INTRODUCTION: Our Conference theme suggests aggressive advancement. Nothing less than positive action is required. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus gave His disciples the marching order GO in what is popularly referred to as the GREAT COMMISSION. However in Acts 1:4, He seemed to reverse Himself with a new order WAIT. I will,as led by His Spirit toe this line in what I have rather titled: RETREATING TO ADVANCE.
When one wants to embark on a journey, the level of preparation is a great indication of how far he/she wants to go. In building construction, the higher you want to go; the deeper you MUST first go. In military expeditions, when an advancing troop encounters barriers, they dig in, retreat to a WAR room where the battle is won or lost depending on the preparations made.
In Ecclesiastes 11:3– When the clouds are full of water, it rains (Message). This presupposes there will be NO rain until the clouds are full of water. For the clouds to be full of water, the moisture on earth surface has to evaporate. This causes or generates heat leading to perspiration. Hebrews 12:12-13 enjoins us to “lift up the hands which hang down and the feeble knees and make straight paths for our feet..”
To break barriers and take territories, we need to first ready ourselves, prepare adequately to cause the clouds above us to be full of water so that the Heavens will send rain in abundance. As we perspire in our closets not only will the rain come down from above but as in the day of Noah’s flood, the good Lord will cause the “fountains of the great deep” Genesis 7:11 within us to burst open so rivers of living water (spirit of prayer) will flow. John 7:38
PRAYER CONCEPT: What is your understanding of prayers and how relevant is it in your life. I hear people say we have prayed enough. I sense so much of religious prayers to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus, the son of God so fully anointed (Acts 10:38) began His ministry with a 40 days fasting and prayers, had vigils and early morning prayer watches (Mark 1:35) and ended His ministry in the Garden of Gethsemane where sweat from His body “were as great drops of blood” Luke 22:44. The Bible summarized His kind of prayers as one with “strong crying and tears” Hebrews 5:7-9
In 1 Kings 18:1, God promised Elijah rain. He boldly announced that to the King. In Fact he told the King to go and eat as the national crisis was over which the King believed and did. Yet Elijah had to pray for the rain and see the kind of prayers he did: “ he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees” 1 Kings 18:42-44
To advance , break barriers and take territories, we must become like widows who are desolate and desperate in need of help and cry day and night to the only one who can help us 1 Timothy 5:5. This kind of prayers must first change us; enlarge our hearts, our vision, break psychological and mindset barriers and the besetting sins that have limited us .
Five years after Count Zinzendorf started the believers community, it became so bogged down with so much strife. The great dream was beginning to evaporate. He used a lifeline the Holy Spirit must have revealed to him. He called for a prayer watch of 24 men and 24 women who each was to undertake a one hour watch daily before God. Perhaps it was just meant to turn the tide but it became the very beginning of the well known MORAVIAN REVIVAL. I heard the story that at the beginning when the RCCG Camp was being developed, their Intercessors would enter bushes within the camp and for several days beseech heavens for the Camp and ministry of RCCG. The answers to those prayers are very evident today.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem over a century ago:
“The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upwards through the night”
TWO CASE STUDIES:
- PAUL: Had a radical salvation experience and embraced prayers radically Acts 9:9,11. Thereafter he retreated to the deserts of Arabia and sought God with a deep hunger. God taught him the Scriptures and gave him divine encounters. Galatians 1:15-17; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. When he came to Antioch, despite the great testimonies there was still a deep hunger in his spirit. He networked with others into a deeper level of prayers. Acts 13:1-3. The result was the beginning of the missionary journeys and taking the Gospel across continents. He received an authority from on high that the elements of created honored him. He became unstoppable 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 and men favored him. Help came from unexpected quarters.
Yet through it all prayers was his live wire. When facing shipwreck in the high seas, he waited desperately on God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 he counsels “Pray without ceasing” and in verse 25 he pleads “Brethren pray for us”. See also 1 Thessalonians 3:1.
- NEHEMIAH: Was a top Government official who carried a burden for Jerusalem. Nehemiah 1:4; he mourned for days, fasted and prayed. Nehemiah 1:6 and 4:9. The result was he obtained great favor before the King who approved all his requests and even gave him a military escort. Despite all great satanic opposition including from fellow Jews, he completed the assignment in 52 days. Nehemiah 6:15. The Priests, Artisans and rulers all cooperated with him. Even when all seemed to turn against him, he had a steel resolve to stand alone Nehemiah 5:7. He instituted a new order most critical in our time: he and his workers worked and were equipped for warfare at the same time. There was no more separation between workers and the fighters. We are called no matter what we do today to also beseech God for ourselves and others and not over rely and or depend on prayers of others. As businessmen, when you encounters so much challenges and your workers and business seem to be rioting against you it’s time to seek the Lord.
- When Scientists want to launch a rocket into space, the process is designed to ensure the rocket is activated from the launch pad with so much force that propels it to go such long distance in as short a time as possible. The greater the force with which it is released, the greater the speed. Psalm 110:2.
- When soldiers lay land mines in warfare as a snare against their enemies; the landmines can remain where they have been laid for even a century until a force activates them. So is the power available to us for the kingdom work – so great but dormant if not activated.
- In Isaiah 37:3– “the children are come to the birth and there is no strength to bring forth. Conversely Isaiah 66:8, “for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth”
- It is time to generate power to break boundaries limiting kingdom work, our businesses and families and take territories far and near which God has already given to us. Lets pray the Jesus prayers: ‘ALL THAT MY FATHER HAS GIVEN ME SHALL COME TO ME” John 6:37.