Transformation Principles (1)
Many of you will have seen the Transformation 1& 2 videos, and will have rejoiced at what God has done and is still doing in different parts of the world. From the records of Godís miraculous workings, a further video has been produced, called "The Quickeners". This outlines the ways in which we can prepare the way of the Lord, and ensure that He is welcomed into our midst. Seven principles to follow, and seven hindrances or obstacles to be avoided, have been distilled from the accounts of the many places where God has answered the prayers of His people, and is clearly at work. In this Encourager we will look at the seven principles to be followed. I have slightly altered the wording and the presentation, to make it more consistent and easier to understand, but the substance remains the same.
Please do not be put off by the number of prayer pointers mentioned. It may well be a good idea to use them gradually, just a few at a time. But my earnest desire is that you use them all, and encourage others to do the same. We know that they have worked in other places. God is the same everywhere. So let us prove that they work here.
1. Asking the Lord to come into our lives, our churches and our communities.
"When asked why God has come to various communities around the world, bringing revival and transformation, the people can point to a single reason; because He was invited. If we desire God to come to our communities, and change them, then we must dedicate ourselves to call upon Him, and invite Him over and over again. This means giving ourselves no rest until He is delighted to come." This means not only asking, but also "offering" a spiritual climate that is welcoming to His presence. If God has not answered with His powerful, transforming presence, then we must seek to understand what is holding him back. There is no price too great to pay for His all consuming presence."
a) Praying for ourselves.
i) Acknowledge the emptiness of your life. It is only the Holy Spirit who gives life. The flesh does not profit us at all. We need to empty ourselves of all pride, ambition and self-satisfaction, and ask the Lord to increase our spiritual hunger for Him. We need to resolve before the Lord that we will seek Him alone, and be satisfied with nothing less.
ii) Ask the Lord to place within you a proper fear of Him, that you may never again displease Him.
iii) Ask the Lord to convict you of any fleshly appetites.
iv) Confess to the Lord any things in your life that you have placed as priorities over Him.
v) Ask the Lord to stir up dissatisfaction within you for anything less than His overflowing presence in your life, and invite Him to fill your emptiness with His fulness.
b) Praying for your church.
i) Pray that the Spirit of God will create an increased desire for the things of the Lord in your church, and take away the preoccupation with the things that are of no eternal significance.
ii) Pray that your church will stop looking at its own programmes to fulfil Godís purposes, and instead will cry out to God as the only source of hope.
iii) Pray that a sense of awe in the presence of a holy God will overcome your congregation.
iv) Pray that the Lord will increase your churchís desire for holiness, humility and unity.
v) Pray that others in your church will join you in inviting Godís presence into your church and community.
c) Praying for the churches in your area.
i) Pray that the churches in your area will unite in seeking God to come in revival and transformation.
ii) Pray that the Spirit of unity will bring a growing sense of true unity among the churches that are willing to invite God to come.
iii) Pray that the churches will persevere in prayer, and not give up until He establishes His kingdom in your area.
d) Praying for your community.
i) Ask the Lord to create a hunger and a thirst for Him throughout your community, so that people are eager to find the way to God and to know the ways of God.
ii) Ask the Lord to reveal whatever is holding back the coming of His presence into your community, and give you the resolve to deal with it.
2. Accepting the things that bring brokenness and humility.
" An unfortunate part of our human nature is that we resist the very things that God says He esteems in us. God is attracted to those who embrace brokenness. He esteems those who are humble and contrite. It is a simple principle. The more we put ourselves in the front and the centre, the less God can work through us. We are to tremble at His word...It is one thing to give intellectual assent to the idea of brokenness; it is another thing to embrace those things that bring brokenness into our lives. But once we understand that it is brokenness that draws the presence of God, how can we not embrace whatever will bring Him closer to us and to our communities?"
a) For ourselves:
i) Humbling ourselves before God, and submitting afresh to His purposes.
ii) Asking the Lord to make us truly tremble at His word.
iii) Asking the Lord to show you where pride has replaced genuine humility in your life and attitudes.
iv) Repenting straightaway of any ways that you have been offended.
v) Embracing the things that bring brokenness into your life.
b) For your church and other churches in your area.
i) Pray that your church and all other churches in your area will understand this vital transformation principle, and will truly seek humility before the powerful and perfect God of the universe. (Zeph.2:3)
c) For your community
i) Pray for a spirit of humility and openness in your community leaders.
ii) Pray that the people and the leaders in your community will feel a sense of shame at the pride and arrogance and the wilful sin that is so obvious in their midst, and will turn from it.
iii) Pray that Godís presence will be attracted to the humility and brokenness that He sees in your community.
3. Obeying the Lord in all things.
"It is said that man is impressed by activity, but that God is impressed by obedience. Revival begins with a single solitary decision: Am I willing to put my heart on the line with God, let Him examine it with the truth of His word, and then take full responsibility for the things that offend Him?" As you learn to abide in Godís presence, and take time to truly seek His heart, "you will find yourself being ushered into a glorious place with Him."
a) For ourselves:
i) Ask God to give you a fresh understanding of true obedience to Him.
ii) Pray that God will usher you into a place of real intimacy with Him.
iii) Ask God to fuel your heart with passionate prayer for revival and transformation.
iv) Ask God to instil in you a new level of courage and boldness to be radically obedient to Him.
v) Pray that God will use your individual obedience to lead others to join you in seeking Him and obeying Him wholeheartedly.
b) For your church:
i) Pray that the leaders in your church will call for greater obedience and purity before the Lord.
ii) Pray that your church will experience a deeper intimacy with God, and a growing desire for true revival and transformation.
iii) Pray that your church will seek to obey God and His word, even if it means going against their traditions, their regulations and every way they have acted in the past.
iv) Pray for the prayer movement in your church to grow and affect every aspect of your churchís life.
c) For the churches in your area:
i) Pray that all the churches in your area will seek to obey God rather than man.
d) For your community:
i) Pray that God will open the spiritual eyes of the people in you area, so that they realise that the problems in their society are because people have turned away from God, and are not obeying His word.
4. Seeking the unity of Godís people.
The unity that God can use to bring blessing and change is a unity built on the foundation of humble, trusting, mutually esteeming relationships between believers intent on doing Godís will in his way. It starts with genuine confession and humility.
a) For ourselves:
i) Ask the Author of true unity to bind your church together in a unity based on obedience to His word.
ii) Ask the Lord to bring together those with hungry hearts to pray and seek Godís face together. This will be Godís majority, for He can work through these, however few they are.
b) For the churches in your area:
i) Pray that all the pastors and church leaders in your area will seek true unity in Christ, and be willing to humble themselves before each other.
ii) Pray that the Lord will protect the pastors and church leaders in your area from attack and division.
iii) Pray that the churches in your area will begin to cry out to God together for society changing transformation.
iv) Pray that the united prayers and witness of the churches in your area will change your community for Christ.
5. Praying with earnestness, persistence, righteousness and truthfulness.
We have to realise that we desperately need God. We can do nothing apart from Him. "Without Him, we will continue to spiral towards our own destruction. Our defining moment of truth is when we
admit our inadequacies, and abandon ourselves completely to Him. If we are to see revival and transformation in our churches, we must put aside our own likes and dislikes and convenience, and truly put God first." "We must be willing to join in travailing prayer for revival because we do not want to live another day without the overwhelming sense of His presence."
a) For ourselves:
i) Ask the Lord to stir a new and fresh earnestness in your life, and such a passion for revival and transformation that you will not settle for anything less.
ii) Ask the Lord to teach you more about prayer and fasting.
iii) Ask the Lord to help you to travail in prayer for a real breakthrough, and not let go until He answers you.
iv) Seek the righteousness that God says is necessary for effective prayer.
v) Ask the Lord to use you, as an ordinary person, to pray prayers that get wonderful results.
b) For your church :
i) Pray that God will call others in your church to join you in fervent prayer for revival.
ii) Pray that your church will feel a greater sense of urgency to come together in prayer for revival.
iii) Pray that your church will put aside its own schedules and priorities in order to pray in real desperation for God to work and show His power.
c) For the churches in your community:
i) Pray that the churches in your community will come together in corporate fasting and earnest prayer for revival.
ii) Pray for a growing heart cry for revival and transformation among the churches in your community.
iii) Pray that God will fill the churches in your community with believers who will cry out to Him day and night for revival.
6. Letting God have His way.
Godís work will always be unique, and we must let Him work in His own way, and take delight in the unexpectedness of how He does things.
a) For ourselves:
i) Confess to the Lord any limited ideas of how you think He should work.
ii) Ask the Lord to increase your expectations of what He can do.
iii) Pray that you will recognise Godís unique work, and welcome it when it happens.
b) For your church:
i) Confess any ways in which your church has limited God, and stopped him from working by keeping to small ideas, worldly ideas and rigid programmes and timetables.
ii) Ask the Lord to make your church leaders more open to the Holy Spirit, seeking his mind and heart, more obedient to Him, more willing to "launch out into the deep," and more expectant of His working.
c) For the churches in you area:
i) Ask the Lord to make all the pastors and church leaders in your area more open to the Holy Spirit, more willing to obey Him, more willing to break with past traditions, and more expectant of His miraculous working.
7. Having leaders who are true servants of God.
Servant leaders, like Stephen, the first Christian martyr, show a servant heart, and are willing to serve in the humblest way, while, at the same time, being bold declarers of the word of God.
a) For your church:
i) Ask God to make your church leaders true servants, who know God, and have influence with Him.
ii) Pray that the leaders of your church will seek the glory of God in all things.
iii) Pray that the leaders of your church will be bold to speak for Jesus, whatever the cost.
iv) Pray that the leaders of your church will walk in humility and unity.
v) Pray that the leaders of your church will count the cost of serving, and remain faithful.
b) For all the churches in your area.
i) Pray that God will raise up true servant leaders in your area.
ii) Pray that the church leaders in your area will come together in humility and unity to seek the extension of Godís kingdom, out of concern for Godís glory alone.
iii) Pray that the church leaders in your area will together seek the pouring out of the Spirit of God
in your community, no matter what it costs in terms of confession, repentance and changes in priorities.
It is wonderful to see the same priorities that we have sought to emphasise in The Interceders being confirmed by the records of Godís activity in the world today. This shows that we are on the right track. So do not give up, do not despair, but let the Holy Spirit encourage you to press on till we see Him working in our land as well. When He does, we will give him all the glory.