God is showing me how to make my prayer life more effective. He says that I must pray out of the spirit realm, not from my soul. At first, I did not understand what He was saying. First, I need to explain the differences and similarities between the two. My soul consists of my mind, will, and emotions (those components that make me different from anyone else) and my spirit is that part of me that connects with God directly, however we use our soul to make the connection. Like the mind is part of the brain: the brain is the physical part while the mind is the soul part but still connected. Likewise, the soul and spirit are connected and when John, the apostle said, “I become less and Jesus becomes more,” He was referring to the inmost parts of himself. By denying ourselves and choosing what God wants, we become closer to holiness and perfection. God says, “Be Holy as I am Holy.” When we are given new indestructible bodies, we will finally be perfected body, soul and spirit.
After asking the Lord to explain to me the difference between praying from my soul and praying from my spirit, He started showing me how to differentiate. On Sunday morning, as I was worshipping Him at church, I closed my eyes and imagined walking up the staircase to Heaven where I met Jesus. We started to dance to the music that played in the church. I was very aware that my feet were touching the floor. Then, in my imagination Jesus and I started ascending higher and higher as we danced. In my mind’s eye, I could see us above where I knew my physical body was. My body and soul were planted in the church but my spirit was in the air with Jesus. I felt jealous. I wanted my whole self to be up there with Him.
Just so you don’t think I’m off my rocker, Paul, another apostle had an experience from 2 Corinthians 12:3, where he said, “whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows”, it was so real to him that he could not differentiate. It seems to me that God had temporarily transported Paul’s body, soul and spirit in a vision or revelatory experience.
As our model, Jesus said, “I do only what I see the Father doing.” Some believe that in his private prayer times, He would visit with the Father and receive revelation for the work that He would do in that day. We are to do the same.
It’s been said that our minds do not differentiate between our thoughts/imaginations and real life. Our minds perceive both as equally real. So seeing a healing in your imagination gives it power to manifest in the natural. Last weekend, I was with the Senior High Boys Volleyball team at a tournament. On the second day, one of our players woke up very sick, unable to play. As I prayed for him, I saw in my imagination the Finger of God touch the back at his lower abdomen. Then awhile later, he allowed me to lay hands on him and pray and I visualized the same image I saw previously. Since we only had six players to start off with, his illness could have been a major setback for our team instead we won first place in the “B” pool. Praise God. I say, “It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me!” Oh wait, that was Paul, the apostle (one of the authors of the Bible) that said that.
Oh, I almost forgot. God does not want us to use our imagination for selfish ambition or personal gain which means that each thought we have needs to be obedient to Christ. It is very important that our thoughts line up to Jesus’ teachings for the purpose of God’s kingdom. Amen?
Sunday’s sermon subject was in regards to favoritism. As I pondered how this sermon related to me, I recollected a weekend I spent in the city anticipating a visit to one of the big anointed “on fire for God” churches, like Beulah Alliance Church. One with excellent worship music and an engaging sermon, maybe even some prophetic words. When I heard the Lord say, “Have you asked Me where I want you to attend?” Suddenly my countenance was downcast, not only was I being reprimanded but I knew our visions for this weekend would be extremely different. Maybe that’s why I had conveniently and subconsciously forgotten to ask Him. He spoke again, “Open the yellow pages.” Arriving at the churches page, the three microscopic words, “Promised Land Ministries” seemed to shine like the sun. With much skepticism, I acknowledged that the name of the church sounded great but considering its address and the size of the letters in the phone book only increased my hesitation.
Shortly after arriving and choosing a seat, I realized this was going to be an unforgettable experience. Sitting beside a fella named Vincent from Valleyview, who was not a member of this congregation either, was comforting. However he had brought a friend who sat two rows ahead and to the left of Vince. Thank goodness because he was determined to keep the Pastor entertained with his drunken mischief. The church was small because it was new to the area so there were no musicians. We sang acappella. My voice requires instruments so I mouthed the words until the Lord reprimanded me about that too.
The church specialized in deliverance ministry which was probably another reason for its size. Often the body is used as a metaphor for the church. Deliverance ministries are like the parts of the body that always need to be covered. Exposure could be deemed inappropriate and cause embarrassment.
Having come from poverty, I’ve never been racist or esteemed myself greater than I am so I didn’t think the favoritism sermon really applied to me. However my choice between a large flamboyant, beautified church versus a modest humble, even poor congregation showed my error. I realized I was no different than the apostles asking to sit beside the Lord in His kingdom. To be a part of something greater was important to me. God’s idea of greater was my idea of lesser. I’ve since changed my point of view. I was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be and I’ve learned to expect with excitement what experiences the Lord has planned.
In the story of the prodigal son, there are two sons. For the sake of this article, I am going to call the older son, “the frugal son”. It’s important to note that in old testament times, the first born was entitled to the whole inheritance. Usually the sense of entitlement comes from the first born child. In this story it shows up in the younger son. This is significant to show how far the Father is willing to go to prove His love toward all His children. Simply agreeing to divide and share His wealth is an extremely loving act. The wealth belongs solely to the Father. If the father had nothing to give, the sons would be entitled to nothing. However, our Heavenly Father, owns everything and we who love Him have been accepted by Jesus to share in that inheritance because of our Eldest Brother’s generosity.
Let’s compare the two. The prodigal son is the one who feels entitled to something that he doesn’t deserve and asks for what is not his to receive. His attitude is wasteful and selfish. Very often, the frugal son doesn’t understand what he has access to, which is necessary to explore. The Father expects us to put to good use all the excellent things He has provided.
Prodigals allow the Lord partial access into their lives but maintain an “You can come in but don’t touch anything” attitude. These ones want God to give them things and their only part in the relationship is receiving. Often getting angry with God when life doesn’t work out in their favour and lacking responsibility for their actions are common traits of a prodigal. They do not let go of the steering wheel of their lives until the school of hard knocks has taught them painful lessons. Blind to their Father’s teachings and the benefits of obeying his ways, they find themselves in disaster. His truths are learned when trust is exercised, by obeying long enough, to experience the benefits. This relationship is shallow and one sided.
Frugals choose to give the Father complete control. They want to stay close to Him because home is where their heart is and they quickly learn that Father knows best. This relationship is give and take with both parties giving and receiving. Working with their Father is a great honor. These sons invite the good and learn to deal with the bad, always challenging the bad while walking as graceful as possible through it. This relationship is deep, intimate, constant companionship. Although the frugal son questions the Father about throwing the prodigal son a party, it’s important to recognize that his relationship with the Father is safe. Frugals enter into their Father’s presence to propose any objections. In that specific conversation, the frugal son finds out that the Father celebrates him every day.
The prodigal son is lost and dead until he comes home where he finds his true identity as a frugal son. A lot of us are prodigal children at some point in our lives. Ultimately, it’s important that we find our destined position hand in hand with our loving Father.