A Call To Prayer: Continue In The Presence

Thank you so much for sharing your stories of encountering God and how they benefitted your spiritual life! I was especially honored to hear those stories that were not easy to share.

Our call to prayer has had one simple focus: Jesus. By focusing on Him above all else, we can experience His kingdom here — as it is in heaven. 

So moving forward, it is our mission to seek these encounters — both for ourselves and for others. We praise God in faith for the ways that He will show Himself to us when we seek Him. I believe that the kingdom of God is an ongoing revelation of His presence.

There’s a book on my desk by Derek Morphew called “Breakthrough”. The premise of the book is that when we align ourselves with God, we provide an avenue for the kingdom of God to be revealed here on earth — as it is in heaven. The great revelation for me is that God wants to be doing that all day, every day. And He is simply waiting on us. Wow! Think about that for a moment: He is waiting on us.

Father, thank you for your desire to have your will and kingdom here on earth in all our lives at all times. Thank you for giving me a willing heart for this with every breath I take.

For our King,

A Call To Prayer: Share Your Story

We hope you remember this account from a few weeks ago — after the disciples on the road to Emmaus encoutered the resurrected Christ, their hearts were burning and ran back to Jerusalem to share their story.

Last week, we extended the opportunity for you to share your stories of how wonderful and intense your time with Jesus has been. We want to hear your stories so that they can be an encouragement to others on this journey. We have received a few, but we had great expectations for more. 

I’m going to share a couple of my experiences here and hopefully they will encourage you to allow even the small moments to have a great impact.

One day I was driving down I–77 after visiting someone in the hospital. As I was driving, I was simply praying and praising God. His presence became so real that it was as though the car was full of God. I pulled over for a bit just to enjoy His presence.

On another occasion, I was in a very bad place, spiritually. I know the truth, but knowing it is not always the same as living it. In desperation, I cried out to God from a secluded place and I heard Him speak. His speaking was not audible, but it came through clearly in my spirit. He simply told me that I didn’t have to live in the place I was in. He showed me I had a choice — a choice to move from Depression Drive to Hallelujah Boulevard! It was a simple word, but it was exactly what I needed to begin a road to recovery. That road led to repentance and more tears. But out of that time came peace and joy. What a day!

Please, take a few moments to give us a snapshot of God’s encounters with you — even if just for the encouragement of this group. 

For our King,

A Call To Prayer: A Check-In

Here in week seven of our call to prayer, it’s time for a check-in.

Up to this point, we’ve used each week to present a message that we hope you’ve taken to heart and spent time praying through. But this week, I’m asking for your response

Last week, I spoke of the disciples on the road to Emmaus and how their hearts burned as they were with Jesus. So, my call to you this week is to tell about a time when your heart burned as you spent time with Jesus. Simply send an email to steve@chesterfreedom.com to provide your response.

Understand that these stories will be uniquely different for each one of you. So, please do not entertain the thought that your experience won’t be as “good” or as “spiritual” as someone else’s.

Further, you can be confident in knowing that your responses will only come to me. Then by your express permission will I consider sharing any of these stories in the weeks to come.

I’m so grateful for each of you and your willingness to be a part of this project.

I truly believe our God moves in answering the prayers of His children. 

And I expectantly await the stories of your time with our Lord Jesus!

For our King,

A Call To Prayer: Like A Fire Within

“It felt like fire”

The words of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They had begun their journey away from Jerusalem with troubled hearts because the Christ they had given their lives to follow had been crucified and buried. But when the resurrected Jesus appeared to them on this road, they not only had renewed steps, but decided to return to Jerusalem to share in their joy with the disciples there.

Jesus not only appeared to them, but spent time with them. They said, “It felt like fire burning in us when Jesus talked to us on the road.” Or, from another translation, “Did not our hearts burn within us.”

How would we feel if we experienced what they did that on day? Oh wait... we can... every minute of every day. It’s our reality 24/7 – Jesus wants to and will spend time with us to help us to know Him more and for Him to explain Himself to us. Read the whole story in Luke 24:13-35.

Father, forgive our busyness. We confess our need to have this time with Jesus. Thank you Jesus, that you desire it even more.

For our King,

A Call To Prayer: A Holy Boldness

As we've moved through our call to prayer, I have studied fire in the scripture and have been reminded of some amazing truths:

In Matthew 4:11, John the Baptist said, “The one coming after me (Jesus) will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.” 

In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes and reveals His presence by tongues of fire resting on each of the disciples gathered in the upper room. To quote an old Batman show, "POW!" These disciples, who had been hiding in fear, were now out on the streets of Jerusalem with holy boldness that rocked the city — and eventually the world.

When the Holy Spirit is free to work and move in our lives, there is a holy boldness for the work of the Kingdom that eliminates the fears of our flesh.

Father, we ask your Holy Spirit to bring fire to our lives. As we have prayed before, to burn away all that hinders our walk and work with you. But now we also ask you to ignite this fire in us that pushes us beyond our present capacity.  Please make us the ones ignited by the Holy Spirit who rock our city — and our world.

I would like to invite you once again to be a part of our class on Deepening Our Prayer Life on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm throughout the month of May in the Youth Room. 

My belief is that our understanding of the scripture and prayer will be challenged — and as we are challenged, we can be changed.
For our King,

A Call To Prayer: Freedom By Fire

It’s hard for me to think of God’s fire and not think of the story of the three young men recorded in Daniel chapter 3.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were three young men who demonstrated incredible faith and courage. The king of the time had passed a law that required everyone to bow down to a 100 foot gold statue of himself – no ego issues there. But these three men refused to do it. 

They were confronted by the king, demanding either their obedience or their death by being thrown in to a fiery furnace. They chose to respond with respect. They declared, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” [D 3:16–18 NLT]

In a rage, the king demanded the furnace be heated seven times hotter than normal. He then commanded his guards to throw them in. The heat was so great that those same guards died instantly. And now for the miracle… The king looked into the furnace and saw not three, but four men walking around. And the fourth, the king said, is like a son of God. The king excitedly called the three out of the furnace.

Now here is the really cool part for me. The fire that was intended to end their lives had only burned away the ropes they were tied up with. Not even their hair had been singed.

When we walk in faith and courage, God sends a fire. I believe He will use this fire to burn away the things of the world that we have allowed to entangle us and those things the world has imposed on us.

“Father, remove from me the things from the world that have hindered my life and service for you. Let me be like the three brave young men told about in Daniel 3.”

For our King,

A Call To Prayer: Words from the Heart

What has God been doing in your life as you've devoted time and prayer to seeking His fire? Is He is doing what we've asked of Him?

If so, He has probably been pulling up deep stuff that needs to be eliminated from our lives. And as painful as it can be, I know we should celebrate each loving action He takes. He works miracles by creating more purity; burning away the wood, hay, and stubble which are the things and attitudes that have no value in His kingdom. He wants our lives to be filled only with the things of value that He desires and deserves.

Here is some scripture I would like us to consider for this week:

Matthew 15:7-9 "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of His day, but to our shame, that truth often applies to us as well. Do the words we speak only give lip-service to God while our hearts are given to another?

"Father, align our hearts with yours. Deliver us from talking a good game, but living a secret life that is different than what we present to the world around us. Father, anything in us that is not of you, burn it up. Our time is too short to waste any more of the precious life you have given us. I want to be real -- for your glory.

For our King,

A Call To Prayer: Passionately Free

Thank you for being a part of this prayer initiative. We are standing firm that our focus is the cleansing and purifying fire of God.

We will continue pressing into the heart of God on behalf of ourselves and on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This week, listen again to the song, ‘Set a Fire.’ The time we spend seeking God’s fire is an expression of our passion of being free. We are free from things that are of no value to God. We are free to invite the Holy Spirit to do a transforming work in our hearts.

Each day we must remind ourselves to agree with John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” When we live with this attitude, God can use every circumstance and encounter to mold our character and change our thoughts into that of His Son.

Father, forgive us that we are so busy with our own things and ignore You. Father, forgive us that we do things our own way without being led by Your Spirit. Father, forgive us that we so easily talk about You, but are often unwilling to fulfill Your desires just because we want what we want. Forgive us, Father.

For our King,