This week I am in London visiting Holy Trinity Brompton Church, the church that, as they say “discovered” the Alpha Course.
If your not familiar with the Alpha Course, you really should investigate it for your church, family, or neighborhood. It’s a program for unchurched people helping them to get answers to the meaning of life.
Since 1995, over 22 million people have gone though the Alpha Course with a countless number of salvations.
The amazing thing about Alpha is the single prayer and source of the programs amazing influence, “Come Holy Spirit”.
This prayer is at the very center of Alpha, and everything that Holy Trinity Brompton and it’s leaders do.
Such a simple prayer that’s filled with AMAZING power.
It’s amazing how much we try to do on our own, it’s even more amazing how surprised we are when the response to our own systems and plans make no difference in our life or the lives of the people around us. Yet this simple prayer and the spirit behind it takes whatever natural things we do and turns then into supernatural, world changing works.
I would challenge you, as I have been challenged this week to make this simple, authentic prayer a part of your everyday life.
Creating silence in my life has become one of the most powerfully productive exercises I have ever established in life. It’s amazing how much noise surrounds us everyday, keeping us from really taking a breath and just think.
I can get more things accomplished in one day by just taking 15 or 20 minutes in silent thought then I can in a week without it.
It started for me six or seven years ago when I decided to turn off the radio in my car on my way to and from work. Just that brief time in thought helps me order my day and opens my ears to listen to what The Lord has to say about it. (Without interrupting Him with my “great” ideas)
Try it, It’s not easy when you start, but nothing worth doing is.
One of the biggest mistakes we make is when we allow ourselves to walk alongside the edge of temptation. It’s really like walking along the edge of a cliff; all it takes is one little wind gust to blow us over. But we keep walking on the edge of the cliff, looking over the edge and praying, “God help me.” And God is saying, “Get away from the edge of the cliff, genius! You shouldn’t even be on that side of the mountain. Come back over here and walk alongside Me.”
Righteous prayer is based not on our own righteousness but on the righteousness of Jesus. Effective prayer is based not on our own authority but on the authority of the Word of God. Fervent prayer is based not on our own comforts or preferences but on the purpose of glorifying God.
O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
O God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou art good. Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen.
Last month I read two amazing books that I would strongly encourage you to read.
The first was “Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom” by Stovall Weems. This was a great book to start the year off with because it’s also accompanied by a 21 day fasting plan, that you can actually sign up for online and be partnered with literally thousands of other people doing the same fast, reading the same materials and having the same prayer focus as you for that 21 days. Pretty powerful stuff.
Even if you can’t read this at the first of the year and participate in the corporate fast, you still should read this book. It really opened my eyes to some misconceptions I had about fasting, and helped my break out of some serious religious mindsets that I had and didn’t even know it. Reading this book has really lead to a new level in my prayer and fasting life, simply because it’s caused me to approach both differently.
Another book I read was by Mark Batterson called “Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny”. Mark has quickly become my favorite (living) author. I think I’ve read all of his books that are currently in print. Mark has such a great writing style and such an easy delivery system that there is literally something mind bowing and “highlightable” on every page. “Soulprint” walks through the life of King David and the choices he made to walk into his divine destiny and helps you look at your life to discover what you were created for. The book also has a study section that would be great for a family or church small group to go through.
There was so much great stuff in both of these books that I don’t have the time or energy to put them all down on this post, though I did out down a few highlights below.
Trust me and go get both of these books.
Here are just a few of my highlights from “Awakening” by Stovall Weems:
“True followers of Jesus are enthusiastic (not weird or obnoxious!) followers.”
“Harshness isn’t holiness, but it is easy to confuse the two”
“When you pray in the name of Jesus, it has the same power as if Jesus were praying Himself. The difference between us and Jesus is that Jesus is always in complete alignment with His Father. This is why periodic seasons of fasting are so important.”
“When the whole focus of our prayers is only our relief and happiness, not the glory of God, we will become easily discouraged when we don’t see a quick answer to our prayers.”
“Fasting is not for God; it’s for us. We are the ones who need to fast—and not to get what we want or to try and get more from God. We need to fast to go full throttle after what God wants so that we can come into full cooperation (or agreement) with His will.”
“When we are too disconnected from God and too connected to the world and its distractions, the result is always unbelief. Instead of walking in faith, we walk in unbelief, and God’s kingdom doesn’t manifest with power.”
“Prayer and fasting should be proactive, not reactive.”
Here are a few highlights from “Soul Print” by Mark Batterson:
“There has never been and never will be anyone else like you. But that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you. You are unlike anyone who has ever lived. But that uniqueness isn’t a virtue. It’s a responsibility. Uniqueness is God’s gift to you, and uniqueness is your gift to God. You owe it to yourself to be yourself. But more important, you owe it to the One who designed you and destined you.”
“God is painting a picture of grace on the canvas of your life. God is writing His-story, history with a hyphen, through your life. God is crafting your character through the circumstances of your life. To see yourself as anything other than God’s masterpiece is to devalue and distort your true identity.”
“All of us start out as one-of-a-kind originals, but too many of us end up as carbon copies of someone else.”
“I don’t know what difficulties you’ve endured, but they don’t have to define you if you simply let them refine you. That’s the choice: define or refine. And if you let them refine you, God will actually use those negative experiences to redefine you.”
“Every occupation has its ladder, and if you climb over people to climb the ladder, it’ll be awfully lonely at the top. If you skip rungs, you may get to the top quicker, but you’ll also be much more likely to fall. Without integrity, the ladder has nothing to lean against. Without integrity, you cannot fulfill your destiny, because your integrity is your destiny.”
“Just because something looks like or feels like a God thing doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a God thing. Just because it’s endorsed by your closest confidants doesn’t mean it’s a God thing. Just because it seems like a golden opportunity doesn’t mean it’s a God thing. An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity.”
“It’s the little compromises that lead to major problems.”