming the core instinct of my life. It’s my first response and my last thought. Prayer is something I have learned as a result of being positioned time and time again in situations where I had nothing else to rely upon except God.

Prayer is 2 way communication with God. It’s both talking and listening. It’s a dialogue, not just a monologue. Prayer is partnering with God. If we don’t, he won’t. God is sovereign but history recalls that he does limit himself to our prayers at times.

If there was one primary principle to accessing the supernatural power of God in my life, it’s daily prayer. The secret of the great generals of the faith throughout the ages has been the daily commitment to getting in God’s face and calling upon his name.

Prayer is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. Prayer is oxygen to our spirit. It is the air we breathe, not just the gasp we take when drowning under the pressures of life. Prayer is the supply line to the front lines of the spiritual battles we face in our lives. Paul said, ‘We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers of darkness in the heavenly realm (Eph 6).’ If the enemy can cut off the supply line to the front line, he can limit the firepower needed to overcome him.

The one concern of the devil is to stop Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayer-less toil, prayer-less study or prayer-less ministry. He laughs at our efforts, mocks at our wisdom but he trembles when we pray.

Prayer unveils and reveals. Prayer accesses God’s heart and mind giving you insight into His remedies to combat the challenges you face. With all of these benefits why wouldn’t you want to make prayer more central in your life?

A.W. Tozer once said, ‘The greatest key to prayer is simply praying.’

For all of our books on prayer, sermons about prayer and exhortations to pray, there comes a point when you simply must sit still and start praying.

Nothing will replace it and nothing compares to it. Prayer is multi-dimensional. Prayer is worship. Prayer is conversation. Prayer is fellowship with the Spirit. Prayer is clarifying. Prayer purges your soul of impurities. Prayer relaxes the body and stimulates your mind. Prayer unlocks the supernatural realm. Prayer is woven into the fabric of humanity and prayer is the master-key to relationship with God. It’s time to pray!

The Oracle!

The Goal of Ministry!

Over a decade ago I began the journey of full-time ministry, failing to realise that as a follower of Christ, I was already in full-time ministry. Every single Christian is called to Ministry (Eph 4:11-16), every single Christian is gifted for ministry (1 Cor 12:7) and every single Christian can find enjoyment in their ministry (Ecc 2:24). However, unless you understand the goal and purpose of your ministry, you will never fulfill the point of it.

Colossians 1:24-29 is a key passage that points us to the goal of our ministry. Some of the key themes found within it are:

  1. God uses suffering as a means to advance the goal of ministry (v24)
  2. God’s called you to be a steward of the ministry he’s entrusted to you (v25)
  3. The mystery is fulfilled in Jesus Christ in us, the hope of glory (v26-27)
Paul brings us to verse 28 which is the crescendo of the text and outlines to us the GOAL of Ministry:
“Him, we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone, with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
The GOAL of ministry is to present everyone mature in Christ. In between justification and glorification, there is this precious labor of love called sanctification. Some pastors and believers are only focused on the justification of the saints or even the glorification of the saints but Paul says, the goal of ministry is presenting everyone mature in Christ. This is discipleship 101.
The problem with some of our current approach to ministry is that we feel so overwhelmed by secularism, that we want to make Jesus look so cool, so badly and be liked by everyone that instead of aiming our ministry at presenting everyone mature in Christ, we get distracted by party tricks to get people in the door and once we get them in the door, we have no idea what we’re going to do with them.
If the goal of ministry is attracting a crowd only and getting a temporary bunch of decisions, then party tricks will work in the short-term but Jesus didn’t say GO and make converts, he said, GO and make disciples… this is the process of maturation in Christ and where there is no maturing in Christ, something is wrong in our approach to ministry.
Paul outlines to us how we are to go about the GOAL of presenting everyone mature in Christ: There are 3 key actions emphasized in this passage:
  1. Our ministry must be Christ-centered – It’s Jesus we proclaim because Jesus is the hero of the story from Genesis to Revelation.
  2. Our ministry must warn people of the consequences of sin – Romans 6:23 reminds us that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. If our ministry removes the doctrine of sin then what need has anyone to be saved.
  3. Our ministry must teach people to grow in Christ – We must be an example in our teaching and lifestyle of the re-prioritizing of kingdom values instead of worldly values.
I encourage you to not serve up a diet of candy, pizza, coke and cheeseburgers to attract a listening. This won’t truly serve them but instead nourish people’s souls with what will produce the full measure and stature of Christ in their lives.
Grace! 

Assurance, Not Guidance!

I’ve discovered that guidance from God is not always what we need. More often than not we know what God’s will is but what we need to complete it is assurance from God that he will be with us.

This is no more true than for Gideon after God called him to strike down the Midianites. The Lord said to Gideon, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor… Go in your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” Gideon said, “How shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manessah, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely, I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”

Gideon has an initial conversation with God and then goes on a journey of giving God his final response. On a personal level Gideon feels much like us when asked by God to complete his will, he feels inadequate, insecure and lacking in confidence. When God issues a call to us, it raises our insecurities to the surface but this is a necessary part of our training to complete God’s will for us.

The very thing we think disqualifies us to answer God’s call (our weakness) is the very reason why we have been chosen, so we don’t confuse God’s glory with our ability.

Gideon knew the will of God but he puts out a fleece, not to get guidance but to get reassurance from God that he was in fact called to do what God had asked him to do. Why would someone who knows the will of God need a fleece to double-check? The fleece had nothing to do with finding God’s will and everything to do with his own poor self-image. Gideon wasn’t seeking guidance, he was asking for reassurance.

When it comes to our own calling, what we need most, is not more direction but reassurance that we are the one’s to fulfill it. Reassurance is a key part of Gods intention for us. When he commits us to impossible situations He knows that it will throw us into a crisis of self-confidence. It is in these moments that God will answer our insecurities with confirmation that he is with us and that he has called us to head in a certain direction.

Insight!