The cost of staying fervent in prayer

The cost of staying fervent in prayer

By Isaiah-Phillips Akintola

Pattern from the Church of Ephesus

Rev 2:1-5

2:1 TO THE angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Ephesus write: These are the words of Him Who holds the seven stars [which are the messengers of the seven churches] in His right hand, Who goes about among the seven golden lampstands [which are the seven churches]:

2 I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] and have tested and critically appraised those who call [themselves] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars.

3 I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary.

4 But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].

5 Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.  AMP

It is quite amazing to see the quality profile of the church of Ephesus as we begin to consider what the Spirit of the Lord is emphasizing to his Church today. The Spirit of the Lord is speaking expressly to his people in this season of lukewarmness.  If you have read the book of Ephesian you will immediately understand the spiritual investment amongst this people. Arguably, this church had one of the most amazing discipleship training from Apostle Paul. Three years was given into laying the foundation of this house. Years after something major had gone wrong with the priority of this people, the Lord had to personally send a little of admonishing and warning to this beloved saints.

What does love have to do with it?

Matt 22:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’   38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’   40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  NIV

The spiritual defect of the Church of Ephesus speaks volumes of the same spiritual condition of the present day 21st century Church.  Everything seems to be in place in our gatherings except for one thing that is out of place-the genuine love of God. With face value, the church of Ephesus to any human standard can be regarded as an example of a well-structured, matured community of God’s people in the earth. This church’s standard seems to be where the present day body of Christ is heading as a benchmark of perfection yet it is not.  When one starts to highlight the activities and spiritual impact of this community, you immediately see that they truly understand what it means to be a true apostolic productive community yet have left their love for God behind them.

Both their social and spiritual footprint in the society cannot be easily ignored, their ability to stand up to wicked men and expose false apostles and their activity within the body shows the level of discernment and zeal they have for the things of God. Examining the life of this community of Gods people from a face value will certainly deceive anyone.  The Lord who is walking among the seven lampstands {churches} is defining and measuring the standard of what his church should look like at any season in time.  When the Lord scrutinized the foundation of this house according to his calling and purpose, they were found wanting because they have left their first love. This is a serious issue in the sight of God when you consider the importance and function of his love in the heart of his church. They had completely forgotten their life source while they are still very active in their daily ministry.  Considering the crime of the Church of Ephesus one can easily think it’s not that serious but when you consider the impact of the crime then you see the gravity; they had fallen from the height of their spirituality.

The height gained towards the mountain of the Lord has been lost. This scripture is truly a wakeup call for all believers. Irrespective of the height you may have gained spiritually, if you do not continue in the journey of knowing and obeying the voice of the Lord daily, you will find yourself in the same place the Church of Ephesus found themselves.  How many of us today are so busy trying to impress God with our good works while we have totally left behind our first love for God. The moment you neglect the place of his presence in worship and prayer, you will definitely start losing your spiritual focus and priority. Our first love-Christ should be the focal point and the motivating factor of whatever we say and do.

The ascended ministry of prayer

This is where the ministry of prayer comes into effect.  The ascended life is one given completely to the ministry and nature of prayer. The more I understand the ministry of prayer, the more I realize it is the only valid resource given to enhance and advance our pursuit into God. They that must come to God must believe… your believe system towards the realm of God can only be effective on the track of a precise prayer life. The Church of Ephesus in their pursuit of ministry forgot their core purpose in life. In their attempt to make impact and become relevant, they left behind the transforming power of the Spirit. While they are trying to win the world, they left behind the spirit of conviction. We have said in time past that whatever we try to produce in the name of the Lord that is not first birthed in the place of prayer will certainly not produce after God’s kind.

Prayer is the catalyst for kingdom development, transformation and restoration. The release of the present reformation is as a result of agonizing prayers of saints globally.  All believers in this season is enrolled into the strategic intercessory prayer ministry. Ministry is a calling with special gifting or grace to serve God and his kingdom in a specific area of assignment. If there is anything missing today in the Body of Christ it is the pureness of the ministry of prayer. Like I said some time back, the reason why there are so much soulish carnal tendencies amongst believers is the absence of a true prayer life. Prayer is the one key that opens us into a vast realm of life beyond our comprehension. The elevated life in Christ is discovered in the place of prayer. We need to return to our first love so we can once again regain our passion for prayer. The love and passion you have for the Lord should stir your love and passion for those he paid the ultimate price for on the cross.

Precise salvational foundation lays the burden quest to pray and seek the face of the Lord on behalf of others in your family and environment. We cannot begin to comprehend the authority, influence and power we can generate as believers when we start praying relentlessly.  When the Body of Christ starts waking up to her spiritual responsibility, the world will definitely begin to respond to the spiritual climate created by faith and obedience to the will of God.

The church is on a crossroad. We need to decide on which side of the global reality we are going to focus; are we going to allow the negative activities of darkness to stop and deter us from achieving our primary mission? A new generation of prophetic intercession is arising to dislodge the powers of darkness over cities and nations. Our mission is to bring the light of the glorious gospel of the kingdom of God to the darkest places within our communities. Positioning your faith, truth and obedience to God’s desire releases the capacity to make a difference even in every obscure situation. God is calling us to carry the cross of intercession in this crucial season. There has to be a man or woman in the community, city or nation that can change the cause of events through the powerful ministry of strategic prayer. You cannot desire a productive intimate prayer life without preparing yourself for an unprecedented encounter.

Laying foundation for apostolic prayer lifestyle

There is no doubt that prayer deals with the continual transitional process and reconfiguration of the Church’s spiritual structure. Not realizing that everything in the body is organic in nature, meaning that we are designed to continually grow and change even in our concept of understanding how we pray. Many, due to the lack of this revelation knowledge of divine progression have positioned themselves to resist the change required to move up in Christ. The enemy has continually used the power of religion and denominational barriers to hinder the Church from coming into maturity.  The Spirit of the Lord is once again positioning his prophets on the ramp, commanding them to blow the trumpet of a new spiritual awakening and understanding the present marching order of the Spirit. The Lord is releasing prophetic apostolic teaching priests who will imprint the whole counsel of the Lord without fear or favor.  As the Church leaves her needy position for a more responsible and accountable orientation, the ministry of prayer, which is the most commonly abused gift, she must be re-taught from a more accurate apostolic concept so that this present move of the Spirit can impact and transform our planet.

Praying in the prophetic context of the present apostolic reformation is crucial to the precise navigating system of the Church.  Each new level of spiritual development requires new revelational insight in dealing with issues beyond humanistic religious ideologies.  Engaging with the Spirit of prayer requires more than mere utterance, it is the combination of thoughts, desire, passion, will, emotion, intelligence of the Spirit voiced out through your voice. There must be a fusion of life to accurately lay a template of the Spirit of intercession.

When the disciples of Christ asked him to teach them how to pray as John taught his disciples, they were not asking for some kind of appendix or magical formula to prayer; rather the desire to understand why their words in prayer carried little or no effect in regards to changing situations and the condition of things. This obviously informs us that prayer is not merely saying the right word at the right time.

Not being taught to understand prayer and the ministry of intercession as a migrational reality will certainly at one time or the other breed a sense of discouragement, disorientation and in some extreme cases depression when the Lord starts demanding your movement from where you are to the place you ought to be.

You must be ready and willing to exchange your limited perception to a more glorious and accurate description of spirituality.  There is a vast realm of truth waiting for you as you journey through the mountain of prayer. Coming to the hill of the lord will certainly revolutionalize your life as you see dimensions in God beyond your traditional and theological believes especially in the place of prayer and intercession.  Prayer is like trying to connect your desktop PC to the worldwide web. Your mind cannot fathom the realm of information you are about to be expose to.

Points to consider in order to have an effective prayer life in this new season of the Spirit

  1. 1. Willing to change engrained theological opinions to current emphasis of the Spirit in regards to the ministry of prayer and intercession.
  2. 2. You must be ready and willing to consolidate your spiritual hunger in the place of prayer. The moment you become satisfied with where you are spiritually is the day you start falling behind.
  3. 3. Wisdom that comes from above is the signet ring for the present house the Lord is building through his craftsmen. This wisdom must be the plumb line of your spiritual advance in prayer and intercession.
  4. 4. Willing and ready to develop higher vision concerning Gods prophetic agenda and purpose for your life, family, ministry, community and nation in the place of prayer.
  5. 5. Must be ready to become a highly informed person in the theological and doctrinal knowledge of the word of God. This stands as a base to your prayer life. Lacking the general knowledge of the word of God can be very dangerous to your prayer devotion.
  6. 6. Willing and ready to become a student of current global affairs. Your awareness of issues politically and economically within and around your environment plays a key role in the direction of effective praying. While the light of God is advancing, we also need to be fully aware of the deception and schemes of darkness globally.
  7. 7. Willing and ready to upgrade your template of challenging the powers of darkness. While the enemy never changes, his plans and strategies changes from region to region. Warfare must move from mere fighting in the valley realm to taking the battle to the high places where the issues are initiated. In true warfare we must identify philosophy behind human actions.
  8. 8. You must also have the willingness and readiness to walk in the spirit of humility, forgiveness and unconditional love. Knowing that our challenges are not with the people we see but against principalities and power in the heavenly places.
  9. 9. Willing and ready to develop the hearing ears, the seeing eyes and the heart of understanding the direction of the Spirit at every injunction of your intercession. Meaning, you must develop a high level prophetic {anointing} capacity.

10.Willing to initiate and develop a high level productive relationship with your prayer team members. You cannot be a lone ranger when it comes to corporate intercession.

11.Willing to move from a position of pride to a total lifestyle of obedience, faith and courage in your prayer devotion.

12.Willing to leave your ideology of God, his kingdom and people to the present definition of the restoral apostolic ministry of the Spirit.

13.Willing to spend time in the place of fasting and meditation.

14.Prepared to develop a quiet spirit at all times.

These points are there to help you reappraise your prayer journey to the required standard in Christ. May the Lord help us to abide in his love in this crucial season of compromise. Set your heart on the Lord brethren and refuse to be drawn away from him in all you say and do.

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