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.

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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.

 

Revelation Study/Getaway Weekend!

Bible, beach, babes.

This past weekend, I attended a mini women’s retreat with a few ladies from my church. We went to a friend’s condo in Oceanside, CA, and spent the weekend walking on the beach, talking, praying, and studying the Bible together. It was a truly special and memorable weekend!

I was asked to prepare a few teachings on the book of Revelation, and so was another woman, named Lynn. Revelation probably isn’t the topic I would have chosen for a women’s retreat (I mean, isn’t Song of Solomon and Proverbs 31 more typical fare for these kinds of things? I’ve actually never been to a women’s retreat before.) but these ladies were really hungry to know what the Word says about this crucial area of understanding– the end times and the return of Jesus.

I admit to being nervous about the teaching. Lynn planned to also teach on Revelation, but from the opposite eschatological perspective. Whereas I believe that the events of Revelation are still to come (the futurist/historical premillennialist view), she believes that most of the events were fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (the partial preterist/amillennialist view). I really wasn’t sure what form those discussions would take, and even though I’ve studied several different eschatological views, I was really nervous about being able to represent my beliefs well in this kind of situation.

As it turned out, everything went very smoothly. I was amazed at the unity and fellowship that God brought. Several of the ladies got deeply touched by the Father, and we all felt very encouraged. I came to love and respect Lynn very much; she is extremely kind, wise, and hungry for God and His truth. Her wisdom as we candidly discussed different life situations and world issues was invaluable. She has spent years studying Revelation, sometimes for 10-15 hours each week, while being a wife and homeschooling mom. I was deeply provoked by her determination to search out truth for herself, as well as the way she prioritised relationship over debating. That’s a woman who loves Jesus and loves people very well indeed!

I also noticed several themes that we both shared as we were teaching:

  1. Revelation is meant to be understood by all believers, not only the theologically elite.
  2. Revelation becomes clear as we let Scripture interpret Scripture.
  3. Revelation is the revelation OF JESUS CHRIST (Rev. 1:1) – it’s the story of His heart.
  4. Revelation isn’t meant to be fearful- it’s a story of hope and courage for the Church.
  5. Revelation is at its core the story of a jealous God of love, not an angry, trigger-happy God of smitage*.
  6. Revelation sees the Church come into full maturity as the Bride finally looks like Jesus.
  7. Revelation ends with God’s Kingdom being fully established and His Bride being with Him forever.

I also had volunteered to lead worship (I brought my little keyboard and set it up on the kitchen table), and it was such a privilege to glorify the Lord through song with these ladies and invite the Holy Spirit into our midst. God brought a supernatural unity as we fellowshipped, studied, worshipped, and prayed.

Here are the notes from my Revelation teachings this weekend. I’m also adding the timelines from IHOPKC that I used and gave the ladies with the session 1 notes. Many more study resources can be found at MikeBickle.org and IHOPKC.org.

Session 1 – Themes and Structure
Session 2 – Bridegroom, King, and Judge
Session 3 – Jesus’ Second Coming
IHOPKC Revelation timeline

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*Don’t go looking for that word in any theological dictionary. You won’t find it.

7 Simple Things I Learned At IHOPKC

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Every time I come home from studying at IHOPU in Kansas City, and especially now that I’ve graduated, I am frequently asked about what I’ve learned. I’ve started realising that the question sort of makes me feel a little awkward because I’m not really sure how to answer. On the one hand, my whole life has changed and I know I understand things now that I didn’t before, but on the other hand, they’re really not deep, massive, mystically profound things. Most of them are the same old simple things we’ve always known.

It’s like when you grow up hearing “Jesus loves me” and then one day you find yourself on the floor weeping caught up in the realisation that “JESUS! LOVES!! ME!!!”

I didn’t learn a new gospel. Maybe I just saw the gospel a little bit more clearly.

So here are 7 simple things I learned at IHOPKC:

1. Jesus really likes me.

Not only does Jesus love me because “God is love” and He loves everyone, but He actually enjoys me and my personality. He loves that I’m a sci-fi geek. He loves the way I dance, differently than He loves anyone else’s dance. He enjoys my sense of humour. He gets a kick out of the way I talk to Him! He thinks about me all the time. He enjoys suprising me, making me smile, and providing for me. He wants me to be with Him all the time, and He wants to share the things that are on His heart with me. There are things that He urgently cares about, and He wants me to feel the same way He does, because that’s what friends do.

2. I don’t have to be awesome for God to like me or use me.

(This is kind of an extension of #1, but it’s huge so it gets its own point.) All of the above is still true when I screw up. I may get distracted or stuborn and wander off the path pretty frequently, but I still want to follow Him and I still let Him lead me back every time. That counts. He knows my heart better than I do. To quote Mike Bickle, there’s a difference between weakness and rebellion, and weak love is still real love.

3. The Bible is good stuff.

I mean, duh, but my enjoyment of the Bible grew like crazy when I was eating it up, searching it out, praying it, and singing it in the context of prayer and worship where my only priority was to love Jesus. I fell in love with stories I’d known since kindergarten and passages I could never make sense of in high school. The Bible is fun and super interesting when you read it with the Holy Spirit.

4. Jesus is worthy of everything.

“Worthy” just means “deserving.” Jesus deserves the full love and worship of every person, and He deserves to rule the earth forever. Everything that exists is meant to be in submission to Him– not only because He’s Creator GOD, but He actually deserves it because He is the most kind, humble, just, and wise person to ever exist. He proved it on the cross. We can confidently invite Him to rule this earth and our hearts because we trust that He can do a really, really good job.

5. Worship and intercession are a big deal and they go really well together.

Worship is super important because it’s the 24/7 activity of heaven and God fully deserves it (see #4). Intercession is super important because that’s step 1 in how we partner with God to make the things that He wants to happen happen. Combined, worship and prayer support each other and help our hearts stay connected to what we’re doing– and this effect, like, quintuples when we put the Word smack dab in the middle of everything we pray and sing. Hence, the 24/7 prayer (and worship) room.

6. God really loves Israel, like, a lot.

I’m not even sure what my theology of Israel was before IHOPU. I understood some things and had other things a little mixed up, but I had certainly never wept over Jesus’ heart for His people before. Praying through passages like Zechariah 2 peirced me. Jesus REALLY, REALLY loves and is COMMITTED to the people He originally chose as His bride. He’s really, really faithful–all His promises are yes and amen–and He will fulfill every word He ever spoke.

7. Jesus is coming soon and we are part of the story.

He promised He would come, and by all indications this era of history is nearing a climax. There will be a pretty dramatic series of events leading up to Jesus standing on the earth again, and we’re not supposed to be on the sidelines or swept out of the way. Jesus wants us awake, informed, and involved in what He’s doing. That starts now, because Jesus is looking for a global Church that is fully mature and alligned with Him when He comes. A major way we grow into that is by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to prayer and worship (see #5). Another major way is through evangelism and missions. Jesus said that the gospel will be preached to all nations before the end. There are actually a number of passages that talk about 24/7 prayer and worship arising from all over the earth in the final generation of history… so worship, prayer, and missions together are HUGE elements in the story of Jesus’ return.

 

I would have agreed with these points even before IHOPU, but while I was there, spending hours nearly every day in the prayer room, they were driven much more deeply into my heart. Of course they’re profound truths, and I am so grateful that I now have conviction, passion, and personal heart experience with each of them, but they’re so simple!

I admit, in my first few months I walked around with my head spinning thinking “WHOA, I HAD NO IDEA! THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE HAVE BEEN REVEALED TO ME!”, and yeah, I was studying areas of the Bible I hadn’t before and hearing a wider range of theories on a few details, but by my senior year I realised that none of what I was learning was dramatically new revelation. Mike Bickle isn’t a prophet or a theological pioneer, and IHOPKC reads the same Bible as everyone else. (We just sometimes preach it a little more dramatically!) Besides, at the end of the day, the more intriguing and debatable theories aren’t what I cherish. It’s simple truths like these.

I found that as I gave my time and attention to prayer and worship, simple truths came alive to me. Jesus loves me, He wants me to talk to Him, and He wants me to be part of His story.

IHOPU Graduation: Looking Back on Four Years

(Keep scrolling and then keep scrolling some more, because I’ve got a lot of pictures for you today!)

I’ve finally graduated from college for the second time… but this time feels far more significant than when I got my bachelor’s from APU in 2010. At IHOPU, I have received invaluable teaching and discipleship in an environment saturated with prayer, worship, and the Word. I’ve caught a vision for what God is doing in raising up a global prayer and worship movement in our generation. I’ve gained a family passionately devoted to the fame of Jesus being spread throughout the earth. I’ve been equipped to teach, lead, prophesy, pray, sing, and serve. Most importantly, I’ve encountered a God who is stunningly incredible in every way, who is 100% committed to me and really likes me, and who actually does stuff when I talk to Him.

Last weekend, I walked across a stage with 82 other four-year graduates. My parents flew out from California to see me, and a few local friends came to the ceremony as well.

Graduating from IHOPU feels bittersweet. I did what I set out to do and I know that my season here is done, and I really feel like I got good fellowship and closure in the final days, but I will miss this place and these people greatly.

Receiving my diploma from Allen Hood, president of IHOPU

Receiving my diploma from Allen Hood, president of IHOPU

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My parents flew all the way from California to see me!

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Abigail, my roommate and dear friend

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After four years, I finally got to meet and chat with Mike Bickle.

In my small group during my last week, my leaders asked us each to summarise what God was teaching us during that past season. As I think back over the four years I’ve been in IHOPU, I can identify separate banners over each year.

Freshman year: VISION. During my freshman year, I started as an intern in the One Thing Internship. Not only did I grow in prayer and intimacy with Jesus, but the entire rhythm and focus of my life shifted. I blogged about this vision that was growing within me several times (HERE and HERE, for starters), and concluded that season with a conviction that God really is raising up a global movement of 24/7 prayer and worship in our generation, because the darkness is getting darker but the return of Jesus is right around the corner, and He WILL have a bride made ready.

Internship graduation

Internship graduation, freshman year

Sophomore year: GRACE. Now that I had a brand new idea of what my life was supposed to look like, I struggled to live up to it. I really wanted to pursue Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength with undistracted focus, but I was constantly in cycles of condemnation feeling like I was failing. I still don’t know if I’ve found a good balance, but I have a lot more peace now than I did then. I had to keep relearning grace every week.

Small group, sophomore year

Small group, sophomore year

Junior year: HEALING. After experiencing a heartbreak the week before school started, I had to walk through a LOT of healing that year. (Find my blogs reflecting on that season HERE and HERE.) It was a time of shattered emotions and many, many tears, but I encountered the tender heart of the Father who lets me just cry in His lap when I can’t even muster the energy to pray. I learned to love Him more as I fought to trust Him every day. It hurt like hell, but there was such a tender nearness during that time–and there did finally come a progressive breakthrough into freedom and joy. I am wiser, stronger, and more open-hearted because of the events of that year, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

JPR worship team, junior year

JPR worship team, junior year

Senior year: LEADERSHIP. In between my Dallas externship and College Station ministry trip (read about those HERE and HERE), I feel like this year has been about taking ownership of what I’ve learned and stepping up to do something with it. God has grown a lot of confidence in me this year, and I’ve come to realise that even though I have so much more to discover and grow in, I actually have internalised a lot and I have something to offer in ministry. I really can preach and pray and prophesy and lead worship. I really can rally, envision, and organise a team. God called me into this thing, and He’s already given me enough tools to take a few steps and get going.

Dallas externship, senior year

In my final few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about the vision God planted in my during my first year. I really do believe it. I believe that God’s deepest desire is a restoration of perfect intimacy with us, and 24/7 prayer and worship that reflects the reality of heaven is a key part of how we’re going to get there. I believe that in this final era of history, God is raising up a new song of night and day worship and intercession for justice from the Church as His lovesick bride in every corner of the earth, and He will use this global worship movement to usher in the return of Jesus and the restoration of creation. It’s a big vision, but I’m fully bought in.

So what’s next? I’ll be home in California for the rest of the year, preparing to launch into full-time ministry at The Prayer Room DFW in January 2017 (read more about that HERE). I plan to be there indefinitely, which doesn’t necessarily mean forever, but no matter what comes next, I know God is writing my story and more importantly, He’s writing me into His story.

Every time I look back and remember how God has led me, I melt in awe and gratitude. He’s been so, so good to me.

Catch me up in Your story
All my life for Your glory
–“All Is For Your Glory” by Lisa Gotshall

I love you, IHOPU!

I love you, IHOPU!

Why Do The Nations Rage? (Or: Window Seat Reflections)

Somewhere above SoCal, 12-26-14

Somewhere over SoCal, 12-26-14

I always get a window seat when I fly. What’s the point of soaring over the landscape if you can’t enjoy the view? From 26,000 feet, all of civilisation looks so small. City blocks, suburban residential tracts, freeways, and farmland all look so flat. On the ground, buildings tower over us as a testament to man’s genius and progress, like the ancient tower of Babel. From the air, the tallest skyscraper looks like a mere speck on the surface of this massive planet.

Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:11

Sure, we’ve covered the ground with our cities and our fields; we’ve spread out as if we own the place. We’ve built our governments, our corporations, and our universities. We’ve chased after educations, careers, and relationships, and we’ve crowed proudly over every goal achieved. We’ve built our tiny little kingdoms, but viewed from far above, it seems so insignificant, like the boasting of ants. Somehow, the ants have the nerve to think that we are the masters of our universe.

How silly that seems from 26,000 feet.

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves… against the LORD.
Psalm 2:1-2

It’s quite bewildering, really. The ants have rallied together and shake their fists at their Creator. Most days it’s in the hidden thoughts of our own hearts, but some days we see it blatantly on the news, and one day it will become a literal army gathered on the plain of Meggido to war against the One on the white horse, the King of Kings. (Revelation 16:14-16, 19:19)

This is where humanity is going. Who do we think we are?

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes… As it is, you boast in your arrogance.
James 4:14-16

From God’s perspective, all that arrogance is as absurd as an ant declaring itself president, when tomorrow it could be stepped on and squashed. The truth is that “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) We do not get to set ourselves up as masters of our own universe. We can’t even control the beating of our own hearts! Every breath is a gift from God, and every scrap of control we think we have is an illusion.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise… Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son…
Psalm 2:10-12

There is only one proper response to this realisation. Humility. Worship. “You are God and I am not.” Bow low. Kiss the Son and swear Him allegiance. Confess the truth that He is Lord.

Yes, tremble, and realise whose presence you are standing in, but rejoice! Because you do get to stand in His presence.

We may be ants, but we are also kings and priests, sons and daughters. Alone, we are nothing, but He is everything, and we are with Him.

When I look out from my window seat, I see the world that my Father owns. I see the planet over which Jesus will one day fully manifest His rule. Right now, it may be full of the vain screams of ants, but it will one day be full of the swelling song of awestruck, adoring worship.

From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.
Isaiah 24:16

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Sunset over Phoenix, 12-26-14

Keeping the Fire on the Altar in DFW

Over the weekend of November 7-9, I drove down to Arlington, TX (Dallas-Ft. Worth area) to visit a ministry called The Prayer Room (TPR)TPR is a small house of prayer compared to IHOPKC, but reportedly it’s the fourth largest in the US. They operate with mostly volunteer staff, though some are full-time missionary staff, and have live worship and prayer 18 hours a day (5 am – 11 pm) 7 days a week. Like IHOPKC, they have a vision for the prayer movement being strategic in God’s plan of global preparation for Jesus’ return.TPR DFW

I first encountered TPR in the spring when their director Brad Stroup and a few of their staff came to IHOPU to speak at our externship expo. I fell in love with their heart immediately. As Brad was sharing their vision, he passionately emphasised the fact that Jesus is worthy of night and day adoration, and shared the story of a word he received from God a number of years ago: “Start a daily prayer meeting tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. and don’t stop until I come back.” And thus daily 5:00 a.m. prayer meetings began, and hours have only ever increased since.

They came back in the fall for our next externship expo, and this time I was able to have a late meeting with them after Friday evening EGS service. We planned to go to a coffee shop, but it closed at nine so we met instead at a Burger King! We had a great talk getting to know each other over milkshakes and it seemed they connected with me as strongly as I connected with them.

TPR offers preview weekends to groups of IHOPU students who want to come down and experience their ministry for a few days. I went with eight other IHOPU students and they hosted us splendidly! The entire community was so gracious. They paid for most of our gas, put us up in host homes, fed us deliciously, took us hiking, and really expended effort to know us and to allow us to know them.

TPR externs and staff with visiting IHOPU students on a giant Texas-shaped Texas flag. (I'm fourth from the left.)

TPR externs and staff with visiting IHOPU students on a giant Texas-shaped Texas flag. (I’m fourth from the left.)

The Prayer Room

Saturday morning in the prayer room

Since I am used to the 2000+ community of IHOPKC, TPR felt small indeed. Most of their worship sets have just one person playing and singing, and often there are only a few people in the room. On Saturday morning, I was sitting in the room while one girl played and sang to Jesus on piano, and it was forcing me to ask whether I really believe in this enough to do it when I don’t have the full support structure of IHOPKC around me.

As I sat in the orange pews, I watched the small candle suspended over the altar in the front of the room. The flame was small, but it was steady and it was real. I felt God saying to me, “Yes, it’s small, but they’re doing it. They’re keeping the fire on the altar. (Leviticus 6:13) My heart is so moved by this.”

"Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out." Leviticus 6:13

“Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.” Leviticus 6:13

The answer is YES. I believe in this. I didn’t say yes to the prayer movement for IHOPKC; I said yes for Jesus. This is real, whether it’s in a huge globally broadcast 24/7 prayer room in Kansas City, or in a small rented sanctuary with just a faithful few in orange pews in Arlington, Texas.

I decided that weekend that this is where I’m going to spend my fall semester next year serving on my externship. I even told Brad that I’m hoping to be able to lead worship! (Gulp.) I felt so at home there, and I can’t imagine a better place to spend three months learning how to take ownership of a small house of prayer and even how to plant one in the future! God is doing big things in Texas, and I want to be part of the story God is telling there.

If you’re an IHOPU student interested in visiting The Prayer Room DFW for a preview weekend, please talk to me, or contact TPR directly via their website: theprayerroomdfw.com

Why Study Eschatology? (The Short Answer)

“Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30

(One of my IHOPU classes, Basic Christian Beliefs, is giving the assignment of blogging on certain questions from the lessons every week. This week, I’m choosing the question “Why is studying eschatology a profitable practice for a Christian?”)

Eschatology can be a really intimidating concept. Many Christians don’t really like to think about it in any kind of detail. We love to quote verses like “He will wipe every tear from their eyes,” (Revelation 21:4) but don’t really study the process that leads up to that moment. I’ve had family members and close friends tell me that their eschatology is “pan-tribulation” (“It will all ‘pan out’ in the end”) and that reading the book of Revelation is “too scary.”

This boggles my mind. The fact is, God is telling a STORY with humanity that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. We passionately defend the beginning and the middle, but sometimes it seems like we couldn’t care less about the end, so long as we all end up happily ever after somehow in “a better place.”

I want to know the story God is telling. He has wrapped up some of the most profound and stunning revelations of His character in those final few chapters. I can’t know Jesus fully unless I look at Him in the context of a Bridegroom, King, and Judge who’s coming back to rescue and marry His bride, rule the earth, and execute full justice. The book of Revelation is “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 1:1)

Furthermore, that time is getting close. We would all agree that it’s closer than it’s ever been, but seriously, it’s getting CLOSE close. I want to have as much understanding of this time period as possible so that when things start happening, my own heart can remain unoffended and fully engaged with what God is doing, and I can also help others to stay in that place. There is no reason I should be caught unaware on that day. He’s already given me everything I need to understand what’s coming – the Spirit and the Word. He wants me to watch, stay awake, and set my heart to love the day of His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)

Maybe it won’t come in my lifetime. It really might, but if it doesn’t, I will build a legacy for the next generation of this eager and faithful watching. When He comes, He WILL find a Bride made ready. (Revelation 19:7)

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
~1 Thessalonians 5:1-6

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
~Luke 18:7-8

The Road Home: Embryo

…as in, “the embryonic stages of my journey back to Kansas City.”

Hi, all. So it’s been nearly two months since my last post… my bad. I’ve been back working at my outdoor science school in the mountains of SoCal for about six weeks now. I love being here. I work with some completely amazing people who inspire me every single day. It definitely does feel like being home, and I’ve loved discovering what God has in store for me during this season.

I know I’ve been mentioning going back to Kansas City in the near future. Yep, I am going back in August to start IHOPU, even though when I started OTI I had ZERO intention of that happening! Here’s the story of how that changed.

One Tuesday morning in the internship, we had a class on Joel and what it says about the role of the church in the period of history in which Jesus returns. (Hint: our main role is to PRAY.) At one point, our teacher asked us to name different verses about the end-time praying church. We shouted out references like Revelation 22:17, Isaiah 42, and Luke 18:6-8, and like a diligent student I scribbled them all down in my notes.

That night in the prayer room, at about 11:30 pm, I decided to get started on my assigned meditation for the week, which was Luke 18:6-8.

And the Lord said,“Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

I didn’t even realise that it had been on the list in class that morning, so I looked it up and thought, “Oh, the parable of the persistent widow– I know this story. Pray persistently, I get it, yada yada… I guess I ought to do it properly, though.” So I started journaling through the passage phrase by phrase like I always did on my meditation verses. The first few phrases were simple enough, and I thought it was cool that the verse highlighted “day and night” prayer just like IHOP is dedicated to, but then I started getting confused.

“‘Speedily’?” I thought. “Since when does God ever do anything speedily? Okay, this is just motivation to keep praying, because from God’s perspective it’s speedy, even though from our perspective justice may take forever to come.” And then I got to “when the Son of Man comes,” and got even more lost. I’d read this verse hundreds of times before, and never understood why Jesus made this sudden abrupt reference to his return.

Then I thought, Oh snap, this just became an end-times verse, and it suddenly all made sense. When God stirs his church up to pray day and night, it is because he IS planning to do something speedily. This is the faith that he’s looking for when he comes.

And it suddenly hit me that this verse had been on the board that morning. I frantically dug out my notes, and there it was– end-time praying church, Luke 18:6-8.

As soon as all that clicked, I realised in shock,

This is our story. This is MY story!

This verse is the very reason I am sitting in this room right now!

I still love the way God blinded me to the reality of this verse for YEARS when it was staring me right in the face until the time was right to blow my mind personally and lead me into my calling. I am wholeheartedly convinced that in one way or another I’ll be a part of the house of prayer/praying church/forerunner movement for the rest of my life.

My immediate reaction was along the lines of, “This is what’s happening! Jesus is REALLY coming back REALLY soon and the very fact that the Spirit is stirring us up with faith to pray day and night means that he’s coming SPEEDILY to bring justice to the earth and HOLY CRAP I’m right in the middle of it!!!!” I wrote in my journal that night, “He is looking for his faithful elect who will cry out day and night for the return of the Son of Man, the Righteous Judge.” And the path that was instantly crystal clear to me was to come back to Cali, work at camp for a while while keeping up with IHOPU online, and then return to start Year 2 in the fall. I’ve been figuring out some of the details, but I haven’t deviated from that plan since.

I’ll be working at camp till the beginning of June, then do a summer program called SEEP to catch up and be ready for IHOPU in the fall. SEEP runs June 17 – August 9 and I would (95% sure) do it online from Rancho. It’s a pretty intense program, especially since it includes 8 hours/week of required prayer room time. I’d probably do as many of those hours as possible at The Refuge, my local house of prayer. I’d love to also pick up a very small part-time job, possibly at the restaurant I used to work at. I could do SEEP in Kansas City, but I feel that doing it at home would allow me to 1) save two months of rent money! 2) get involved with an actual local church community again, probably The Refuge, 3) “test-drive” the lifestyle in a more “normal” environment, 4) get actual HOP experience outside of IHOPKC, and 5) spend more time with my family who hardly ever see me anymore.

At IHOPU I’ll be part of the Forerunner School of Ministry (FSM) and during years 3 and 4, if I stay that long, I’ll be on the house of prayer leadership track. Theoretically, after that I’ll go… somewhere… and plant a house of prayer.

So there are a lot of things that still aren’t perfectly worked out, but for the next few months at least I have my trajectory, and I am confident that this is what God is leading me into.

I would very much appreciate your prayers for the details to all work out, for financial provision (I may end up doing support letters this time, once I really get into IHOPU), and for me not to miss what God has for me in the here and now, even as I’m looking forward to the next season.

Bringing Jesus Home

The past few days have been wonderful, overwhelming, emotional… but it’s okay because I like crying. 🙂 God’s doing good things inside me, although I’m not entirely sure what yet.

On Friday night I attended a night of the Call2All congress hosted at FCF. It’s a gathering of church leaders from around the world to put together world evangelism strategies. (Check out Call2All on Facebook with pictures of the event.) At the service I was at, they talked about what was going on with world evangelism and told us about a meeting that happened at Amsterdam 2000 with a few hundred leaders of the world’s most influential ministries such as YWAM and Campus Crusade. They were presented with a list of a couple hundred of the world’s remaining unreached people groups and by the end of the day, they had divided up the list among them and committed together to reach them all. Ideas were flying, partnerships were formed and strategies were devised. The Body of Christ has been mobilised and no corner of the planet is safe. (I encourage you to take six minutes and watch the story of that meeting HERE.)

Also, China is mobilising thousands of missionaries in a divinely inspired “back to Jerusalem” movement aimed at spreading the gospel throughout all the Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim nations geographically located between China and Israel. I saw many prominent evangelism leaders on stage at FCF on Friday night (along with the governor of Kansas) joining hands with underground church leaders in China (although most of them couldn’t be on stage because being recorded on camera would endanger their lives) and committing together to do this thing. I watched spiritual history being made.

Let me slow down and explain what this means. This is not another “That’s cool, one more step forward.” This means that the finish line is in sight and the Great Commission is more than likely going to be FINISHED in our lifetime. These leaders are expecting it to be complete in their lifetimes, and they’re all 60-70 years old!

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne… crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'” Revelation 7:9

One of the main things Jesus is waiting for before he returns is this completing of the Great Commission. And let me repeat—THE FINISH LINE IS IN SIGHT. We are no longer in the “drop in the bucket” stage. We are witnessing the beginnings of the final sweep of the gospel in the nations before Jesus returns. Very, very soon, we’ll be living in Revelation.

Jesus could very possibly, dare I say easily, be back on Earth before I have grandkids. That is not a joke or wishful thinking. That is the evidence of the signs of the times.

This is not the era of “someday he’ll return, won’t that be nice” like it’s a sweet fluffy little “happily ever after” in the vague future. No, one day SOON he’s going to SPLIT THE SKY and come with a roar and the sound of a trumpet. (Is 64:1, 1 Thes 4:16) All of creation groans for that day. This planet is on the edge of its seat, waiting for the revealing of the sons of God on the day when the Firstborn comes home. (Rom 8:19, 23)

This is what I’ve been freaking out about. I cannot possibly live a “normal life” in light of this. The only thing that matters anymore is preparing his bride, bringing him home, and seeing him face to face. What will he say to me on that day? Will he honour me by standing like he did for Stephen? (Acts 7:56) Will he give me the crown of righteousness for those who have loved his appearing? (2 Tim 4:8) Will he say “Well done, good and faithful servant”? (Matt 5:21) A thousand years for now, most of what I’m now filling my life with will not matter. What will stand when my life is tested by fire? (1 Cor 3:12-15)

Peter said we can “hasten the day.” (2 Peter 3:12) There are two specific ways I know of to do this: through prayer/ worship and fulfilling the great commission. He is raising up a 24/7 prayer movement of a lovesick bride crying “Come!” (Rev 22:17) and he is raising up a missions movement to carry his glory to the ends of the earth. (Hab 2:14) And now, he is joining them together.

“They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.” Isaiah 24:14-16a

What will that look like for me? Do I join IHOPKC? Do I join YWAM? Do I live as an ordinary radical SAHHM (Stay At Home Homeschool Mom)? I don’t know. And for the time being, I am okay with that. There are a few things I know about my destiny. God’s been revealing these to me one by one, uniquely tailored to me. I was made to:

-Pour out my worship like Mary of Bethany. (First Commandment)

-Cast vision for who God is and what he’s doing. (Second Commandment and Great Commission)

-Live with the clear endgame of Jesus’ return to marry his Bride and establish his Kingdom.

That is what my life is about. I want to bring Jesus home. And that day is suddenly looking very, very close.

People, get ready.

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