The “Love”-“Hate” Relationship (mid-series review/redux)

This past summer I began a series exploring the relationship between “love” and “hate.”  Given the intensifying, world-shaping focus on “hate” in our cultural and political environment today, I felt an urging in my spirit to begin exploring this matter from God’s perspective.  As I followed the “bread crumbs” of understanding that the Holy Spirit began to lay out, they led me to a set of “keys” that unlocked a myriad of doors with expansive hallways.

I began to realize that this “love”-“hate” relationship, in its dynamic simplicity and yet pervasive complexity, is fundamental to all things human: psychology, sociology, and even spirituality.  As I’ve searched to see if this understanding has been explored and expressed similarly elsewhere, in both the Christian and secular world, I found a surprising lack of incisive inquiry into and clear analysis of this most fundamental issue.  So I feel grateful and also responsible to share this perspective with those who will take time to consider it.

In the first three parts of this series, I sought to, as simply as possible, lay out the initial bread crumbs that led me to the set of keys and to show in some practical applications how these can help to unlock some of our personal and psychological conditions.

I was in the midst of preparing Part 4 in the series when I was interrupted in my spirit by what I can only describe as a prolonged “trumpet blast.”  (I spoke about that experience in the post The Final Call to Repentance and The Return.)  Along with that very distinct spiritual impression came a prophetic burden to focus a number of timely blog posts on the subjects of repentance, prayer, and intercession for our nation.

Although that spiritual burden still remains,  I now feel it is timely to return to this unfinished series and see it through to its completion.  (Indeed, I believe the best is yet to come! 😉 )  Because the three-fold foundation of this teaching was shared so long ago, however, and there are also those who might not have read the initial posts, it seems prudent to give a mid-series explanation and review at this point before launching into its final parts.

I do want to emphasize in giving this review how important it is to “follow the bread crumbs” from the beginning and truly grasp the “keys.”  Some of the concepts may seem unfamiliar, surprising, or even a bit challenging to grasp at first.  Although the principles themselves are profoundly simple, in their application they are simply profound, and so it may take some time and consideration in order to process and truly make them your own.

I would encourage you then, not to move on until you truly “get it!”  If you do, I think you’ll find that your eyes are opened in an unexpected way and you will begin to see the world, and even your relationship with God, with a whole new level of clarity.  That has been my experience at least, and I hope and trust it will be yours as well!

If you haven’t read the initial posts or you’d like a full refresher, then, you may navigate to them using the following links:
Part 1: “Love”
Part 2: “Hate”
Part 3: “Generational Dynamics”

For those who’ve read and “tracked” with the initial posts and merely need a quick refresher, I’ve “bulleted” the main points of each part below for your review and consideration.  (If at any point you’d like a more thorough explanation, you may also click the heading for each part and refer back to the original posts.)

~ ~ ~

The “Love”-“Hate” Relationship
Overview: Parts 1-3

Part 1 – “Love”

    • Love comes from God.
    • Love has as its very essence the ascribing and giving of value.
    • Love ascribes value and sacrificially gives that which is of value to its recipients.
    • Love is both a virtue of the heart and a corresponding outward action; a passive noun and an active verb.
    • Love is also “the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 3:14 NAS) and as such creates a drawing, unifying effect.
    • Love, therefore, is an esteeming affection, a beneficial/sacrificial action, and a drawing/unifying effect, all in one.

Part 2  – “Hate”

    • Hate is the “unexpected child of a virtuous mother”: LOVE.
    • The biblical concept of “hate” is derived from the protective nature of love (see 1 Corinthians 13:7.)
    • We hate that which opposes, threatens, and/or violates what we love!
    • Whatever we hate, therefore, can be traced back to something that we love being opposed, threatened and/or violated.
    • These “two sides of the same coin”, love and hate, are proportional.  The greater the love, the greater the hate that is generated towards that which opposes, threatens, and/or violates what is loved!  If we did not love, neither would we hate.
    • Hate, in and of itself, is morally indeterminate.  Its moral character, whether good, neutral, or evil, is established by the moral nature of the love it is derived from, as well as its motivation, focus, and manifestation.
    • The primary Hebrew word for “hate” is “sane” (pronounced “saw-nay”)  which carries the primary meaning of rejection and separation.
    • The original Hebrew language is pictographic in nature with the individual letters depicting a certain meaning.  “Sane” is comprised of letters that depict a thorn and seed.
    • The function of a thorn is to create rejection and separation.  The function of seed is to facilitate generation and reproduction.  Hate has the effect of fulfilling all of these functions.

Part 3 – “Generational Dynamics”

    • Working together, the love-hate dynamic is the primary force that creates, contours, and characterizes most of the psychological, sociological, and spiritual conditions generating in and from the human heart.
    • In the complexity of the heart, both “loves” and “hates” each have the power to generate additional “loves” and “hates” as they intersect and interact with each other and with those things which either ally or are at enmity with them.
    • These “generational dynamics” follow certain principles which are essential to understand to rightly discern and wisely engage with most human conditions, whether psychological, sociological, or spiritual.
    • These generational dynamics yield a four-fold set of keys that help to unlock the complexities of the human heart:
      • Key #1 – “First generation loves” are unique from all else that follows.
        • A “first generation love” is derived simply and purely from the inherent value ascribed to an object on its own terms.
        • All that is generated thereafter, from the “first generation hate” to the “secondary and subsequent generations” of both love and hate, are mixtures of whatever inherent value may be ascribed to the object on its own terms, plus or minus whatever effectual value, the object has in relation to the loves or hates that it interacts with, whether positively or negatively(The “peanut butter pizza” example given in Part 3 helps to illustrate this point. 😉 )
        •  “First generation loves” are the initiating, primary forces in the “love”-“hate” relationship and through their protective nature are alone responsible for generating “first generation hates.”
      • Key #2 – In “secondary and subsequent generations” of the “love”-“hate” relationship, both loves and hates each have the power to generate additional loves and additional hates according to set principles.
        • These generational dynamics may most easily be understood by employing the well-known phrase: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and then by further re-wording it to show three additional possible variations. (Employed in this way, we should understand that “enemy” relates to hate, and “friend” to love.  Similarly, hate connotes a negative value, while love a positive one.)
        • In the original phrase, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” a double-negative of hate (“The enemy of my enemy”) surprisingly generates a new, single positive of love (“is my friend.”)  This illustrates how existing hates can create new loves in the secondary and subsequent generations of the “love”-“hate” relationship.
        • Re-wording the phrase to be, “The friend of my friend is my friend,”  illustrates how a double positive of love (“The friend of my friend…”) generates a new positive of love (“is my friend.”)
        • Thus, both double negatives of hate and double positives of love each generate new positives of love in the secondary and subsequent generations of the “love”-“hate” relationship.
        • Further, by re-wording the phrase to be either, “The enemy of my friend is my enemy,” or “The friend of my enemy is my enemy,” it illustrates, in both cases, how a single positive of love (“friend”) interacting with a single negative of hate (“enemy”), generates a new single negative of hate (“is my enemy.”)
        • All loves are not the same, therefore, with some being “first generation loves” based on inherent value alone (as in Key #1), some being the product of a double negative of hates, some being the product of a double positive of loves (as in Key #2), and some being a combination of two or more of these generational dynamics.
        • Further, not all hates are the same, with some being “first generation hates” (as in Key #1 – springing from their enmity towards a “first generation love”) and others being “secondary or subsequent hates” as either the product of a single positive of love interacting with a single negative of hate, vice versa (as in Key #2), or a combination of two or more of these generational dynamics..
      • Key #3 – Most conditions and situations are a mixture of “first”, “secondary” and “subsequent” generations of differing loves and hates.
        • These all integrate together in a complex, counter-balancing, competing, complementing, flipping, fortifying, and re-generating way to form some sort of  internal “algorithm” that produces a uniquely expressed outcome!
        • As such, most conditions and situations cannot simply be taken at face value but must be discerned and engaged with at deeper levels.
      • Key #4 – In order to rightly discern and wisely engage with any condition or situation, the secondary and subsequent layers of loves and hates must be peeled back until the primary “first generation love(s) that generate all else thereafter are uncovered.
        • Only as we rightly discern a situation or condition at this primary, root level can we rightly perceive the most generative and formative matters of the heart that are ultimately at work.
        • Only as we wisely engage with a matter at this primary, root level, in love and in truth, can true transformation and change potentially take place while maintaining the unity that comes from love.
        • This is the ultimate key in the key set!

~ ~ ~

In Part 3 of this series, I introduced these “keys” and gave some examples that related primarily in the realm of personal and psychological conditions.  The next two posts (which will follow shortly) will apply these “keys” primarily in the realm of interpersonal and sociological situations, especially focusing on how we may lovingly and wisely engage with others who may differ from us culturally, politically, and/or religiously.  I will close out this series by applying these principles to the spiritual life in relationship with God and His people.

I look forward to exploring with you these most elemental dynamics of the human heart which form and fashion the full expression of our lives as those made in the image and likeness of HIM who is LOVE!

Posted in Spiritual Dynamics | 3 Comments

Important Blog Update – Please read!

I am sending this post out very early on the morning of January 20, 2021, the presidential Inauguration Day in the USA.  We are living in extremely unprecedented, unpredictable, and, frankly, unfathomable times!  It is hard to project what the state of our nation will be even by the end of this day, let alone in the days, weeks, and months ahead!  Things are changing rapidly and dramatically (to say the least!)

One thing that has become abundantly clear over the past number of months is that there is a deeply disturbing war on free speech in this country.  Those holding and expressing views that conflict with the “official narrative” and what is “politically correct” are increasingly being demonized, shame-labeled, censored, banned, de-platformed, and persecuted.  The foundations of freedom that have been the hallmark of this country for so long are quickly eroding and being replaced with a ubiquitous spirit of cultural, media, technological, and governmental control.  In the name of “diversity” and “tolerance”, uniformity and intolerance are being foisted upon our nation and have become the atmosphere we’re being forced to live and move and have our being in.  Because there is little to no accountability and consequence for those propagating this intimidating and forceful conformity, the push towards complete thought-speech-action-controlling tyranny is accelerating.  If unchecked, what follows after that is not a mystery (to those who know and understand history!)

As of New Years Day, I began my tenth year blogging at Christ-Centered Christianity. Although it’s my desire and intention to continue blogging through this coming year, I’m aware that there are major developments that may greatly curtail or even crush that prospect.  My purpose in this post is to bring attention to that reality and to offer some appropriate suggestions and even passionate urgings in light of it.

First of all, no matter where you may live as you read this post, I ask that you would earnestly pray and intercede for the United States of America at this critical crossroads!  I believe that the future of this nation will greatly determine the future course of the entire world geo-politically, economically, technologically, and culturally.  The Church is also greatly divided in our nation by the political and cultural polarization that has been stoked by “the powers that be”, especially over the past four years.  This is deeply grievous to the Lord and needs to be the focus of concerted intercession.  It also seems that a time of intense persecution and even purging of Christians is being planned, coordinated, and may be shortly unleashed on the Church in America if the godless, globalist, Marxist forces that have infiltrated nearly every aspect of our society have their way.  I’m afraid that Christians in America are gravely ill-prepared for this level of persecution should it come.

Secondly, no matter where you may live (yet especially to my brothers and sisters in the USA), I urge you to take advantage today of the following free resource hosted on this site while it is still available: Principles for the Gathering of Believers Under the Headship of Jesus Christ by Gospel Fellowships.  Of all the content and resources on this blog/website, I feel this is the most important and essential at this time to prepare the Body of Christ for what may be coming shortly!  To make this as simple and accessible as possible, I’ve made a PDF of the Resource page on this blog of this work for you to easily download to your computer, tablet, or phone.  This will give you quick access on your own device to all of the links for the print and audiobook formats to then download individually while they remain available.  That PDF link is here:

PRINCIPLES Book (Complete PDF, mp3, and more)

You may also access the Resource page for this book right here on the blog by clicking here or from the Resources tab on the header/menu at any time.

I urge you to take advantage of this resource today, and then share it around with those in your circle of fellowship and influence.  I cannot guarantee how long it will be available for.

Thirdly, I’m working on converting what I feel are some of the more important posts and pages that I’ve written over the past nine years into PDF format and am listing the links to those on a new permanent page, “PDFs“, found on the header bar/menu.   I’ve begun that process and will continue it over the next few days, weeks, and months as the Lord leads and circumstances allow.  Given the present atmosphere and what may be imminently coming, however, it’s possible that all of this content may eventually be de-platformed and disappear from the web, so I want to be faithful to steward these teachings/resources in the most efficient and expedited manner I can at this time.  If you think you may have any interest in these resources going forward, I encourage you to transfer them into your possession now, “while the getting’s good”, and then you will at least have options going forward as to how you may use them.  Please feel free also to share these with those you are connected with if you feel they serve the purpose of the Lord in your circles of influence.

Finally, since I last posted, I’ve added four new resources to the FREE AUDIOBOOKS section of this site.  These are all extremely well written/read and carry a very timely message for this present hour.  They are as follows:

A First Century Message to Twentieth Century Christians– by G. Campbell Morgan  This is an in-depth exposition of the first three chapters of the book of Revelation focusing on the seven letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor.  It is as relevant today as it was in the first (and “twentieth”) century.  I highly recommend it!

Prevailing Prayer: What Hinders It? – by Dwight L. Moody  This title speaks clearly for itself.  Interestingly, this production was published by LibriVox shortly after I published my latest post, Stoking the Fires of Prayer and Intercession (especially for those who struggle) and its chapters tie in very closely to the different aspects I focused on in that post.  If there is one burden I feel at this time, it is for the Body of Christ to increase in the degree and depth of prayer and intercession for the Church and the nations.

The Night of Weeping– by Horatius Bonar  This is a classic treatise on the purpose and promise bound up with suffering and hardship in the Christian life.  I truly feel this is a book richly written under the Holy Spirit’s anointing and is very timely for the Body of Christ at this time!  It is also wonderfully read by a LibriVox volunteer.

Paul the Dauntless– by Basil Joseph Matthews  This extraordinary piece of literature on the life of the apostle Paul really took me by surprise as to how well it was researched, written, and read.  I would call this one a “hidden classic” that, while being in the genre of “historical fiction”, gives great care to the details of Scripture, geography, culture, and the like.  It really “brings to life” the full sweep of the life of Saul of Tarsus/Paul the apostle.  I believe that the spirit of this dauntless man is what will mark the remnant saints at the end of the age, and so we will do well to immerse ourselves in his life.  As he said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

All of the free audiobooks hosted on this site have serialized players added for ease of listening as well as links to download the entire book.  Please take advantage of these wonderful blessings while they are available!

Dear saints, we are living in unprecedented, Biblical days!  God is on the Throne, and He is our High Tower!  We do not fear, but we must be prepared in spirit, soul, and body for what is coming and is even upon us!  I give you my best as a fellow follower and servant of Christ.  I am far from perfect and greatly covet your prayers in this hour for my family and me!  We are all in this together for the glory of God and the expansion of His unshakeable Kingdom!  May He find us faithful!!

In His love,
David

Update:  Some very significant, insightful, and helpful comments have been contributed to this post after it was published.  Please be sure to scroll down and take the time to read through what has been shared!  It is as important, and even more so, than what I have written!  All blessings!!


PRINCIPLES Book (Complete PDF, mp3, and more) – PDF link
PDFs page
FREE AUDIOBOOKS main menu page

Posted in Audiobooks, Blog Updates, Christ-Centered Resources | 28 Comments

Stoking the Fires of Prayer and Intercession (especially for those who struggle)

Does the call to a life of prayer and intercession seem daunting to you?  Do you feel that an effective, consistent prayer life is beyond your reach?  Have you tried to pray and intercede for others regularly but have failed miserably?  I can relate to all of those sentiments and conditions at one time and another in my walk with the Lord.  There have also been regular seasons in my life that have been marked by a deep, fervent, and abiding spirit of prayer and intercession.  I’ve known both ends of the spectrum, and a wide range in-between.

In the drier times, I’ve felt like I have this little “match” of faith and desire and I place it up against these giant logs of prayer and intercession and all I get is a little puff of smoke.  The match goes out and I’m done.

The fact of the matter, however, is that it only takes a tiny match to get a fire going that has the potential to not only set big logs on fire, but an entire forest.  If all you and I have is a tiny match of faith and desire, we have all we need to start a fervent, consuming, prayer life.  It’s simply a matter of what we do with that match that makes all the difference.

Natural Fire Building

When I build a natural fire, I gather the logs I want to burn, but I also include smaller logs, branches, kindling wood, and paper.  I build it from the bottom up, from the most easily ignitable material to the least.  I further make sure it is constructed with the right balance of proximity of materials to each other as well as needed space for airflow.  I then take my match and only concern myself with lighting the most readily combustible material, the paper.  If the paper catches, I might have to blow on it a little to get the kindling wood burning, but, eventually, the flames take over and the fire burns hotter and hotter until even the biggest logs are crackling and popping in the blaze.

Now, if I tend the fire regularly and keep feeding it when it begins to burn down, it’s not hard to keep the fire burning for hours and even days without having to start all over again from the beginning.  However small or large a fire I may eventually obtain, however, it all is set on fire with just a single, tiny match.

Spiritual Fire Building

If we find that the fires of prayer and intercession in our life have burned down to mere ashes, or maybe were never kindled in the first place, we need to start at the beginning and build these fires on the hearth of our heart employing the wisdom gained through natural fire building.

To start with, we will need to make sure we have the right “materials.”  These will include some “big logs” of our primary objectives in prayer and intercession, but we will also need to incorporate into our pyre of prayer some smaller logs, branches, kindling wood, and paper.  Unless our prayer life is regularly fed and tended, we shouldn’t assume that the “big logs” will easily or automatically catch.  We will most likely need to first build a “starter fire” under them consisting of the other, more readily combustible “materials.”

“Paper”

The first thing we will need, then, is the “paper.”  In this analogy, may I suggest that the “paper” is representative of the Scriptures.  As we begin our time of prayer, it is a wise and helpful practice to begin by meditating on and “praying into” a selected portion of Scripture.  This can take various forms and can be focused on anything from simply one spiritually rich word from Scripture (“love”, “peace”, “holy”, etc.), a Scriptural phrase, verse, portion of a chapter, or an overview of an entire chapter.  We should choose a portion that our heart is drawn to and focuses our thoughts and desires on God Himself, revealing something of His character, promises, purposes, wisdom, works, and/or ways. (The Psalms are an excellent place to draw from.)

As we meditate on and begin “praying into” God’s Word, we must engage not merely our mind, but also our heart, allowing our “match of faith and desire” to “burn up into” and “envelope” the portion of Scripture we are focusing on within our spirit.  Through the quickening of the Holy Spirit, this uniting of faith and desire with the truth of Scripture will begin to ignite and generate increasing measures of both “light” (revelation) and “heat” (spiritual desire.)  Thus our faith and desire will be further kindled and enflamed. 

“For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you…”
(2 Timothy 1:6 NAS)

“While I meditated, the fire burned; ” (Psalm 39:3 NIV)

“Kindling Wood”

As these initial burnings of faith and desire begin to increase within our spirit through meditation, our first responses in prayer ought to be those of thanksgiving and praise.  These expressions are the flames that are most readily kindled by the Spirit as we muse on God’s Word.  The “kindling wood” which our thanksgiving and praise are fueled by are the character, wisdom, will, works, and ways of God revealed in the Scripture portion before us.

In order for this “kindling wood” to fully “catch” then, we should begin to express focused prayers of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord drawing from the portion of Scripture we are meditating on.  Such expressions begin with words such as, “I thank You, Lord, that You are…”, “I praise You, God, for…”, etc…  This is how we begin to “pray into” God’s Word.  As these expressions of gratitude and exaltation begin to flow from our hearts and lips to the Lord, they further feed and fan the flames of faith and desire within our hearts drawing us deeper into prayer and praise.

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15 NKJV)

“Large Sticks and Small Logs”

As the fire begins to grow, the “large sticks” of confession and repentance ought to most readily catch next.  As we lift God up with thanksgiving and praise, we, in turn will find ourselves coming into a greater position of humility before Him.  As the light of revelation through His Word begins to shine brighter, we will find the areas of our hearts that yet harbor shadows and darkness will begin to be exposed.  This will lead us very naturally to confession and repentance in prayer.

In the “light” and “heat” of our Scripture meditation/praying, we should ask the Lord if there is some aspect of our faith that needs to be increased in relation to His Word and some corresponding aspect of unbelief that needs to be confessed and repented of?  A prayer such as is recorded in the Gospels is always in order, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

We should further ask if there is some aspect of obedience that is lacking in relation to His Word, and if there is some corresponding act or practice of disobedience that needs to be confessed and repented of?  Confession humbles the heart before God and opens the way for a greater “wind” of God’s grace to blow in and fan the fires of prayer in our heart. 

“For God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication.” (Zechariah 12:10 NIV)

“Take words with you, And return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.” (Hosea 14:2 NKJV)

 

In close proximity to the large sticks of confession and repentance are the small logs of supplication. Supplication by definition is a humble entreaty for oneself.  As we humble ourselves before God in confession and repentance, we also humbly entreat Him for His mercy and grace that we may be forgiven, cleansed, and enabled to walk in a greater measure of faith and obedience.  The deeper the humility, the greater the grace that is given and is able to be received.  We should seek to sink very low before the exalted Lord if we desire the fire of prayer to burn brightly and intensely.

Through meditation on Scripture, exalting God through thanksgiving and praise, and humbling ourselves through confession and supplication, we are in the most fitting and “flammable” place for the spirit of prayer to then begin to ignite and consume the “large logs” of petition and intercession.

“Large Logs”

There are two related types of prayer that comprise the “large logs” of our prayer life: petition and intercession.

The word “petition” comes from a Latin word, “petere” which means “to make for, go to; attack, assail; seek, strive after; ask for, beg, beseech, request; fetch; derive; demand, require,” (Online Etymology Dictionary)  In these descriptives, we see the intensity of the word “petition” as a focused and fervent beseeching of the Lord in prayer.  In Scripture we are entreated: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV.)  We are further encouraged by the words of James, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.(James 5:16 NKJV.)  Petitioning prayer is one of the greatest privileges and highest responsibilities we have as the children of God and when the fires of prayer burn hot, these large logs begin to burn brightly and feed the flames with substantial fuel and fervent heat.

Closely related to prayers of petition are prayers of intercession.  While prayers of petition can be for ourselves as well as for others, prayers of intercession are strictly on the behalf of others.  The word “intercede” comes from the Latin prefix, “inter” meaning “between” and “cedere” meaning “to go”. To intercede is to “go between” the Lord and another on their behalf in prayer.  This is the essence of priestly ministry which is the high calling of every believer.  It is, likewise, through intercession that we can most powerfully encounter and be conformed to the heart of Christ in His heavenly ministry as He who “always lives to make intercession for [us].” (Hebrews 7:25)  There is very little in the spiritual life that is more effectual in decreasing the self-life and increasing Christ’s life within us than importunate intercession for others.  This is the second type of large log that God desires our prayer lives to consume.

Burning Embers

As with natural fire, our spiritual fire of prayer goes through stages.  There is that which involves our intentional kindling of a “starter fire” through meditation, thanksgiving, and praise, followed by our willing cooperation to fan the flames through confession, repentance, and supplication, followed by our active participation to feed the fires the substantial and sustaining fuel of petition and intercession.  As the fire of prayer transitions through these stages, the flames burn hotter and brighter, but they also build up within us a lively bed of red hot embers that continue to burn and throw heat long after the active flames have died down.  Those glowing embers are the coals of intimacy with the Lord that are built up in the process, and as a consequence, of the active aspects of our prayer lives.  Not only do these coals continue to burn in our hearts long after we have moved on from active times of prayer, they also become the hot bed upon which our next time of active prayer will be built and easily kindled afresh.  As long as these burning embers are tended regularly with the fuel of meditation and active prayer, the fire will never go out!

This, indeed, is the key to building and sustaining an active, intimate prayer life with the Lord. It does not happen automatically, nor without intentionality and consistency, but neither is it beyond our reach.  All it takes is the wisdom of natural fire building applied to our prayer life and a small match of faith and desire to get it all started.  Before long, we will have a fervent, abiding spirit of prayer within us that not only consumes and radiates within our own hearts, but also warms and enlightens those around us.

I pray that you are encouraged “to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you…” even unto a consuming fire of prayer and intercession through the wisdom and grace He has given!


Related:
A Continuing Urgent Call to Prayer and Intercession
1857 Prayer Revival – Can it Happen Again?
A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – by Madam Guyon (free audiobook)
Prevailing Prayer: What Hinders It? – by Dwight L. Moody (free audiobook)

As an example of one way of “praying into the Scriptures”, I commend the following relatively short podcast episode by John Piper.  As you listen, please notice the different aspects of thanksgiving, praise, confession, and supplication that are interwoven into his prayers related to the Scripture portion he is meditating on!

Posted in Prayer and Intercession, Spiritual Dynamics, The Inner Life, Video | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

A Continuing Urgent Call to Prayer and Intercession

The urgency in my spirit for the Church to arise from its slumber and get up to the front lines of the battle in prayer, repentance, and intercession is persisting…and increasing!  I’m afraid that our culture of instant gratification and incessant distraction has so spiritually weakened us that we are ill-prepared for the depth and duration of persevering, prevailing prayer that is needed in this hour.  (I include myself in that assessment.)  It is a most critical hour, however, and the future course of our nation and of the world ultimately lies in the hands of God’s people, His royal priesthood. 

We are also the people who are living in the days of the full and final fulfillment of what was prophesied in Joel 2:

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days

I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.  And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved;”  Joel 2:28-32 NIV

This is what the apostle Peter quoted on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was initially poured out on the Church.  (See Acts 2)  If we look at the prophecy closely, however, we see that the ultimate fulfillment will take place “…before the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”, i.e, at the very end of the age.  Pentecost was an initial fulfillment, but the full and final outpouring of the Spirit is still yet to come.  I believe we are living in the very days leading up to this great, last work of God that will serve to perfect the Bride and bring in the final harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God before the end comes.

As with all great moves of God, including the initial outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, there is always a birthing process that culminates in travailing, prevailing prayer. (For the ten days between the Ascension and Pentecost, it says of the approximately 120 believers in the Upper Room: They all joined together constantly in prayer…” Acts 1:14)

If we go back to the original prophecy in Joel, we see that there is a prerequisite to the promise, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…

That prerequisite is found in Joel 2:12-17:

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.  Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
 
Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.  Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast.  Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.  Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the portico and the altar.  Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD.  Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations.  Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ”

This spirit of heart-rending repentance and importunate intercession is the travail that births the merciful, bountiful, restorative work of the Spirit that follows by the grace of God. (See Joel 2:18-32) 

It is this level of travailing, prevailing prayer that is needed in this hour not only because of what is happening geo-politically, economically, and concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, but also in regards to the Lord’s desire to culminate the age in one last global outpouring of His Spirit to purify His Bride and bring in the final harvest.

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It’s important as we consider this matter of travailing, prevailing prayer, that even this is a work of the grace of God by His Spirit.  Charles Spurgeon said, “Whenever God determines to do a great work, He first sets His people to pray.”  One of my teachers in Bible School further said, “Travail doesn’t bring on the baby; the baby brings on travail.”  And so, when God seeks to birth a new work in the earth, He begins the process with conception within His people, leading to the inward formation of what becomes an increasing burden to bear, eventuating in the birthing process of increased spiritual birth pains, travailing intercession, and intensified labor unto childbirth.  Paul spoke of this as even an ongoing process when he said to the churches of Galatia, “My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you–” (Galatians 4:19 ASV) 

Our part, then, is to give ourselves to the Lord, seeking intimacy with Him that He may conceive within us the seeds of His new work, nurture what is conceived through continued prayer until it is fully formed within, and then cooperate with the Lord in the laborious birthing process of travailing intercession and prevailing prayer.  This is the way that God has worked to bring forth every great move of His Spirit throughout Church history, beginning at Pentecost.

It should also be noted that the reason God employs this process is that He wants His Bride fully engaged and fully participating with Him in the work that He desires to birth in the earth.  In His sovereignty, He has chosen to work in co-operation with His people in relation to the earth over which He has given them dominion.  He has chosen prayer as a primary means of engaging our participation as His royal priesthood and reigning Bride.

He also has chosen this arduous and prolonged process of “childbirth” because it is only by this depth and duration of prayer that our hearts are possibly prepared to become the “new wineskins” that will be able to contain the “new wine” of the outpouring of His Spirit when it comes.  Frank Bartleman, one of the main intercessors and instruments used to birth the Azusa Street revival, said,

“There is always much need of heart preparation, in humility and separation, before God can consistently come. ” (Another Wave of Revival, pg. 10) 

If God were to pour out the new wine of His Spirit without this deep heart preparation, the old wineskins of our inflexible hearts would not be able to contain it, possibly be damaged by it, and the wine would pour out and be wasted.  God knows the deep preparation that is needed within His people before He can do such a new work of His Spirit.

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On a personal note, I can say that I’ve been feeling the “seed” of God’s “new thing” growing inside of me now for months and it is developing now to the stage of increasing birth pains.  I don’t believe I am alone in this for it seems there is this same process going on in many in the area where I live, across this nation, and around the world. 

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”  Isaiah 43:19 NIV

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As a final piece to this post, I want to share a few links for you to consider that will help to confirm and further express the things that I’ve shared thus far.  We need to learn from our forefathers and allow the echoes of their lives to reverberate down through the ages into our hearts today.  They have much to teach us of the ways and works of God.  I commend the following pieces to you, the Bride of Christ, in whom and through whom God seeks to birth His new great work!

E. M. Bounds, the great man of prayer, was a Civil War chaplain and in his biography it shares that there were two books he always had with him, his Bible and the diary of David Brainerd.  The following is his brief recounting of the life and ministry of David Brainerd.

The following video also touches on the prayer ministry of David Brainerd as well as other leaders of the First Great Awakening.

May these videos further inspire you in this last days calling to concerted prayer and intercession for the nations!

All blessings,
David


Related: 
The Final Call to Repentance and The Return
The Return Is Over…but is it?
The Essentials of Prayer – by E. M. Bounds (free audiobook)
The Ministry of Intercession – by Andrew Murray (free audiobook)

 

Posted in Church History/Development, Prayer and Intercession, The Inner Life | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments