Growing in Prayer

Growing in Prayer – By Mike Bickle

(Charisma House • 295 pages • 2014)

If you have a desire to see your personal prayer life grow, then this truly is the book for you!

“The best thing all of us can do to improve ourselves, our lives, and our relationships is to grow in prayer.” Mike Bickle

I know we all have our new year resolutions, dreams and goals – BUT, what does your prayer life look like?  Seriously?  The more I read about past revivals, the more I see the deep connection to a praying people.  When I read about saints of old who walked in ‘truth, love, & power’, I see a depth of prayer in their lives.  Even more so, when I study the life of Christ – I cannot see ALL that Jesus did and neglect the fact that He valued and lived a life of prayer!  If growing in your love for Jesus and loving others well is on your new year resolutions list (hopefully at the top) then it would do you a great service to get a prayer life!

This book, Growing in Prayer by Mike Bickle, is thorough, practical and encouraging! It will guide you through some helpful ways on how to engage with God and His Word so that you can maintain an enjoyable prayer life with the One who delights in you.  Your understanding on the Biblical importance of prayer will increase and it will connect you to why your prayers (personal and corporate) matter today!  And seeing how the unique dynamics of prayer and worship is exploding across the globe today in partnership with mission’s organizations to see the fulfillment of the Great Commission, will encourage you!

There is a wealth of knowledge in this book that can be applied to every believer’s life.  Mike Bickle has 40 years of ministry experience and has been setting himself in the place of prayer for longer than I have been around! I have been revived by the content in this book and I pray that it will stir you up too!

If you want to get started on growing your prayer life today – then I will give you Mike’s 3 quick points. But I encourage you to get a copy of his book for yourself!

  1. Schedule your prayer time _ WHEN to PRAY
  2. Make a prayer list _ WHAT to PRAY
  3. Cultivate a right view of God_ WANT to PRAY

Often times we use the start of a new year to improve our finances, marketplace skills, relationships, bodies, eating habits, etc.. I want to encourage you to start this year off with growing in your prayer life.  Developing a lifestyle of prayer, to engage with the Living God, will be one of the greatest things you give your time, energy and resources to!

“We have time for what we truly care about.” Mike Bickle

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TheCall-AzusaNow

 

I am so grateful that I was able to attend this last Solemn Assembly, Azusa Now, at the Memorial Coliseum with my entire family!  TheCall gatherings have personally impacted my heart during extremely significant stages of my life.  This gathering was another defining moment for me and my family as well as an  H I S T O R I C // GATHERING for the Body of Christ in America and the Nations. I have shared some of my past ‘Call encounters’ on this blog but I would like to share some of them again as well as what I walked away with from Azusa Now.

04.04.03 – Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA – 30,000

This Call was a part of the ‘Two Calls of California’ as the first Call done in California was held in Southern California on February 22, 2003 in the Rose Bowl. Then Lou Engle proclaimed a 40 day fast leading up to the second Call in San Francisco.  I believe I was brought to this gathering because of the prayer and fasting between these Calls.  I was not even walking with the Lord at this time of my life as I was entrenched in sin and rebellion. I was a 15-year-old sophomore and ironically it was the underground rap music coming out of the Bay Area at this time that had shaped my life doctrines of smoking weed, alcohol, and sex.

Somehow my parents brought me to this thing and I had no idea what to expect and didn’t have a clue who Lou Engle was.  In all honesty I did not pay much attention to what was happening on the stage while I was there and actually left the park at some point to explore the surrounding area.  However, I was prophesied over while walking up at the top of the bleachers and did get pulled into a prayer circle by my brother and his friend.  I did not see any immediate fruit after this and my rebellion and recklessness actually grew stronger from this point for another 3-year period. But, I know that I was there for a reason and that the Lord started directing my steps, even though it got darker before He burst into my life again!  And yes, my future bride, Aimee McGrady was there too!

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(Photo Source)

“Only a massive repentance and prayer assault on the Hollywood Frisco strongholds will prevail.” Lou Engle (Source: Elijah List 2003)

07.07.07 – TheCall Nashville, TN – 74,000+

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I was not at this event but my girlfriend, Aimee (Now my wonderful wife) attended this historic gathering which had over 74,000 people attending. She said it was one of the most powerful gatherings she had been to.  I am thankful that she attended this as I know it fueled her personal purity and her passion for Jesus.  I know for a fact that this gathering helped shape who she is today.

 

 

12.31.07 – TheCall Kansas City, MO – 20,000

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At the end of the year we were able to go to our first Onething Conference from December 28-31 in Kansas City.  I was really excited to see Mike Bickle speak and Misty Edwards (pre-dreads) sing for the first time in person. TheCall partnered with IHOPKC on the 31st to bring in the New Year.  By this time, I was more conscious of Lou ‘The Rocker’ Engle as I heard him speak at a Jesus Culture Conference earlier in the year.  His passion and zeal for prayer and fasting really stirred me up.  I believe the biggest take away from this time in Kansas City was gaining an ever growing heart for prayer and worship.

 

08.16.08 – TheCall Washington D.C – 70,000

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Okay, we did not make it TheCall in D.C, but I GOT THE GIRL, as that was the day we got married!  As thousands dedicated and rededicated themselves to the Nazarite Vow – Aimee and I gave our marriage vows.  I think it is cool that our wedding day lined up with TheCall event.  We even had Ryan and Nina Landis sing a song over us that they wrote specifically for us – who knew they would be closing out TheCall Azusa Now!

 

11.02.08 – TheCall San Diego, CA – 35,000

Regarding moral issues, Lou Engle says Christians in America—particularly right now in California—”stand on a battlefield more significant than Iraq.”

(source)

After getting married 3 months prior we were excited to drive down with a group of people to contend for the sanctity of marriage as the issue of Prop 8 was being decided in CA.  This was a very rich time in the Lord for us as we had helped start a young adult worship movement that started growing in 2007 and there was a grace for pursuing Jesus as the Holy Spirit was stirring our small mountain community.  I would say this was the first time where I was actually going to TheCall filled up and really pressing in with a heart and vision for what the Lord was doing.  I must say this song below was one of the highlights for me (still gives me chills) :

 

09.04.10 – TheCall Sacramento, CA – 18,000

 

This was as the 10 year anniversary of TheCall and a significant point in our lives too, as Aimee was 8 months pregnant with our firstborn, Liberty Reign Atkins.  The fun fact about this is connected to Lou Engle as well, so I will briefly share.  We went out to our 2nd Onething Conference together at the end of 2009. I believe around this point in life we had thought about having kids and then backed out as we were still very young and thought we were not ready as we had only been married for a little over a year!   We ended up staying a few days after the conference for a Leadership Summit (Jan 2010).  Lou starts rocking – I mean talking – and he is sharing about the Contending House of Prayer and how the muslim community is rapidly growing while many Christians have been stuck in the ‘American Dream’ and are no longer ‘bearing fruit and multiplying’ – anyways we decided to go against the spirit of this age and found out we were pregnant in February 2010.

Here were the 4 points that we were contending for in Sacramento:

1. “We are going to pray for our government.” (Psalms 2)

2. “We are going to call on God for a great river of the blood of Christ out of the Cross in Sacramento and Jesus to give us another Jesus Movement.”

3. “We are going to pray that a massive house of prayer movement will arise in every place calling on God for the harvest and loosing a generation into the missions movement.”

4. “And we’re going to believe that God is going to shape the elections.”

“God is the God that answers prayer!” – Lou Engle

 

 

02.03.2016 AzusaNow Pre-Call Rally – Revive Warehouse – Tuolumne City, CA

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It was an honor to be able to host one of the Pre-Call Rallies in my home town with Ryan and Nina Landis leading us in worship.  Aimee and I were given the opportunity to host some of the SAFA (Spiritual Air Force Academy) students for the night and it truly was a blessing.  It was so good to be able to partner in this way – even though our town is small and unknown it was awesome that we could rally together in this way.  The SAFA team was so kind and friendly and many of them blessed us by praying over us and giving words of encouragement to us.  It was amazing to see some of the young Native American’s that stayed with us up on the stage during a segment of TheCall AzusaNow crying out for an AWAKENING and releasing healing over our Nation.  It was powerful to have the First Nations People leading in dance and worship – such a blessing!

04.09.2016 – TheCall Azusa Now – Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA

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To be at this Solemn Assembly was such a blessing.  It was on our radar for over a year and I knew this was something that our whole family had to be a part of. Getting there was something we really had to fight for – but we have been feeling the pull on our hearts to do life and ministry in the midst of family.  Now we have 3 girls – Liberty Reign (5), Adessa Promise (3) & Riah Joy (11 mo) and we felt that the biggest thing we would get out of this was doing it as a family and believing that this would shape our girls’ future in Christ. It was WAY more of a challenge to have them there and stay engaged as much as we would have liked to, but it was totally worth it all!    

After the 6 hour drive down the night before and the early morning wake up to get parking, take the metro and wait in line; it already seemed like a long day!  We found ourselves inside the grand coliseum around 8 and set up camp. To make it even more of a challenge my wife had a wedding in Santa Barbara (2hrs away) on the same day!  This was something that she could not say no to, so she left at 12:30pm to the wedding with her mom and our youngest. Shout out to my parents and Aimee’s mom for helping us and for being godly examples to our girls!

As the clouds covered us and the rain came and went in gentle waves – everyone pressed through. To be a part of a Joel 2 gathering, while the nations are raging according to the Psalm 2 prophecy, it was powerful to see His people crying out for an Acts 2 outpouring .  On the stage and all around there was repentance, reconciliation and relationship as real men and women sought the heart and will of God together.  There was not one negative thing said against the Church from the stage and I believe there was a real spirit of unity displayed that day.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>  >  >  > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>   #FLYINGUNITED   <<<<<<<<<<<<<<  <  <  <  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<images

 

 

Jesus was glorified as different parts of the Body of Christ came together to lift up His name in praise.

(Eddie James and Worship Team)

The Gospel was preached, Salvation taken hold of, healings broke out, words of knowledge were released and prophecy was spoken.

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(Photo Source: Facebook)

(Evangelist Todd White and Lindy Conant w/ Circuit Riders Worship Team)

Let this be the new normal Christian life, because NOW IS THE TIME and He is the One True Living God.  I am walking away with a greater Love for Christ and His Body.  I have a renewed mind and spirit to see the things of God take place in my life.  I am answering THE CALL and extending the tent pegs by doing my part of HIS STORY.  I am raising my family up to live and believe in the fullness of Jesus Christ unto His glorious return. #HistoryisHiring

Jesus, I pray that ‘Stadium Christianity’ would continue as Your people humble themselves and seek Your face. This truly is just the beginning and I am hungry and expectant to see more of the Presence and Power of the Lord manifested by His Spirit, through His sons and daughters.  May all who were a part of this historic day GO FORTH in V I C T O R Y by the       B  L  O  O  D   of the   L  A  M  B!

And to end the night my beautiful wife and youngest daughter made it back just in time to see our best friends close out TheCall! God brings LIBERTY to the captives, He remembers His every PROMISE and He releases His rivers of JOY

 

 

Thank you Lou Engle and TheCall Team!

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(Photo Source: TheCall Facebook Page)

 

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Pray and Wait – Azusa Street

 

“My dear brother in the faith: Many thanks for your kind letter.  I am impressed of your sincerity and honesty of purpose.  Congregate the people together who are willing to make a total surrender.  Pray and wait.  Believe God’s promises.  Hold daily meetings.  May God bless you, is my earnest prayer.  Yours in Christ, Evan Roberts.”   Azusa Street – Frank Bartleman

This was a corresponding letter from Evan Roberts, of the Welsh Revival, replying to Frank Bartleman, before the Azusa Street Revival broke out.  I am going to briefly touch on these 5 points given from Evan Roberts, but I also want to recommend reading this book below.  It is a powerful testimony of Frank Bartleman’s life and gives great insight to how Holy Spirit was moving during this mighty outpouring.

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I know that there is not a a specific formula to revival, however, I think as humans we tend to complicate things!  I have heard it said that prayer precedes outpouring and I have found that to be true time and time again after reading several accounts of historic revivals.  Evan Roberts was used mightily in the Welsh Revival and I believe these simple points shared with Frank Bartleman helped spark the Azusa Street Revival.  I know William Seymour played a HUGE role, but it was the small beginnings of prayer that lead to this massive breakthrough. Even today, prayer is being restored in the church and many are gathering and seeking the Lord for another great outpouring of His Spirit.

 

  • Congregate The People Together: We find this simple truth in passages like 2 Chronicles 7:14, Joel 2:16, Matthew 18:20, and the Epistles to the Churches. Obviously the coming together of God’s people is nothing new and we see it being established in Church History.  Most believers do this once or twice a week and that is great start!  We expect to give 2 hours on Sunday and possibly 2 hours on Wednesday night.  Is that our all though?  Do we expect the miraculous?  Do we feel united in our own congregations while contending together for breakthrough?  Small and large gatherings are very important as Jesus reminds us that ‘where two or more are gathered, He is in our midst.’  But are we willing to be stretched past the normal Christian gathering?

 

I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all. (source)

 

  • Make Total Surrender:  The second point that Evan Roberts makes in relationship to congregating the people, is finding those that are willing to make a total surrender.  I realize this does not sound fun. Sometimes I am barely able to give up 2 hours on a Sunday morning!  And it is the ‘getting together’ that is actually somewhat doable – but making a TOTAL SURRENDER HURTS!  Many ‘christian’ gatherings outside of Sunday Mornings are filled with shallow conversations, personal opinions with commentaries that have a lot of talk ‘about’ God.  But what does it look like to surrender our agenda’s and personal gain?  How do we go about making a total surrender to God? This is not an easy process and will not happen overnight but I believe the simplified answer to this is found in the next point.

 

  • Pray and Wait:  Can we give our words and time to Jesus?  This causes us to start giving our attention to Him! I think that this is a big piece of total surrender, maybe not all, but let’s start here.  As humans we are prone to rush to the bigger, better and more exciting things of the ministry!  However, it was Jesus that gave this direction to His disciples.  When the disciples asked about His return, His answer was, ‘watch and pray’.  In the garden, the night before His crucifixion, Jesus instructed them to ‘watch and pray’ so as to not enter into temptation but to be engaged with the spirit.  When Jesus instructed the disciples to ‘wait in Jerusalem before being endowed by power from on high’, they knew that they had to add the ingredient of prayer!  PRAYING AND WAITING ON THE LORD can seem like the most difficult thing in the world, only because we are weak and fickle human beings.  Yet, history proves that the great men and women of faith that gave themselves to prayer and waiting on the Lord received the breakthrough.

 

  • Believe God’s Promises: In the midst of prayer and waiting we must hold on to the promises from God.  Abraham had to contend for this and even fell short in the WAITING, but we see that Abraham is called faithful as he witnessed part of God’s promise come to pass!  Believe God’s promises with other believers in the midst of praying and waiting.  There is power in agreement.  Contend for the fullness and confess your weakness and shortcomings when it comes to unbelief.  Ultimately He is faithful and we get to partner with Him!  This step helps us see the BIG PICTURE – no matter how we are feeling during a particular gathering, be reminded of His personal and corporate promises.

 

  • Hold Daily Meetings:  If we are faithful with the little – we will be given more.  With points 1-4 in place and a steadfast heart to run the race, we won’t have to force multiplication.  There is a supernatural trigger that gets set off when hungry people start pressing into Jesus – THEY WANT M O R E!  Once we taste and see, our spirits will long to ‘go on getting filled’.  He is our source and it will always start with Him and as He supplies the grace it will go on with Him.  Let’s start with one meeting a week outside of the typical Christian gathering and see what happens.
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A Message to America: Jonathan Cahn

I picked up a book 2 days ago that I cannot put down.  It is called, The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn.
It is a very intriguing and sobering message. The author is shown here giving a speech at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast – January 21, 2013.

This message is a wakeup call to America!  Let us humble ourselves and seek the LORD.

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God Really Hears

 

Here is another great message from Stephen Venable on the topic of prayer.  This is an encouraging message that will hopefully strengthen your prayer life and remind you that God really does hear your prayers.  Don’t lose heart in your prayer life and resist the feeling of fainting or giving up. This message greatly reminded me that I am not just speaking into an empty void.  As Stephen shares, we are praying to a living Person that dwells in Heaven; and He cares for us.

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18

 

NOTES: 10_18_2014-SP-God-Hears

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Lessons From a Praying Church

 

Message Monday: Lessons From a Praying Church, Wes Hall.  This is a powerful message from the 2014 Prayer and Prophetic Conference at IHOP-KC.  Wes shares some excellent points about prayer and the church described in the book of Acts.  I shared a video from his brother, Jono Hall, at the beginning of this series called, History of Night and Day Prayer, which I recommend as well if you have not seen it.

 “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”Acts 2:42

7 Principles of Prayer from the book of Acts.

1. Prayer was a priority – to the entire church.

2. Prayer was corporate and united. ONE ACCORD, ONE VOICE

3. Prayer was structured.

4. Prayer was continual and persistent. – Acts 2:1, Luke 24:52, Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46, Acts 12:5

5. Prayer was God-centered.

6. Prayer was missional. Acts 13

7. Prayer was weak, but affective.

Click one of the links below to hear the full message.  I pray that it blesses you and stirs you and your church up to be a praying church.

Lessons From A Praying Church – Audio

 

*CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO VERSION

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Local Church Prayer

Prayer in the Local Church, Jim Sterns –

Here is a powerful and direct 13 minute video message on prayer in the local church, and I realize that this is a very challenging message that might provoke some strong feelings or opinions on this topic. But I hope it causes us to look around at our local church to see if there is an actual culture of prayer. I know it is one thing to say that prayer is valued, but is prayer a reality in the midst of your local church? I don’t believe that prayer is just a new ‘trend’ for the local church, I believe God is reviving His royal priesthood and restoring a relationship to Him.

Here is a great diagram that Jim Stern made that breaks down some of his points.

Prayer-Shift

Check out some of the past Message Monday posts.

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