Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible for human beings. But all things are possible for God.” (Matt. 19:26)
“The word impossible does not belong in our vocabulary. In God’s ears, it’s an expletive. And it’s the primary reason we don’t experience the miraculous. We let our logical assumptions trump our theological beliefs. And before we know it, our reality is defined by human assumptions rather than divine revelation.” (Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber, pp.102-103)
I was grateful to receive a copy of The Grave Robber by Mark Batterson this past weekend at a conference. Sunday morning as I was looking through a new stack of books, this one was in the stack and the Spirit spoke specifically: “I want to teach you about miracles now.”
I love Batterson’s writing. He can tell stories so incredibly well. He can bring a new definition to something like prayer that helps me catch on to a new wave of prayer and expectation in my own life.
For example, he seems to veer off in one chapter and just start talking about the speed of light. It was once thought nothing traveled faster than the speed of light. (I guess I still thought that myself. I mean, 186,000 miles per second IS impressive.) But somehow Batterson found research that says two particles in space can actually react to each other at any speed. (He must have some researcher!)
“What happens to one particle happens to the other particle superluminally or faster than the speed of light. There is an invisible link between particles that defies the four dimensions of time and space. The technical term is instantaneous nonlocality, but I like how Albert Einstein referred to it: ‘spooky action at a distance.'”
He veers off in that direction to bring it back to prayer: THAT is prayer. Spooky action at a distance. To pray in one place in the world and think that there is the possibility of instantaneous response somewhere else in the world! I can pray in Minneapolis for God to move in someone’s life in China… and it could happen… in that moment.
Practice spooky action at a distance today!
In Draw the Circle Mark Batterson calls for a reformation. It only takes a few people praying. A remnant that will be faithful can see God move in powerful ways.
One area of reformation I believe we desperately need in the evangelical/Pentecostal church is a reformation of worship. That we get away from our “rock star” worship team approach and just let people sing and call out to God.
I’m not asking for a return to hymns. I think there are some great songs being written… if we can get them in a decent key everyone can sing so it just doesn’t feature those with “rock star” vocal ranges.
We just need people to cry out in worship together.
It’s not just the church leadership choosing to put a Grammy-worthy music team on the platform with all the lights focused on them and the sound thumping through the back walls like a freight train.
It’s people tolerating that kind of worship .
If people just simply refused to enter into that type of atmosphere, how leadership presented it would change.
The problem is this: I hear “leaders” talk about changes that are needed and I hear people in the seats complain about the rock star mentality, but no one is wiling to make the first move.
If the worship team changes their approach and it turns out the thousands in the seats really wanted the rock star performance, the crowd will dwindle a bit. If people just quit refusing to go to a church with the rock star performance, they fear missing something… and they might fear singing out on their own… seeking God in a more intimate way… fearing what God may reveal in their own lives…
It’s a bit of a Catch 22.
We need this reformation, though. We are NOT worshiping God in fullness right now. And that needs a change.
We need even a remnant that chooses to say, “We don’t have to go this way any more. We need to hear from God and we need to move where HE is leading us.”
The true power of prayer is always behind the scenes. It is the power that generates the movement of God and we often don’t have any idea of the “true events” of a revival or miracle until later. What we often find out later is God was moving someone to prayer.
Mark Batterson writes in Draw the Circle:
Prayer is the pen that writes history. Don’t worry about headlines; focus on the footnotes. And if you focus on the footnotes, God will write the headlines.
Heaven is full of great surprises. It will be “fun” to recognize the great heroes we all had in the faith. But what will shock us is the attention given to people we just don’t know. People who never made the headlines, never pastored a church (let alone a megachurch), never wrote a great theological treatise… but people who knew how to intercede. People who knew how to get into the presence of God for others.
There was a comedian I heard one time that said, “That person ministered in the pathetic.” Not prophetic, but pathetic.
Too many times people think they have something to say and it turns out they’re saying nothing. To develop a prophetic voice, we need to develop a listening ear. To be the voice of God we need to hear the voice of God.
Mark Batterson says this in Draw the Circle:
We live in a culture in which everybody wants to be heard, but many people have nothing to say. Don’t worry about building a platform. If you listen to God, people will listen to you.
Lord, help us to open up our Bibles, read your word to us, hear your Spirit speaking to us, then empower us to act.
Ever look at something, someone, an event, or some story of success and the storyline seems to be: “They are an ‘overnight’ success?”
For me as a pastor it seems that we get these stories of “overnight” success of churches, ministries, etc. It’s like, “all of a sudden” here is this huge success story.
Laying aside our warped definitions of “success” stories, we need to realize something else: the “all of a sudden” stories come out of two consistent things many times:
1. Persistent prayer and obedience.
2. The “sudden” favor of God.
Mark Batterson relates the story of a $3 million miracle for their church in Draw the Circle. They had been persistent in prayer because God invited them to ask. Then, all of a “sudden,” God came through.
When we are persistent in prayer and walking in obedience, we get to come to those opportunities where God can “suddenly” show up.
It can all turn on a dime. But, in fact, it didn’t. It turned when we decided to get in the trenches and actually obey the invitation of God.
I am praying for these “one day” experiences. These “all of a sudden” moments. These “but God” shifts.
And I am trying to pray persistently for those “moments.”
I am currently working my daily reading through Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle. Today’s reading reminds me again as to WHY I must pray.
Often I think of prayer as what I bring to God and want to see right away, or at least in my lifetime! Otherwise, why pray? I mean, if God isn’t going to answer my prayer… what’s the point? Right?
Well… not always.
Prayers can be given and heaven hears, but it may be beyond my lifetime when something comes of it. I know I reap the benefits of prayers that have gone up before me. There are people who saw a vision of God moving in some way that I can reap the benefit, so I also need to understand the prayers I pray sow seed into the future.
Do I pray for myself, or do I pray for the Kingdom? I am truly willing to pray, “YOUR Kingdom come?”