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In our last lesson, we discussed intimacy with God, and how that is one of the greatest weapons we have in Spiritual Warfare. In other words, our ability to exercise God's authority over the enemy arises out of a close and intimate relationship with God, were we can hear His voice clearly and get our directions from Him.
Intimacy And Anointing
I came to realize how much God honors His gifting and His anointing. When God gives a gift to a person, when God gives an anointing and extends a call upon a person's life, He will honor that call, even if the person is not walking in closeness or intimacy with Him. He will honor that. In fact, God doesn't do a whole lot of revoking of His gifts and callings. Yes, God can and God will, but that is not His first desire; it is not the first thing that He does to get your attention. You can still walk in your gifting, walk in your anointing, walk in a powerful ministry, yet not be close to God.
There are times when I am in the pulpit and I have just had a horrible week, and I just don't feel good at all. I want to say, "Okay, let's take the offering and go home." I admit it. But then the Lord says, "I've brought the people here to get a word. I've brought people here to minister to them, to let them celebrate, to teach them and to equip them. So, I'm going to use you because I love My people and I'm going to minister to My people. I'm going to let the power flow regardless of what you feel like, or regardless of what's going on in your life-- regardless of whether you had a good quiet time today or a lousy one; whether things went well for you last week or poorly. I love My people, and I'm going to minister to My people despite who's in the pulpit."
That is one thing I like about God: there are times when I am feeling really spiritually lousy, and all of a sudden the Lord gives one of the best words of knowledge or flow of power that I have ever seen, and I am amazed at what God did when He ministered through me. Of course, I wonder what it would have been like if I had been in spiritual shape. Would I have gotten anything then? Was I at a better place to get something because I was at a place of weakness? I don't know. I do go through these ebbs and flows in my pursuit of God. There are times when I am just as dry as I can be, but God continues to come through and honor the gifting and the anointing that He has given, because He is God.
It all came to a head one week. I went to a conference. The speaker, who travels around the world and pastors in Missouri, confessed his dryness and I related to him. I thought to myself, "Brother, preach on. Tell me how dry you really are! Tell me what you've been going through here. Tell me what's been happening with you." As he was talking, he said a prophetic word had come to him sometime before that he had ignored. The prophetic word was, "God says to you that He misses you," and he said, "I ignored it." He said some of the same things I shared earlier. He said, "You know, I elevated the gifting and I elevated the works and the flow of power, and I presumed that just because God was there, and the power showed up, and the power flowed, that God and I were intimate."
That struck a chord in my spirit; it resonated. Yes, I know how that feels. Then all of a sudden it hit me: he had gotten the word that God said to him, "I've missed you," and I began to wonder if God missed me too. I mean, at least that infers that he had a relationship. At least, that infers that he and God had been walking hand in hand. They were buddies, were close. But he wasn't walking like he should, and God said, "I miss that." I wanted to cry out, "You never said You missed me. Didn't we have this closeness?" I was really starting to feel depressed, wondering why I came to the meeting. I had come to the conference to be built up, and instead walked away feeling bad and a little depressed, because I was wondering why God never told me that He missed me. I thought, "Maybe I've never been a friend to Jesus. Maybe I've never been that close. Maybe I've never had that kind of intimacy with the Lord. Maybe I'm a lot more shallow than I think I am."
Those were very hard words for me to swallow. When I looked at that hymn, I saw a level of intimacy that I see with Moses, a level of intimacy that is foreign to me. I did not really realize that it was missing until then, and then I found the hunger in my heart. "God, I want to walk with You like that, I want to know You like that. God, I want to be Your friend. I want to be able to walk to the garden without having to ask You for something or trying to get something from You; out of the clear blue just hear Your voice say to me, 'I like you Rodney, you're my friend.'" I wanted what the hymn described: " . . . And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own . . . the voice I hear ringing in my ear . . ." I just wanted to hear His voice and to be that close to Him.
I have to be honest with you, a lot of my relationship with God is because I am getting something from Him -- getting a sermon, getting a Bible study, getting a word for myself, or getting a word for somebody else. I am usually asking God to do something or to intervene. I will get into His presence and praise Him and thank Him, then think, "Okay, now that we're done with that let's get down to the real stuff." Little did I know that that beginning part is the real stuff. God did all that He did so that I could have that deep, "Moses-kind" of relationship and intimacy with Him.
I know it's difficult. At least when you are talking to a person, you have a warm body there that you're talking to and engaging. With God, well, I really need to visualize Him. I need to see Him to be able to get this close to Him.
That is what I want, and I pray that you do, too. I pray that this is your greatest passion. It will be your greatest protection, too. If for no other reason, do it for selfish reasons. God will protect you. He will cover you. When you're in the arms of the Big Daddy, you are covered! Even so, God wants to move you beyond the selfish reasons, simply so you can enjoy Him and enjoy His presence. Do you enjoy the Lord? Do you really enjoy the Lord? I have to admit to you that sometimes it is more work than enjoyment. That is the nature of spiritual warfare. It is not always pleasant to allow the Lord to show us our areas of shortcomings and strongholds that keep us from truly knowing Him. However, that is what I'm pursuing: intimacy and passion with my Lord.