Prayer & Intercession

17 Sep 2008

Getting a Word in Edgewise

in Prayer & Intercession , communion, Enoch, IHOP, John 15, Kansas City, misty choruses, prayer room

I am in a spiritual community in which the common, subconscious assumption is that a prayer environment [read prayer room] changes things deep within our hearts by osmosis. The idea is that you can get transformed simply by sitting in there, and if you sit in there a long time, it's even better. Now I have always been more quality vs. quantity myself, I'd rather have a powerful 2 hours than a negligible 8, but I have now known people who for 5 years have been consistently sitting in a prayer environment and have yet to truly address significant heart issues. This recognition that one can sit in a prayer room for years, singing choruses, praying for Cairo and wisdom and revelation ad nauseum and yet not meet the Father regarding childhood wounds, acceptance and self-esteem, fear, paranoia, shame and condemnation, is a bit startling. And then I think that perhaps, this is the case with me too! I can't tell you how many times I've talked to someone about a hard time that I was going through, and their response was "You should spend more time in the prayer room."

So I go to the prayer room. Maybe you don't have a prayer room nearby, and are thusfar having a hard time relating. Maybe you're thinking, "Man, I'd LOVE to have a prayer room to go to." Don't get me wrong, it is really great. For you, maybe think about your prayer dialogue. For past few years, much of my prayer life has looked a lot like this:

"Lord I will give up everything for You. Do whatever it takes. I don't want to be offended. I will burn all the bridges and turn my back on everything.I will make my vows to You. I want to be found faithful. I just want to love you more. I'll turn my back on all the good things of this world, all the legitimate pleasures, I'll give up everything. You are the one thing I want. Everything else is vanity and chasing the wind. Nothing compares to you. I'll turn my back on my father and mother..."
So basically, take a bunch of Misty choruses and put them together.

This type of "prayer" bears a sort of fruit in my life: usually its emotion and agitation. I can get myself in an emotional tissy and cry and make my declarations of intentions, sacrifice and vows, and I leave this "place of prayer" feeling very much accomplished, go to the bathroom to wipe the mascara from my cheeks, breath in "Ah, another good prayer time," and go home.

I have begun to notice that the Lord has a hard time getting a word in edgewise.

And somehow, I can't imagine Enoch's relationship where he "walked with God" (and subsequently was no more) looking quite like this.


Taking a Fresh Look

Since what I'm looking for is more the "Enoch variety," I'm taking a fresh look at what prayer is. There are a few things I'm beginning to learn about where I'm at right now:

1. I love the house of prayer and corporate intercession and devotional worship with the word meditation to music, Misty choruses and all manner of things like that. This is sort of a disclaimer.
2. I can't spend 8 solid hours in the prayer room. I go crazy.
3. Times of prayer that are a personal dialogue with the Father do not occur [for me] in an atmosphere with 90db worship choruses blaring in the background. If I attempt said Father-time, I am easily enticed to cease my dialogue with the Father and begin singing "like a hammer, like a fire, break in, break in" or to engaging for "the raising up of intercessors, prophetic singers, and musicians for the houses of prayer in Israel."

All of this being said, I have discovered that carving out that time to spend with the Father alone in a quiet place, is MUCH HARDER than sitting in a room with music. Having been a singer for years on 6 am sessions in the House of Prayer I can attest that, although it is hard to wake up at 4 am to go sing, it is inconceivably harder to wake up at 4 am and sit in the living room to talk with Jesus. Inconceivably. And somehow, at 4 am (which I of course have never actually successfully done this at 4 am) as I'm sitting there trying to figure out how to talk with Jesus and allow Him to truly have His way in the dark and shadowy places in my heart, that zeal to tell Him how much I'm going to sacrifice quickly pales, as it should in the place of encounter with the one who said:


"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."


Learning to Simply Respond

"Jesus, You said I was already clean by the word that You have spoken. Speak over me again today. I hear Your voice."

Then I pause and listen. He always speaks.

"Show me areas that You are pruning for my benefit. I agree with You in this process."

Pause and wait for impressions. I find that areas will come to mind that have seemed to be set-backs, but now I recognize that it's an area that the Lord has His hand on in pruning for my good, and my mindset is radically altered.

"Lord, what is the fruit that you are calling forth in my life for the glory of the Father?"

Pause. I find many scenarios will come to mind, day-to-day frustrations, relationships, struggles and situations that I begin to recognize as opportunity for fruit; faith, patience, kindness, and love that does not seek its own.

Have you ever heard the Lord invite you to "Ask whatever You wish?" What would you say?

"Jesus, as the Father has love You, so You have loved me. I remain in Your love."

Maybe its just semantics, but I've made a conscious effort to stop using the "I will, I want to" language with the Lord, and to in-the-moment, simply "I do."

"Jesus, You called me your friend."

I am thoroughly messed up, but it's more than a stirring of my soul realm or zeal hijacking my emotions, it's become an exercise of the spirit.

Now I this is prayer; not just telling the Lord how devoted I am to Him (although that may have its place too), but letting Him really look at me; look into those deep places and draw out dreams and desires and joys that He has planted their, and root out fears and anxieties and darkness that don't belong there. I am His garden. That's what He does and what He's like.

Stay tuned for more of my prayer rediscovery.


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