We can all agree on the power, purpose and need of prayer. It is a cornerstone of our faith.
Maintaining consistent prayer is difficult. Why? Because it's a labor. Jesus said in Matthew 11:12, "The kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force."
What kind of violence is the peaceful Jesus advocating? Violence against our flesh. Violence against sin, lies and deception of the enemy. Violence against those who lead us astray.
Prayer and fasting are God's violent measures against the way and will of the world.
And we must be violent about taking our time, thoughts, emotions and will captive to prayer and fasting. To the truth of the Word.
Even so, why? How can a church or city maintain a culture of prayer? Vision. We must have a vision of why and how and for what we are praying day in and day out without seeing results or answers.
The vision comes from two paradigms. The love of Jesus for the church and individual believer as detailed in Song of Solomon. And a correct End of the Age view. Understanding Revelation and the 150 chapters in the Word that talk about Jesus return to the earth for His Bride.
See, I told you it was touchy. You cannot maintain a culture of prayer if you do not know, understand and somewhere along the line encounter the love of Jesus. The kind He talks about in Song of Solomon 4:9. If hearing "you're His favorite one" makes you uncomfortable, then you're falling short of His love and His favor and your place before Him.
How intimate and close can we be with someone we believes looks at us with sadness, disgust or anger? He's not the mad, sad God waiting to punish you. Yet so many of us carry that view. Hard to pray to a God like that.
And how can we maintain a prayer culture if we believe we have no purpose and plan to partner with Jesus for His triumphant return to earth? We do. We are not "out of here" before it all goes down. You have to read all the 150 end time chapters to get some kind of picture.
Yes, Jesus said "we can't know the day or the hour" but we CAN know the season. Too many of us cling to that one verse about "not knowing" and burying our head in the sand. There are also plenty of verses where Jesus admonishes us to be like the sons of Issachar and recognize the times and seasons.
Here's one. Matthew 24 Jesus is telling us how to recognize the end of the age. "Wars and rumors of war. Earthquakes." We've had what, seven or eight earthquakes and a major volcanic eruption this year? Wars and rumors of war. Yep.
We are called to partner with Jesus for His kingdom to come on earth at it is in heaven. Beloved, He's coming here. We're not going "there." He's coming to establish His kingdom. The one He bought and paid for on the Cross.
He's only coming "a second time" once. And that's to judge the quick and the dead, to judge the nations and their kings.
If you think Christianity isn't about politics, read Isaiah. Jesus is King! That's political.
Revelation 22:17 says, "The Spirit and the Bride say come, Lord Jesus." That's our job. To pray with the Spirit, "Lord come."
Are are His ground troops, interceding for the earth like Noah, like Moses, like Joseph for God to come and be with us in our darkest hour.
The end of the age will be brutal and dark.God's people praying, having a culture of prayer, rooted and ground in that amazing love we read about in Song of Solomon, will keep the earth from imploding until He comes at the prescribed time.
Ephesians 3 tells us to pray to be in the love of Jesus which "surpasses" knowledge.
Knowing who you are and where you're going is key to life. It is double key to maintaining and fueling a culture of prayer both in our hearts and in our churches.
Do some reading and researching, studying, get a good study on Song of Solomon and the end times. I recommend resources from IHOP-KC.
Check out what we're doing in my community at MyHOP.