What I’m Praying: Refreshing

Continuing my What I’m Praying series…

The past few weeks, TPR has been focussed on praying for a time of deep refreshing to come to our community. This has been our rapid fire topic at the end of every set. To be honest, it’s been an exhausting year. Many people feel a bit dry and dull and just soul-weary. We need a good strong “time of refreshing” (Acts 3:20) from the Lord to revive our hearts. Living dry is no fun.

It’s true that most of life is lived in the mundane. Most of the time, we’re neither on the mountaintop nor in the depths of despair; rather, we’re sort of on the plateau of daily walking out life with God, trying to stay obedient and faithful no matter how we’re feeling.

But we don’t want to just be okay with not encountering God.

We’re asking God for a season of refreshing, that as individuals and as a community we would receive an increased touch of the Holy Spirit.

This past week, I believe we’ve started to see glimpses of that. On Saturday night, Brad was called last minute to attend a meeting, so instead of him continuing our teaching series, our weekly Encounter service became a prayer meeting with extended worship for exactly this topic of refreshing. We asked God to move in signs and wonders and to refresh us with an increased manifestation of His presence. The corporate nature of that prayer meeting, with all of us in the room joined with fervor and unity, and the worship team’s excellent prophetic leadership, definitely brought refreshing to our hearts. With the leanness of our 18/7 schedule right now, we’re not able to have those experiences together very often.

Also, on Sunday night a prayer group from a local Messianic congregation visited the prayer room. Almost 30 ladies joined us for an hour or so, and God really moved among them. Our worship leader felt a strong prophetic nudge to spontaneously lead a ministry time from the prayer mic (don’t worry, the usher took his seat so the stage wasn’t empty) and give a call for anyone who felt called to missions. The room was deeply touched and many responded. That kind of move of the Spirit is the kind of thing we’re praying to see more of.

Please join us in praying that God would refresh us with a fresh wave of His Spirit!

God, thank You for Your presence here – please increase our experience of Your presence. Open the heavens and send another wave of Your Spirit to refresh, awaken, and revive us. We’re crying out for fresh fire. Meet us in our hunger as You’ve promised.

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School of Supernatural Ministry Coming Soon!!

Finally!!!

I serve as the admin of The Prayer Room’s Forerunner Equipping Center, which in theory includes all of our schools and training programs. So far, my admin role has been confined to our Immerse internship, because that has been the only program we’ve had the strength to offer. It’s been 5 years since The Prayer Room has been able to offer anything more (last year’s weekly School of the Prophetic notwithstanding).

Over the past few weeks, our director Brad has been bursting with ideas for a new School of Supernatural Ministry (SSM). It’s been a desire of ours for years to be able to offer a program that would give in-depth training on topics such as prophecy, healing, and deliverance. We finally feel the permission and anointing of the Lord to make plans for a January 20 of our SSM. At the same time, we plan to put launching another Immerse on hold until summer or fall while we take a close look at revamping that curriculum into a slightly different direction.

SSM will run January 20 through May 12 and emphasise five components:

  • Theology (biblical teaching)
  • Equipping (instructions on how)
  • Activation (practice what you learn)
  • Ministry (ministering to people)
  • Prayer (living a lifestyle of prayer)

The schedule will be similar to our current Immerse internship schedule, but will involve some unique components:

Saturday

  • 3pm-4pm — Classroom training
  • 4pm-5pm — Application exercise in the classroom
  • 7pm-9:30pm — Encounter service

Tuesday

  • 6pm-7pm — Ministry time (ministering to people outside the school)
  • 7pm-9pm — Prayer room time together (with prayer/study assignments)

Also, students will usher an additional prayer meeting and choose another additional prayer meeting in which they have no responsibility.

We’re all SO EXCITED and I’ve already had some potential students express interest. This is going to be an amazing way to equip our community in ministering with the Holy Spirit, and will hopefully bring many more into our community!

Check out our SSM on our website HERE!

Summer Fun and a Testimony!!

July has been a fun month for me. I spent Independence Day at a pool party/BBQ with several families with young kids. On Saturday, July 8, several of us went on our annual TPR Community Trip. We took a day trip down to the Austin area to go tubing on the San Marcos River, swim in a natural water hole called Blue Hole, and get pizza and coffee in the city. The river was GORGEOUS with perfect 90 degree weather!

The next day, July 9, I spent my 27th birthday section leading (managing/overseeing) the prayer room from 5am-11am, then finished the day with church and teacher equipping group. Three Sundays out of the month, all of the teaching staff at The Prayer Room get together at Brad’s house to study and discuss certain topics so that we can get more clarity and grounding for future teachings. So even though my birthday itself wasn’t extravagantly commemorated, I loved spending it with close friends at the prayer room and at church, and felt very much loved and celebrated.

TESTIMONY TIME!!

Last week, Joshua, one of our interns/worship leaders/staff members, shared this incredible testimony (he’s from Yorkshire, so enjoy the British-isms!).

During my worship set tonight God gave me prophecy about a lad who came in. God began to break things off of him… He had once said a prayer, then lived a life contrary to his words… He felt a need to come to a house of prayer…

Afterwards we spoke and… he said he could feel presence of God. I had several words of knowledge about his life and God gave me the number of his birthday.

He repented and renounced several things and right there he gave his life to Jesus! Confessed about having cigarettes, which Holy Spirit had already showed me he had…

Went to his vehicle to get them and threw them in skip outside TPR. Asked him about following his commitment with baptism to which he adamantly wanted to do. Went to Lincoln Square fountain that we have used before for baptisms. He went under, joined with Jesus’ death and raised to new life speaking in new tongues! Praise You and thank You, Jesus!

New 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. The past few weeks, as I shared before, our topic was for finances for a new A/C for our upstairs preschool room. That process has progressed, and WE GOT THE MONEY WE NEEDED, PRAISE GOD! Now, our topic is:

Praying for the workers we are hiring to fix the upstairs A/C units to be able to make the needed repairs for a reasonable amount and to get them up and running quickly.

We need inexpensive, clever solutions and discounts on units that won’t fall apart. Please pray with us for wisdom and favor as we get these units installed!

God, thank you for Your provision! Please finish what You started, have Your hand on the workers, and give us favor in the repair/installation process!

7 Simple Things I Learned At IHOPKC

7 simple things insta

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.

What Do the Seeds of Revival Look Like?

Today, I showed up for my 10:00 am IHOPU class just like usual on a Monday morning with the rest of my junior classmates. Generally at this time the sophomore 8:00 am class would just be getting out, but as I approached the room, I heard music playing and what sounded like someone crying on the mic. I was told that the Spirit was moving and we were welcome to come in, but normal class plans were on hold for the time being.

When I walked into the room, one student was playing softly on piano, and another student was on the mic sharing a tearful testimony. It was really more of a confession of some deep spiritual struggles; he was being incredibly courageous and vulnerable. The whole room was silent aside from quiet weeping. I found myself tearing up as well as this student whom I’ve never even met shared his heart– and I almost NEVER cry.

Today was special. There was something different in the room.

For the next three hours, through all the time our class was supposed to take and then some, one student after another came to the mic to confess and repent of various struggles and sins. It truly was a holy moment. (God bless our teachers for completely setting aside their lessons plans and letting the Holy Spirit have His way!)

There was something so freeing and cleansing about opening up to each other in that way. I had a chance to see my classmates as people- with their own struggles, weaknesses, and fears. I’ve been in class and in the prayer room with all of these people for years, and to hear them get up and say, “For years I’ve struggled with…” really made me realise afresh that we’re all broken. None of us belongs on a pedestal.

We are all so broken and in need of grace.

After each person shared, a group of us gathered around them to pray for them and speak truth over them. We covered each other in the love of the Father who was so tenderly embracing us, individually and corporately.

His nearness was so sweet.

As I left the class-that-wasn’t-a-class and went about my day, I felt deeply cleansed and freed from the pressure of holding myself together. I don’t have to hold myself together. I don’t have to hide the shame of my struggles. I can bring them into the light and let them get washed away by the healing presence of God expressed through His people.

The sophomore class in which this movement was sparked was a class on revival history. They had been studying how every great revival of history had corporate repentance of sin as a key element.

When we pray for revival, usually we mean the healings, the dramatic salvations, the “fire.” YES and amen to all of that!

But that isn’t where it starts.

God is after the heart. He is after people broken in humility and dependence before Him, clinging to the cross with full realisation that it’s their only hope. And it doesn’t start with those we’re trying to reach. It starts with us.

“If my people who are called by my name
humble themselves,
and pray and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then
I will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin
and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

The big point that I felt God hitting amongst us was pride. As one of my classmates said today, if God gives us powerful revival, but we’re still stuck in our pride, it will actually draw us away from God rather than to Him. We’ve got to get ourselves out of the way. He’s the only one who belongs on the throne.

Pride robs Jesus of His rightful glory. Jesus’ mercy can’t be glorified if we insist on acting like we’ve got it all together. His power is made perfect in weakness, but we’re often too busy saying “What weakness? I’m awesome!” and then we crash and burn when we realise we’re not.

Repentance is a chance to throw ourselves again on God’s mercy and receive His lavish love. It’s not about us trying harder to fix ourselves. As another classmate shared, God says to us, “I died so that this conversation wouldn’t be about you.” When we come to Him to confess, we’ve simply got to get our eyes off of us and onto the cross, where the blood of Jesus really does cover us completely. He really does see us as holy. He really does delight in us!

None of us expected what happened this morning, but the Holy Spirit moved so strongly on our hearts.We wept, we confessed, we embraced, we covered each other, and we renewed our desire to press on in loving Jesus together.

In less than two weeks, we go out on our ministry trips. We all felt strongly that God is refining and purifying us so that He can use us on these trips.

Please pray for us, that God would continue the good work that He started, that we would be sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and that God would strengthen us together as a family to carry His kingdom in humility wherever He leads.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James 5:16 

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

“Love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

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I Am a Worship Leader, But Not Like That.

When we say “worship leader,” we usually mean the person on the platform behind the mic playing guitar or keys, leading the room in verses and choruses to sing to the Lord. Of course, that is a perfectly legitimate picture, but I submit that that is not the only way to be a worship leader.

I am a worship leader. No, I don’t lead music from the platform, but one of the primary goals of my life is to lead others into worship. I can do that during a music worship set from wherever I am in the room, and in fact I’ve had people tell me for years that the way I worship draws them deeper into worship. When I let loose and let worship explode out of every inch of my body, not only do I encounter God in a very free and dynamic way, but I release an atmosphere of freedom and encouragement for others to let loose as well. If I’m fully engaging I will provoke others and bring them along with me.

You know what I mean. Sometimes when you’re in a distracted funk, just seeing someone else locked in and worshiping with abandon will stir something in your heart and spur you to press in harder. And another day you will do the same for them. That’s the beauty of corporate worship. We all get to lead each other by example.

Of course, this must never be from a “look at me, follow me!” mentality. Leading others into worship is truly serving them, because we were all made to be worshipers. For the rest of eternity, our primary occupation will be worship. John Piper has famously said, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” Worship is always the goal of everything else we do in our Christian lives (which, by the way, is your ENTIRE life). And as friends of the bridegroom, it is our mission to point to Jesus above all else, that He would increase and we would decrease. (John 3:29-30)

Leading others into worship is also such a beautiful gift to bring to Jesus. As an individual, I can give no more than my all, and usually even that is a struggle. But if I can play a part in others giving Him all their all as well, then I’m actually giving Him more than I could on my own! This is one way I can multiply my incense.

Of course, this means so much more than in a music worship set. I want my entire life to draw people into worship That’s the primary reason I write this blog. I pray my words will draw you deeper into fascination with this beautiful God, leading you into a life of worship poured out.

Why? Because Jesus is worthy. He actually deserves our highest praises. His inheritance from His Father is the eternal love and worship of the nations. He deserves it, and I want to play the biggest part He’ll let me in bringing Him His inheritance.

HOLY SPIRIT

Blue-Rushing-River-

Put your hand on your belly.

In John 7:38 Jesus said that whoever believes in Him, “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” The next verse explains that He’s talking about the Holy Spirit. The word “belly” is from the King James Version, and most of your translations probably say heart, but the Greek word koilias actually means “belly.” In the Hebrew way of thinking, your belly represented the seat of your emotions and your deepest inner parts, the way we talk about the heart.

No, it’s not actually literal; of course the Holy Spirit is not squeezed inside of you next to your large intestine, but it does kind of make a lot of sense. We know that the belly is often the emotional centre of the body. Sure, we feel things in our heart, but we also feel them in our stomach. Your stomach’s tied up in knots. You have butterflies in your stomach.

Actors and singers know this too. If you’ve ever taken an acting or voice class, you’ve been told to “breathe from your diaphragm.” The diaphragm is the muscle in your abdomen that makes your lungs expand. I was always told, “feel your stomach expanding like a balloon.” I spent a lot of time in all my acting years concentrating on my belly as the centre of my breath.

That very breath in your lungs that fills your belly—what is it? Where does it come from? Genesis 2:7—it’s the breath of life. The Spirit of God.

“Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.”

Right now, if you have believed in Jesus and given your life over to Him, you have that living water inside of you. Historically, “living water” referred to a river that was clean and flowing. Pure and moving. This is true of the Holy Spirit, but it’s also more than that. He is actually the LIVING. WATER.

Dive deep.

You have right now the Spirit of God living inside of your body. You are His temple. You are the building that He lives in.

The Holy Spirit is not a force. I love to watch Star Wars and think about God, but the Holy Spirit is not the Force. He’s a Person. He has a personality. He has a mind. He has emotions. And He is the Eternal Living God.

And He lives inside of you.

1 Corinthians 2 says that no one knows a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit. Only you really know what you’re thinking at any given time unless you tell someone, right? Because you live inside of you. So only the Spirit of God can know the thoughts of God, right? BUT GOD put His Spirit inside of you. We have the mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God, and then He reveals them to us. It’s His favourite thing to do.

Put your hand on your belly.

The Bible uses several different images to talk about the Holy Spirit. It says that He’s like wind. (John 3:8, Acts 2:2)  The very word “Spirit” in Hebrew (ruach) and Greek (pneuma) means “breath” or “wind.” Wind can be a cool, gentle breeze, or a mighty rushing hurricane. He loves like a hurricane.

He’s like water. (John 7:37-39, Isaiah 44:3) He’s like rain (Hosea 6:3), or like the ocean. When you go to the beach, you can choose how much you get in the water. You can get your toes wet, or you can go in up to your knees, or up to your waist, or even in over your head where you can feel the waves rhythmically pounding around you and the salt and sand and water rushing through your hair. (cf. Ezekiel 47) But even then, you’re still at the beach. You can never go to the bottom of the ocean floor, and you can never touch every drop of the ocean. You can never reach the end of God’s Spirit.

And He’s like fire. The fire of God rested on the disciples at Pentecost. (Acts 2:3) The fire of God burns before the throne of God. (Revelation 4:5) God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29) When we pray for fire to come, that’s not just cool revival language. We’re asking for a Person.Holy Spirit fire

So as you have your hand on your belly, pick one of those images of the Holy Spirit. Imagine that fire or that river living inside your belly. He’s here because He wants to be. He actually chose to live inside of you forever. This is the climax of the story of this age, not that God became a perfect Man, but that GOD. LIVES. IN. BROKEN. HUMAN. VESSELS.

Jesus said, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16 7 ESV)

Having the Holy Spirit living inside of you is better than having Jesus in the flesh sitting in the chair next to you. Because if Jesus were all you had, you still couldn’t get inside Him and He couldn’t get inside you. You would have to talk the old-fashioned slow way, with mouths and words.

But the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit—the essence—of Jesus, lives inside you.

Talk to Him.

A New Semester and the Harp and Bowl Model

My second semester at IHOPU began on Monday. This quarter I’m taking Foundations of Biblical Eschatology, New Testament Survey, and Forerunner Messenger Practicum. The Practicum is broken up into three rotations, one of which is Harp and Bowl (the model for combining prayer and worship that we use in the prayer room). For my other two rotations I chose Preaching and Teaching, and Writing, out of options including Social Media, Creative Media, and Drama. I know, I know, Drama would be right up my alley, but I already spent four years developing my personal philosophy of Christians in the arts. I would not be able to come into that class with an open mind. Besides, drama is already something I know I have. Preaching and teaching is almost completely new to me, and both that and writing are things I’m feeling called to step into more.

Also, as part of the practicum, I’ll be placed as a singer on a student harp and bowl team. I was on an intern worship team for about three weeks during my internship, but other than that (and one Sunday morning singing at The Refuge) I’ve never been on a worship team before. I am SO excited for this!

For those not familiar with the harp and bowl model, it’s drawn from Revelation 5:8.

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
~Revelation 5:8

Anything that combines prayer and worship (specifically of the musical variety) can be considered “harp and bowl,” but the way we do harp and bowl is a whole structure that is designed to provide an atmosphere for maximum engagement in the room. Singing brings unity, and singing the Word and singing prayers from the Word–WOW!!

At IHOPKC, we mostly do two kinds of harp and bowl sets: worship with the Word, and intercession. Both are structured essentially the same, with times of corporate worship interspersed with times of spoken prayer developed by spontaneous singing. Here’s what your standard two-hour harp and bowl intercession set looks like:

Intercession set several years ago (old stage design). See that far right seat in the front row? That’s my seat. Every time.

  • The worship team consists of a worship leader on (usually) guitar or keys, at least three prophetic singers, musicians, and a prayer leader. At the start of the set, the worship leader will begin leading a familiar worship song as the rest of the team is transitioning onto the stage. We’ll have a time of corporate worship for 20-40 minutes, mostly consisting of worship songs that everyone already knows with maybe a bit of spontaneous singing sprinkled in as the Spirit leads.
  • When it’s time to transition into the prayer time, the worship leader will initiate several minutes of singing in the Spirit. (“What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” 1 Corinthians 14:15) At this time, everyone will sing at the same time, either in tongues or with whatever words of praise are on their hearts.
  • Then, the prayer leader will start leading intercession from the podium just off stage right. The musicians will usually start playing something with a more driving beat, and many people in the room will stand up if they’re not already to help themselves engage more fully. The prayer leader will choose a verse, preferably an apostolic prayer, and pray from that for 2-3 minutes. It may go something like this:
    • “Praying for the ending of sex trafficking in Thailand from Ephesians 1:17-19. ‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.’ So God, I pray that You would break into Thailand with the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Open up their eyes to see You rightly. Let the traffickers see who You are and be transformed, and let those trafficked see You and be filled with hope…”
  • After the prayer leader finishes “in the name of Jesus,” the singers will one by one sing spontaneous phrases inspired by the verse and the prayer. The prayer leader may interject phrases of spoken prayers to help guide the singers. It may sound like this:
    • “Oh, God, bring wisdom and revelation to Thailand…”
      “Wisdom and revelation…”
      — “Open up their eyes!”
      “Open up their eyes and let them see You…”
      — “Bring deliverance!”
      “Great Deliverer, bring deliverance…”
  • After a minute or two, the chorus leader (the first singer) will launch a short, simple chorus that the whole room can jump in on, and then will end with a name of God. Maybe something like:
    • “You are the God of justice
      You are the God of deliverance
      Open up their eyes
      Open up their eyes
      [repeat]
      Open up their eyes, oh God”

      [Note: I just made up all of these prayers and choruses off the top of my head, so what you’d actually hear in the prayer room may be quite a bit better.]

  • After the chorus, the prayer leader will either pray again, or another person will come up to pray, and the process will repeat.
  • At some point during the intercession cycle, the prayer leader will invite a time of rapid fire prayer. At this time, anyone in the room can come line up behind the podium to pray a short 5-10 second prayer on the chosen topic. Every ten or so people, the chorus leader will interrupt with a chorus the whole room can sing together for a minute, then the prayer line will continue.
  • After the line ends, the worship team may continue with a chorus, someone may feel inspired to sing a solo prophetic oracle for a few minutes on the intercession topic, or the worship leader may take the room back into corporate worship.
  • After another 20 minutes or so of worship, another intercession cycle will commence.

A worship with the Word set is essentially the same, except that instead of a prayer leader leading intercession, there will be a prayer leader guiding the team through meditation on a short passage of the Bible. Phrase by phrase, the singers will develop the verse (paraphrase, interpret, and expand it). One person’s insight will spark another’s, and as a corporate body we will go somewhere in the Spirit we couldn’t go alone. Singing the Word, whether in intercession or meditation, is the best way I know of to make it a part of you. You may forget the verse you heard in a sermon, or even the verse you read in your own Bible, but you’ll find it difficult to forget the verse you sang. The centrality of the Word is of primary importance in every harp and bowl set.

This model is incredibly flexible and is easily adapted to any culture or context. It fosters unity and an atmosphere of enjoyable prayer–and enjoyable prayer is sustainable prayer.

“These I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
~Isaiah 56:7

Just “Jesus Being Jesus”?

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 (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 “Did Jesus perform any miracles before His public ministry?”)

There’s a tension in the Church related to how we envision Jesus during His time on Earth. Do we see Him as so completely ordinary that we confine Him to the context of history and miss the surging reality of His divinity? Or do we see Him as an ethereal, unreachable Being who is constantly gazing vaguely into the clouds with open palms while the Hallelujah chorus echoes around Him?

Both mindsets carry unique dangers and errors. However, for much of traditional church culture (although in emerging culture it’s somewhat the opposite), the latter seems to be more prevalent. We’ve put Jesus in a halo and told Him to stay there.

Part of the result of this over-sacredizing of Jesus is that we get this idea of Him practically sneezing out miracles like it’s nothing. I’ve heard people joke about Jesus as a kid multiplying food whenever he was hungry, or healing animals, etc… you know, just “Jesus being Jesus.” The trouble is that this is not what the Bible says. John 2:11 describes turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana as the “first of his signs.” That only happened after the Holy Spirit came upon Him at His baptism. (John 1:32-34)

When we get this idea of “Well, that’s just Jesus being Jesus. He’s God, so He just does stuff like that,” we miss the entire point of what Jesus was trying to demonstrate.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise…. I can do nothing on my own.”
~John 5: 19, 30

Do you see the implications of this? All of Jesus’ miracles weren’t done by the power of His own divinity. They were done as a human in full submission to and partnership with the Holy Spirit.

So what does that mean for us? Jesus said it this way:

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. …It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Spirit] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
~John 14:12; 16:7

If Jesus was our example, and He actually did all that He did as a human empowered by the Holy Spirit, and He really has given me this same Holy Spirit, that means the exact same resources that were available to Jesus are available to me. I can heal the sick. I can raise the dead. I can cast out demons. All of it is my inheritance.

It’s not just “Jesus being Jesus.” The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives in me. (Romans 8:11)

Hallelujah. God, help me live in that.

Weekend Ambush

Last weekend was absolutely splendidly NOT what I had planned. I was planning to go camping in Joshua Tree on Saturday with a few of my co-workers. From the start I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, because although I love these people and I could use a change of scenery, “roughing it” is rarely my cup of tea. I determined to go and enjoy it, though, so even when the plan fell through, I was proud of myself for at least refusing to be scared off.

Instead I spent my Saturday working the rock wall for the Christian camp. I’ve never properly worked ropes with the rec staff before, and I ended up loving it! By dinner time I was already thanking God that he had a better day planned for me than I had planned for myself, but he hadn’t even begun to surprise me. I let myself be talked into going to chapel in the evening when I heard that Tommy Green, the lead singer of Sleeping Giant who has a powerful ministry, would be speaking. I went with my roommate and sat through an hour of a student talent show. There was a definite amount of talent, and also a definite amount of… well. It was well worth it, though, because when Tommy came to the front, the first thing he did was pray for people in pain to be healed and the second thing he did was prophesy over some of the performers.

WHAT?!!! This might be pretty standard ministry in my usual circles, but at this camp? In the three years I’ve worked here, I have NEVER seen a single healing take place in that chapel, or a single prophecy be released (though granted I can’t claim to be there every time the doors are open). Not that God doesn’t move here or that the camp and its guests don’t believe in the gifts, we just don’t… tend to practice them very often.

I’ve spent so many hours over the past few years pacing the camp prayer chapel -and plenty of hours elsewhere too- praying for Holy Spirit to do crazy things in that chapel. I’ve tasted revival, and I am desperate for this camp, my home, to taste it too. Seeing what Tommy brought on Saturday was a beautiful down payment of the revival that I believe is coming.

But the night got better. Tommy’s message was about worship as warfare, and this generation releasing a new sound that literally shifts atmospheres, and the seven Hebrew words of praise, especially “tehila” spontaneous singing and “shabach” shouting, and how powerful dance is as an expression of worship… I could have closed my eyes and heard Jake Hamilton’s voice. (I actually just found out that Tommy has actually worked with Jake on the Voices conference Jake put on last year. So yeah.) I have never felt so completely in unity with what’s going on in that chapel as I did that night. Especially because after talking about free and powerful worship, the band came on stage and we DID IT for an hour and a half! My roommate and I ended up up pushing back the chairs in the back of the room and dancing and worshiping and crying until we were completely overwhelmed. I haven’t worshipped that freely since… well, since the week I left IHOP. The two of us helped clean up the chapel and watched as the campers settled into small groups, then went back home and prayed together until we fell asleep. My heart was full to bursting with the sheer excitement of loving God and watching him move.

Sunday was quite amazing as well. I went with a friend to her church for my second visit. The church is called Tithemi and is actually led by Eric Gregson, a close friend of Tommy who is (was?) also in Sleeping Giant! Bam. Small world. This little church is a beautiful, grungy, passionate band of young tattooed believers who worship with full hearts and pray with abandon. That Sunday night I kicked off my sandals and started dancing during the song Divine Romance, and by the time we’d sung the chorus about ten times the worship leader asked anyone who wanted to dance to come do it on stage. So I went. And we all danced for several more minutes before Eric invited us all to return to our seats.

As I was sitting down, he started talking about how powerful worship is, and how powerful dance is, and how that first person to dance serves the community by providing a “covering” for everyone else’s awkwardness… in other words, that person sets the tone for how free the group is allowed to be. It was a huge blessing and confirmation for me, because I knew that I was the first person to start dancing that night, and because I have so often been told about how my dancing creates an atmosphere of freedom and worship for others.

Even when I know something, I love it so much when God remembers and tells me again. He sees me, he knows me, he enjoys me. And he’s using me through my simply enjoying him. I’m just being who I was created to be, and he’s encountering me and using it to bless people.

Also, I’m so grateful for the community I’m surrounded by. From the people I worked rec with, to the people I was in chapel with, to the people at Tithemi, I am so deeply blessed to get to be around like-minded people who love me and are going after the same things. I love them all, and I love my Father for giving them to me.

Oh… one more thing. On Wednesday at camp, I went into the prayer chapel to spend my break. The first thing I did was unwrap a Dove dark chocolate square. And what did my wrapper say?

Be the first to hit the dance floor.

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Prophetic Dove wrapper (torn and taped)

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