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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 17
Thoughts about Faith and the Invisible World

This lesson was sparked by a comment included in lesson 15. Science, as you recall, asserts that 90% of the universe is invisible to conventional science. It's made-up of a material called, "dark matter." Therefore, science is "in the dark" about 90% of the universe that "matters."

The Bible is the key to understanding life and its mysteries. This verse sums it up: "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18).

This verse tells us that an unseen world influences the world that we see, live, and breathe much more than most people care to admit. I'm not claiming that the 90% invisible universe of "dark matter" is the same as the unseen world mentioned in the Bible; but we need to explore some truths about the unseen world that affect our waiting on God to answer our prayers. These truths include:

  1. Manmade dogmas dominate our view of the unseen world.
  2. God isn't bound by traditions He didn't invent.
  3. God reveals His mysteries to those who wait on Him.
  4. Prayer changes things first in the unseen world, then manifests itself in the seen world.

(We will discuss the fist two truths in this lesson and look at the remaining ones in our next lesson.)

Truth #1

First, much of what we know about God and the invisible world is based on inaccurate religious dogmas. Shaky planks and shifting sands lead to a shaky foundation.

Sometimes these inaccuracies are based on denominational traditions. For example, in the Catholic faith, some church traditions hold greater authority than the Bible. The elevation of Mary to a place that in practice parallels Jesus' position in the Holy Trinity is unbiblical.

In other situations, our flawed concepts about God and the invisible world are based on our limited experience. At best, if a pastor has never seen a miracle or been encouraged by a prophetic word, he'll preach around passages that mention those manifestations of the Holy Spirit. At worst, an elder may teach that God can't heal a person today in the same fashion He did yesterday.

God wants you to go beyond what you've been taught and what your parents were taught.

A recent dinner with my father and mother brought this principle into focus. For years, when I spoke with my brother, he couldn't get past the concept that prophecy was limited to the End Times and the Book of Revelation. During the latest phone call, my brother asked questions that indicated his pastor had begun to teach about the New Testament gift of prophecy and its validity for ministry in the church today. Well, not long after we started dinner at the restaurant, I began to describe the telephone call with my brother about the prophetic. My father suddenly grabbed his bowl of salad and his beverage and stood up saying, "I don't care to stay at this table if you're going to talk about that..."

I was shocked, thinking he was kidding for a moment; but I soon found he was serious. My Father had never exhibited an outburst like this before. Previously, we'd talked about my son's healing and the blind man God healed through my son during Global Awakening's 2006 Youth Power Invasion to Brazil. I might not be a Christian if it weren't for my Father. As far back as I remember, he worked as a layman--Sunday School teacher, deacon, lay music leader--in the various Baptist churches I grew up in. But my father seldom mentioned the Holy Spirit, except to acknowledge His role in convicting the unsaved of their sins. And my parents' present church recently taught a Sunday evening series on "Why the Charismatic gifts aren't valid for today."

So, in this instance, to follow God, I've had to go to a place beyond what my parents had been taught. I don't say that with any superior airs. I love my Dad, and we had a nice visit afterwards, chatting about "safe and sane" subjects. But, my Father reacted to my description of the Holy Spirit's ministry in the same fashion as if I'd uttered a string of profanities.

If I were limited by what my parents have been taught--God doesn't do supernatural stuff today--then I'd miss out on what God wanted to do supernaturally in my life. And many of the things the Lord wants to do are in response to the prayer requests I've placed before Him.

Truth #2

Second, God does not change, nor does He violate His word; but God isn't bound by traditions, dogmas, or rules He didn't invent.

Were you taught a theology that makes it impossible for God to answer your prayers? Your answer to that question decides whether you bring a request to God. And, "Is my prayer request too much for God to handle?" Your answer to this question limits how big a request you bring to God.

You can't move forward by walking backward, and you can't look backward and walk forward. The past mustn't limit your future. Many ministries run on the idea that "Our ceilings--the levels we reach with God--become the floor for the next generation." Future Christians should be able to build on a foundation we lay, not have to re-dig another; that's wasted time. God wants our spiritual finish lines to become the starting lines for those who come after us: "Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; lengthen your cords. And strengthen your pegs. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left and your descendants will possess nations and will resettle the desolate cities" (Isaiah 54:2-3).

However, a few instances do exist when God wants us to look to the past. Often, there is a lost inheritance to regain. We don't live up to the truths our Fathers possessed. The things that a previous generation learned about God are lost, and remain to be re-discovered.

I want to point out two examples from Scripture that illustrate this truth. Josiah, one of the last godly kings, avoided disaster in his time. He did so by repenting when he heard God's law for the first time:

"When...Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the Lord ... Hilkiah...said to Shaphan the scribe, 'I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.' And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. Then Shaphan brought the book to the king...saying '...Hilkiah the priest gave me a book.' And Shaphan read...it. When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. Then the king commanded Hilkiah...saying, 'Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book...for great is the wrath of the Lord...because our fathers have not observed the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book'" (2 Chronicles 34:14-21).

Also, when Judah was about to go into the Babylonian captivity, God told His people to look to the past as a way out of their present predicament: "Thus says the Lord, 'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.' But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' And I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not listen'" (Jeremiah 6:16-17).

That's why, when it comes to intercession, I highly recommend that you read the pioneers of prayer. The two books by Andrew Murray are excellent, as well as the classic volume on Rees Howell are good starting places. "The Kneeling Christian," is also excellent. The Holy Spirit will witness to your spirit when you've found the right book.

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

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