If anything has become urgent and a passion of mine over the past few months, it’s this… I need a prayer upgrade!
Don’t you love it when you get an upgrade on a long flight? Whenever I have the luxury of getting one, I thoroughly enjoy the extra space and other perks. The economy seat will get me to my destination just fine, but if an upgrade is possible, I want it!
I am learning and experiencing that it is indeed possible to have a prayer upgrade, and this upgrade is certainly more significant than a class upgrade on a flight. I have needed and desired a more spacious prayer life that unleashes more of the supernatural provision and breakthroughs of heaven on earth. A simple fact of history is that there has never been a true gospel movement without there first being a prayer movement inspired and sustained by the Holy Spirit. I am convinced that God is calling me the Pioneering Initiatives tribe I lead to prioritize a more intense approach to prayer, and I believe that God will help us to do so if we will each surrender to His leading. The needs of our neighborhoods and the nations of the world demand that we give attention to this.
While I was in Europe recently the Lord revealed to me that this prayer upgrade would include at least three postures in my approach to prayer. These postures require me to…
- Pray hard.
- Listen well.
- Dream big.
To pray hard is to pray as Jesus instructs us in Luke 11:5-10, where he emphasizes that breakthrough prayer requires boldness, specificity, urgency, tenacity and shameless audacity. As I have been experimenting with this realm of my prayer upgrade, I have had to admit to God that I don’t really know what I am doing and that I need his help. Gratefully, God reminded me of his promise and provision recorded by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:26: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness [including our weakness in prayer]. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Isn’t that awesome!
To listen well is to dare to believe that God is still speaking to his people, offering specific revelation and direction for our lives and ministries. This posture requires us to make space in our loud and busy lives to listen for God’s voice. It further requires us to be sensitive to his leading in the midst of all that we do. I love the example of the church in Antioch, where in the midst of a gathering they heard the Holy Spirit direct them to set apart Barnabas and Saul for a specific mission (Acts 13:2). Or the example of Paul and his companions recorded in Acts 16:6-10, where in the midst of their missional travels were sensitive to the Spirit’s leading to not engage ministry in the province of Asia or to enter Bithynia. Later Paul has a vision from God that specifically leads them to bring the gospel into the unreached region of Macedonia. I wonder what specific assignments we would receive from God if we too listened well!
To dream big is to prophetically imagine the Kingdom outcomes of our missional endeavors. Explaining the supernatural eruption on the day of Pentecost, Peter quotes the Joel prophecy; “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17,18). This promise is for us! I believe it could be a powerful experience for you to gather with your missional friends and prophetically proclaim the Kingdom destiny of your ministry context, when the things on earth become like they are in heaven. This discipline can powerfully shape the content and quality of all our praying. It’s time to dream big under the influence of the Holy Spirit!
Are you ready for a prayer upgrade? God makes this possible for us all by his grace and the help of his Holy Spirit. Will you join me in seriously experimenting with these three postures of prayer? I look forward to hearing your breakthrough testimonies!