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-- © GodSpeak International 2007 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: John DeLaughter <john.godspeak@sbcglobal.net>
Editors: Teresa Seputis and Sue Spaulding

Prayer-School Course #38

Praying To Obtain God's Best

By John DeLaughter

Lesson 13
The Cross at the Door

This lesson was meant to follow-up on our discussion about faith and doubt, but God wanted to take the installment in a different direction. I intend to continue our discussion concerning faith and waiting on God in a future lesson.

Set Apart Unto Death

Let me share something with you from a book titled "Rees Howells: Intercessor." On page 86, we read: "...before He [God] can lead a chosen vessel into...a life of intercession...all that makes...a converted man live unto himself, for his own comfort or advantage, for his own advancement, even his own circle of friends, has to go to the cross... The self must be released from itself to become the agent of the Holy Spirit" (p. 86).

In short: the higher the destiny, the greater the distractions. Hebrews 12:1 also warns of the danger of diversions: "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..."

God sets us aside as we wait for His door to open, and He does that to crucify the appetites that empower our distractions. The term "Crucifying the appetites" refers to finding satisfaction for those passions within the limits of God's provision for them. If you do not go to the cross, you can't cross the threshold. At the cross, we learn to say, "Not my will, but Thine be done."

There are four areas that God may call for crucifixions as we wait for Him to answer our prayer. The areas include:

  1. Our attachment to possessions.
  2. Our allegiance to people.
  3. Our appetite for personal advancement.
  4. Our affection for politics.

(We are going to discuss the first two in this lesson and then look at the remaining two in our next lesson.)

Area #1

First, our attachment to possessions can slow us down.

Some things we amass. One person on the "Antiques Road Show" bragged about having a collection of over 300 cookie jars. Where would you store such a collection? One rich man's collections outgrew his local "Rent-A-Space", so he decided to add on space to store his toys.

Jesus warned His disciples about greed: "...The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?...This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.' But God said...'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 15:16-20).

In another instance, a young entrepreneur's land-holdings turned to quicksand: "Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, 'One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property" (Mark 10:22-23).

This man's potential in Christ was never realized due to the love of money: "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:10).

Our gold can blind us to our spiritually poverty (Rev 3:17-19). Jesus asked the rich young ruler to crucify his love for money by selling all that he possessed, and give it to the poor. God's best could only be realized once the young man was penniless. This is not to teach that God wants all believers to be poor. However, He is quick to use financial difficulties the closer we inch towards falling down before the golden altar.

In the 2006 Samaritan's Purse Christmas Gift Catalogue, the price to build a church in Sudan is $15,000 (p. 18). If God wanted to baptize you wallet, and you had $15,000 in the bank, would you respond to God's clear call to build a church in Chad?

Area #2

Second, our allegiance to people can hinder God's work. Let's look at a few scriptural examples of how other people can trip us up.


They burden us, and sap our energy.

We your hooked up with the wrong person, it's like running an unending three-legged race. You constantly trip and don't get very far, very fast. The lack of agreement--i.e. coordination and cooperation--isn't fun after awhile.

Also, two people can't fit through the same door at the same time.

Paul said: "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:15-16).

His words seemed to echo the thoughts of the Prophet Amos: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3).

When we agree with someone in the visible, we unknowingly come into agreement with anything attached to that person in the invisible.

The danger of being bound to unbelievers is best illustrated in the life of Samson. Delilah did what 3000 Philistines could not: take out Samson. "Then she said...How can you say, 'I love you,' when you...have not told me where your great strength is...she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death. So he told her...'A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man.' When Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, 'Come up once more, for he has told me all that is in his heart.' Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. She made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him. She said, 'The Philistines are upon you, Samson!' And he awoke from his sleep and said, 'I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.' But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him" (Judges 16:15-20).

In one church I served, a young Christian lady acquired a non-Christian boyfriend. When the issue was raised in a tactful manner, she said she was going to win him to Christ. Eventually, she stopped coming to church because of the clamor he raised whenever she wanted to attend worship services.

Some of you became Christians after you were married. This teaching is not aimed at you. Paul counsels those who find themselves in mixed- marriages in 1 Corinthians 7. It's to raise a red flag against "missionary dating."


A posse is another name for the crowd you run in.

"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals.' Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame" (1 Corinthians 15:33-34).

The crowd you run with either super-sizes your witness (Hebrews 10:24- 25) or silences it. The group's opinion right and wrong reinforces or runs roughshod over our own. It's part of the teenage years that many of us emotionally never outgrow. God wants to change our values, so it's more important to rule with God than to run with the crowd.

-- © GodSpeak International 2007 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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