As we are starting this 40 day of fast and focused prayer as the Body of Christ around our nation and in our IHOP-Miami spiritual family, I want to encourage us to set our mind and heart on this simple concept; making room for Jesus! I love the testimony of John the Baptist in John 3:29-36. John is being questioned about his identity and his authority speak about the Kingdom of Heaven. His faith in the Messiah, Jesus is being questioned. He is very quick to shift all of the praise and accolades to Christ Jesus. He also reveals the secret to his personal ministry success and the reward he carried on the inside of his heart.
John makes this powerful statement: "It is the Bridegroom (Christ Jesus) who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." John was saying that his heart was overflowing with joy simply to serve the heart of this Bridegroom-God by pointing others to Him. John was actively stopping long enough to listen, respond, and then obey the Bridegroom's voice, so much so that he called himself Christ's friend.
But here is the real kicker of this whole conversation, John had discovered that there was no ceiling to the heights of joy and no floor to the depths of this loving friendship. John had realized that his only limits were the boundaries of his own hunger for the Bridegroom God.
John 3:34-36 'For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”'
How do we make room for Jesus?
Slow Down- I encourage you to take time, Time, TIME to wait before God, not simply skip meals. Let us schedule to do this very intentionally. Look at your weekly agenda and pick times & days that you will set appointments with God. If we do this in the world, we can surely do this with God.
Silence the Noise- I encourage us to turn off the media and the entertainment for particular times during this 40 days. As humans, we will only be able to think about the things and people we are listening to. If we neglect to silence all the other voices around us, this fasting season will be counter-intuitive to increasing our capacity to have more of God.
Confess Hidden Sins & Habits- Jesus encouraged the Church in Laodicia (Rev. 3:19-20) to be zealous in repentance. This means He desires us to be open and transparent before in our weakness and shortcomings.
Ask God For the Gift of Hunger- Ultimately, the thing that God wants to give us above all of His gifts is a growing desire for God. It takes God to love God. He is the one who draws us and keeps us in Him. (Mt. 5:6, Ps. 37:4-5, Mt. 6:33)
International House of Prayer-Miami
Executive Director & Pastor