Lock God into a room with you and pocket the key. Sit him down in a chair and pour out your heart to him.
My niece was getting married. The reception was planned as a grand open-air affair. But at the very onset of the event, thick rain-clouds formed, over-shadowing the location. It was clear that it would not only rain, it would pour.
I motioned to a pastor friend and held out my hands to him. “Come,” I said, “let us cancel this rain in Jesus’ name.” Immediately, I observed naked fear in his face. He probably thought I wanted to make fun of him. But I quickly held hands with him and prayed, asking God to turn back the rain.
No sooner had we done this than the thick clouds broke and moved away; to the surprise and delight of my pastor friend. It rained in other parts of Lekki, Lagos that Saturday afternoon; but there was not even a drizzle where we had the wedding reception.
I did not always believe in such impetuous prayers. I was an unbelieving believer for 41 years. I grew up in the Anglican Communion; got married in church at the age of 25. But I remained sceptical of churches and of church processes. There are too many charlatans in the churches to hoodwink a cynic like me.
As a result, when the Lord finally apprehended me, he did so outside the mainstream of the church. He reached me where I lived. He dazzled me with my own “burning-bush” experience.” (Exodus 3:2). He answered the heartfelt prayer of this “doubting Thomas:” “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). If he can make a believer out of me, he can surely make a believer out of anybody.
Elijah the Tishbite
Sometimes you read something in the bible and it amazes you. Don’t be amazed: be challenged. The bible is designed to provoke a call to action. The first time I read about Elijah, I was flabbergasted. It said: “Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’” (1 Kings 17:1).
I thought: “Wow! Where did this man get this audacity?” Elijah boasted that it would not rain unless he said it would. True to his word, it did not rain for over three years. Now that is power!
But before you copy Elijah, or become too impressed with him, you need to understand this: “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:17-18).
Before Elijah decided to make his outrageous pronouncement, he first sorted out the matter with the Lord. He not only prayed, asking for God’s approval; he prayed earnestly. At some point, God must have given him the go-ahead; otherwise, his decree would have failed. James says: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16).
Cynics ask why charismatic Christians don’t lay hands on Ebola victims today and heal them. The answer is simple: the Lord has yet to give us the authority to do so. Peter did not presume to walk on water; he waited for the Lord’s instruction.
Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven down to earth. He demonstrated that the power of God is now available to men. This is his promise: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
It is our privilege as disciples of Jesus to receive from the Lord: “the power to become the sons of God.” (John 1:12). This power is vested in the Holy Spirit. When we hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God, we are filled with the Spirit of the living God.
Jesus says: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened…. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:9-10/13).
But it is not enough to receive the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it is necessary to insist on the mighty manifestations of his power. This is not in order to impress men, but to validate effectually our witness of Jesus our Saviour and of the kingdom of God. For this purpose, we need to wait on the Lord in “Jerusalem” until we are clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49).
Your “Jerusalem” can be anywhere you can seclude yourself in adoration and worship of the Lord. It can be your bedroom. It can be your living-room. It can be your prayer-room. It is best to be a place where you are less likely to be disturbed.
If you want the manifest power of God in your life; renew your strength by waiting upon the Lord. Fast food. Fast the television. Fast the radio. Fast your cell-phone. Fast your friends and acquaintances. Fast your wife or husband. Some spiritual tasks require the release of greater power than others. Jesus says: “As a precious prize- a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion.” (Matthew 11:12).
Lock God into a room with you and pocket the key. Sit him down in a chair and pour out your heart to him. Don’t even bother to “pray;” just talk. Read the scriptures aloud to him from chapter to chapter. Build up your inner man by speaking in tongues at length. Take a hymn book and sing as many songs as you know in it to the Lord. Dance the ridiculous dance of David in his presence.
Once you are resolved to seek the face of the Lord, expect the heavens and the earth to be ranged against you. Even the Lord himself might become your adversary and make things more difficult for you. Don’t be discouraged; he just wants to know how determined you are. On one such occasion, the Lord said to me: “I don’t want you to talk to anybody but me for the next three days.”
My Jerusalem experience yielded dramatic results. When I finally opened my mouth to talk, the anointing was electric. If I merely breathed into a microphone, my listeners would fall to the ground. When I decreed healing, God established it.
I stood in front of an elderly man at Pentecostal Assembly and knew instinctively he was covered in Juju. I gave him the microphone and he confessed that he had been to a babalawo seeking protection. The Lord told me to remove this false covering with my bare hands and warn him never to return to the juju man.
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” (Jonah 2:8).