“I Know What You Did Last Night!”

Not really!  But let me ask, “What did you do last night?”  Maybe I shouldn’t have asked. Whatever you did last night affected what you did today. I guarantee it!

“Now during the day  He was teaching  in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him (Luke 21:37-38).

Mount Olivet was one of the favorite places for Jesus to pray. Olivet was a place where Jesus could spend time with the Father for extended periods of prayer. Prayer in the life of Jesus was not created by crisis. Impending conflict was not His greatest motivation for prayer. Jesus prayed so incessantly and faithfully because of the demands that were placed upon his life and ministry.

What is it about modern ministry that lacks the passion and pursuit for extended periods of prayer? Why are we so busy oiling the machinery of ministry with our gifts and skills instead of prayer and intercession? When will we enroll in the Jesus School of Prayer and learn how to do ministry from our knees as He did?

Luke lets us in on one of the most profound passages on the prayer life of Jesus. Luke tells us how Jesus won the day, everyday! Jesus spent the night in prayer. He went to Olivet to pray. He went at night because of the demands of the day. People crowded Him during the day. I also think He went alone because there are times when our prayers are so intimate and intense that privacy is required.

He was at the temple teaching. He was on the mount praying. He was back at the temple early the next morning to teach again. His schedule at this time in His ministry was temple, prayer, temple. He did public ministry during the day and prayer ministry at night. Each day I’m sure He closed with thanksgiving and requests. Surely, He would thank the Father for the day and then request from the Father the next day’s orders.

It was not what He did at church that created the clarity and superiority of His ministry. What he did at night in prayer before the Father gave Him a daily agenda and a fresh anointing. Ministry at the temple may make you popular. Prayer on the mount makes you powerful. Ministry at the temple puts you in front of people. Prayer on the mount puts you in front of the Father.

From the time we leave the sanctuary to the time we return, our days should be filled with ministry and our nights filled with prayer.



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God’s Vision For Your Church

The United House of Prayer for All People at 6...

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“…It is written, My house shall be called  the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13).

There is one clear and commanding vision for every local church-become, be, and build a house of prayer. The idea that local churches have options other than to be, become and build a house of prayer is foreign to the Gospels. Jesus declared at the temple that God’s word establishes and He confirms that the high purpose of  every local house of worship is to be a house of prayer.

The temple Jesus attended was the temple of Herod. The original temple was the Temple of Solomon. The Temple of Solomon was the original “house of prayer” (II Chronicles 7:1-14). The first permanent structure God commissioned to be built for His glory was a “house of prayer”. Prayer is the most important and therefore permanent ministry of the church.

Your church is distinguished by what it does best or by what it does most. What does your church do best?  What does your church do most?  What is your church known for?  Jesus only gives us two branding options; either be a house of prayer or be a “den of thieves”. Churches brand themselves according to doctrines, experiences and specializations. Few churches host a prayer passion that would identify them as a “house of prayer” . The corporate identity of every church should be built upon the reputation of its prayer ministry.

Why does the Father want His house associated with prayer?  Why such a priority for prayer to be the focal ministry of the local church? Prayer is the only way mankind can come into covenant with God. The first thing we must do in order to be saved is call upon the name of the LORD (Romans 10:13). Prayer brings us into the presence of God. Prayer draws us close to God. Prayer initiates intimacy with God. Prayer establishes relationship with God.

The church is to be a place where people can come into contact with God, His presence and His power. A house of prayer offers people the hope of an encounter with the God who answers prayer. Prayer attracts God and people to the congregation that prioritizes prayer.

Most people will accept our prayers even when they don’t accept our message. If we pray for people in the name of Jesus we will be able to preach to them in the name of Jesus. Prayer makes your church a soul winning ministry.

Isn’t soul winning the point of our purpose?

The Family Altar

 

Torah inside of the former Glockengasse synago...

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“And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land:…there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:7-8).

Abram is a father. His name means “exalted father”. His divine name, “Abraham” means “father of a multitude”. The Apostle Paul says of believers, ..“they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). The spiritual fatherhood of Abraham is the legacy of his faith and life in God.

As a patriarch Abraham was an altar builder. His journeys are marked by altars built in specific places honoring specific encounters with God (Genesis 13:8,18). The building of the altars is a significant spiritual strategy.

When the LORD appeared to Abraham he gave Abraham a promise. God initiated a covenant with Abraham. The promise made dealt specifically with Abraham’s family. God had a blessing for the “seed” of Abraham. Everything God wanted to do for Abraham he wanted to do it with his family and through his family.

Your family has a God-given destiny. God has made promises to your family (Acts 2:38-39, 16:31). Someone in your family must follow God in faith and began to build the family altar. When Abraham built an altar it was in response to the grace and the promises of God. This was a way to establishing the importance of worship in the family. Worship in the home should precede worship in the sanctuary. Praise and worship music, prayers, reading the Bible together are ways we can bring an atmosphere of worship into our homes. This is our response to the goodness of God.

The altar was a place of worship and a place of prayer. This is where Abraham would call on the name of the LORD. The family altar announces to your generations how important prayer is to your family.  If prayer becomes a priority in your family the promises of God will never fail to be performed for the favor of your family. Prayer provokes the promises of God. Abraham was a man of prayer and promises.

The altar was not only a place of worship and prayer, but also sacrifice. Altars were built to hold sacrifices. The life of faith includes sacrifices. Abraham would one day be brought to an altar on Mount Moriah called by God to sacrifice his beloved son (Genesis 22). This was the greatest test of his faith.

Whatever sacrifices you have to make to secure the future of your family’s faith is worth it. Family life is a faith journey. Our families need leaders who understand the importance of spending time with your family before God. Teach your family the importance of time with God.

It’s time to go to the altar!