So many nations are calling for prayer right now, the world is looking to a God, who some have rejected, some have drifted away from and some are even closer than ever before. The question today that we all need to answer – which group of people do we fall into. I am baffled at how the world is expecting all religions to gather for a united prayer, days of prayer are arranged worldwide – where different religious groups gather together to pray, so while I am praying to Jesus, someone next to me might be praying to allah or to the sun for that matter, and in the name of religious tolerance we accept this.
The bible tells me that there is only one true and living God, and that he died for me and rose again, and he is coming back. The infallible word of God, is our only source of truth, and truth today declares the following:
2 Chronicles 7:14 (AMP)
and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.
Prayer is one of the most vital aspects in any believer’s armour. Without being prayed up, we cannot go into battle, without being prayed up we cannot come to a place of total surrender and obedience to a Holy God.
I want to share today with you, what I believe is the two “places” of prayer that is integral in the life of every believer. In fact, prayer is so crucial that the disciples actually asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Sometimes we take it for granted and we fumble through two or three lines of prayer to God and we think that this is adequate. The life of Jesus and the disciples teaches us otherwise.
Jesus teaches us that we need to spend time alone in prayer, with no one around us, just you and God, it’s a time when you can be real with God, when you can be yourself. A time when there are no masks.
Matthew 6:6 (AMP)
But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.
Spending time alone with God, gives us the freedom to speak to God and allow God to speak to us. Its what some would call the war room, a place where you battle it out in the spiritual realm.
If we look at the life of Jesus there was moments when he went away from the crowds, when he went into secluded places, just so that he could spend time with his father.
Mark 1:35 (NIV)
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
This verse gives us three keys –
- Time – very early in the morning, this is important, this should be how we start our day off, coming before God, giving him the best portion of our day, the first part of our day.
- Place – he went to a solitary place, a secluded one, one where he won’t be disturbed, one where there were no people no business of life, it was a place where he could be alone with his father.
- Purpose – he went there to pray – not to have a telephone conversation with someone, not to be playing the latest video game, not to be eating or reading a good book. He went there with one purpose and one purpose only, that is to pray, to communicate, to meet with his father.
Life is hectic, many times we can come up with excuses that we have no time in our busy schedule to spend with God, but Jesus gives us the perfect example, he gets up early and goes to solitary place, while it is still dark. How do we start our day off, friends? Does God take priority in our lives? Do we talk to God, before we engage with men? Someone once said – If you have not spoken to God, you have nothing to say to man!
Spending time with God, is sometimes the last thing we think about. Once we have taken care of our family, our work, and everything else the world throws at us.
In a recent poll by the Evangelical Alliance, it was discovered that:
- 42% of people surveyed said that they find it difficult to find time on a regular and disciplined basis to pray.
- 18 % only pray when the chance or need arises.
- 31% said that they set aside a time to pray every day.
Luke 6:12-13 (KJV)
12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.
Even before Jesus chose the 12, he spent time in prayer alone with his father, not just 5 minutes or an hour or 2 hours – but the entire night. The reality friends is that we need God, and we need to know the heart of God. We cannot approach the world if you have not approached the God of Heaven & earth.
Many men in the bible spent time alone with God, and it was this time alone in communion with God, that made them the men of character that we look to even today. Men such as Moses in his encounter with God at the burning bush & on Mt Sinai, even David spent many times alone with God, it is because of these times alone with God, that David could be called a man after God’s own heart.
If it is our desire to have the heart of Jesus, then we should desire to spend more and more alone time with him, because this is the place where you can commune with God and him with you, without having, the business of life interrupt you.
We often want to spend time alone with people we love, the same should be for our relationship with God. If we love him and want to have a relationship with him, then the only natural thing to do is to spend time alone with him. Spending time alone with God, eliminates the distractions of this world.
In Psalm 63, David paints a picture of how earnestly we should be seeking God. Its about a deep desire, a longing, a desperation for more and more of God. And when our desire is to know God intimately, then we will seek him early. We will want to have an encounter with God.
2. The Upper Room Encounter
Acts 1:12-14 (NKJV)
12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
While there needs to be an alone time with God for every believer, there must be a time when every believer gathers together. We need to know how to pray in private and we also need to be able to pray as a church. It all started in the upper room, the place where the church was birthed. It is the place where men and women came together to do business with God.
The upper room is a place where we do battle together, it’s a place where we cry out in unity to our God, it’s a place where we do not let go of God.
Vs 14 tells us that they were all together, and constantly in prayer. They persevered, with one heart and one mind, they spent time together coming before God in prayer, in worship and in the word.
I want to stress today, that unless we learn to have our alone time with God, unless we have our intimate sessions with Jesus, it would be very difficult for us to come together as a body of Christ and come before God in unity.
The upper room is where God began to stir, and God begin to touch men & women, God’s plan to bring revival, to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, was unfolding. Acts 1:8 was becoming a reality in the lives of the 120 people that were locked up in that room.
Acts 1:8 (NKJV)
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be [a]witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
The great commission is for us to go out and make disciples, and today we cannot do this if we do not allow God to pour out his Spirit upon us, we cannot do this if we are still of the mindset that we do not need to gather together.
The enemy understands this, that if he gives us enough reasons as to why we can’t have alone time with God, and why we can’t meet and pray & worship God together, then he has killed the urgency of the gospel going out. God’s plan was and will always be – that none should perish, but unless you and I as the body of Christ, become prayer warriors, become “obsessed” with spending time with God, this will not happen.
All the enemy needs to do, is kill the desire in you and I to spend time in prayer and the church becomes one that is there physically but having no power.
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I am contending and believing God for an outpouring of his Spirit, for revival not just in our city but to the ends of the earth. And revival can only happen when we get on our knees and cry out to God to intervene. We need to have a revival in our prayer life. The reality today, is that we need that upper room encounter.
3. The effect of the Upper Room
Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV)
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all [a]with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them [b]divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Can you imagine you being of the 120 people in the house, on that Day of Pentecost? Remember, they were together, in one place, with one accord, and God poured out his Spirit, what an amazing moment, being saturated and filled with the Holy Ghost Power.
And then Peter gets up and he preaches a powerful sermon.
Acts 2:37-39 (NKJV)
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
And the result and effect of this was that 3000 souls were saved that day. It all started with 12 men, who were determined to follow Jesus Christ, irrespective of the cost. 120 men & women, who were convicted and set their hearts on prayer, worship & the word.
It was not the eloquence of Peter, neither was it how he was dressed, but it was the Holy Spirit that took over when men & women surrendered their hearts and lives to the will and purpose of God.
I believe today that we can have that impact, we can have an even greater impact. We just need to come back to the basics of the gospel. Spend time in prayer, preach the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ. Preaching on sin and forgiveness that comes only through the blood of Jesus.
But again friends, it all starts with us getting down on our knees, it starts in your prayer closet, it starts by you being part of what God wants to do through a group of believers that will not buckle, will not waiver, will not succumb, but will push on daily, in full surrender to Jesus Christ.
God is moving, he is doing something great. Revival is coming – Will you be a part of it today?
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