Are you part of a NEW WINE ARMY that is DONE with church as usual?
I wrote this several years ago as a traveling preacher. My viewpoint has not changed now that I have planted a new church in Branson, Missouri:
I know I carry a critical message in this end time season. There is a desperate need for awakening and activation, and I desire to be a part of that.However, I have no desire to leave my family and travel to various churches if those churches aren’t ready for the deposit I’m called to leave.
I’m done with nice Sunday services where the people resist the depths, are reluctant to contend and are more interested in getting out on time. I’m done.Pastors, train your people to groan in the Spirit. Turn Sundays into prayer meetings. Blaze the trail toward revival.A quick, one hour sermon just won’t cut it. A little worship and a nice prayer is laughable. Cultivate services where people never want to leave! Where are the revivalists? The intercessors?Church as usual is over and I have no desire to come to your church to preach if you are still trying to build an old wine skin.
Where is my tribe? Where are the burning ones? I’m ready to find those pillars of revival fire and contend together for an outpouring.
Church as usual is coming to an end—and prophetic churches must emerge to fill the void.
Among them are people who are bellowing out that they are “DONE with church as usual,” but, for some strange reason, refuse to shift into the new.
The firebrands are few who are truly willing to break out of the old wine skin and enlist as soldiers who are absolutely reliant on the new wine of the Holy Spirit. This is a rare breed, indeed.
“As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”” (2 Chronicles 7:1–3, ESV)
An Old Testament experience with the power of God should cause all of us New Covenant Believers to be troubled. Why isn’t God moving like that in our church?
The supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit today should absolutely blow away the encounters prior to the cross and resurrection of Christ and the Acts 2 awakening. Yet, here we are, struggling to break out of typical, familiar, comfortable and tired church life.
For decades, I’ve been looking for pavement people. Hungry, desperate Christians who are no longer looking for personal comfort in their church experience, but rather are ready to pay whatever price is necessary to see God manifest in overwhelming power.
To them, church as usual is dead. The old wineskin will no longer suffice. It can’t. The new wine they are yearning for demands an entire new model and they refuse to live another day bound up in the old.
Pavement people, as we saw in 2 Chronicles 7, weren’t interested in anything but the glory of God. God’s glory filled the house so powerfully that nobody could enter. That didn’t stop these fiery zealots. They hit the pavement and declared the goodness of God.
Literally nothing else mattered. They didn’t demand a certain order of service. They couldn’t care less about comfortable seats. They weren’t looking for friends or position or promotion. Air conditioning, greeters, programs, child care, predictable services and most everything else does not matter to these end-time, new wine warriors.
They want God.
A NEW WINE CHURCH EXPERIENCE
Pavement people have no patience for church experiences that aren’t fueled by deep, continual intercession. The glory of God has no comparison. The pursuit of wide-spread revival is the goal that causes them to burn white hot. Their devotion results in many sleepless nights as they weep over their city and cry out for the Holy Spirit to move.
When intercession and glory become the driving pursuits of people craving the wildfire of the Spirit of God, very little else becomes necessary in the church experience. In fact, they are so sensitive to the mission that they refuse to embrace anything that threatens the primary purposes of the new wine church.
As an example, at Revival X in Branson, Missouri, we are intentionally staying laser focused. This means we currently have no need to implement many things that are expected in old wine skin churches.
Live worship, children’s ministry, youth ministry, small groups, etc. aren’t currently important in the church plant. What is? Prayer. Intercession. Glory. Fire. Equipping. Deliverance.
Will we implement some of this in time? Possibly. Probably. Eventually. It must be done with great care so as not to distract from the primary purpose of the church. Additions will only come as they reinforce, support and give strength to intercession and revival.
The call is for all to pray as wild men and women, consumed with the fire of the Holy Spirit, allowing dreams, visions and a strong prophetic spirit to emerge. We must be trained in the fire, by the Fire, the Holy Spirit.
If you are “done with church as usual,” then get risky. Get out of the boat. Quit expecting “needs” of old to be met. Break out of old patterns and systems.
Don’t expect the new wine church to look anything like the old. The programs and purposes are going to shift dramatically. You will have to go deep in the Spirit, deep in intercession and develop a radically consecrated, holy, on-fire life of surrender. Literally nothing else will matter in comparison with your pursuit of God and revival.
A key reason pastors don’t steer their churches in this direction of Spirit-driven, prayer-fueled, revival-focused and risky ministry is they know few will respond positively.
What would happen if your pastor suddenly cancelled everything they do except for prayer and equipping?
What if they eliminated live worship and let the worship team get renewed in prayer for a year?
What would you do if there was no longer children’s ministry or youth ministry?
What about eliminating programs and ministries that you feel are extremely important?
How would you handle the shift? Would you take on your call to pray without ceasing? Would you go deep? Would you become the revivalist you were born to be?
Or would you complain, gossip, get frustrated, question leadership and look for a new, comfortable, old wine skin church?
I pray you’d accept nothing but the new wine. You’d be part of a very rare, special, end-time, remnant army that the world is waiting for.
Could you not pray for one hour? ~Jesus
Prayer doesn’t typically come naturally. Actually, it comes supernaturally, but even so, there is a learning curve.
At Revival X, I am excited about the opportunity to help train hungry people in the art and science of impactful, fiery, powerful and supernatural intercession. Once we are struck by the shock and awe of prophetic prayer, we will crave interacting with God night and day.
Could you not pray for one hour? The obvious answer is no. The couldn’t. Or, actually, they didn’t. They could have. They should have, but the impetus was not there. The passion had faded. The urgency was gone. Carrying the burden of another requires we are impacted by the Spirit of God at a pretty deep level. This is what makes an intercessor.
This isn’t an involved teaching on the matter (that will come on Tuesday nights at Revival X!), but these are some simple tips and truths that will help make intercession much more enjoyable and meaningful. We’ll want to pray, without ceasing, as Scripture directs.
Eleven tips: How to engage in impactful, supernatural, prophetic and addictive intercession
ONE: UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT
Burdens for intercession become weighty and tangible when we understand, adopt and own the assignment. What is the purpose of your intercession? Is that purpose captivating you? If not, go to battle over your mind and emotions and avail yourself to the Spirit of God.
The assignment might be naturally obvious, like praying for someone to be healed. Or, it may be sudden and unexpected. There are times I’m awakened in the night with a celebrity on my heart. It’s typically someone I never spend time thinking about, and I know the Lord has asked me to stand in the gap for them.
Understanding God’s assignments in prayer will also relieve us of other prayer focuses that aren’t as pressing or timely on God’s agenda. It takes some discipline to stop praying for what we want to focus on to make room for what God is doing. Doing so is the first step toward intercession that’s fueled by God’s supernatural grace.
When we become “assignment-driven” instead of “issue-driven” in our lives, our prayer lives tend to erupt.
TWO: UNDERSTAND YOUR AUTHORITY
Prayer becomes a frustrating exercise of futility if we don’t understand our authority. If we don’t know without question that we cause things to happen simply by declaring and decreeing, commanding and enforcing, then we’ll fizzle out after just a few minutes of tiring prayer.
However, when we acquire a revelation of just how potent and powerful our words are, and how atmospheres and enemies have no choice but to submit to our Spirit-revealed directives, everything changes! We become super-charged, supernatural agents of the King.
We move mountains. We cast out demons. We war in the Spirit. We dictate breakthrough. We condition atmospheres. We truly are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
THREE: PRAY IN TONGUES
Bold tongues originating from the depths of our inner man should be erupting out of us from the beginning of the intercession session to the end. If I had to put a percentage on it, I’d say 95% tongues, 5% English. The Spirit knows exactly what needs to happen through our legislation. The most efficient way for him to move is praying in tongues. There is no comparison.
The Bible talks about groans “that can’t be uttered.” These are overwhelming spiritual unctions that overwhelm and overtake us as we take on the Holy Spirit’s burden. There is no need for words and there is no need for intellectual understanding when this occurs. We can rest easy knowing that God is actively, literally and immediately moving. Faith explodes through tongues and groans.
FOUR: DECLARE SCRIPTURE
The Bible is true. It’s mandatory that we absolutely, without any doubt or hesitation, fully and completely believe it. We must never condition Scripture with our experiences, disappointments or personal insights. The Word of God rules.
When we believe Scripture at this level, our minutes of prayer can easily launch into hours.
Grab hold of a single scripture or a passage and decree it. Declare it. Enforce it. Meditate on it. If you aren’t seeing a particular biblical truth manifest in your life or in a situation, go to battle. Proclaim the truth to the enemy. Proclaim it to yourself. Command your mind and emotions to align with it.
When you are done, find another scripture and do it again. Another hour will pass before you know it.
FIVE: KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS
It’s safe to say that a lot of prayer that’s offered up every day, possibly the majority, is little more than asking God for stuff as we wonder if he’ll answer. This is a recipe for intercessory failure. Our faith plummets. Our hope fades. Our relationship with God is negatively affected because we don’t truly understand his desire for us.
The easiest way to know God’s will is through the Word of God. If he wrote it, he means it. Review the previous point and get excited about all of the promises in Scripture that are chiseled in stone. God means what he says.
In specific situations that the Bible may not cover (like what job to take or how to spend our money), the next point will help. Suffice it to say, intimacy with Jesus is key. As we learn to hear God’s voice, our prayer time will take a dramatic shift. No longer will we gaze up into heaven wondering where God is and what he wants. We’ll move right past that point and have great confidence in our prayer. It will shift direction from asking God to commanding situations. We will be a walking, breathing, supernatural command center, enforcing God’s will, not aimlessly wondering what it is.
And, during the “in between,” the times between our intercession and the clear revelation of God’s will, pray in tongues and declare Scripture. Enjoy Jesus. Develop intimacy. Correct wrong theology (like God is resisting you, or that he doesn’t love or like you). Simply know that Jesus is interceding for YOU nonstop!
SIX: DISCOVER THE PROPHETIC
Prayer that isn’t infused by the Spirit of prophecy is doomed. It really is. We must learn how to receive revelation. This is a massive topic that can’t be even summarized here. However, we need to know that God is talking and the things he’s saying are weighty. Our job is to receive the transmission and respond accordingly.
It’s critical to flow prophetically during intercession so we get the right job done the right way. We don’t want to pray for something that God is actually opposing. We don’t want to focus on a point that God says to put aside. This is where tongues helps (a lot). God will suddenly and overwhelmingly impact us with skyrocketing faith on a matter. He will tell us what to decree and how to contend. His will becomes obvious. What’s on his heart in the moment overtakes our heart. When the prophetic meets intercession, miracles happen. This is where the realm of wonders exists.
SEVEN: EXPECT SIGNS, WONDERS AND MIRACLES
When we pray, and when the prophetic is hot, miracles, signs, wonders, healings, revelations and great faith result. They become quite normal.
The key is that we must stimulate our faith and develop extreme expectancy. Tongues helps. Scripture helps. Prophecy helps. Embracing our assignment helps. When all of this is working with synergy, the Spirit of God will often manifest.
A prayer-life without unwavering expectation of supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit is a prayer-life that’s truly on life-support.
EIGHT: FIGHT THE ENEMY
When all of the above points are in play, they will ultimately expose the activity of the enemy. When that happens, we must fight!
Understanding our authority will make this an obvious next step. It becomes clear that the enemy has been working hard behind the scenes (and often right on stage) to steal, kill, destroy, disrupt, discourage and stop God’s activity in our life and situation.
The prophetic is an invaluable tool as it shines a bright light on the darkness. The enemy can no longer hide. However, it’s absolutely critical that we engage in serious warfare. The enemy doesn’t like the light, but he’ll gladly stand there exposed if he knows we aren’t going to do anything about him and his schemes.
NINE: COMMAND VS. PETITION
If there anything that will kill a life of prayer it’s petition.
Yes, there are times to petition God. Scripture is clear about this. However, when we become petition-dominant in our prayer, our faith plummets. So much of what people petition God for has already been settled and revealed in Scripture.
So much more would be made known prophetically if we had fine-tuned that spiritual skill. Remember, part of our responsibility in prayer is to discover what God’s will is. Very often, his will is ready to be revealed, or at least the part that we need to know in the moment is. We just need to find it. Most often, petition is not the quickest way there.
TEN: FOCUS OUTWARD NOT INWARD
If I had to guess, nine times out of ten people pray about themselves or issues that directly impact them. There’s a time for this, but it’s certainly not ninety percent of the time.
Intercession demands we take on the issues on God’s heart. Keep in mind the assignment most usually will be mission oriented. Our call is to pray for souls, to contend for revival, to push back the enemy, to stand in the gap for others, to invade the darkness, to heal the sick, and on and on.
Intercession that’s focused outward is exponentially more potent than prayer for ourselves. Again, there’s a time to pray for our own situation. Even daily we can give time and energy to this. We can go to God with our desire for personal growth, concerns, questions and other such communication. We just need to know that staying in that place will drain us and weaken our faith. We were created to advance and to fight for others.
This is one reason why I personally feel prayer meetings at church shouldn’t focus much on their own church. Church growth, church needs, church challenges, etc. can be hit briefly in prayer, but don’t dwell there. Camp out on intercession for the city, for revival, for transformation and for regional and national issues.
ELEVEN: JUST DO IT
No matter the struggle, no matter how silent God seems to be and no matter how ineffective you feel your prayer is, do not stop. Go deeper. Go longer. Pray more deliberately. Intercede with passion.
You have to practice prayer continually in order to break through into new realms, new experiences, new victories and new revelations of how God moves through our intercession.
Simply know, God absolutely, without question, hears you, is moving through you and is training you as a mighty warrior of atmosphere-shifting intercession!
REVELATION DRIVEN PRAYER
Game changer! The most incredible, instructive and distinctive reading on prayer I’ve experienced in a long time. The writing is simplistic, refreshing and applicable. Every faithful Christian should read this to be renewed and empowered! ~Walkbyfaith
If, throughout the Bible, God causes men and women to do things that defy human logic, why do we default to common sense when making decisions in our lives? If God told Gideon to secure only 1% of his army to go into battle, which obviously defies solid and time-tested military wisdom, why don’t we consider that God may also cause us to advance in our lives via nontraditional and even bizarre means?
Job 11:7 “Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?”
The message of Revelation Driven Prayer will help launch you into the unusual and deep things of God that he has prepared specifically for you.