Saturday, December 02, 2006

Uncommon Prayer ~ Hindrances to God's Presence

===>Note: Consider using the list of hindrances below as a format for an uncommon prayer adventure. Pray through each hindrance using a varied style of rpayer (personal, silence, written, partner, all-group, etc.)

Hindrances to God’s Presence

“Have you ever wondered if it is possible to get God’s attention or attract His presence? And if it is possible, then why don’t we spend more time doing those things that welcome His presence? God’s Word establishes clear principles regarding His presence. There are things that prepare for and welcome the presence of the Lord - things like prayer, unity, worship, and a broken and contrite spirit. There are also things that cause Him to withdraw or remain at a distance.” Rhonda Hughey

Jesus is knocking at the door of our cities. Can you hear His knock? Are you aware that Your King wants to visit your city, but He will not force His way in when there is no invitation. It is the responsibility of the church to welcome His presence into the city. He is the honored guest. We must open the door for our King, and invite His glorious entrance into our cities. We must do this together as the corporate church in the city. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we desperate enough?” “Do we long enough for His presence?” “Can we live without Him in our city?” “Are we willing to seek Him together as the city church?

“It’s not possible to have a lasting corporate impact on a city as a single congregation. God hasn’t constructed the rules of life that way. It requires corporate unity and agreement to accomplish corporate results… God has ordained a corporate church in each city! There is something bigger than our local congregations! There should be one Shepherd and one king enthroned in our cities. We must start with a common vision and purpose and then build according to God’s blueprint, not our own. We can’t start with our own empire and then try to build up to who God is. He will step down to us in response to our desperate cry.” Rhonda Hughey

We are presently in an area of southern Spain where there is a big invitation for God’s presence. Many of the churches are seeking God’s face and are crying out for His presence. There is a non-stop prayer meeting where there are prayers asking God to come and dwell in this area of Spain, Gibraltar and North Africa. There is one prayer meeting after another - sometimes two churches meet at the same time, sometimes there are one or two praying in the early morning, and at other times there is loud praying and praise, and the room is filled with the fragrance of Christ. The expectation level is growing. The hunger is increasing, and God is changing all of our lives in the midst of it all. Would you join us in prayer that God would visit and make His presence known in this area of the world called Campo de Gibraltar? See www.campo247.com for details. Last night the pastors in this area spent the whole night in prayer together! There is the sense that prayer has reached a new level, and there is a magnetic attraction to the prayer room. I find it quite appealing and can’t wait to get to the prayer room. There seems to be an unusual grace at this time to pray long hours where it seems but a few moment.

Roadblocks to God’s Presence

“We haven’t yet realized the consequences of our lack of unity and refusal to contend for God’s presence. I want to encourage you to consider the condition of your city: Watch the news, read the newspaper, listen to conversations, and look at the people around you. Let the condition of your city break your heart and draw you into intercession for a breakthrough of God’s presence.” Rhonda Hughey

Just as there are roadblocks keeping you from reaching your destination when driving a car, there are roadblocks to God’s entrance into your city. There are many obstacles to God’s presence. The following are a few key barriers together with verses relating to these obstacles. I encourage you to pray that God removes these roadblocks that keep His presence from entering your city. Pray that God removes them from your own heart.

  • Pride - We are often self-righteous and think we are good, but Jesus is our example of humility. God hates pride, and He will not bring His manifest presence into our city when we are walking in pride. We often try to get to the highest position, but Jesus carried a towel and washed His disciple’s feet.

    “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)

  • Idolatry - Idolatry diminishes God’s glory. When the presence of God is not in a city, it is the fault of the churches. We are responsible. Whatever we substitute for our love for God becomes an idol. These idols may be sports, TV, material possessions, etc. Think about where you spend your time, and examine your own heart.

    ”Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3-4).

  • Immorality - The temptations towards sexual sin is everywhere. Every believer must guard against this. Pray for purity in the body of Christ. God is revealing sexual sin in his church. He will make His presence known when His church walks in holiness.

    ”Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (I Corinthians 6:18-20).
  • Unbelief - We must believe the promises of God and have faith to believe He will accomplish them. Unbelief denies his promises and power. It will prevent us from entering the promised land. God promises us that if we ask in His name, He will do it (John 14:13-14).

    “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

  • Distractions - Distractions are everywhere. We must give God unhurried time and undistracted hours. We can no longer get busy with secondary things when the King wants our attention. The amazing thing about this month of prayer is that we are learning to focus only on the Lord Himself. God desires that we seek one thing.

    ”One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).

  • Luke-warm Hearts - So many in the church have left their first love, and their hearts no longer are passionate towards God. They have settled for a luke-warm life. God wants us to be on fire for Him. One of the recurring prayers during this month is for the fire (fuego) of God!

    “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either one or the other. So, because you are luke-warm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

  • Religious Spirit - This is a counterfeit form of life and Godliness. It may look good on the outside, but it is based on human wisdom and agendas. It may have many programs but it is a substitute for Jesus and is totally disconnected with real life.

    ”… having a form of godliness but denying its power” (II Timothy 3:5).

  • Disunity - God will not make His presence known to a disunified church. We must learn to value the other parts of the body of Christ. We must see that we fit together and cannot reach the city by ourselves. We desperately need each other. See Psalm 133.

    ”I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23).

One thing that God wants us to realize is how very desperately He cares for the lost in our cities. He is a compassionate God, and the pain and cries in the city have touched His heart deeply. He wants us to partner with Him in bringing hope to our cities, but He cannot do this if there are barriers preventing His presence from entering the place where we live. He is the answer to all the problems and pain. His presence in our cities will make all the difference.

Father, we pray that you would visit us, and make your presence known in our city. Remove the distractions in our churches that keep us from you. We want to seek only one thing - you and your presence. Take away our luke-warm hearts, and set us on fire for you. Forgive our disunity, and bring your church in our city together as one. We repent of any pride in our lives. Teach us to walk in humility. Remove all immorality and sexual sin from our city. Take away our idols. We want to worship only you. Give us faith to believe that you can change the situation in our city. Let your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. We invite you as King into our city. We choose to partner with you for transformation in our city. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

(Pray the above prayer naming your specific city and repenting of any sins and barriers to God’s presence in your city or personal life. Be very specific.)

“When we see the ruined condition of our cities and communities, it should break our hearts and stir us to prayer. We have underestimated the pain in God’s heart over the devastation and brokenness of people who live in darkness. Isaiah 9:2 declares what the result would be when Jesus’ presence came to earth: ‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light’. God fully intends to continue to bring hope and restoration to forsaken, desolate communities, and He is looking for those who will partner with Him.” Rhonda Hughey

Together in the Harvest, Debbie Przybylski

Intercessors Arise * deb@intercessorsarise.org

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