We had a good prayer time yesterday, and I thought I’d just do a little ditty about Blessing. As you know I’d been out of the UK for 18 years by the time I returned in July 2000 to get married, and to have a 2 year furlough in the UK. 20 years later, I’m in Morecambe, and strangely feeling a little bit ackward with the crafted prayers in our weekly Friday Blessings.
It was around 1981 when Tony Morton started sharing his thoughts on crafted prayers in Southampton. I believe he was influenced by some things he was reading (or maybe it was the influence that came from the church recently inhabiting a former Methodist Central Hall - which was another long story). Also in Southampton at the time was a well known prophet named Graham Cooke and, coincidentally, he became a leading voice talking about crafted prayers [were these guys secretly, actually talking to one another? You never know what goes on behind the walls, within the halls of ecclesiastical tradition]. Back in 1980, (yes, things were moving that fast) Tony had said these words in Boldrewood Lecture Theatre while the leader of the 2nd largest charismatic church in Southampton was on the stage: “You have been a thorn in our side, and we have been a thorn in yours”. But God was moving, God was speaking, and things were moving…..fast.
Back in 1980, God began speaking to me about Blessing. It was a wild time, when many of the things that have since developed into mainstream charismatic thinking in the UK, first began to break into my spirit. God would bring prosperity to geographical areas by His Spirit - this I knew, even as I knew that God wanted to establish 24/7 worshipful prayer in homes - literally, houses of prayer.
I’m reaching back into that time of revelation now, remembering, and building on it….
Thing is, things have moved on in the UK. Now my local church uses crafted prayer (which I never really got into myself), and they exercise faith for the prosperity of their geographical area, a faith which I haven't exercised for a long, long time. I’m cool with it all, but of course I learned a long time ago, as a seasoned warrior, that you never move out on the basis of someone else’s revelation.
So it was interesting yesterday, when in the middle of a skype prayer meeting, these words came up in my spirit, “I bless this season to be a fruitful time, bringing forth intimacy”. Now, by God’s grace, I know how to bless. My experience is that when I bless things, they stay blessed. What I have never learned is how to just initiate a blessing exercise on my own initiative. Blessing is still something that the Holy Spirit does THROUGH me. I guess I’ll go on my own journey with this.
All this is an introduction to a second part of a series I’m doing called Let Us Pray. It follows a fledgling, very nervous, Youtube upload on Covenant, largely inspired by some teaching I heard recently by Rick Renner.. Here’s the bottom line: A covenant changes your relationship. In part one I introduced you to how to sign become a member of God's covenant community. Please follow this link if you have any doubts whatsoever that you are in a covenant relationship with God.http://https//peacewithgod.net/
When you are a client of an establishment, you have a relationship with the owner of that establishment. You are a customer, a patron. If, however, you apply for a job at that establishment, after some negotiation, you may sign a contract or covenant of employment. From that moment, you become an employee, and the owner becomes your employer.
Let’s examine what has happened here: Your name has changed (Customer to Employee of the Company) and the owner’s name has changed (Owner to My Employer). You have a new set of privileges and responsibilities. You will be blessed with a salary, and other benefits from time to time; You will be suspended or fined if you disobey certain rules - blessings and curses. There is a promise of promotion if you are faithful. All of the resources of the company are available to help you succeed. You now become a representative or an ambassador of the company. The company’s history, and vision, it’s secret recipes and methods, the hierarchy of authority and the ways to get things done - things which you previously could not possibly see or understand, now unfold to you with fresh insights on a daily basis. I’m going to stop there - I don’t want to overload you with glory (i could go on, because ours is actually a family business, where all employees are inducted into the family. and into an inheritance of the company itself...glory to God!!)
The point I am making, however, has to do with Prayer. Can you see how that employment covenant makes a huge difference to the relationship I have with the Owner, and how my Requests for assistance are set against the backdrop of a completely different relationship? What was previously a request, now becomes a Requisition. There are rights and expectations, promises were made, and there is a difference between cashing in on a promise made, versus making a virgin request for a favour. If my employer is the mayor of a city in distress, he may offer free food to all its residents. Each client comes to the table, and I am privileged to serve them on behalf of my employer. When it comes to my mealtime, however, I sit at the table on a different basis. I go into the kitchen, into the fridge, I take whatever’s there - maybe I decide what type of sandwich I fancy and make it up from whatever ingredients I find. I might not even eat better than the clients in the end, but that’s not the point. The big difference is ACCESS.
Prayer is not just talking to God. I know we learned that in Sunday School, but our relationship with God has many more facets to it than just prayer. Prayer is specifically related to the requests I make to my Father, either on my own behalf or on someone else’s behalf.
As a client, the answer to my prayer depends on this:
Am I respectful and grateful to the Owner (my benefactor?). In other words, do I honour God?
Specifically, it would be disrespectful if at the moment of making my request, I am splitting my time between asking God for help and being hateful and unjust, mean and unforgiving to people around me (Isaiah 58, Matt 6, James 5, etc etc). I would be thrown out of the restaurant, my request for food DENIED.
Funny enough, as an employee the answer to my prayer depends, in a way, on the same thing:
Am I respectful and grateful to My Employer (my benefactor?)
That, however, is where the similarity ends. How my respect expresses itself is completely different. I dishonour My employer when I doubt his promises, when I fail to requisition what he has promised because I am unsure that he can actually afford to give it. UGGGHHH!!!! Repent, repent, repent, repent!!! With this understanding, the writings of Paul in the New Testament should light up to you as you read scripture in your prayer times, and remind yourself of all the things that have been promised to us in this covenant relationship we have with God. Jesus’ teaching on prayer in the Gospels and in the Book of Revelation, as well as Peter, John and the other apostles’ writings will come alive, alongside the writings of Moses, David and the prophets, as you read them in your prayer time. It is actually always a good idea to do a little Bible study (recommended reading above in bold) at the beginning of your prayer time.
Remind yourself of God’s promises…..then pray with the privileges of a new covenant person. Apparently, according to the covenant, as a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), since it is God’s nature to bless, I’m able to pray in the Name of Jesus for God’s blessing, on something, when that blessing is the will of God. This I KNOW by revelation. Apparently also, according to the covenant, “My sheep hear my voice” [Jn 10:27]. So here’s my advice to you who are in the covenantL Keep learning more and more about your covenant.
And when you are in the prayer room, pray prayers that you know how to pray BY REVELATION of what’s included in that covenant.