God Keeps Saying 24/7

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A good friend of mine recently sent a dream he had to me. In the dream, I was in the middle of a packed prayer room of young adults very late at night. There was tremendous enthusiasm and the atmosphere was like a praise party. I asked everyone in the room, “Should we pray through the night?” The response was an overwhelming and unanimous yes. There was agreement, energy and excitement about keeping a night watch. The dream ended.

I love dreams like this one as they are so very encouraging. In fact, typically what I do with dreams that are clear and personally meaningful is I put them in an email and flag them so I can easily reference them on my iPhone and draw strength from them on the more routine or tough days. It’s not uncommon for someone to send me a spiritual dream with a personal application and so I typically pray through it right then, flag it in my email and move on. Truth be told, though, since receiving dreams from others is somewhat typical, I wouldn’t have given this particular dream much more thought even though I was super encouraged by it.

But, about an hour later, another good friend of mine—who had no idea I had been given this dream or that I was currently thinking and praying about its meaning—sent me a text message with a picture. The text was a picture of a Stanley Steamer cleaning service van that had huge letters on the back reading “Trust 24/7.” The whole back of the van had it in huge letters. Now I was really at attention. First a dream about prayer all night and now a text an hour later with “Trust 24/7.” Neither person knew about the other.

Then, a couple of days later, I’m taking the trash out at the house of prayer and on the way to the dumpster I walk by an older lady (I noticed she had an oxygen tank for breathing) and a younger lady with her who I thought was perhaps her granddaughter. When I dumped the trash off and was heading back I came up behind them since they were moving a bit slow and just tried to be cordial and make some small talk. As I passed by, I said something like, “What a nice day today. I could take this kind of weather all year long.” Now, the older lady didn’t look at me or turn around or anything. All she said to my brief comment was this: “24/7.” Not a word more or less, just “24/7.” She said it really nicely, like it was a normal response to what I had just said. But I can’t ever in my life remember someone replying “24/7” to a comment I made about the weather. I was so struck by her response, and with what had been sent to me a couple days prior, I knew it truly was the Lord a third time in as many days reminding me of where things are going. First, a clear dream about praying through the night, then a picture with “Trust 24/7” and then an older lady says “24/7.” You can’t make these things up. It was once again God Himself reminding me to trust Him for the day that 24/7 prayer and worship would take expression in our ministry.

The fact that God spoke so startlingly clear when I was taking out the trash was itself a very personalized way to communicate the confirmation of the vision He’s given me. A few years ago when I first began to transition to full-time ministry to build the house of prayer, He met me in a similar way—while taking out the trash. I won’t go into the full story in this particular blog (since it’s already getting a bit lengthy), but suffice it to say He made it very clear to me that I was entering a small beginnings phase and to take seriously the calling He had given me even when very few people, including myself at times, notice its value or significance.

One of the reasons I’m sharing this particular story is because my buddy who shared the dream with me also encouraged me to begin to communicate this latest “prophetic swirl” so other people could have an opportunity to understand what God is emphasizing right now. One of the things I go back and forth on in my head is with whom and how best exactly to share what the Spirit is saying to me personally in a given season. I have many stories like the one I’m describing in this blog, but I hesitate to share most of them for various reasons I won’t get into here. Regardless, one thing I’m absolutely certain of based on numerous biblical passages and countless prophetic experiences is that God is going to normalize 24/7 prayer with worship at the GPHOP, in central Illinois and in the entire earth. Jesus’ house will be a house of prayer as He defines house of prayer and the whole earth will see what a non-stop praying and worshiping church really looks like.

I’m not convinced of this because of just this story here, but because, again, I could tell many more, perhaps dozens if I put them all together. Prayer puts us in the middle of God’s prophetic swirl and when we’re in the swirl the problem is no longer, “God, why are you so silent?” but “God, how do I rightly respond to all the things You’re saying.” Honestly, the more Jesus talks, the more I feel a desperate need to be in prayer to process it, and because I’m in prayer He says even more, and the problem (a very good problem) never goes away—it just grows.

This “growing problem,” of course, is the divine narrative the Lord of heaven and earth is writing and inviting us into. One thing I’m finding is that God really does have specific plans for specific people and places and we really can enter into them through obedient, prayerful lives. I don’t know about you, but as for me, if God’s writing a story and inviting me into it, I want to be 100 percent faithful all the way.

The reality is that there’s going to be a level of prayer in the church of central Illinois that we really cannot even begin to fathom right now. There is a unique global calling on the church in the greater Peoria region that we’re just starting to tap into. In God’s time, an explosion of powerful revelation is going to captivate young hearts especially and move them into an understanding of and operation in prayer that is categorically unprecedented in church history. Think about it. Can you really imagine young adults desperate to pray all night? I mean, I’m talking about 21st century millenials, the ones most people totally write off. Can you really picture it? Can you even see your own church’s youth group this hungry for Jesus? Can you visualize young people who want to burn with Holy Spirit fire in the prayer room on weekend nights instead of party in frat houses or taverns downtown?

Jesus, the most interesting Man in the cosmos, is going to enchant and continue to enchant young hearts and they will think it’s a reasonable thing to pray all day and all night because they see with opened eyes of faith the magnificence of Jesus Christ and the meaningfulness of the cross He died on for them. They will know Him as beautiful and worthy of a lifelong pursuit. They will count knowing Him and loving Him through the seasons as far more valuable than a lucrative career, fame or globetrotting adventures for in pursuing Him they will have already discovered the most noble end. They will have found the famous One. And they will live the greatest adventure—seeking after God Himself.

Yes, God keeps saying 24/7. He hasn’t changed His mind about His plans. But the question before us now is this: are we listening?

I’d like to encourage you to pray about our summer internship at the Greater Peoria House of Prayer coming up this July 10-31. Contact the GPHOP via email at info@gphop.org if you have a desire to spend these 21 days growing in your relationship with Jesus while developing friendships with other likeminded brothers and sisters in Christ. You can find more details by clicking here.

The power of two or three praying together

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“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

I’m honestly so thankful that Jesus said “two or three.” I’ve often thought about how Jesus could have required two or three hundred—or two or three thousand even—before He came “in the midst of them.” Can you imagine the pressure and condemnation we would all feel if the following words were hanging over our heads: “I’ll be in your midst if only you mobilize a prayer gathering that’s hundreds or thousands of people.” After all, He’s God and He could have written the rules of engagement much differently than He did.

Of course, Jesus knew the miracle of grace that would be required to have just two or three people consistently gathering in prayer in agreement with His heart and with one another. That’s why He chose to say two or three. He has a heart for the small gathering and wants us to know that they really, truly do matter. Just a small few asking for “anything” in accordance with God’s will and Jesus is at that prayer meeting.

Having led prayer meetings for many years now, I’ve seen and experienced first-hand the difficulty and rigor of sticking with small prayer meetings in particular. And though I could list a dozen hindrances and a dozen helps related to the small prayer gathering, I really just want to say that they are exceedingly worth it.

During the last three or four years that I’ve led the Greater Peoria House of Prayer, I’ve been at multiple prayer meetings on a near daily basis. Out of those hundreds of prayer meetings, by far the most powerful times have been when I’ve been alone early in the morning or with just one or two other people during an unassuming afternoon or evening set. Jesus’ words really are absolutely true. I know by faith He’s been with us at every meeting, but I’ve tangibly experienced His nearness many times even when it was just a couple of us. Some of the most powerful ministry times I’ve been apart of in the last number of years have been when just a couple people have been praying together and someone got a prophetic word for another person, or the Spirit began to move in an unusual way, or God’s peace just blanketed the room.

My encouragement today is not only to not quit those small prayer gatherings, but to go to more of them, as many as possible really. Embrace the gatherings of two or three at home, at your church, in your small group, in the coffee shop, at the house of prayer, etc. When you have a buddy or two, and your turn your attention to the Lord in prayer, He really comes and moves. And anything can happen when Jesus steps into the room.

Keep praying my friends.

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Follow Me

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Follow Me. That’s the gospel message condensed into a single two-word sentence. It’s all about following Jesus—on His terms, of course (as revealed in the Bible). Being a Christian is far more than saying a prayer at an altar after a message (although that’s wonderful to do). It’s far more than going on a weekend retreat each year (although that’s great to do too). It’s far more than being a local church member (which is essential to our life in Christ). Being a born-again believer is about following this Jewish Carpenter from Nazareth whom we call Savior, Lord and King with all of our hearts for our entire lives. This is Christianity; this is discipleship. This is evidence of our repentance and the crux of our faith—following this Man to the end, wherever in the world it takes us and whatever in the world it looks like. This is the gospel of our salvation: “Follow Me.”

Are you following Jesus?

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24)