“Cultivating a responsive heart of extravagant devotion to Jesus takes time and deliberate effort. Love does not grow automatically but rather it automatically diminishes unless intentionally cultivated. A responsive heart to God, renewed in freshness and tenderness, is precious and rare, to be guarded with great care and renewed day by day. Satan’s first priority against the Church is to lead us astray from cultivating the ability to be responsive to God with wholehearted love and extravagant devotion. If Satan leads us astray from the purity of devotion to Jesus then our service and love for others will eventually fail.” Dana Candler
As we build the House of Prayer in our cities, we must realize that it’s all about God coming and taking His place in our hearts. It’s about loving God and preparing the earth for the reign of Jesus, the King. It’s about obeying the first commandment: “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, and with ALL your mind” (Matthew 22:37-38). The fire of loving God will ignite our faith to live a life of prayer and devotion. He wants us to turn to Him with all our heart (Joel 2:12). Then He will pour out His Spirit in our nations.
God wants to transform our hearts in the prayer room. There is no better way to experience a changed heart as in the prayer room. He wants to impact our hearts so that we impact our cities and the nations. If we love God, we will love others better and with a much greater consistency. Let’s remember that the Church of Ephesus had left their first love (Revelation 2:1-5). Their once fiery love and passion for Jesus had grown cold. Their minds had been led astray from the simplicity of pure devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). Loving God and living a holy life must be our primary focus.
Houses of Prayer help us to encounter God on a deep level. Growing in an intimate relationship with God should be our ambition, our highest calling. This means that we know and are deeply known by God. We have a relational knowledge of God and not just a factual understanding. God is a person to be known, and our knowledge of Him produces affection. We position our hearts in the prayer room to receive the love He desires to manifest to us. He wants to partner with us, and He releases blessing to those who are in unity with His heart. Loving God was Jesus’ last public invitation and declaration before He went to the cross (Matthew 22:37-38). It is the great commandment and first priority to God. We impact His heart when we love Him. This should be our life focus (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).
As a child I would try to catch butterflies in a small net. In those days there were several country roads where they loved to freely fly, and monarch butterflies were plentiful. In many of my travels to other nations I have seen outstanding displays of God’s creative and rather remarkable handiwork in butterflies and moths. The colors, designs, and sizes are beyond imagination with reds, yellows, and oranges etched into a perfect design.
We can learn a lot from these colorful insects, and I am sure we can all testify to the transformation (metamorphosis) that takes place as we watch the miracle of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. A crawling ugly and repulsive caterpillar crawls up into a ball and seems to have died with no appearance of life as it lays imprisoned in a tomblike cocoon. Suddenly after a long time delay – it struggles – it pushes – it endures – it works hard to break out of that cocoon and comes forth as a beautiful and graceful butterfly! And did you know that the whole purpose of the butterfly is to reproduce itself, and it spends all its life seeking to do this? It’s amazing! But there is a great problem when this struggle doesn’t occur.
A man found the cocoon of a butterfly. One day when a small opening appeared, he sat and watched it trying to struggle its body through the small hole but without making much progress. It seemed to actually stop and go no further. He thought, “I’ll help free this butterfly”. So he took scissors and snipped off the cocoon. The butterfly easily emerged but had a small body and shriveled wings. He thought the wings would expand, and the butterfly would fly. It didn’t happen. The butterfly could never fly but could only crawl in it’s swollen body and shriveled wings.
No beautiful transformation took place.
That man didn’t realize that it was necessary for the butterfly to struggle in the cocoon to get through that tiny opening. Fluid would force its way from the body of the butterfly to its wings, making it ready for flight once it achieved freedom from the cocoon. God wants to bring transformation into His Church. He wants to transform all of our lives. Often we want the easy way out. Struggle, tests, trials, and tribulations are not pleasant words. But this is exactly what we need in order to see transformation in our lives. This is what is needed in the prayer movement as God brings transformation onto the earth.
Developing 24/7 prayer in our cities and increasing the level of prayer in our churches involves perseverance and struggle. But it brings transformation in our lives personally, corporately, and regionally. Obstacles are necessary for transformation. We would be crippled and without strength without them – We need to struggle to see things from God’s perspective and do things His way – We need perseverance as we prepare for His soon return to earth. He is strengthening our character and stabilizing our hope in the eternal.
He is creating within us a faith in His promises.
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International