Day 36 (May 10, 2020)
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a)
“Be Still” are the words which have called me to contemplative prayer for many years now. For me, contemplative prayer is resting in God, allowing the Spirit to fill and move me as God wills. It is the simplest form of prayer and one which children seem to recognize naturally.
In a society driven by the need to accomplish and acquire, in a world where we judge one another on the basis of performance, God calls us to the radical trust of rest/stillness. To allow stillness and prayer to be the avenue through which our vision and perspective is brought back in line with God’s. “Be still and know that I am God” are two commands of equal importance. The Latin phrase means “to vacate” – to stop being God for a while and let Him be. It also means to “cease striving” – stop doing and let God take care of it. It is calling us to see God as He is and to let God be God. This means climbing down from our executive chair of control and recognizing Him as the one in control. It is a realignment of everything, so it fits His purpose. It is learning to see reality from God’s point of view. In these days when life has changed in many ways, it is good to know that God invites us into the place of stillness in order to more fully discover Him and to affirm our trust and faith. He invites us to “be still and know I am God.”
Pastor Craig Peters, Kingston ON
Day 37 (May 11, 2020)
The WOR-SHIP: Becoming Singularly Focused
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps that is why the Lord sometimes chooses to speak through dreams. Below is a dream I had a number of years ago that I sensed was from Him:
As I looked out over a vast ocean, I saw a ship with a single sail, like an old wooden galleon from hundreds of years ago. The main sail had vertical stripes in orangey red and gold, and across it was written the word “WORSHIP”.
The ship was sitting still in the water, not moving. Though the wind was blowing, it was in a “dead” spot (this is a term known by sailors referring to that spot where the boat is positioned with a full sail, but it is not “catching” the wind – the sail just flaps and the boat sits sedentary).
As I watched, someone directed the ship to turn ever so slightly to the right. As it did so, the sail caught the wind and was filled to fullness, and the ship began to move rapidly through the water at an incredible speed.
The word on the sail transformed from WORSHIP to WARSHIP! As it moved, I sensed an incredible vengeance of the Lord upon me; that a mighty battle was taking place. I could even hear drums (like war drums).
More impactful, however, was that as this ship moved forcefully forward through the water at great speed, I was astonished to see multitudes of fish jumping out of the water into the ship.
I have spent much time contemplating this dream, what it means, and how it applies. On a personal level, here are some of the key insights I took from it. These are the prayers which I have, and continue, to pray:
- The wind of God’s Spirit can be moving, but am I “catching” it? Am I aware? How well do I discern His presence, or what He is doing? Am I listening? Do I respond in obedience?
- What direction is my focus? Am I focused 100% on Jesus and His Kingdom? Or am I slightly off, with part of my focus on Him but also on the things of this world? In other words, is my heart divided? Who/what am I following? Where do I spend my time, my resources, my energy? What are my desires? Am I bowed low? What do I believe? Do I have faith? Whom do I trust? Is He my strength? My provider?
- The battle is the Lord’s! But it is my choice whether or not to surrender to His will and to co-operate with what He is doing. Is God moving through me to bring His vengeance against the enemy’s grip on those around me? Am I praying for them consistently? Am I demonstrating the love of Jesus in practical ways? How much of Isaiah 61:1-3 is impacting them? Am I moving in the power of God’s Spirit, or am I striving in my own strength? How does my focus of “worship” impact those around me? What do they see? Do they see a pure heart? Or a hypocrite? Do they see Jesus? Are those in captivity being set free? Are the broken-hearted being restored? In loving them, how much am I willing to sacrifice for their sakes?
As I have prayed these questions, and examined my own heart, He has been lovingly (and yes, sometimes painfully) changing my heart towards becoming a true worshiper, desiring to worship “in Spirit and in Truth”, and towards presenting myself as a living sacrifice! It is a struggle. It is difficult enough to let go of the “things of this world”, but harder yet to let go of “self”. As I wrestle in this process of sanctification, I may, like Jacob, walk with a limp. But as in the dream, I pray that as my “ship” is turned ever so slightly in the “right” direction, towards Him, without distraction, that the power of His Spirit would bring revival to my own spirit. Even more, my desire is that those in my sphere of influence will see the power of revival in me, and come running to Him.
Jean Smith, Ottawa ON
Day 38 (May 12, 2020)
Faith of the Hemorrhaging Woman
“If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”( Mark 5:24-34)
She was unclean. If people touched her or she touched them they also became unclean. Because of this she lived in isolation. Sound familiar? But “when she had heard about Jesus”, (I just love that line) something rose up inside of her; what he had done for others he could do for her. There was a divine spark of faith and hope. She was persuaded in her heart of hearts that “if I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” She was also desperate. She had spent all her money on doctors and medicine, “yet instead of getting better she grew worse”. Her bank account was empty; her financial security gone. Sound familiar? Her desperation and her persuasion drove her through the crowds, through the pain, through the discomfort, through every mental and emotional obstacle…“If I can just get to Jesus.” She kept telling herself. “If I can just touch the hem of his robe, everything will be alright.”
What a prayer. What a demonstration of faith. Would you make that your prayer this week?
“I’m not giving up until I push through to Jesus; I’m not giving up until I pray through to his heart. If I can just touch the hem of his robe…”
Joel Martin (Youth For Christ Director of Prayer), Madoc ON
Day 39 (May 13, 2020)
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Heb. 11:1-2 NIV)
Recently I was invited to pick an image from one of hundreds laid out on a big table. We were to pick something that relates somehow to what’s going on in our lives at the moment. I picked one of 3 mountaineers connected by a rope. They are cutting a path through hip high snow heading for the summit of a mountain. The snow for the lead is so deep he almost disappears. There’s no path to follow but they are not turning back.
I was drawn to this picture because it represents a great adventure. My faith walk has been an amazing journey – I’ve seen family members come to Christ, I’ve had the privilege of participating in ministry I’d never dreamed of experiencing. As I look back I’m experiencing the life Jesus promised, full and overflowing.
However, I was also drawn to this picture because for these adventurers the way forward is unclear. Their path disappears under their feet. The snow is suddenly deep. It’s not clear how they are going to summit the mountain ahead. I find myself in a season where on a number of fronts, the way forward is unclear. There are major gaps that the Lord needs to show up in. There are precious people in my life who need to turn to Jesus in faith. Others who need physical healing of some kind. I have money uncertainties and I’ve no idea where this is going to come from. The Lord is stretching me and inviting me to walk in a season of faith like no other time in my life.
I was reflecting on the prodigal son story in Luke 15 recently and was drawn to the celebration that occurs when the son comes home. I was thinking about the fattened calf that was ready and available to help celebrate. I wondered how many times the father would set aside a calf for special treatment hoping this one would be the one that would be used to celebrate his son’s homecoming. Then an idea came. I set up a new bank account and called it The Fatten Calf. By faith I will put some money into it each month believing that sometime in the future we are going to celebrate a number of homecoming parties. I cannot see it yet, but I believe He’s going to do it.
Recently in worship this song below seemed to capture this season I’m in. Listen and watch here. How about you? Where are your gaps? Where are you waiting for the Lord to show up?
Mark Peterkins (Director of One Way Ministries), Ottawa ON
Day 40 (May 14, 2020)
“… break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12b)
On the desktop of my computer, I have a picture of very dark clouds, laden with rain and exploding with a powerful flash of lightening. Rain is beginning to be poured out on a field full of grain that will ensure that it won’t wither up and die on the stalk. I have had it on my desk top for a couple of years now because it portrays what I am longing and praying for. Before the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were waiting in prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They had met Jesus and witnessed His resurrection, they had been trained by the Master discipler, they had had amazing hands-on experiences, they had been organized and commissioned to go into all the world and make disciples and yet they were not ready to do the job! What more could they need, we would ask, if someone today was so prepared? The answer is “power”. Just before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He told them to wait for the gift the Father had promised them (and us): “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses”. And on the Day of Pentecost the lightning struck, the thunder rolled and the Spirit was poured out upon them…and 3000 were saved that day.
I realize that as believers we have the Spirit dwelling inside of us, but I also believe we need a fresh outpouring, infilling, overflowing, baptism of the Spirit to bring forth the fruit that we are longing for. There are examples of that in the Scriptures and in church history. We call those times, “renewal” or “revival”. The church in the West is in decline and godlessness is on the increase. This is a season of drought and unfruitfulness that I don’t think we need to settle for. We need to rise up as the prophet Hosea urged the Israelites to do, and “break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you”.
We need to do some soul-searching. We need to seek the Lord to see if there are areas in our lives that have become hard, weed-choked, unbelieving and unresponsive to the Holy Spirit. We need to do this individually and corporately and confess our sins to Him (even publicly where appropriate) as He reveals them to us. Then we need to pray for rain (Jm.5:18) and expect that God will hear our prayers and shower righteousness upon us that will bear a wonderful harvest of transformed lives, both of believers and non-believers. That is what these 40 days of prayer and fasting have been about. In the days ahead, as a family of churches, let us continue to seek Him for the rain.
Pastor Ken Roth (National Prayer Team lead), Ottawa ON