WOW…Last year in October (2014), I was told these words at a prophetic conference. It was my first experience at such an event and a lady told me that I had a calling but I was not seeking God for the answer to what it was. This greatly aggravated me because I knew that I had a calling and several people had already confirmed that. And I thought I had been asking God! Almost a year later, I now realize that I had a few things to learn about how to ask, seek and knock.
“ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
(Matthew 22:14 NKJV)
For most of my life, I had no idea what Jesus’ words meant in that verse…”few are chosen”. It made no sense. How can people be called but not chosen? What kind of God is this who calls people but then apparently does something tricky and kicks out most of those He sent invitations to? Like many other passages, this seemed like a total contradiction and a major tripping hazard. Well, in the last year, I’ve learned a few things about what this really means and I now realize this is a much bigger topic than I had ever known.
Perfect Dream Analogy
Recently, someone contacted me with a request for a dream interpretation. In part of their dream, a baby in a bag was thrown off a bridge. The bag did not land in the river but instead on the river bank. Many women were gathered there watching it and all of them went running away and screaming in fear at the sight of the bag but one woman approached the bag and opened it. This is a perfect metaphor that describes what happens when God gives out a calling (the baby in the bag). When we sign up for God’s plan and tell Him, “here I am, send me!” we are actually signing ourselves up for a process that He will put us through in order to qualify us for that calling. In some cases, the calling itself scares off many people, but in most cases, it is the process that becomes the qualifier or disqualifier.
What process? Why don’t we just “ask and receive” immediately? Very simple. It’s no different from an olympic athlete who must meet certain qualifications in order to run in the race. It’s like any job we may apply for; you either meet the requirements or you don’t. In either case, you had to first go through a process of schooling or athletic training in order to be accepted. In the same way, we must achieve a degree of understanding and maturity in the things of God in order to be accepted for His “job offer.”
We all have maturity issues and character flaws that must be fixed in order for us to handle the type of responsibility that God wants to give us. Remember the story of Joseph, beginning in Genesis 37. He had to go through years of very rough situations in order to drive out the immaturity and self-centeredness from his character. God cannot put a person in a high position with major character flaws.
In other cases, God will “stretch” a person in their faith because they need to believe Him for much bigger things than they ever have up to that point in their life. A great (and my own personal) example of this would be if God tells you to quit your job and you have no other plan or source of income lined up and He does not appear tell you anything else for quite a while (at least not that you’re aware of…)
So what are we supposed to be doing while in this process? Do we just sit around passively waiting or do we go after God with a zeal and keep asking, seeking, knocking until we get the answer? Here are a few things I’ve learned that we must do in order to get God’s attention and show that we are serious about our pursuit.
For most of my life, I had never heard anything about real fasting and I didn’t know anyone who ever did it. To make matters worse, in one very large church I had attended, the pastor mocked the idea and joked how he never missed a meal. Well…sorry but fasting is very hard to miss if you actually read the Bible. If we can’t inconvenience ourselves and make a sacrifice like giving up food, I don’t know what we call “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow…” (Luke 9:23-25). These words of Jesus are repeated four times in three of the gospels!
My first experience with fasting was quite profound. Several years ago, I had been having a major struggle with profanity. At that time I had decided to go on a fast every Friday for several weeks in a row. Every week, I ate no food at all from Thursday afternoon until Friday evening. I had no idea what would happen and I didn’t even have any exact expectations of any results during this time. Well, after six weeks, I one day realized that my profanity issue was totally gone. This was a huge stronghold that was broken off of me. After such remarkable and unexpected results, I knew from that point on, fasting was going to be part of my life. Let me say from my own personal experience that I do not believe you will ever get any miraculous results in your life without fasting.
Early Morning Prayer
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
(Mark 1:35 NKJV)
Many times throughout the gospels, we find Jesus getting up early to pray. I have heard from teachers like Perry Stone speak about this “fourth watch” prayer time. According to the Jewish customs, each twelve hours of the day or night are divided up into four watches with the fourth between 3:00 – 6:00 am. Every time I’ve been up during this time, I have noticed a distinct spiritual difference versus prayer during the normal daylight hours. Actually, I’ve noticed that when I really need answers, if I am not up during this time, I feel very clearly that I missed something big and the rest of the day will just go on without anything unusual happening.
Early morning (or late night prayer) is another form of denying ourselves in order to meet with God. I’ve learned that this is not a one-time event but it must be consistent, for a period of time, in order to gain “spiritual credit”. I’ve now come to believe very strongly that without consistent early morning prayer, you will not get the level of answers or breakthroughs that you need.
There is a principle that is obvious with many in ministry but has been very hard for me to understand until recently. This is the principle of “buying” or “earning” spiritual credit or authority. I could name many prominent people but one who stood out to me two years ago was Aliss Cresswell who prayed and fasted for twelve years before she began to see healing miracles operate through her. Twelve years?? That seemed a bit absurd and irritating when I heard it. I mean, seriously, it says in Mark 16:18 that we will “lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” It doesn’t say we will do that for twelve years before we will actually see it happen! But this is a repeated theme for many others in ministry and like it or not, buying or earning spiritual credit and authority is a clearly demonstrated spiritual principle and is stated specifically in Rev 3:18.
Praying in Tongues
This supernatural prayer language has significant evidence with believers all over the world to have miraculous results. Praying frequently and for great lengths of time in this language causes things to manifest in the spiritual realm which are not otherwise possible. If we only pray in our native language, it is nearly impossible to pray very long. We simply run out of words and we only pray according to what our intellect can come up with. This is very limiting. Praying extensively in tongues has been known to bring about supernatural wisdom and answers to challenging situations and to break off demonic strongholds and character flaws in us.
After two to three years of praying, fasting, giving financially, going to conferences, giving up financial gain and full-time work and asking God for big miraculous things to happen in my life, I began getting strange occurrences. God began sending me very well-known prophets who had a significant message for me concerning details of my life and future which they would have no natural way of knowing. Others in my church and different ministries likewise began to give me prophetic messages about something coming. I’ve heard it said that when you get God’s attention, He starts sending His prophets to you.
If you would earnestly seek God And make your supplication to the Almighty, If you were pure and upright, Surely now He would awake for you, And prosper your rightful dwelling place. Though your beginning was small, Yet your latter end would increase abundantly.
(Job 8:5-7 NKJV)
I’ve been doing all these things myself now for the last four years and I’m on the edge of getting some very big things I’ve been asking for. When all those come in and “show up on my front door”, I’ll be writing about it in a future post and I plan to include the many signs and confirmations God used to keep me motivated and on track. Going through the qualifying process has produced many noteworthy changes in me that I never saw prior to four years ago. It has not been easy but, because I’m very persistent (or should I say “stubborn” like my neighbor’s bulldog…haha), I’ve stuck with it despite many aggravations, setbacks, questions, confusion and at times, not seeing any results. These above are supernatural keys to success and breakthrough; they’ve worked for me and they will work for you also. Don’t live a life of “natural-world only” results – how boring and pointless…God has much more available for us than what we can imagine, GO FOR IT!!