On the 20th of December after a scintillating session of carols at Perth Prayer the floor was opened for anyone to take the microphone. Few seemed hesitant, and the prayers of several zealous young men reminded me of my focus on revival when I first arrived here 30 years ago. Revival however must come in God’s way and his grace is always surprising. I had anticipated that the meeting would present an opportunity for prophetic praying, and after waiting on the Lord I sensed some things to speak out, which were seriously painful. But prophecy is meant to be a revelation of the heart of the Lord, and sometimes his “heart is filled with pain” (Gen 6:6). The below teaching is an expansion of what I prayed and observed on the 20th.
A VERY BAD YEAR FOR GOD
It’s hard to remember a year when Australia has given God so much anguish. The Spirit has been sorely grieved, the reputation of the name of Jesus dishonoured and the heart of the Father wounded (Eph 4:30; Eph 5:3). The Royal Commission into Institutionalised Child Sexual Abuse has headlined the abominable behaviour of many pastors, priests, bishops and other Christian leaders.
It’s difficult to articulate the moral and spiritual impact of such abominations, but the old word “defilement”, meaning to “make filthy”, comes closest.
There is something in the human psyche which instinctively recognises that perversion on the part of those who represent God is especially wicked. This pall will hang over the Church for generations. As if this scandal was not enough there was a huge amount of bad press mid-year about domestic violence in Bible believing churches. Whilst some of this was unjustified, the recent public apology to victims of abuse by the Anglican Diocese of Sydney keeps this scar on the Church alive in the public conscience. Worse was to come.
There is an ancient saying, Vox Populi, Vox Dei, “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
In 2017 2/3rds of Australians showed we believe this saying to be true by voting for same-sex marriage.
Understood spiritually, the mass of easy going Aussies have decided that they do not believe in a Heavenly Bridegroom.
Recognising it or not, they have categorically rejected the intimate Lordship of Jesus in an unprecedented manner (cf. 1 Sam 8:7). If we were at all sensitive to the anguished heart of God we would already be broken people, crying out to the Lord with a deep sense of inner emptiness. Hunger for the glory of God would already be moving us to pray and pray. What happened at Perth Prayer after I spoke clearly indicated the direction the Spirit is leading Christ’s Church.
FORGET THE LUNCH
One of the brothers rose to his feet and read aloud the Song of Mary, accenting the sections he saw as most compatible with the spirit of my praying; “vs.51 “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; vs.52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; vs.53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.”” (Luke 1:51-53).
The lowliness and humility characteristic of those favoured by God is certainly in opposition to the prevalent independent spirit in nation and Church today. As the meeting proceeded things became even more prophetic.
A lady who had never been in our gathering before came to the front. She had been walking past the church, which is on one of the busiest intersections of the C.B.D, and was attracted to the singing inside. Putting her curiosity aside she initially decided to press on to get food, until the Spirit spoke to her to come and join us and she resolved to “FORGET THE LUNCH”. After sharing that part of her story she went on to encourage those who come weekly to worship and pray for the city to keep going because this is so important (Col 4:2).
The testimony “FORGET THE LUNCH” is a prophetic call.
If every believer resolved at least once a week to fast a midday meal and dedicate that time to call upon the Lord for the welfare and salvation of our city the spiritual atmosphere of our nation could be transformed (Jer 29:7). A mass movement of such simple obedience would release the power of the Spirit. Why then hasn’t it already happened? An answer came as we broke up into small groups to pray.
Attuned to the “FORGET THE LUNCH” message a city worker in our group began to intercede against the fear that stops so many from leaving their desk at lunchtime to come and pray.
Can you trust God that if you leave your desk (or equivalent) to pray he will provide for your job security.
This is a simple recipe for revival but a crucial ingredient is missing.
As I prayed I could sense the Spirit encouraging us to ask for an enlargement of the Word of God. We need to be interceding for a visitation of the Word as the Bridegroom of the Church (Rev 19:1-13).
Australian society rejects the tender approach of the Spirit not because they think Jesus is a bad person but because they see Christianity as polluted by perverts and people who don’t get the message that “love is love” whatever a person’s gender may be.
Image is not reality, but loving spiritual intimacy with a heavenly Bridegroom will not be reflected in the Church until we are truly hungry for his Word in a way that vastly exceeds all other desires.
The Feeding of the 4,000 has a prophetic message for us. Jesus had “compassion” on the crowd because they had been without bread for “three days” and were in danger of fainting (Mark 8:1-2). Because the bread of Christ’s presence was more important than any number of lunches this mob saw the miraculous hand of God! He will reward us too with his powerful presence if our prayer for intimacy with his Spirit-Word exceeds our longing for the delicacies of this world.
There are plenty of worthwhile prayer initiatives across Australia but they seem to lack a crucial commitment to a prerequisite for a major move of God.
Mainstream networks are always committed to stability in the Church and the restoration of Christianity to a place of social honour.
But heaven sent revival always begins with a new work of God being rejected by existing church powers and mocked by secular culture.
For example, even though it wasn’t even a revival, I remember just how disruptive the Charismatic Movement was to the churches a generation ago. And how tongues speakers were viewed by the newspapers as a sort of lunatic cult.
The ultimate crucial element in the recipe for revival, in enacting:
“FORGET THE LUNCH and “LEAVE THE DESK” is the way of the cross i.e. count the cost (Luke 14:28).
Stuffed with physical blessings it’s time for fair dinkum Aussie Christians to realise that our heavenly Father has been starving us of the Word (Luke 11:11-13).
Not to penalise us but to provoke us to the sort of actions I have outlined.
For the obedient 2018 will be a far more spiritually satisfying year in the Lord; ““Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”” (Rev 3:20).
MESSAGE DELIVERED: 20th December, 2017 | session of carols at Perth Prayer
Author: Dr. John Yates
MESSAGE PODCAST: N/A |
Related Link: Nil