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 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.

Your College Semester Explained by Bible Verses

finals 2

If “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable…” (2 Timothy 3:16), let’s see how it might be applied to the experience of a typical college semester. Happy finals, everyone!

 

When you decide to just “wing it” on your big presentation:

When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. (Matthew 10:19)

Then you realise you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re not making sense:

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom… (1 Corinthians 2:3-4)

When the professor actually expects you to read the recommended texts:

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. (Philemon 1:21)

When that one student in your class turns in a paper twice as long as yours:

Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, please, how did you write all these words?…” (Jeremiah 36:17a)

When the class know-it-all decides to bless us all with their wisdom yet again:

…I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf… For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you. (Job 36:2, 4)

When that one person tries to answer questions without having done the reading:

Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2)

And so the professor decides the whole class gets a pop quiz:

Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. (Job 36:3)

When one person in the group project screws up the grade for everyone:

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12)

When the professor’s lecture is taking FOR. EV. ER.:

And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. (Acts 20:9)

When studying may very well kill you:

…Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

…He who increases knowledge increases sorrow. (Ecclesiastes 1:18)

…Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” (Acts 26:24)

When you get your grade back:

For you write bitter things against me and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth. (Job 36:26)

When you’re just holding on till break:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion… (Philippians 1:6)

I press on toward the goal for the prize… (Philippians 3:14)

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

When you throw responsibility to the wind and hang out with friends till 3 a.m. right before finals:

And behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (Isaiah 22:13)

When somehow you pull off a decent grade without studying:

The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:15)

When the week before finals hits and suddenly ALL THE THINGS are due:

…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death… (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)

But then the professor cancels or delays a major assignment:

For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; (Psalm 116:8)

When you finish a class you didn’t actually care about:

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. (Isaiah 43:18)

When you submit your last assignment and can taste the sweet, free air of break:

…The LORD has anointed me… to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. (Isaiah 61:1)

…neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:17)

James 1:5, y'all.

James 1:5, y’all.

If you enjoyed this, check out my post 11 IHOP Words IHOPers Use in Normal Conversations.

Monday Night Worship

In the three-ish months I’ve been home for the summer before my fall externship at The Prayer Room in Dallas, I’ve wanted to be very intentional about spending my time connecting with people and staying active in the prayer movement. To that end, I’ve hosted worship and prayer nights at my house every Monday night. We’ve been doing a loose version of the harp and bowl model that we use at IHOPKC. It’s been such a joy to glorify Jesus and enjoy His presence together with some of my Rancho Cucamonga people. We’ve spent time praying for our cities and churches as well as individuals. We frequently end up singing “Holy, holy, holy” and meditating on the heavenly scene in Revelation 4, and then praying for a revelation of God’s love to break in where it’s needed most.

Monday night piano

Singing and praying for a revelation of God’s love!

In Kansas City, I used to attend a weekly Sunday night house church/worship night in which a few of us would gather to fellowship, worship, and pray for each other. When it was time for me to move on from that group, one of the leaders, who is a dear friend of mine, encouraged me to start a similar group of my own. I was hesitant at first, but it’s been a very good growing/stretching process for me. I’ve never led worship before this. I’ve sung on a worship team at IHOPU all throughout my junior year, during which time I was also working on teaching myself piano. This summer was the perfect opportunity to stretch my fledgling skills to use in a small worship context (especially since I’m going to be leading worship in Dallas this fall!)

Last week was extra sweet. Only one person was able to come (it’s usually been about 3-5 people), and I was a bit nervous that it might feel awkward, but we reached out to God and He really met us. We interceded less than usual, but I ended up singing a fairly epic spontaneous oracle that combined phrases and themes from Psalm 27, Psalm 84, Song of Songs 1-2, and John 17. I wish I had recorded it, because it felt like very much what we needed to hear. Singing the Word is probably my favourite way to encounter God.

It’s not a large gathering, but I believe that God’s heart is touched by our small, weak prayers and songs. He cherishes having our attention, and He moves at the sound of our voices. What we do in those quiet moments of worship matters.

If you’re in the Rancho Cucamonga area, please join us for our final summer worship night – Monday, August 10, at 7pm. (We’re off this Monday, August 3, while I’m on vacation with my family.) We’re open to everyone, so bring a friend or five! Email lutzc@ihopu.org for the address.