Yesterday was a good day. It started off with me leading worship at Stonebridge church, which was really good. I hate to sound like a broken record but I truly believe worship (whether leading, equipping other worship leaders, or both) is my Kingdom calling for my life here on earth. Anyway, worship was sweet yesterday morning. The band consisted of Mike Bedingfield on drums, Mark White on bass and Gary Austin singing background vocals and mixing in some harmonica. I felt as if most of the congregation was engaged with the Lord and I'm praying that they encountered Jesus (I did so I'm believing they did too!). The set list included:
Holy (Vineyard) --> We Will Embrace Your Move (Darrell Evans)
Come (own) --> All Who Are Thirsty chorus (Vineyard)
Holy God (Brian Doerkson)
Came to My Rescue
Then, Sunday evening I took on the storms and tornado warnings and drove over to Lawrenceville to the Sunday evening "Encountering God" service at the International House of Prayer. This was exactly what I needed! Most of the time I am the one either leading worship or playing on the worship team, and not "participating" with the body in worship. Anyway, one of my good friends, Caleb Andrews, was leading worship. Let me tell you, he has an incredible anointing on him to lead worship. His sensitivity to the Spirit is impeccable. Worship, as you can imagine, was awesome! There is a freedom in worship at the House of Prayer that is contagious. It is truly a place where all cares, worries and burdens fall to the side in the presence of the Almighty God! Singing, dancing, prophesying, weeping, etc are all the norm here (as it should be for any church service I might add).
Billy Humphrey, main guy over at IHOP-Atlanta, then came up and shared on the Foundation of Prayer. It was the 3rd part of a 3-part series on prayer (if you have Itunes you can get his sermons on podcast for free). The gist of the message was that the foundation of prayer is that God, Creator of the Universe, enjoys me! He delights in us as we come to Him in prayer. A trap that I continually find myself in is that I view prayer as a task. Checked that box, now it's time to move on to my next task of the day. Oh Believers how mis-guided was I?! You see, God designed prayer as a way to communicate with Him and tap into His heart. If you take any Communications course in school, you will learn that the key to communication is listening. Hello!! How much do I listen? Not very much, as sad as that is for me to confess. But it's true. The Lord is the Master Communicator BECAUSE He is the Master Listener. Think about it, He has the ability to listen to 6-some-odd billion people! Ponder on that one for a while.
But the beautiful thing is that He enjoys listening to us! How sweet would it be to "walk and talk with the Lord" like Adam did? Or like Noah did? Or like Enoch did? I can picture it now, the Lord comes strolling into the Garden (whistling perhaps? I don't know?) and calling for Adam. "Adam, it's time for our walk in the Garden!" The Lord has this incredible joy on His face and He walks and talks with Adam. I can hear Adam ask the question, "Lord, what are those bright things in the sky that shine when it's dark?" The Lord would then reply with a smile, "Adam, those are stars that are millions and billions of miles away and I formed each and every one of them." The Lord would then explained to Adam the mysteries of the Universe. Incredible! Now take Noah. He walked and talked with the Lord and the Lord told him to build an arc. If you remember, the earth had never experienced rain before! I'm sure Noah was like, "Lord, what's an arc?" He would then explain to Him that it is just like the boats they put go out on the lake with, but much much bigger. "But why am I building this arc?" Noah might then ask. The Lord replies, "Because I'm about to send a flood" and then He would explain to Noah what a flood is and what rain is.
So why would He do all of this? Because He enjoys communicating with us and He delights in us! As it says in Colossians 1, God took pleasure in sending His One and Only Son, God in the flesh, to earth. God took pleasure in having Jesus die on the cross, the most humiliating forms of death. Why? Because He takes pleasure in calling us His children (Ephesians 1).
Child of God, I pray that God will reveal to you His delight and enjoyment of you. I pray that He removes any shame or guilt or hidden sin or whatever it is in your life so that you can truly know this enjoyment. Believe me, it is very liberating! If you grab a hold of this truth, your prayer life will become pleasurable to you and it will not be a sense of duty anymore. The Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, the Beautiful One wants to communicate with you!!
Grace and peace.