WHAT PAUL PRAYED FOR: A PROPHETIC PARABLE AND PATTERN FOR THE CHURCH

Someone has rightly observed and perhaps curious to know why most of my articles or teachings are heavily tilted towards prayer? As I write this I recollect a visiting guest minister to our church in the southwestern part of Nigeria, Ondo, making a comment during his message that I was a man of prayers! I found the comment strange because I never saw myself in that light, a man of prayers? It’s like saying to me that I am a 'man of breathing'. Who doesn't breathe? Everyone breathes! It’s the same way prayer should be, on the wavelength of breathing. And just like there is no human life without prayer there is no spirit filled life without prayer!

This is the vital place prayer occupies in our lives as believers. But much more the reason why I tilt and write so much on prayers is that there is a prophetic agenda of God for this hour that we will only walk in its full manifestation when the church of Jesus Christ is restored back to the path of ceaseless intercession.

It’s like what Zechariah the prophet saw in Zechariah 8:12, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn"

The spirit of supplication will make us look to the hills from whence cometh our help. The spirit of intercession will make us look to heaven for divine intervention for what God wants to do these last days is neither by power or might but by the mighty move of his Spirit. This spirit of intercession will make us begin to feel the heart of God - that is whatever makes God mourn makes us mourn; whatever makes him bitter makes us bitter! This is the heartbeat of intercession.

And every move of God's Spirit has always been facilitated by the spirit of intercession and supplication. Every move of God has always been birth in the place of prayers. There has never been an outpouring from God without a 'heart-pouring' from men!

In Joel 2 a prophetic picture is painted of how God's Spirit will be poured out in the last days as the prophet Joel declares and commanded a solemn assembly of heart-pouring to be gathered. From verse 1-11 God revealed his prophetic agenda of how a mighty army will be raised.

Joel 2:1-3,11: "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations....And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?'

There has never been an outpouring from God without a 'heart-pouring' from men!

And then in verse 12, the scripture begins with 'therefore'. In other words, if you want to see this mighty move of God this is what you must do. And then from verse 12, he told them to turn to God in fasting and prayers, calling for a spiritual awakening throughout the land. God called for a pouring out of our heart!

Joel 2:12, "Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart and not your garments".

In other words, rend your heart and God will rend the heavens! This is the spiritual precursor to the outpouring of the power of God - a rending of our heart in prayers!

And from verse 18 downwards God begin to promise us the restoration of his blessings over our lives, blessings unprecedented. Further down to verse 23, he showed us how our land will be full of wine and oil, first, the former and the latter rain has to come first and then there will be a restoration of all that has been lost and then there will be abundance!

In order not to appear and sound too vague from verse 28 the words were made clear: 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh'. The outpouring of this Spirit is what we culminate in the full revelation of our glory! But the journey starts from verse 12 - we must turn in prayers, fasting and constantly waiting upon God!

When this word was to be fulfilled in Acts, the same prophetic pattern was followed. In Acts 1 there was a solemn assembly of prayer and fasting in the upper room! Acts 1:14 tells us what this gathering was all about.

"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren".  They were in continual intercession until the power, the rain of God's Spirit was poured out in Acts 2 and from then on the power of God swept the land and till today we have not recovered from it. But still, God will do new things, for in these last days He will yet reveal a greater dimension of His power over the church!

A new move of God is in the offing, it is a move of undeniable power and manifestations of His glory. Intellect currently rules the world but the power of God will emerge from the church to humble the world!

We are coming into the days of the strange acts and works of God. Yes it has begun already but the closer we move into the latter days the more the enemy we do more wickedly and the more gloriously God will reveal his power through the church to subdue the wickedness of the devil. For through the greatness of His power, revealed through the church, the enemy will be subjected and annihilated (Psalm 66:3, Psalm 110:1-3).

A new move of God is in the offing, it is a move of undeniable power and manifestations of His glory. Intellect currently rules the world but the power of God will emerge from the church to humble the world!

The hallmark of this coming move of God is the power of God, and the price for that power is humility in the place of prayer and intercession! Without prayer, there is no power! The greatest enemy of the modern church is the weakness of her knees! Until we bow our knees like Paul, the world will not bow to us! (Ephesians 3:15-20).

The present church has no problem praising God all day all week; neither does it have the problem of a week-long word conference. What the present church lacks is the power of God that can only be downloaded in the place of kingdom intercessions. Not consumers prayers for blessings and your enemies to die, but kingdom focused and advancement prayers!

What headline most of our church meetings today are entertainment and not empowerment. A comedy show attached to a word conference will likely pull more crowd than a conference whose selling point is week-long intercession for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our land! The former will receive more attention! But watch it we are coming into that day when the heart of the church will begin to pant after the heart of God! The day when men and women will long to see His kingdom come and His will done on the earth. The content of these men's prayers will be like the content of Paul's prayers: kingdom focused prayers!

Kingdom-focused prayer is what releases power!

Check the Apostles again in Acts 4:29-31 what they pray for: 'And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.'

All they wanted was for His kingdom to come and for his will to be done on the earth and for Jesus to be glorified! And in response to that prayer, God sent forth his power in unusual dimension! The victory of the modern church will come when it's focus shift from self to God! The power will come when it’s no longer all about us but all about Him! Hallelujah!

For Paul, the Apostle, it was all about Jesus, no wonder he calls himself a prisoner of Christ, it was all about him! Ephesians 3:1, "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard  of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,'

The dispensations of God are given to men who are sold out to Him!

The victory of the modern church will come when it's focus shift from self to God! The power will come when it’s no longer all about us but all about Him!

Paul said I am 'the prisoner' of Christ. I mean there may be other prisoners but I am 'the prisoner' and as such this dispensation of the gospel has been given to me! I have access to the mysteries of God! This new dispensation of the gospel will be given to true prisoners of Christ - men and women whose heart soul body and mind are sold out to Him! These men and women are the ark bearer of the next move of God! And wherever the ark of God moves the blessings of God resides.

The prayers of Paul were all kingdom focused prayers and we will see that in the next few installments of this series but I just want you to see a prophetic parable and pattern here for the next move of God in his body! We are in a word movement but a kingdom focus prayer movement will arise soon and the combined effect of the word and prayer will birth the greatest display of power ever known in the body of Christ.

God, therefore, is calling out to us this hour from Proverbs 1:23, "Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you"

Remember the word 'turn' was used earlier in Joel 2:12 and it implies rending the heart in prayers and fasting. And when this is done God will pour out His Spirit and power and this will bring us to a greater understanding of his word which consequently will enhance our position in the world!

The glory days of the church are still yet to come! All we need do is align ourselves with the heart and mind of God. The focus must shift from us to Him. Like Paul, the content of our prayers must be centered on His kingdom to come and His will to be done in our lives for in this is where all of our desires and blessings lie! Amen.

 

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