I’ve been asked countless times throughout my years of ministry, “John, how can I experience the miracles and wonders of God?” People are so hungry and desperate for an encounter with deity! The zeal they have to escape the trappings of the world and to dive into the glories of God is intense, yet so many just can’t tap into that lifestyle. They find themselves gazing into the heavens and crying out, “God, where are you?”
My answer to these passionate people is not complicated. In fact, it couldn’t be more simple: Live holy lives and pray in the Spirit—a lot.
Hearing God is the Goal
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 ESV)
|“We hear God and then declare how the situation must conform to His will. It turns us from a position of defeat and passivity to a position of victory and spiritual violence and powerful faith!“|
One of today’s greatest tragedies is being invited into to the depths of God and the supernatural realm He moves in—and declining. So many are crying out for God to manifest in the natural realm, while He is calling us to manifest in His supernatural realm! There are wonders to behold when we live consecrated lives and pray on fire night and day!
Please hear me: You can begin your journey into the place where the Holy Spirit broods right now! In fact, I feel in my spirit as I write this to invite you to contend in prayer with me for just a moment:
Jesus, I decree in Your magnificent name that the person reading this is free from disillusionment, disappointment and unbelief. I command, in Jesus’ name, every haunting and taunting evil spirit to loose your grip and break away from them, right now! I declare wild freedom, joy and exuberant faith, NOW! Faith, rise up! Zeal, increase! Expectancy, come! It’s time for them to step into the wonders of God. Amen.
As we eliminate anything that would hinder a walk in the Spirit from our lives, and develop a lifestyle of fervent, urgent and enjoyable intercession, both in our prayer closets and with other brothers and sisters, the heavens will open up over our lives. It’s at this point that we will be able to start hearing God.
I’m convinced the only way to consistently hear God’s voice is if we are living holy lives, walking in the Spirit and praying in the Spirit. However, the price is worth it. When God starts talking, everything in our live shifts dramatically! A prophetic force will radiate from within. Dreams and visions will become regular. We will be undone as a fresh revelation of the glory of God shocks and rocks us to the core!
Yes, when you start hearing God, everything changes. Read on for an important truth God revealed to me—a truth I could only receive because I had developed a life of supernatural prayer.
“Stop! You’re Praying Wrong!”
“Stop! You’re praying wrong!” That’s what God told me one day as I was in some deep prayer. I was currently working part-time at a call center. I had been fairly frustrated that I wasn’t able to leave that job so I could work full-time in the church I was planting in Manitou Springs, Colorado.
That day, I was praying from a place of frustration. “God, oh God, please grow the church! Let the finances increase! Please God!” I said. That was when, as clear as a bell, I heard God say, “Stop! You’re praying wrong!” (Photo via Unsplash)
What? How could that be? I was praying so hard. As I walked around the 1,000 square feet of sanctuary space in the early days of Revolution Church, I really felt like I was doing well. Didn’t God want the church to grow?
Then God said something I’ll never forget, “You are praying as if I’m resisting you. Don’t you realize I put those desires in your heart? Why are you begging Me for a desire that I initiated? I gave you the desire in the first place!”
Wow! That ruined my whole perception of what prayer was! I had to think differently.
God then said, “There is one who IS resisting you though. The enemy doesn’t want these desires I placed in your heart to come to pass. It is the enemy whom you must fight.”
So, I launched into a new dimension of faith-filled and violent prayer! I felt impressed that God wanted me to practice this new revelation He gave me. He told me He wanted me to have more time to pray and initiate revival in the city. He wanted me to quit my job at the call center. I had captured the heart of God and I knew it was my turn to enforce His will. The enemy must move!
I then said, “In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, I command you, devil, to release! Get off of my schedule! I declare the heart of God is for me to quit my job and to advance His Kingdom full-time in Manitou Springs! How dare you touch the plans of God!”
|“So many are crying out for God to manifest in the natural realm, while He is calling us to manifest in His supernatural realm!“|
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
I prayed according to His will. He wanted me to work full-time in the ministry. One week later, as a church of about 35 people, we received a check in the Sunday offering for $50,000. The following week we received $25,000. I was working full-time two weeks later.
That money was “more than enough.” We also used it to move into a 27,000 square foot building. God wanted us to have that all along. The enemy didn’t. I was praying wrong. I was praying as if the provision had to be coaxed away from God. In reality, God had already released it and I just had to go get it—and blast through the enemy’s resistance on the way.
Is Your Prayer Hindering You?
Another story had an equal impact upon my life. I was again in a place of “frustration prayer.” I was crying out for needs to be met. I was banging on the doors of Heaven in passionate prayer for finances, among other things. Once again I heard the voice of God deep within my spirit, “Your prayer is hindering you.” What? Did I hear correctly? God told me that my prayer in that moment was doing more damage than good. I should stop if I planned on continuing in that vein.
He then said, “Without faith it is impossible to please Me.” He added, “Doubt in prayer will ensure that prayer goes unanswered.” OK, He had my attention. I pondered this, and wrestled with these issues. I didn’t want to doubt. I wanted more than anything to be a man of faith. I wanted these pieces to fit together so I could arrive at some conclusion. God was telling me not to pray my prayer! Yet, I still had unresolved issues that demanded a miracle. Oh, how alone I felt!
Then the answer came. God asked me why I was praying for something that was already promised in His Word. He has promised to supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory. The very act of asking God for my needs to be met revealed my lack of faith in trusting that it has already been done! I was attempting to convince God to do something that He already had resolved! My prayer evidenced my doubt which resulted in my prayer being unanswered.
The Bible reveals, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Doubt was in my heart. It also reveals that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). I was speaking unbelief. Finally, the Bible reveals that the power of life and death are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). The unbelief in my heart was manifesting as decrees of death over my finances! It would have been better if I didn’t pray at all.
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24)
No begging, no coercing, no convincing, no doubting is allowed in prayer! (Photo via Unsplash)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8)
We hear God and then declare how the situation must conform to His will. It turns us from a position of defeat and passivity to a position of victory and spiritual violence and powerful faith! We change from the afflicted to the afflicter! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. He ministers in churches and at camps and conferences throughout the nation. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he has planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and a school of ministry. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.