When God visits us, it is often messy, out-of-the-box, and unpredictable. One of the only predictable characteristics of the upper room is that it is unpredictable. We need to understand that our God is creative and unlike coaches in the National Football League who pace up and down the sidelines with their laminated play sheets, our God has an unlimited number of plays He can call. For this reason, we have learned at the beginning of every upper-room prayer gathering to ask God for His leadership and direction. He is much better at play-calling and upper-room leadership than we are, and He always leads us to receive.
The greatest revolution taking place today in the church around the world is an awakening and rediscovery of the distinction between the omnipresence of God and His manifest presence.
God’s omnipresence, or His everywhere presence, is a wonderful reality taught throughout the Bible. It’s comforting to know that no matter where we are, we cannot escape from God’s everywhere presence. We must understand, however, that God’s omnipresence is not what separates the church from the sports bar or fitness center down the street.
The more perplexing question about the disciples’ prayer life is not why they failed, but how did they succeed? If they could not pray one hour on the final night of Jesus’ life, how did they pray 10 days—or the better part of two hundred-forty hours—only a month later?
If you’re not a prayer meeting type of person, let me encourage you—neither was I and neither were the apostles. Jesus’ disciples were no more capable of praying for 10 days than they were to fly to the moon. The night prior to His execution, Jesus urged His disciples to pray with Him for an hour—a mere sixty minutes—but they couldn’t do it. They kept dozing off. They failed miserably. Rather than joining Jesus in His upper room of prayer, they each rolled over, grabbed their pillows, and fell back asleep. Now, only a month later, they can pray like champions. So, what happened?
I think we may be at a point in our history where God wants to develop in us as a district a “culture of prayer?” We’re going to go on that journey for a season. Over the coming weeks, I want to focus on what God wants to do in the Central Pacific District through prayer.