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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 19
More Thoughts on Prayer and the Unseen World

Have you ever been afraid of the dark? Or have you heard a well meaning radio preacher declare that any talk of heaven and miracles off limits to real Christians?

Those are two reasons why some believers rarely give the invisible world a second thought. We favor the familiar and fear the foreign.

It's like when scientists performed an experiment with minnows and a Northern Pike. Northern Pikes are savage predators that eat almost anything. One large pike was placed in an immense aquarium, with several dozen minnows on the other side of a glass wall in the same tank. The pike repeatedly tried to eat the minnows as they swan near the glass wall, but he encountered the transparent barrier. Eventually, the pike learned its lesson and stopped trying to grab the minnows. When the researchers removed the glass wall, the pike left the minnows alone, even when the smaller fish were within scant inches of the predator's mouth. The pike eventually starved to death.

Many of us have hungered for an uncommon Christianity, the one Jesus promised in John 14:12. But after our efforts met with repeated resistance--parental, peer, and preacher pressure--we gave up.

God doesn't leave us frustrated, when we long for more of Him; we just lack the ability to experience His supernatural ways. The Lord doesn't want us to seek the supernatural things of the enemy, just because we've been taught the door to God's supernatural world was closed at the end of the first century.

Our minds must be liberated before our world is liberated. We must unlearn concepts about the Bible that don't originate from the Bible.

With that in mind, we are only skimming the surface of the unseen world. Teresa Seputis' newest book, "Parting the Curtain," and her prayer series, "Angels and Intercession," give additional insights into heavenly things. As we begin to speak of the invisible world, I have four goals in mind. First, I hope we can learn how to leave our little world of daily routines behind and experience how big God really is. Second, I pray that we will experience greater authority in prayer, based upon the fact that, in the spirit, we are seated with Christ on His throne in the heavens (Ephesians 2:6-7). Third, I want us to sense the abundance of resources available to us in God's unseen world through prayer. Fourth, I wish to spark a yearning in each of us to explore the mysteries of God. Jesus said: "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12).

God grants many entrances to the invisible world. An understanding of how a person gains access to the unseen world is a foundational truth to obtain God's best through prayer. The doorways include:

  1. The intercession of others
  2. The crucified life
  3. The sovereign hand of God

Doorway #1

First, the intercession of others can help us encounter the unseen world.

Have you ever had an eye-opening experience? That term refers to an event that forever changes your perspective. Let's look at how Elisha's prayer gave his servant an eye-opening experience:

"Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel; and he counseled with his servants..., 'In such and such a place shall be my camp.' The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, 'Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there.' The king of Israel ..guarded himself there, more than once or twice...the king of Aram was enraged...; and he called his servants and said..., 'Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?' One of his servants said, 'No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet... tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.' So he said, 'Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him.' And it was told him..., 'Behold, he is in Dothan.' He sent horses and chariots and a great army..., and they came by night and surrounded the city. Now when the attendant of the man of God had...gone out, behold, an army...was circling the city. And his servant said..., 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?' So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' Then Elisha prayed..., 'O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' And the Lord opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:8-17).

A person anointed in the invisible things of God can ask the Lord to open another person's spiritual eyes. In some sense, our spiritual blindness needs to be healed. We need an Elisha to open our eyes, even when we have 20/20 vision.

Also, God parts the veil that separates the known from the unknown world when giving is combined with praying. Both Cornelius and Peter received visions because of the Centurion's prayers and liberal giving (Acts 10:1-7; 9-20). Prayer and giving are literally the brick and mortar that raises a memorial before God in the heavenlies. The Lord has a hard time ignoring such memorials. I'm not saying that you can bribe God into giving you entrance into the unseen world; I am just showing a Biblical example of what happens in the invisible realm when you pay and pray like you mean it. It's the difference between casting a few crumbs to God and casting yourself on God.

Doorway #2

Second, we enter the unseen world as we die to the visible world.

Unless the Lord returns in the next few years, many of us will enter heaven after we die. In a sense, our death grants us access to the unseen world of heaven. Until then, we remain in this world.

Natural death is a metaphor. While we live in this world, we cannot enter the next world. And conversely, the more we live for this world, the more our spirit is blocked from entering the unseen world.

We must die in order to enter the invisible world. To assume more of our position in Christ, we must progressively die to ourselves. The places where we die to self become empty places Jesus can fill. As you put to death the old self with its evil practices, you bring to life the new self.

You have to turn the lights out on this world to see the light of the unseen world. I live in a city called Hayward. The city lights raise such a bright haze that it's next to impossible to see any but the strongest stars in the heavens. It's also difficult to discern the patterns of the constellations. As you get outside the city lights, once invisible stars in the heaven become visible.

We have to become less enamored by the bright lights of the world to see the light of the unseen world.

Sometimes there are gifts meant for us in the heavenlies that we cannot see, because our vision is focused on the things of this world.

Jesus and Paul talked often about the need to empty ourselves of the things of this world in order to gain the valuables of the unseen world: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6: 19-21).

"Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3: 1-3).

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature..." (Colossians 3: 5).

I am crucified to the world, live by the Spirit, and walk by the Spirit (Galatians 2:20, 5:16). To be intimate with Jesus, you must be intimate with the cross.

In another passage, Jesus further spoke about how earthly riches can blind us to eternal realities:

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see" (Revelation 3:15-18).

Some may ask, "What has this got to do with prayer?"

Prayer defines who you are in the invisible realm. Prayer brightens your light. On the other hand, your light dims when you don't pray. If don't put the plug in the power outlet, how do you ever expect to see anything.

For something, say a family member's salvation, to be complete in the natural, it first must be completed in the supernatural. This is the lesson of Moses' building the earthly tabernacle based upon the pattern he saw in the heavens. We complete what is missing in the natural through prayer by completing the project in the supernatural. It's the mirror effect.

Conversely, what we pull down with our words in the natural wreaks havoc on what we have built in the supernatural. That's why some ministries look good by all the natural measures, but have no supernatural impact.

Our obedience also opens the mysteries of God to us. Jesus promised such things to His disciples. The Lord had walked with them for three years, and was about to leave. Yet, there was more to be disclosed that Jesus hadn't taught them during his three years of training the apostles: "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him" (John 14:21).

The prerequisite for receiving deeper revelation is obedience.

If we ignore spiritually significant things in the natural, why would God reveal spiritually significant things in the supernatural? If we fail to live up to the light we already possess, why would God give more? Why reveal more, when it's destined to the "I won't do it" list. Good intentions never feed the hungry, clothe the poor, or visit the widows and orphans in their distress. The fellow who possessed one talent had good intentions for his Master's money, but that did nothing to stave off his Master's judgment (Matthew 25:14-30). All the disciples wished to walk on water, but only Peter took the steps to do so.

What if we begin to obey what we know, and don't see the expected results?

Occasionally, God delays answering our prayers until we have gained sufficient faith to enter the unseen world. By delaying His answer, God moves us from "faith to faith": faith to dare to consider ourselves as usable by God; faith to take the first step; faith to hurdle the first obstacle that lies in our path; faith to handle the first delay; faith to handle the first success, etc. As we take each step of faith, God promises that: "...the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day" (Proverbs 4:18).

Doorway #3

Third, God may unveil the invisible world to you for His own reasons. Paul relates one of his experiences as follows: "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a man was caught up to the third heaven" (2 Corinthians 12:2).

Paul didn't give us a formula to follow based on his own heavenly experience. Neither did Peter, James, and John pursue some esoteric ritual before they saw Jesus transformed on the Mount of Transfiguration. That vision didn't occur at the end of a protracted fast. In fact, the Pharisees called Jesus and His disciples gluttons (Matthew 11:19). The threesome simply hiked with Jesus up the mountain, and God pulled back the veil that separates our world from His. Even Balaam's donkey was given the ability to see into the invisible world (Numbers 22:23-32).

Why might God reveal a glimpse of the unseen world to you? The Lord may give you a taste to develop a hunger for more of Him. Teresa Seputis said that God gave her visions about the heavens because of questions she'd asked Him (Parting the Curtain, p. 2). God may decide to illustrate the old adage, "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words," by giving you a vision that answers your questions.

God also gives heavenly visions when He calls someone to salvation or a special ministry. In our day, numerous Muslims in Islamic countries have told of visions where they've encountered Jesus, much like Paul's encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus ("Visions of the Living Christ," by Steve Beard, January/February 1996, Good News).

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

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