The second session of Saturday’s Dwell conference was based on similar material to the most popular video I have ever hosted here. Although I have heard that material before, this was adapted for church leaders, and it did me good to listen to it live and again. I think I will need to hear Terry often on prayer. For I need him to remind me of how essential it is for me to withdraw and wrestle with God.
Prayer is essential to church planting.
Elijah had seen his nation turn from God. 58 years after Solomon it is mow illegal to worship God.
The Queen of England made incredible vows before God. She spoke about ruling under Christ. Now we find in our nation you mustn’t wear a cross or pray for a patient because it is illegal. It’s amazing how a nation can turn so rapidly. If Elijah was here today he’d have prayed that the banking system would collapse. He prayed for no rain. As we are planting churches we plant praying communities. The 1859 revival happened in the background of financial collapse. We can pray that God would do the same again.
Now Elijah is praying that rain will come. 1 Kings 18.
Fire has fallen from heaven. Then we see him withdrawing from the crowd. He refused to allow others to set his agenda. He frequently withdrew to be with God as Jesus also would. Similarly the Apostles devoted themselves to the word of God and prayer. You are not to be shaped by the euphoria. Don’t allow people and things to do to rule you.
Go to the inner room. Familiar place. Shut yourself in. Be with your Father who is in secret. Shutting the door doesn’t shut the world out. Terry finds having a piece of paper with him to write something down helpful if the mind wanders.
Genesis 4 speaks of men calling on a name. Lots of names in the Old Testament, but there is none like Father. Huge privilege to withdraw even from even the breakthrough. Away from the applauding crowd and get close to God.
Prayer was based on God’s promises. He had said he would send rain. Easy to be passive and think if God is sovereign he will do things without our prayer. He’s in charge. But his sovereignty does not take away the responsibility of prayer. Our praying is based on what God has said.
Elijah prays in line with God says. Jeremiah 29. Prayer is stressed as a vital prerequisite for the release of Gods power. Lay ahold on him. We have a God we can cry out to. Daniel had a bible in one hand and a calendar in the other. When he saw that the seventy years were coming to an end, he prayed rather than simply waiting. God loves to engage with us when we take him seriously.
Prayer is about fellowship and communion with God, but it is always about asking and receiving. God chose you to be an asker. We can be very specific with what we ask for. Live relationally with God.
Elijah prayed fervently. Great power. Mighty punch. Pray yourself into prayer says Carson. Praying in the Spirit as another energy kicks in. Another energy. Freedom. Eloquence. I care about this more than I realized I cared. More urgency.
Jacob wrestled with God. He had a passion to get ahold of God. God disowns the people In Exodus 34. He calls the people Moses people. He says “no” they are YOUR people. God offers to start again. Moses won’t leave him alone to judge them. He prevails. He gets through effectively arguing for the honor of Gods name. Loose the idea of wrestling and the idea of a battle of wills you loose the reality of prayer. Prayer is actually about a conflict of two volitions: ours and God’s. We must not neglect that aspect of prayer and move too a passive form.
Elijah persisted. Seven times. The easiest thing about prayer is giving up. Carson says we area like the boy who rings a doorbell and runs away. One of Jesus parables was that someone would give bread because the person wouldn’t give up. He said keep on insisting.
Learn to pray. Cultivate. Don’t let go. Andrew Murray says God longs to give but holds the blessing back. If we are going to plant churches we must lay ahold of God. We provide an earthly base for the heavenly purposes of God.
All authority is given to Christ. He tells us to go. The Sanhedrin tells them to stop. They withdraw and cry out to the “despot”.
CCK Church in Brighton had a 100% refusal from a planning committee for the change of use of their new building. On a TV interview Terry Virgo found himself saying “we are going to appeal and get it.” Then he called everyone to pray! Don’t let go. Sure enough they did get it!
Elijah refused to let the pressures stop him from withdrawing.
Build prayer into the program of your church. There is growth happening in the UK. So for example there were 1000 new churches in seven years in the UK.