Does the American church have the desperation and the guts to return prayer to first place?
TONIGHT at 6pm! Julia Palermo is going to bring a potent message that will awaken your spirit! You MUST watch a short video of her preaching to a crowd of people—many of which were on drugs and radically demonized. The call is for the firebrands—the generation of youth to lead the prayer movement in Detroit and our nation! Watch here: http://youtu.be/EZ9CClOVNJE
Revival Church meets at CENTRAL CHURCH, 1529 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071.
RETURNING PRAYER TO FIRST PLACE
When our worship leader recently moved on, I made a bold decision. Fiery intercession is every Christian’s most foundational calling, and in place of a typical musical worship environment, the atmosphere is now filled with passionate prayer, decrees and expressions of worship and surrender.
I’ve often said one reason the prayer rooms are empty is because prayer has been relegated to a secondary activity in the church. It’s usually an afterthought. It’s certainly not primary in our nation.
When fervent prayer is returned to first place, everybody in the church will be in the prayer meeting—because the prayer meeting will be THE meeting.
My wife asked me a question the other day that caused me to come alive:
We have Prep Room, which is pre-service prayer, from 5:15pm-6pm. We then roll right into an hour of corporate intercession as light instrumental music is played behind us.
Amy asked, “So, just what is the difference between Prep Room and the first hour of the service?”
Nothing! Nothing at all! I love it! Finally, prayer is the main thing in the church!
I often hear that prayer like this is not for the new Christian—they will feel out of place. That is a doctrine of demons that must be rebuked! The prayer room must be the first stop for every new Christian! It’s absolutely nonsensical to say that ministering to God is reserved for those who have been a Christian for a while! As a very young Christian, I was awakened in the prayer room. Prayer is not complicated, only costly. It is for everybody.
Will musical worship return? Yes, but only as it’s birthed out of burning, groaning intercession. There will be a tremble on the worshippers. Worship will exist in the realm of the Spirit and we will all sing from a place of brokenness, encounter and surrender.
John 4:23-24 (ESV) 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Everything that takes precedence over prayer for the nations is about to be overturned in the church.
This shift in the church will be extremely offensive to those who don’t value connecting with God in prayer. Today’s system affirms a casual connection. In fact, church systems and programs are set up to remove responsibility from the people—to make it easy and costless for them to participate. This is our current American church culture, and it will soon be overturned.
I so often hear angry Christians mention how there should be no leader/laity division—yet, when the call to the body is sounded to serve like a leader, to pray like a priest, to do the work of intercession, to advance with passion and to be in position as a ready soldier, there is a spirit of resistance that often rises up.
I’m all for laity to serve as leaders—but it’s rare to find those who will actually do it. The cost is too high and the return on investment seems to be so low. (We forget that the return on our investment isn’t personal blessing but rather blessing for the nations—and the fruit of our prayer may not be fully realized by them for decades.)
The money changer mindset results in us focusing on self—on using church for personal gain, on expecting ourselves to be served or entertained or blessed instead of surrendering all and praying for the nations.
I’d encourage you to read my article titled God 2.0 where I address the danger of being a Money Changers Church here: GOD 2.0.
Today, worship teams lead while the body engages at the level they prefer. This is about to change—and those who want to be served rather than serve are at risk of great offense. This reformation in the church will change our expectations radically. The body won’t simply sit and soak as others sing over them. We will all do the work of intercession in a corporate setting. It’s not about receiving from God, it’s about ministering to him. This is pure worship.
This shift in the church will result in a violent assault by those who have their pet church focuses, relationships, levels of commitment and expectations threatened. Instead of simply showing up for a Sunday service and enjoying good worship and positive teaching, the expectation is now for everybody to go hard in fervent, violent prayer for the billions of people in the nations of the Earth who are nearing an eternity in Hell. Check out what happened to Jesus when he set the church in order:
Mark 11:15-18 (ESV) 15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.
They wanted to destroy him. Their personal blessing was threatened.
If the scriptural call is to pray without ceasing, is it not strange that people so often run when the prayer meeting is called?
The thought of having a two-hour prayer meeting as the primary Sunday service shouldn’t be a strange idea at all if we are already praying the remaining 166 hours throughout the week. It’s simply an glorious corporate expression of what we should already be doing individually. Every one of us should walk into the church building burning, trembling, praying in tongues and coming out of perpetual encounters with God.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV) 17 pray without ceasing…
I have extreme patience for those who are struggling to connect with God as they devote themselves to finding him. (Ask, seek, knock)
But, let me be clear—those who complain that they don’t encounter God, they don’t feel God’s love, yet do not devote themselves to wrestling with God in prayer until they break through are without excuse.
No amount of teaching, anointed worship music, positive thoughts or counsel from others will result in a life of encounter with Jesus. Only prayer based on the truth of the Word of God will do that. Others can help you learn about God, but you have to meet him on your own. And, meeting him doesn’t always feel sweet and happy. It will actually burn our flesh and crush every part of us.
Julia Palermo: “People want loving God to be an emotional experience, but loving God has a very practical expression. Obedience.”
John 14:21-22 (ESV) 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Intercession isn’t about emotionally enjoying God, though that can certainly happen at times. It’s about work. It’s about carrying the burden of God’s heart. This is what must lead our church services and our entire lives again.
Mike Bickle: The revelation of the Bridegroom filled with tenderness leads some to laziness because they have not seen the revelation of His heart of abandonment or His call for us to be abandoned to Him.
A CORPORATE REBUKE FUELED BY LOVE
God is so zealous about his Bride, his church, that a love-fueled rebuke is coming—and it will hit most every one of us.
The money changers spirit has so infiltrated the church that judgment is necessary just to save God’s precious Bride.
A critical correction is coming to those use the church as their personal blessing machine. In Revelation we see God lovingly rebuke the churches. It’s time for an end-time judgment to hit our churches. Judgment isn’t a bad God doing bad things to bad people. Judgment is an act of extreme, passionate love. Judgment draws the remnant to God, and exposes the pretenders as they run from God. It’s a wheat and tares reality.
Connecting in the church because of good friendships, good teaching, good worship, good programs, good children’s ministry, good environment—and disconnecting when any of that doesn’t meet our standards—is coming to an end.
The Upper Room mandate is upon us—we gather and pray. If prayer is there, so are we—every time the doors are open.
THE LOOK OF THE COMING CHURCH
Again, the 2 Chronicles 7 pavement people are the model of the remnant church. Acts 2 is a New Testament example of it—the whole house will be filled with the fire of God as every single person prays in the Spirit.
Acts 2:2-3 (ESV) 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
This is some of what we can look forward to—and what we can start working towards right now. God is building his church through his apostolic and prophetic remnant and it will be a white hot center of intercession for the nations.
- We will walk into the meeting praying in the spirit, trembling, in the fear of the Lord, often coming out of dreams of God.
- There is no concern for comfort, who likes us or who doesn’t like us.
- Our position in the church won’t matter—we will know our position is on our face in fervent prayer.
- The room may simply be a giant warehouse with a cement floor—it won’t matter. We’ll bring a blanket, throw it down and prepare to encounter God with other desperate people.
- When we enter the room, we hit our faces without prompting, music or no music, and start praying passionately in the spirit for the nations and the burdens on God’s heart.
- Kids may be right next to us, or in a similar environment in a classroom elsewhere. Either option will work just fine.
- An hour or two later, teaching will boldly call us to action as the Word lands on our burning hearts.
- Teaching will be mostly prophetic/apostolic. Prophetic alarms and decrees will be constant and extremely anointed.
- We will all respond to the instruction corporately and prepare to fulfill our assignments.
- We will return to the corporate gathering for intercession and apostolic equipping several times a week instead of waiting for the next Sunday.
- Between meetings our personal lives will be filled with prayer, reading the Bible, listening to sermons and fulfilling our ministries. We will have plenty of time to do that as TV, movies, entertainment and other cultural norms are put under submission.
Are you part of the remnant church? Are you ready to join a company of pavement people? Will you jump ship when the old wineskin is removed, or will you embrace the fresh fire of God in our nation? Are you burning hot for God? Or, are you lukewarm?
These are critical questions we all must answer. Do we attend church because of what we get out of it? Because people like us? Because we enjoy it? Or, do we understand our call to die, to surrender, to pray and to burn night and day?
See you tonight.
A premature outpouring of God's spirit would result in people vacating their place of prayer to experience an adrenaline rush.
Let me say this clearly: If you are a Christian, deep, continual, strategic intercession is your primary daily calling!
As in the days of old, every time the church doors are open, we should be there ready to pray!
The 24/7 church is coming and we will soon find ourselves together in intercession most every day of the week! Will you wait for another bomb to detonate and for more lives to be lost or will you start your new life of corporate intercession THIS WEEK?
When this precedent of continual prayer is established, revival will eventually come. It may take a decade of continual prayer before God sees our devotion to keep praying without stopping when the outpouring comes.
►Detroit needs a house of prayer like never before, and EVERY CHRISTIAN must show up day after day to pray! Start now!
There is an emerging remnant of pavement people who understand this, who will forgo personal comfort and hit the concrete in prayer and worship as we saw in 2 Chronicles 7:
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 (ESV) 1 As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. 3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
I have been continually grieved and disturbed for more than two decades of ministry by the lack of fervent prayer in the church. I literally can’t think of a single place in the world that I’d rather be than in the prayer room—even if it’s a concrete floor. The fact that calls to prayer are resisted with excuses of busyness, disinterest and the ever increasing cares of life is evidence that we still don’t understand a primary reason we are alive—to minister to God in personal and corporate intercession.
With that in mind, prayer rooms remain empty because we as leaders know people are averse to prayer…and we offer them alternate activities.
Instead of burning intercession for the nations, many use prayer as an attempt to achieve or protect their own definition of a normal life. When normalcy is stable, prayer ceases. If someone is sick, they pray for God to restore them to the normalcy of health. If they are short on finances, they pray for God to bring them to financial normalcy.
The problem with that is that prayer isn’t mostly about focusing on self and securing the life we hope for—it’s for deeply knowing Jesus and interceding for the world to experience the life that he paid the price for.
A CONFUSING EXPERIENCE
More than two decades ago, as a new burning child of God, I was met with confusion that is still with me today.
I was helping give leadership to a monthly regional youth event that was drawing around 100 young people for all over the Dayton, Ohio area. I’ve always believed the hour of prayer before the service was actually much more important than the service itself. (Anything driven by prayer carries extreme importance.)
I was truly confused each month as we sounded the alarm, spread the word, plastered signs in the foyer and let everybody clearly know that they were needed in prayer prior to the service. Each month we’d have 5-10 people in the huge sanctuary in prayer for an hour, while I watched a hundred people cram into a tiny foyer waiting for the service to start.
Was my promotion insufficient? Did I not make it clear enough? It was so packed in the foyer that faces were nearly squished up against the glass on the doors—right next to the signs inviting them to enter and pray.
I’ve watched this scenario play out time and again through my youth and senior ministry years. In San Diego I’d load up the bus with 50 kids to take them to the beach on Thursday, and then have 5 or 6 join me on prayer walks on Friday.
I will continually be confused and disturbed by the lack of passion for intercession—especially in a time of crisis like we are now in in America.
THE CRISIS IN OUR NATION
Last night at theLab House of Prayer, we prayed about the recent bombings in Boston, the earthquakes around the world and the explosion in Texas, and we interceded for Detroit. There have been many urgent prophecies and dreams about a nuclear level event downtown Detroit.
For those who only pray to achieve personal normalcy, there is little reason to fill the prayer rooms. Detroit is still standing.
However, even now, Detroit is not in revival. Even now there is suicide and murder in this region. Children are abused. Political corruption is extreme. An outpouring is no where to be seen.
Additionally, we are experiencing a Jeremiah 2 crisis. Check it out:
Jeremiah 2:4-8 (ESV) 4 Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the LORD: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? 6 They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’ 7 And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.
- Verse 5: There is a spirit of accusation against God on the rise in America. Today, people are finding much wrong with God—Christians and non-Christians alike—and the result is a move toward accusation and away from intimacy with him. A misunderstanding of God’s role in our lives will do that. If we expect him to perform for us instead of us responding to him, we will quickly become offended at God and turn to worthless things—and become worthless ourselves.
- Verse 6: Thanksgiving was nowhere to be found. God admits that he intentionally led them into a place of drought and darkness—and then led them through.
- Verse 7: America was given as a gift, a plentiful land with good things. Today, the land is defiled and the heritage of God is an abomination. Oh what we have forsaken!
- Verse 8: The priests did not seek the Lord! This is the state of the prayer movement! In a time of crisis, the priests (all of us) must continually give themselves to seeking God! Pastors are failing and prophets are sharing doctrines of demons in the name of God! There are a lot of “false positives” out there in the prophetic…hopeful messages that don't reflect what God is saying.
I personally don’t see the church fully taking over the seven mountains in this age as some do, but I do believe we are to have significant influence and impact, and to give leadership as God opens those doors.
This being said, the thought of an idolatrous church increasing in influence in the seven mountains should cause us all to shudder.
A consecrated, praying church that is intimate with God is mandatory!
Psalm 24:3-4 (ESV) 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
Today, much of the church is at the base of the mountain fashioning an idol, a god of their own design, while Moses met with God on top of it.
The prayer movement that’s focused on the heart of God will result in continual repentance as we allow God to search our hearts and burn up any idol or any desire for one!
Check out how serious God is about the call to ascend the mountain:
Exodus 19:16-25 (ESV) 16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the LORD to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 And the LORD said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest he break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.
So, Moses ascended, and the people played. The prayer movement will absolutely separate out those who are truly devoted to God and those who are focused on self:
Exodus 32:4-6 (ESV) 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
Eat, drink, play. As long as the normalcy of personal consumption and entertainment is safe, the church will see no need to pray—all while the consecrated remnant, the pavement people, are on the mountain in the presence of God receiving instructions for revival and Kingdom advance.
My God. Help us.