Challenging the Hardness of Our Hearts

"The repetition won't have a hardening effect over the course of time for one real reason: The Holy Spirit (Love) is in the mix. Pharasees seldomn pray for people."

The battles within are far greater than those without. We must challenge the pretense inside us with the Truth's help. He will help us if He lives inside. Love is realized in prayer. And Love is first lived out in simplicty. Practically speaking, it is no more difficult than making a list of people and setting quality time aside to pray for them. Our time is our life. If we say we have given our lives to Him, but not our time, then we're deceived.

Consider making a list of people whom you know. Commit to pray for them. And observe the battle within: "Lord, bless and strengthen Lisa,  Brian and Rachel.  Rescue Donna's heart with your love...blah, blah, blah, ect. ect...and oh, yeah, in Jesus' Name amen!" We may initially parrot in our own pride. Pride is partly a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. The words may be His but the hard heart ours. However, Love Himself also lives within and He battles the pride of our hearts so we are able to contrast the two. Because of Love we are able to step back and see pride for what it is and get honest with ourselves in that moment, or atleast afterwards. The emptiness we feel inside bares witness. Yet, even then we are able to go again and hit that hard heart with His word of Love. With real perseverance something begins to happen for God's Word is alive and sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing and discerning! We begin to see the Humble Heart on the Cross. Love deepens His grip on our hearts and now we are calling out Lisa's, Nick's, Brian's, Rachel's and other's names with a different tone. That tone threatens darkness. There is a sound in a grateful heart that Hell dreads.

The power to pray others into the Kingdom comes from worship. We worship when we see the heart of God. The hope for worship starts with admitting were blind which is followed by a resolve to seek Him. In John 9 the Pharisees wanted to see themselves in the know and wanted others to see them as being in the know. And because they claimed to see, Jesus offended by informing that their blindness remained. It's time for us to get real with ourselves and each other; We hardly know Him. Even committing to parrotting prayers for people can serve as a way of seeking God.

The repetition won't have a hardening effect over the course of time for one real reason: The Holy Spirit (Love) is in the mix. Pharasees seldomn pray for people. A heart will soften in the face of the Cross and as the Holy Spirit takes us out of whatever box we're in and gives us His perspective from above. We begin to see the person in terms of weakness and vunerabilities and begin to think and feel as God with a heart of heavenly compassion. Whatever set of strengths or position that person has, no longer defines that person so much in our minds, nor the flaws through which the enemy may move through them at times, for though God moved through Peter in one breath Satan also did in the next when speaking to Jesus about His future. We seek His heart and can do it even in regime and repetiton. soon we will be seeing and praying by His heart and eyes. Now something is happening. The Holy Spirit is moving through us and invading the world.

"Because of Love we are able to step back and see pride for what it is and get honest with ourselves in that moment."

When we're with Him, He takes us outside of ourselves, shares some of His thoughts and feelings on those around us and lets us bask in the value of each very unique individual; For in all of the eternal universes out there, there is not another like that person. A person with a heart, with hopes and dreams. He loves people and we should feel it more and more everyday as we grow closer to Him. Hearing His still, small voice is very much about being still before God. 

My mother spends real time with the Lord. She doesn't get out on the social scene much, yet she carries the faces and hearts of hundreds of people in her soul. The non-verbal communication between us is deep. A hug from her is more than a wonderful hug from a mother. Love Himself lives inside her. Growing up, I saw preacher after preacher come through church, theatrical, animated and full of personality, but when Mom was occasionally asked to speak, even though it was usually brief, my heart was deeply moved. This is real. I remember arguing with her when I was 14, saying some very unkind things. Her response was unforgettable. "Son, you may be right about your father and I, but we do our best by you; But that really isn't the issue! Jesus died for you, loves you and deserves your life! He's the issue, not our faults! What matters is what you do with Him." What does a rebellious son say to that? Love prevails everytime. Prayer is all about Love legally invading through yielded, Blood-bought ambassadors. 

I'll never forget the first time this became so real when I was praying in 1997 for dear friend from high school. We usually talked on the phone every six to eight weeks. He lived in Melbourne, Florida with his family and we lived in North Augusta, SC. There I was in my production studio, just thanking the Lord for him, feeling God's heart and how God had given such a wonderful gift. I was praying for him to be drawn closer to the Lord. Right as I was feeling what I was feeling, he coincidently called to check in with me. I was amazed and burst into tears telling him what was happening. The natural world was showing a correspondence with what I was feeling in my soul. Wow! The truth of God's love is the truthl! Reality is real.

Jesus was passionate. "He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears..." Hebrews 5:7 Apparently Jesus was quite emotional. Do you think He should sit on some psychologist's couch and get help? Those tears were an intrusion into darkness, because they were born of Love. And God is not so cruel to bring us to a point of believing in His love and it not being true!!! (antological argument)

No, God is not a feeling, but He intends to be felt. Emotionalism seeks to feel good at Truth's (Reality's) expense, but when the truth of God's love seizes our souls, then invades through our lips, light shines and darkness is diminished. Tears, silence, loud weeping, if inspired by God's love, changes things. God's love is real and the tears spawned by such pound Hell when they fall to the ground.

"No, God is not a feeling, but He intends to be felt."

In the West, a lot is made of our need to study the Word, but the Scripture is a record of the living Word. Much is made by American preachers concerning the proclamation of the written Word, but the real motive is often the exaltation of the pulpit and the art of preaching, not the living Word, as some tell themselves. The power of personality rules the American Church and it is killing us. We forget that the Word is a Person. His Throne of Grace should be the center of church life. This is the Personality with Whom we should be taken with first. The lack of corporate prayer in church life provides us with a cheap substitute. We get King Saul instead of the King of Kings. No wonder pastors are so exhausted trying to carry and control so many prayerless parishioners. The question we ought to be asking is the person at the top leading his or her people toward prayer? What practical steps is he or she taking to lead the people toward prayer in their hearts, homes and congregation? If that is not happening, what is really going on?

It is a waste of precious time; A waste of people's lives in Jesus' name.

Listen again listen to the Tabernacle of History spot:

In that history spot, we deliberately did not mention what I perceive is the final bastion of resistence in the world of religious pride toward God's purpose: The inflation and exaggeration of the power of the pulpit. American preachers would rather be heard than listen. We humans love power above all else. If we don't know this deeply of ourselves as we proceed, then much is suspect about all that we do. Only in prayer are we continually reminded of this and with fear and trembling we work out our salvation knowing that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all else. Thus, the checks and balance of the corporate prayer meeting is so very important, which is why we are warned to not forsake it in the book of Hebrews. As one author put it, "This is the Gospel of Jesus and us, not Jesus and me." But the lack of the corporate prayer meeting causes many laypeople to fight battles within and without - alone.

Church leaders need to see this reality or else they are doomed to fail. The worse thing to happen to believers after conversion is being turned inward by the slavery of churchianity and Christian activism which is about the pride of what we do for God, which is really a subtle exaltation of self. It is a miserable state of existence. It is draining too. But when we are challenging the hardness of our hearts and investing time in others in the secret place, a joy is released into our lives when we see the hand of God at work in people's lives and even more, when we begin to see the reason He works in their lives; He loves people! Why are so many Christians today just plain miserable and more stressed than before they came to Christ? Because they are not in the prayer closet and corporate prayer is not the center of church life. All they hear is what one person thinks about God, instead of experiencing God together in the collective. Contemporary American Churchianity is a failure. Face it. Let's get over ourselves and repent; And lead.

Preacher, you have done people little favor to pass to them a head knowledge of Biblical principles and to assume they will be lived out in their own abilities. Without the corporate prayer meeting, you may very well have set them down the path of legalism and/or bondage, for without bringing them into a life of prayer, you've given them nothing but a haughty head knowledge. The emptiness of that head knowledge leads either to religious pride or life away from the church. Beware: You will stand before Fiery Eyes of Love about this and judgement may be coming sooner than you realize. To be a pastor means being a spiritual gatekeeper over souls. He said "My house shall be a house of prayer". He died for it to be this way. "And we are that house" Hebrews says. So how many people of prayer do you produce? You will not be measured by how many Sunday service attenders you gain. You are to be a prayer leader before you are to be a preacher. If you are truly called to pastor, then it is time to get a long-term, but executable game plan from Coach, for where there is no vision, the people perish. He will send you what and whom you need along the way at the right times.

"This is the Personality with Whom we should be taken with first. The lack of corporate prayer in church life provides us with a cheap substitute. We get King Saul instead of the King of Kings. The question we ought to be asking is the person at the top leading his or her people toward prayer?"

No. Study and meditation of the written Word are an important part of the life of the believer but without prayer, we become Pharasees. A friend, once told me he would support the campaign to pray for neighbors because it was Scriptural. I laughed because people don't really do anything unselfish because it is Scriptural. Our hearts have to change first and then we understand Scripture better. Only the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the Heart of Scripture and He legally invades through Blood-bought conduits of prayer. He is a God of Law. Otherwise, the Devil will lead us in the study of God's word and he knows the Scriptures.


"Study and meditation of the written Word are an important part of the life of the believer but without prayer, we become Pharasees."

Preaching ought to be a form of prayer and even the prophetic, fueled by both personal and corporate prayer, but if those two are not in proper place, then what we often get is another performance aimed at controlling the Sunday church attenders for another week. Corporate prayer's proper place is the center of church life. When we preach, we need to be looking into the heart of God, then the powers that be over the lives of people and then the people who are held captive in the moment. This was who Jesus was really addressing when He spoke these words: "Tear down this temple in three days and in three I will raise it up again." He was speaking to the fathering spirits of those who ran the temple." The time to turn to God has come. He has given us our kings and they are greatly lacking. We have Christian celebrities, Christian media, Christian reality shows, Christian internet programs, Christian comic books, Christian breath mints and on and on. Is the Holy Spirit so dull that He needs such assistance? No. We are blind and it is high time we admit this, then a decision will be made, either by default or deliberation. We need prayer and prayer leaders. Neutrality is an illusion. You will make a choice, one way or another. The stakes are high, including your own soul.

Choose well.

...know them that labour among you... 1 Thessalonians 5:12 * ...pray for one another... James 5:6 * ...the eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of thee... 1 Corinthians 12:21 * ...there is one Body and one Spirit... Ephesians 4:4 * ...the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth... Ephesians 4:16 * ...I pray that they may be one with us so that the world will believe...John 17:21 * pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity...Psalm 133:1 "The purpose of life is companionship." *** "Worship is that form of companionship where we love on Him in response to His great love for us." *** "The most powerful drive in the human heart is the desire for companionship." *** "We inherited this drive from the One we were patterned after." *** "The difference between manipulation and leadership is motive." *** "Motive is purified and guided in the presence of God: Prayer." *** "Pride is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, an attitude of self-entitlement and a motive for self-glorification." *** "Pride starts subtly and then turns into the aggressive enemy of real companionship" *** "The Cross and the presence of God brings fellowship (heart to heart), but the world offers only socializing (facade to facade)." *** "Every relationship has a foundation. The pride of public ministry has been a foundation for too many. At some point it consumes" *** "There is a difference between worshipping the idea that we worship God and actually worshipping God." *** "Why do we want to see prayer back in the schools, when it is no longer in our homes or churches?" *** "Corporate prayer around the Throne must return the center of church life if there is to be any hope for the masses." *** "Corporate prayer produces effective preaching, not preaching produces corporate prayer." *** "If we are so in the know, why do we no longer gather together to seek God, navigate through our haughty hearts to get a glimpse of God's heart and then pray in the lost?" *** "Christianity is not an enterprise, venture for self-discovery or political or civic organization. It is a Blood-bought fellowship of prayer focused on One." *** "Prayer-based friendships are the only ones that last." *** "Prayer-bathed friendships are not incidental to ministry, they are foundational." *** "Prayer is not a ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the ministry" *** "It's one thing to tell somebody what we believe about Jesus, it's quite another to be able to introduce someone to our Best Friend." *** "We are more like Martha than Mary; More like Christian activists, than people of prayer." *** "We need unity in humility found at the foot of the Cross, not prideful uniformity that says: 'Look at us doing God's work'" "There has got to be a practical, excecutable strategy in place for us to dethrone the ministry of Hollywood in our homes and bring families and communities together via corporate prayer inspired by the Spirit. Technology is not the enemy; Our disobedient laziness is the enemy." ***