Make a Prayer Book From A Dollar Store Photo Album – with GIVEAWAY!

When I first went to IHOPKC in 2012 for the One Thing Internship, one of our leaders, Vanessa, taught us all how to make a prayer book with a cheap 4″ x 6″ photo album and index cards. I’ve been using and tweaking her method for years, and I really love it!

I have mine broken up into a weekly schedule with verses that I can pray for different topics, but feel free to make this project your own in any way you think will help you pray more regularly and with better focus.

Materials:

4″ x 6″ photo album

4″ x 6″ index cards

Both of these can usually be found at Dollar Tree.

Step One: Plan Your Topics

Decide how you want to use your book and plan your topics. Do you want to have a lot of broad topics in your book and rotate through them once a week? Do you want a few specific topics you can pray every day?

When I recently reorganised my prayer book, I made a very messy list of prayer points which I grouped into categories, then crossed out and regrouped, then scheduled by day. I decided to pray for The Prayer Room every day, a small subsection of my family every day, and a handful of my ministry partners every day. I’ll also pray for a different broad topic each day.

Write a schedule grid on an index card, and slip it into the front page of your book.

Note: As an intercessory missionary, I have a lifestyle of being in the prayer room at least four hours a day, six days a week. That gives me a LOT of time to pray through my topics. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! The times I’ve used my prayer book the least was when I packed it so full of different topics that I got overwhelmed. Ask the Holy Spirit what He’s asking you to carry daily, weekly, or maybe just whenever you think of it. This should be a blessing, not a burden!!

Step Two: Write Your Topics

Each topic gets its own index card. Write the topic at the top (along with the day of the week, if you’re doing that), then underneath list some specific prayer points within that topic.

Depending on how broad your topic is, your prayer points may be very broad or narrow. For example, my “Justice” topic is very broad, and my points under that are abortion, sex trafficking, racial reconciliation, etc. But when my topic is more narrow, such as my daily topic of praying for The Prayer Room, the prayer points are much more specific and will probably change pretty often as different needs arise.

Step Three: Write Out Your Verses

This is probably my favourite part of my prayer book. Next to every prayer topic, I have a prayer from Scripture that I want to use when I pray for that topic. These verse cards are very easy to pull out and move around if I want to use that verse for a different topic one day. I even have extra verses in my book that float around between topics.

Praying the Word is sooo valuable. It launches us into partnership with God because we know we’re praying things that He already wants to do! Praying Scripture has absolutely revolutionised my prayer life, and I’m going to boldly say that your prayer book is incomplete without the verses.

Almost all of my verses are from this list HERE of apostolic prayers found in Scripture. A longer list can be found HERE.

Step Four: Assemble Your Book

Now, put the index cards in the book in an order that makes sense to you. Be sure to intersperse your verses with your topics so that you always see them together and can easily pray from Scripture.

Step Five: Add Other Pictures/Postcards

I like to put other pictures and postcards that prompt me to pray in my book. (Whoa, aliteration much?) I have prayer postcards from missionaries, postcards of places I care about, and also pictures of my family and headers from church bullitens. You can also stick in any fun pictures, quotes, or anything at all that inspires you to enjoy prayer. (I maaay have a few inspiriational Dove chocolate wrappers tucked in those photo sleeves!)

There you go! Keep this with your Bible and journal and make it part of your regular secret place time, or keep it wherever you know will help you ACTUALLY PRAY. That’s the point, after all. A model is only helpful to the degree it helps us actually connect with God. I like to pace while I pray, and I love that this book fits easily in my hand, can be folded backwards without damage, and can be stuck under my arm while I’m pacing and praying.

This book can and probably will change freqently, depending on the topics God puts on your heart, the amount of time you want to spend with it, etc. That’s okay! Figure out what works for you, and when it no longer works, try something else.

GIVEAWAY!

I’m going to make this very simple. I bought two photo albums and two packs of index cards at Dollar Tree yesterday. If you want to try this prayer book method, email me at fragrancearise@gmail.com with your mailing address! The first two people will get the materials in the mail to make your own prayer book!

Special Blog from Brad Stroup: The Path to Revival

Brad does not often post blogs, though as the director of The Prayer Room he does have a blog page on our website where you can find some old blog posts. But in the aftermath of Revive Texas, there were a few things on his heart he felt strongly enough about to post and ask urgently to be read and considered by the Church. I’ve felt similarly looking around at what’s happened in DFW the past few months, and I asked Brad’s permission to share his blog post here with you.

The Path to Revival

Brad Stroup

For those who are unaware of all of the details regarding to the recent 50 day initiative of reviveTX, this post is a thought through assessment of what transpired, what could have been, and what I believe needs to happen now.  To begin with, there were 350 some congregations in the DFW area that committed to be part of reviveTX (that represents well over 100,000 believers).  Outreaches then commenced 6 days a week for 50 days from locations all over the Metroplex.  Nearly 6000 teams went out to share the gospel (though the total number of individuals represented probably only included 1,000-2,000 locals).  I would estimate that over $2,000,000 was sowed into our region for all the collective efforts and needs of reviveTX to see the work go forth.  I would estimate that the net result was that some figure over 3000 people gave their lives to Jesus for the first time.  The tireless efforts of the Time to Revive team (mostly from out of town) and a few hundred locals that really poured their heart and soul into pulling this off was inspiring.  I’m grateful for every miracle, every salvation and blessing that came forth during the wonderful days of reviveTX and I am thankful to call all of these fine people my friends and co-laborers now.

All of that sounds encouraging, but now that reviveTX has come and gone I think it’s time for some real talk, some self assessment and for us as Church to take a long look at what really happened and what needs to.  Why did only about 1% get invovled and what would have happened if even 25% of the churches that said they were on board would have actually particatipated?  What if just 10% of the Church in DFW would have been engaged in what God was doing, in this gift He was giving our region?

If we learned anything from the 50 days of reviveTX it’s that DFW isn’t ready to see a revival yet.  While we say that we want revival in our city, I think that these are yet vain words that do not reflect the true state of the Church in our region.  We are all entitled to our opinion, and mine, as an intercessor that’s been praying for revival in DFW for the past 10+ years, is that we were just given the single greatest opportunity for partnership in a genuine move of God that this city has ever seen and where God was showing us unprecented favor and salvations were happening everywhere the gospel went and we allowed it to pass us by.  We showed a complete lack of discernment, it seems that we were disinterested in what God wanted to do, we were unresponsive to the invitation, and the window of opportunity came and went and barely anyone noticed.

To me this says a lot about where the Church of DFW is really at spiritually right now; while it may not necessarily be indicative of extreme immaturity it really did make our priorities clear and I believe reflects a real lack of understanding of how the Kingdom of God operates.  It showed that the Church in our region is made up of individuals that as a whole right now have not died to self yet.  Overall we are unperceptive about what God wants to do in our city through His Church and we are not able to discern even revival when it is right in front of us.  We lack significantly in the area of spiritual hunger and we are totally unwilling to pay any price to see things change because there is a complacent satisfaction with the way that things are.

These statements are tough, but they are not meant as a condemnation on us; rather I want to give an accurate assessment of where things are in the hopes that we might evolve.  I have great pain in my heart about these things, I feel that I am part of the problem and I am willing to take responsibility for my lethargy (severe lack of spiritual hunger) and prayerlessness (severe lack of corporate prayer gatherings) that I believe to be the real root of our problem.  I’m not angry with the Church in our region, just the opposite; I am jealous to see us shine in the fullness of what God has for us.  I am perhaps saddened by our current reality, but far more than sad I am invigorated to find solutions so that things are no longer permitted to remain this way.

I think it is unrealistic to think that a Church that doesn’t hunger would respond to an invitation for more.  I think that the reason that DFW didn’t respond to the incredible invitation of reviveTX is that we really aren’t hungry for God.  Taking some additional ownership here, I think that the default spiritual climate is always going to be lethargy in Western Culture because of our affluence and abundance and that rarely would any Western city have a real driving spiritual hunger unless war had been declared on that lethargy from the place of corporate unified prayer.  We aren’t hungry because we aren’t praying.  It all actually makes a lot of sense to me; I don’t like where we are but I feel that I understand it and that there is a clear prescription for how to change things.

I see a clear lack of hunger and while that would not be universally true of every believer in DFW, I believe that it is a reflection of the vast majority; we are simply too comfortable and self focused to care about moving the Kingdom of God forward at the moment.  I think that it all starts back at prayer which holds an irreplaceable part in this equation and which I believe to be the first element that must be firmly in place in order to see things change.  If the Church will not pray then the Church will not take the following steps in partnership with revival either.

I am proposing that we press in for renewal and awakening as at no time in the past, but to get there we will certainly have to respond differently than we have in the past.  I want to see revival in Dallas Fort Worth and it will not come unless the Church begins to pray in a way that we have never done before.

Here is my charge: I want to charge every person in DFW who has a relationship with Jesus to join or to start your own weekly prayer meeting crying out for revival in DFW.  And once you have started attending that weekly corporate prayer meeting I want to ask you to not stop until we see revival come to our region no matter what else may come up in your personal life.

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you (Ho. 10:12).”

 

Until He Comes,

Brad Stroup

Director of The Prayer Room Missions Base

 

Reposted with permission from theprayerroomdfw.com

3 Truths That Keep Me Coming Back to the Prayer Room

…And None of Them Are Actually About Me.

I’m five years into this prayer room lifestyle now. And to be honest, every day is not sunshine and rainbows and oceans of glory. Motivation is sorely lacking sometimes. So when I’m not feeling it, here are the core truths that keep me coming back. (You’ll notice that none of them are really about me. That’s because the house of prayer is primarily something GOD established for GOD, and any blessing I get is just a bonus.)

1. Jesus is worthy.

No matter how I feel, Jesus is still the name above every other name and the angels are still singing “Holy, holy, holy… Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.” (Revelation 4:8, 5:12). I actually believe that the greatest injustice in the earth is that Jesus does not get the worship that He is due from every heart worldwide. I can’t change that singlehandedly overnight, but I can do my best to make sure He gets everything He deserves from my life.

2. Jesus wants to talk to me more than I want to talk to Him.

I am so dull of heart sometimes. Like, a lot of times. My flesh can so easily convince me on that I’m okay without having a real conversation with God that day. That’s probably the biggest lie my flesh tells me: “You’re fine. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter.” And so I zone out in the prayer room, or choose to endlessly scroll through Facebook at home. But the truth is that Jesus wants to talk to me way more than I want to talk to Him. Some days the only thing that can get me out of bed to go to the prayer room is the fact that Jesus says “Let Me see your face, let Me hear your voice.” (Song of Solomon 2:14) He really wants to talk with me, and He misses that connection time when I’m not there. I may feel like I’m fine if I miss out for a day, but how dare I deprive Jesus of something He so earnestly desires.

3. This is part of a big, big story.

The house of prayer — corporate, sustained gatherings specifically focussed on worship and intercession, especially 24/7 — has been on God’s heart for a long, long time, to the point that the first thing He did in establishing a nation for himself was to establish the house of prayer (the tabernacle of Moses). David took this idea even further in his tabernacle model, and God promised to reestablish David’s tabernacle in the final generation. (Amos 9:11) The Church will be a praying, singing, lovesick Bride that functions as a house of prayer and partners with God to push back the darkness, bring forth revival, and usher in the return of Jesus. My getting out of bed to go to the prayer room is literally part of God’s strategy to prepare the earth for the second coming. It doesn’t get much more epic than that.

The Miracle Internship That Almost Didn’t Happen


Ever since the conclusion of our spring Immerse internship, we’ve been hard at work laying plans for our summer Immerse internship. At last, it’s time and WE HAVE AN INTERNSHIP! That in and of itself is such a miracle. The past few weeks have been a figurative roller coaster…

Up to about three weeks ago, we were seriously questioning whether Immerse would even happen. At that time, we only had two interns, and were asking the question of what our minimum would have to be. The senior staff settled on five — if we didn’t get five interns, we would cancel Immerse.

Over the next few days we did get two different people signed up! So we had four… and we still had four the day before orientation, which would be Sunday, May 28. We had some generous partners help make two full scholarships available, and we were still actively personally recruiting as hard as we could, but no luck was to be had.

I was praying hard, and I still felt like I was supposed to keep working on preparing. So even while the internship was probably going to be cancelled, I was editing curriculum and finalising the schedule and assignments.

On Saturday afternoon, senior staff put their heads together and eventually decided to go ahead and do the internship even with four. I was at the base that night till 2:30am after Encounter service printing orientation papers and assembling intern binders.

The next morning, I got two texts about new interns who wanted to come to orientation! I quickly assembled binders for them, and at orientation, we had six Immerse interns!

The roller coaster wasn’t over, however. Since then, we’ve lost one, gained one, and gained-and-lost one. We had seven for a hot minute, but our total seems settled at six now.

We’re already in our second week of classes, and I will be teaching session two of Intro to the End Times tomorrow. Most of our classes are taught by a small band of staff on rotation, but the End Times class on Saturday is all mine to teach every week. I’m excited! Our interns are really great, and I’d so excited to get to know them better and watch them grow over the next 12 weeks.

Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

At the end of every set, everyone in the room lines up at the mic to pray short “rapid fire” prayers on a certain topic, usually related to something happening within the ministry. Right now, our topic is:

For 100 new people to sign up for a weekly prayer meeting here at the base (we call this our Sacred Trust) in order to help us continue to contend for revival in DFW.

This is how we build and grow, by inviting people to commit to come pray with us at the same time each week for a two-hour prayer meeting. The name Sacred Trust reflects how seriously we take this time as priests before God. We’re especially asking for people who can serve in specific roles as worship leaders, prayer leaders, ushers and section leaders. Also, in order to properly grow, we REALLY need some more full- and part-time missionaries!

God, set watchmen on the walls here at The Prayer Room. Build Your house of prayer — bring us a hundred new people to join Sacred Trust!

Revive Texas Is Underway!

We’re now officially on day 11 of Revive Texas since we launched witth an evening rally on Sunday, April 16. Monday through Saturday, people from 340+ churches, plus lots of Time to Revive’s own staff and missionaries, have been going out in teams of four to share the gospel across DFW.

The strategy is simple: LOVE, LISTEN, DISCERN, RESPOND. We approach someone, start a friendly conversation, and ask, “How can I pray for you today?” We pray for them briefly and respectfully, and then ask if we can give them a gift as a reminder of our meeting. We give them a wristband with five colours on it, each with a different verse reference. We then ask if we can share with them what the colours mean, and we pull out a Bible with matching coloured tabs. Verse by verse, we walk them through the foundational truths of the gospel, allowing plenty of time for them to express their reactions. We then ask if anything is holding them back from giving authority of their life completely over to Christ – and many decide to surrender right then and there! Within 24 hours, we get them connected to a disciple-maker who can commit to lead them through a Bible study and walk with them on their journey.

Check out THIS VIDEO on how we walk someone through the Gospel!

I never thought something so simple (and maybe kinda cheesy) chould be so effective. God is teaching me all over again the power of the simple gospel, and how it’s not about my wise and persuasive words, but about His power. (1 Cor 2:4). We’ve been plowing the ground in prayer for years, the church is coming together in humility and unity, and the harvest is RIPE.

So far, I’ve gone out with teams on three outreach sessions. I haven’t seen anyone saved yet, but I’ve gotten to pray with and bless a lot of people, many of them believers in need of a touch from God. I have shared the gospel a couple times, though, and I’m looking forward to the day soon when I see the fruit of salvation in front of my own eyes!

This week, we also have 26 IHOPU students here on a ministry trip. It’s been so much fun to see old friends and make new friends! They have been such a strength to us, both in the prayer room and on outreach. God is giving them amazing testimonies to take back to Kansas City!

One of the testimonies from the IHOPU team! The girl in the middle just got SAVED!

Some of my favourite testimonies so far:

  • A team was in a grocery store with a Bible in their back pocket. A Pakistani Muslim man approached them and asked, “Is that a Bible? Can you explain it to me?” He is now signed up to be discipled!
  • A team shared the gospel with a high school football team of 130 people. 110 of them said YES to Christ!
  • A prision inmate received a newsletter about Revive Texas. He decided to do his own “Revive Texas” inside the prison, and 50 other inmates committed to join him. They share the gospel out of their own Bibles in the prison rec yard every day!
  • A team shared the gospel with customers at a Sonic, and 10 of them got saved!

Credit: Revive Texas

In the first week alone, Revive Texas sent out 755 teams comprised of 2,990 individuals resulting in 310 people who want follow up and 134 souls added to the Kingdom. Additionally, teams that were invited to special assignments such as jails, juvenile detention centers, schools, and businesses saw 415 more people come to know the Lord! We even have a mobile baptismal truck that teams have been using to baptise people immediately after they get saved!

Crazy things are happening. There are SO many stories to share, I can’t possibly fit them all. I encourage you to take some to watch some videos on ReviveTX.org and the ReviveTX Facebook page. There’s nothing in the world like watching someone light up when they believe the Truth for the first time.

Revive Texas Soft Launch & Other Updates

I’m a little late with getting this post out, but things have been super busy and exciting around here the past few weeks!

As I’ve shared beforeRevive Texas is an unprecedented movement of unity within the Church in DFW to put on 50 days of evangelism, with daily gatherings for prayer, worship, testimonies, fellowship, etc. The Prayer Room is serving as a central 24/7 prayer hub for these 50 days, and our director Brad Stroup has been working closely with Time to Revive‘s director Kyle Martin. This means that The Prayer Room is getting a HUGE spike in exposure as Brad has had numerous opportunities, in partnership with Time to Revive, to speak to congregations and leaders about our involvement with Revive Texas and what we do as a house of prayer. (Years ago, God gave TPR a clear prophetic word that we would one day be “launched to the region” and our influence would suddenly increase dramatically, and we’re starting to see how Revive Texas might be a big part of that word’s fulfillment!)

Since we’ve been praying for more church involvement, over 300 local churches are now on board with Revive Texas, including ALL of the host locations we needed! Praise the Lord!

Last Saturday, Time to Revive did a soft launch of what the 50 days of outreaches will look like. All ten of our regional host churches opened their doors early in the morning for a time of worship, encouragement, prayer, and training before 500+ believers hit the streets to share the gospel. This is the biggest movement of unity in the church of DFW for the sake of the gospel that has EVER happened. Words like “historic” and “unprecedented” are not exaggeration. And this was only the trial run! Once the 50 days starts, 500 is going to seem like a very small number. We’ll soon be gathering and going out by the thousands.

The Prayer Room had a very unique part to play on Saturday. Time to Revive asked Brad to lead the time of worship, encouragement, and prayer from our prayer room via live internet video streaming to all ten churches. This is a HUGE honour and responsibility. A few weeks ago, they donated thousands of dollars worth of cameras, lights, computers, and software to make streaming possible in our little prayer room. On Saturday’s live stream at 8am, a few worship leaders led a few familiar songs, Brad preached with 150% of his usual energy for about 15 minutes to the camera in an empty room, and then he talked the viewers through a few prayer topics and gave them time to gather in small groups to pray. The entire live stream took 45 minutes, and then at all ten of the locations people received a bit of further training and gathered in groups of 4 to hit the streets to share the gospel. This is going to be happening several days a week for the entire 50 days of Revive Texas.

You can watch the entire video at the link below. The first 30 minutes are set-up, so start around the 31 minute mark after the countdown.

Saturday morning devo/prayer for Revive Texas


Later that morning, while all 141 outreach teams were sharing the gospel all over DFW, some of the TPR staff gathered in the prayer room to pray through LIVE updates from the outreach as we received them. We were praying by name for people on the streets who were receiving prayer and hearing the gospel. Several of us felt that it was the most powerful and exciting prayer meeting we had ever been in! I had the privilege of leading worship for some of it while Luke and Lisa took turns praying through the live updates.

The stories we started hearing were incredible. One couple a team met in a parking lot said they were believers but got so excited hearing the gospel shared so clearly, and they were spontaneously convicted by the Holy Spirit of immorality and decided on the spot to get married. That’s revival. Teams shared the gospel with a father and son fishing, an entire Buddhist sports team, single moms out grocery shopping, and hundreds more. The night before the outreach, the Spanish translator at a church for the pre-launch rally got saved while translating!!

Here are some of the numbers Revive Texas reported in their recent email:

  • 549 people went out on Saturday morning throughout the 10 regions.
  • 141 teams went out to share the love of Jesus.
  • 37 people requested discipleship.
  • 12 people said YES to JESUS! 

Revive Texas made a video of the outreach that day. The video is 8 minutes long, but it’s SO worth it. Watching Kyle share the gospel in such a simple, biblical, relational way and watching people say YES to Jesus for the first time… that’s my favourite kind of thrill. Click HERE or on the picture below to see it on Revive Texas’ website.

We’re only at the beginning of hearing these testimonies. God is doing something huge in DFW, and I encourage you to pray with us for people to get involved and lives to be transformed.

One more thing: On Sunday night, Brad had the opportunity to be on an hour-long radio program for The Word 100.7 FM along with Kyle Martin talking about Revive Texas. I recorded the whole thing and you can click HERE to download and listen.

What I’m Praying: Lift Up Your Heads, O Gates

Continuing my semi-regular/whenever-I-get-around-to-it series on What I’m Praying: the past few weeks, I’ve been singing through Psalm 24:7-10. A couple of months ago I was praying this chapter from a different angle, focussing mostly on verse 1, “The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof,” and the reign of the King of glory in supersession of the kings of the earth, in conjunction with Psalm 2:6’s proclamation “I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” While I was singing that, a part of me kept getting distracted by this theme of opening the gates in Psalm 24:7-10.

Lift up your heads, O gates!

    And be lifted up, O ancient doors,

    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?

    The Lord, strong and mighty,

    the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!

    And lift them up, O ancient doors,

    that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?

    The Lord of hosts,

    he is the King of glory!
(Psalm 24:7-10)

One of my favourite things about studying the Bible is getting a little bit familiar with the whole story so when I read a passage, my brain can automatically fill in imagery from other passages and I get a bigger picture of what’s happening. So when I read this passage, I immediately think of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem when He returns to earth and comes to claim His throne.

I’m not going to cite all the references for this, but here’s the scenario in my head: Jesus has come in the clouds at the 7th trumpet and “raptured” the saints, then marched through the land setting captives free (mostly unsaved Jews who were being persecuted by the antichrist) and releasing the final bowl judgments of Revelation 15-16. (Isaiah 63:1-6, Revelation 19:11-16, Habakkuk 3:3-16) He comes to the eastern gate of Jerusalem with an army of resurrected saints behind Him, at which point the remaining Jewish leaders in Jerusalem actually recognise who He is and welcome Him in as King. That’s the moment that Psalm 24 finds us in.

So as I’ve been singing this in my sets, I’ve been meditating on the glory of Jesus as the conquering King, and also on the prophecy that Israel WILL welcome Him as King.

Jesus Himself prophesied that He would not return to Jerusalem until its leaders recognised and welcomed Him. Every time I read it, I can feel the yearning in Jesus’ heart for His people to know Him:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
(Matthew 23:37-39)

This same longing in Jesus’ heart is so clear also in Zechariah:

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 2:10-12)

That phrase “and you shall know” gets me every time. “At last, you’ll believe. At last, you’ll accept Me.”

Later, Zechariah prophesies of the repentance that will grip Israel when they see Jesus on that Day:

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
(Zechariah 12:10)

That Day when Israel–and specifically Jerusalem, the Holy City, the City of the Great King– finally, FINALLY accepts Him as their own Messiah is so near and dear to Jesus’ heart. Every time I sing these verses I feel my heart get so tender and I end up just prophesying over Jerusalem and praying for them to recieve their Messiah.

Jerusalem, open up your gates, and welcome your King! Who is this King of glory? Who is this warrior coming up with bloodstained garments? He is YHWH, your Messiah, the Son of David. Welcome Him as a firstborn son. Weep over the wounds in His hands and feet. He’s here to establish His kingdom and fulfill every promise. Invite Him in.

Jesus, thank You for Your faithfulness to all of Your promises. Come quickly and establish Your kingdom from Jerusalem. Save Your people Israel. Let them know You. Even now, would You bring many Jewish people to repentance. Remove the veil from their hearts and let them see You as You are– their King, their Messiah, their God. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and do everything You want to do.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they [Israel] may be saved.
(Romans 10:1)

Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

At the end of every set, everyone in the room lines up at the mic to pray short “rapid fire” prayers on a certain topic, usually related to something happening within the ministry. Right now, our topic is:

For Revive Texas to get $290,000 to pay for all the volunteers’ meals during the 50 days of outreach.

Every day for 50 days, tens of thousands of believers across DFW are going to gather at ten host churches to get equipped and fellowship together, and from there they will go out to the streets to share the gospel. Revive Texas plans to feed everyone at these host locations every day, but they need financial breakthrough to make that happen. We’ve been praying that God would in a moment put it on someone’s heart to write a check for $290,000!

God, provide for Revive Texas. You’ve been so faithful to meet every need thus far– do it again! Break in and give us this $290,000 for the meals.

What I’m Reading: One King

Last week, I started a series called What I’m Praying. This week, I’m starting a series called What I’m Reading to share with you some of the things that have caught my attention in the past few weeks. Also, it will help me actually read more. I was a mad voracious reader growing up, and I’d love to fall back into that rhythm. Plus, I don’t have textbooks anymore, so if I want to continue filling my mind with quality writing, I have to go find it and make time to actually read it.

one-king

Right now, I’m reading One King by Samuel Whitefield. I’m only four chapters in, because I’m trying to really process the material and track with it in my own Bible.

One King addresses questions of God’s promises for the people of Israel, and shows how those promises are directly related to the current and historical controversies over Israel. It explores why Israel has been the centre of such controversy and violence for millenia, and how the Church is to relate to ethnic and national Israel today. Most importantly, it shows how Jesus alone can bring the fulfillment of Israel’s destiny, and He will do this in fullness at His second coming when He rules from Jerusalem as King forever.

As soon as I started seeing this book promoted online, I knew I had to read it. I bought it on my visit to Kansas City last month, but only this past week have I started seriously diving into it. Samuel Whitefield was one of my favourite instructors at IHOPU, and he has a deep understanding, both academically and practically, of issues related to Israel.

one-king-3-promises

Genesis 12: land, descendents, nations.

Right now, I’m almost finished with Part I of the book, which is titled “The Basis of the Gospel–Abraham’s Promise”. Understanding God’s Genesis 12 covenant with Abraham and its three components is foundational to understanding the big picture of the entire Gospel. These three key promises are thus:

“1) Abraham will have descendents who will become a righteous nation, 2) those descendants will permanantly inherit a land, and 3) the nations will receive blessing and salvation through the process.”
Samuel Whitefield, “One King,” p 12, emphasis mine

These three promises are geniusly interwoven in such a way that they can each be fully fulfilled only when ALL are fully fulfilled, and only Jesus can make that happen. Naturally, Satan reeeeally doesn’t want that to happen. And thus, the stage is set for the greatest drama ever known: the saga of world redemption through the story of a chosen people and their Messiah.

I’m super excited to read the rest of this book, and I’ll be sure to share an update on my thoughts after I have done so.

If you’re interested in studying more about Israel, check out One King on Samuel Whitefield’s website. I also highly suggest Parts I & II of the “Covenenant and Controversy” documentary series, which Samuel Whitefield contributed to. Both films are available to stream for free at covenantandcontrovery.com.

Awakening the Dawn at 5:00 am

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Every Saturday night after service as I’m getting into bed at about 11:00 pm, I set my alarm for 3:45 am. The goal is to be out the door by 4:25, backpack and tea (earl grey, hot) in hand. It takes me about five minutes to drive to my destination. I rarely see more than three or four cars on the road. The Starbucks I pass isn’t even open that early.

But I have a fire to start.

The Prayer Room is open 18 hours a day, 5:00 am to 11:00 pm, every day, no matter what. Literally. We’ve NEVER missed a day since we started 11 years ago, and only two or three times have we ever missed so much as a single minute.

Every Sunday I have the privilege of serving as the morning section leader and opening The Prayer Room at 5:00 am with (usually) two other people. Sometimes it’s just me and my worship leader. He always starts playing his guitar a minute or two before 5:00, so that when the clock shows those zeroes the fire is already on the altar. At 5:00, I pray an opening prayer over the room, which usually goes something like this:

“Good morning, Jesus. We love You. Thank You for another day we get to sing love songs to You for 18 hours straight. We ask that Your presence would fill this place today, that You would speak and move however You want… You are so, so worthy of all of this and more.”

And then I get to sit and pace and sing and pray in that room for the next six hours (I do spend a bit of that time in the lobby as I’m ushering) overseeing the fire on the altar until 11:00 when the afternoon section leader takes over.

5:00 am prayer meeting this morning

5:00 am prayer meeting this morning

I am very much not a morning person. When I have no schedule at all, I’m likely to be awake 10:00 am to 2:00 am every day. I knew this section leader assignment was going to be a stretch for me. But even though it’s dang early, there’s something really, really precious about giving God the sacrifice of love songs at dawn.

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8

O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
Psalm 5:3

I believe dawn is a really special time to God. Even though nightime is also beautiful and holy, there’s something truly remarkable about the freshness of a new day.

The light breaking over the horizon, chasing away the shadows.

The fragrance of dew on the grass.

The quietness of a world just waking up.

His mercies are new every morning. (Lam 3:22-23)

Scripture likes to use the image of dawn to describe Jesus’ return. Revelation twice calls Jesus the “Morning Star”. (Rev 2:28, 22:16) The same phrase is in 2 Peter 1:19, where Peter instructs the church to stay faithful to the prophecies of Scripture “until the day dawns and the morning star shines in your hearts.” The Old Testament, too, is filled with prophecies of God delivering Jerusalem and filling her with the light of His glory at dawn. (Psalm 46:5, Isaiah 58:8, Isaiah 60:1)

Will Jesus literally appear in the sky one day just as the sun peeks over the Mount of Olives on the eastern horizon in Jerusalem? I don’t know… but knowing His penchant for fulfilling things more literally than we expect, maybe! At the very least, it’s going to be the darkest hour of human history, and Jesus’ sudden return to make all things new will feel very much like morning light breaking through the black of night.

And in the midst of these prophecies, we have prophecies of songs of worship breaking out with the dawn. In the midst of a dramatic prophecy of end-time judgment on the whole earth, Isaiah prophesies:

Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light…
From the ends of the earth we have heard songs:
“Glory to the righteous!”
Isaiah 24:15-16a NKJV

And to bring it full circle, we come back to Psalm 57:8 (and identical phrasing in Psalm 108:2):

Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8

When I think of my 5:00 am prayer meetings, I think of the preciousness of giving Jesus that morning offering of love, that He is being glorified at the very beginning of the day. But I also think of the big picture of “awakening the dawn” of His appearing. Our worship is actually paving the way for His coming. 2 Peter 2:12 says we can “hasten the coming of the day” of His return, and every sleepy little 5:00 am prayer is filling up the bowls of incense before His throne. One day, the prayers of the Bride will reach a crescendo, and everything will be in place for Him to split the sky and stand on earth again.

There will come a day when the dawn will break over the horizon; just when it looks like things couldn’t get darker, the Morning Star will appear to make all things new.

As Aslan himself says it,

“The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
(C. S. Lewis, “The Last Battle.”)

Come, Lord Jesus.

 

What I’m Praying: Psalm 37

I’d like to kick off a regular series on my blog called What I’m Praying. I spend 30 hours a week in the prayer room, and most of the daily testimonies I’m experiencing are prayer-related. I want to bring you into the journey of what God is speaking to me and putting on my heart to speak back to Him, as well as the intercessory burdens that we’re carrying corporately as a ministry.

This week, I’ve often been singing through Psalm 37:4-6 when I lead my devotional worship sets.

.     Delight yourself in the Lord,
.          and he will give you the desires of your heart.
.     Commit your way to the Lord;
.          trust in him, and he will act.
.     He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
.          and your justice as the noonday.

The context of this passage is basically the frustration of the righteous living in a generation of the wicked, and the psalmist’s encouragement to trust in God because He will one day turn the tables and set everything right. There’s a lot to be said eschatologically about promises like “The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever” (v 29) when the wicked are permanently cut off (both ideas are repeated several times in this one passage), but for the purpose of my devos I’ve been singing these verses with a much more personal application.

God, I choose to delight myself in You. I choose to make You my joy. You are my greatest treasure and highest pleasure. I intentionally turn my gaze and choose to rejoice in You and simply enjoy You.

I believe You will fulfill the desires of my heart that You’ve placed in me. If You’ve put them there, You care about them even more than I do. You are always faithful to Your promises, no matter how long it takes.

I commit my way to You; I acknowledge You in all my ways. (Prov 3:6) I surrender the right to control my own life. I want You to direct my steps. I trust that You will act. Your plans and Your timing are always work out better than me trying to make things happen on my own, anyway.

As I wait, as I stay in the tension of trusting You even when I can’t see what You’re doing, You’re making my righteousness shine. You’re making me look like You. Even as Jerusalem’s righteousness will one day shine with Your glory, (Is 62:1) You are literally preparing me for an eternal weight of glory (2 Cor 4:17) in a resurrected body that will shine like the stars to one degree or another depending on how I live in this age. (Dan 12:3, Matt 13:43, 1 Cor 15:35-49) Every little moment by moment choice I make to trust You and delight myself in You will be rewarded, and I will shine.

Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

At the end of every set, everyone in the room lines up at the mic to pray short “rapid fire” prayers on a certain topic, usually related to something happening within the ministry. Right now, our topic is:

For the Lord to move on people’s hearts to join Sacred Trust and that it would grow back to 100 before Revive Texas.

Our Sacred Trust is the commitment that people make to join at least one two-hour prayer meeting a week. We’re asking God that more people would make such a commitment, so that when we’re doing 24/7 prayer and worship for the 50 days of Revive Texas, we would have enough people to sustain that schedule. We currently have just over 75 people on the Sacred Trust, so we’re praying for at least around 25 more over the next few months!

God, bring people who would commit to pray with us weekly! Put the vision for 24/7 prayer on many hearts and strengthen Your house of prayer.

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