Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. 18 Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 19 So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 21 So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant. 1 Kings 19:15-19 NKJV
When Elijah was hiding out in a cave in the wilderness fearful, discouraged, isolated, and feeling depressed, God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 9, 13). Have you stopped to ask yourself the same question? Are you obeying and serving God with joy like dancing? Or, are you feeling sorry for yourself and making excusing and thinking nobody’s right but you? God is raising up believers with the spirit of Elisha, the spirit of Abel-me-holah–the meadow of the dance.
Abel-me-holah means the Meadow of Dance; it was the birthplace and residence of Elisha; a place of low-lying moist grassy land (Psalm 23:2). It was a place where its people were known to dance with joy. Elijah struggled fearfully, emotionally and self-righteously, so God decided to anoint a successor–someone who danced with joy, i.e., Elisha—a man who would serve God in his prophetic ministry with the joy of dancing.
Elisha had a servant’s heart. Notwithstanding his wealth and substance (he plowed with 12 pair of oxen), he readily accepted the call and prophetic mantle of God. He ran and joyfully “danced” after Elijah. Because Elisha understood the price to be paid of dedication and sacrifice, he returned home to kiss his parents goodbye, he sacrificed his oxen and burned his plough. Is there someone or something you need to kiss goodbye? Is there a “plough” that you need to burn? You can’t serve God with joy when you’re still stuck with someone or something in your past (see Luke 9:62; Heb.10:38). Serving God necessitates the “meadow of the dance.” You must follow Christ and also follow, and serve with joy, those who God has set over you as they follow Christ (Matt. 4:19; 1 Cor. 11:1).
Joshua followed and served Moses. Samuel served Eli, and Elisha followed and served Elijah in the spirit of the “meadow of the dance.” And, the apostles that followed Jesus, He taught them that, “if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? The way up in God is sometimes down in humility—the humility of serving another in joy.
The “meadow of the dance” can be summed up in the words of Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Serve God like you’re dancing with joy!
And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Matthew 4:18-20 NKJV
Peter and Andrew were the first of Jesus’ twelve disciples. They along with the others—later to be named apostles—were empowered to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Also, Jesus promised them that signs, wonders, and miracles would follow them to confirm His Word (Mark 16:17-20).
The world sees power as a way to gain control over others. But Jesus, who has all power, gave His first disciples and us power and authority to serve others. There are times when God intervenes supernaturally and miraculously to confirm the Word of His Kingdom (1 Cor. 4:20). But to receive this power, you must drop your nets and follow Him.
A net is an entrapping device or situation. A device used to catch and entangle fish, birds, or animals. Spiritually speaking, a “net” can also be a situation which entangles you when you make excuses or allow anything or anyone to come between you and carrying out the Lord’s commission.
Like Peter and Andrew, when you drop your “nets”, i.e., make up your mind to follow Christ and share and witness the good news of the Gospel to everyone, signs follow you (Mark 16:15-20). You must drop your “nets” to be an effective witness filled with power (Acts 1:8). To those who refuse to be entangled in the “nets” of making excuses or allowing anything or anyone to come between you and fulfilling the Great Commission, God will give you power over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). Jesus said, “if anyone would come after me [drop his nets], he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23-24).
“At the same time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.” 2 Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness — Israel, when I went to give him rest.” 3 The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.4 Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice. Jeremiah 31:1-4 NKJV
Like Judah who was ransomed by the Lord from Babylonian captivity, and the ten northern tribes of Israel redeemed from Assyrian bondage, as a believer in Christ, you have been restored and promised a new life. With your new life in Christ, you’ve got to stop thinking that there’s someplace you’ve got to go, something you’ve got to do, or somebody you got to be with in order to feel joy. Joy and life is synonymous (John 10:10; Ps. 16:11).
Life in Christ is God’s life in you—a continuous flow of joy. The more you let life be and let God live His life in you as you, you will automatically feel joy. For example, children naturally feel joy; they sing, dance, and have fun, unless they have been messed up. Children teach us that your life can be a dance. To dance is to, spiritually speaking, is to glide, to step, or move through a series of movements usually to music, i.e., the Word of God, the promise of God, and the Holy Spirit who lives in you.
So, you don’t have to make your life work—just listen to the “music” and enjoy the dance of life. God’s life is your life and it works without your help. Just let it be! (See Col. 3:4). Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that you should take no thought for your life (Matt. 6:25, 27; 10:39) because Jesus Christ is your architect and builder (Matt. 16:18; Ps. 127:1). Let God do that thing that He has prepared to do in you, through you, and as you, and nobody else. Follow Christ and let God build and rebuild your life. The word of Lord is: “follow Me” and “let there be” (Matt. 4:19; Gen. 1:3). Your life can be a dance!
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4 NKJV
Some people look at their life and think that they need to do something to make their life work, especially as they start to get older. They believe there’s something to yet to do, somebody to see, or someplace to go to make their life work. But what does say?
In the Scriptures, the very first spoken Words of God are, “Let there be . . .” (Gen. 1:3), and Jesus’ first call given to Peter and Andrew who would become His disciples was, “Follow me and I will make you . . .” (Matt. 4:19). According to the text above, if you believe that your life is hid in Christ and that Christ is your life, then, what is God saying about your life? Perhaps God is saying, “Follow Me and let it be.”
God promised to show you the path of life when you live in His presence. There would be fullness of joy, and at His right hand, pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). God’s path for your life includes living with an awareness of His presence, much joy, fulfilled desires and gratification forever. Thus, life was never meant to be stressful, strained, or a struggle. Life should be a flow living in the joyful presence of God, so it’s absurd to say that “you’re trying to make your life work.”
God is life. His life is your life; therefore, God lives in you, through you, as you (V John 1:4; 14:6). You don’t need to make your life work, you need to let God work doing what He knows how to do and what He is fully able to do in you, through you, as you (Phil. 2:13). You don’t have to figure out your life (Matt. 6:25, 27; 10:39). Your redeemed life in Christ is supposed to be about gladness and joy (Isa. 35:10). Hear the Word of the Lord saying to you, “follow Me and let it be!”
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying . . . 24 “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:17-19, 24 NKJV
Are the new heavens and new earth something that occurs during the Church age, or the Kingdom age, or the Millennium, or the Eternal State? It is easy to fall in error when you don’t know the Scriptures nor the power of God (Matt. 22:29). Scripture interprets Scripture, so what was apostolic understanding of the new heavens and new earth?
Apostle Paul was the first to write his revelation of the new heavens and new earth as outlined in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. In order for anyone to participate in the new heaven and new earth, he or she must be a new creature in Christ. In the new creation, the Father knows the things we have need of before we ask (Matt. 6:8-10).
In the new heavens and new earth, before you call on God in prayer, God answers because the thing you desire already exist (Matt. 6:10). When praying, you are praying for what already exist (Heb. 4:3). You don’t have to seek the thing, it seeks you. The blessings of God will come upon you and overtake you (Deut. 28:2; Amos 9:13). You can’t outrun God’s favor and goodness (Ps. 23:6). The answer is waiting on your asking. Before you decided what you desired, God had already had it prepared (Ps. 37:4; Mark 11:24).
In prayer, while you are yet speaking to God, there is no need to cry, beg, beseech, or plead because God hears and answers because He already knows. For example, while Daniel was yet speaking to the Lord His God in prayer, God had already answered him and sent to him the angel Gabriel to give him skill and understanding that while you are speaking God answers (Dan. 9:3-5, 20-23).
Also, when Peter was imprisoned, he was under the guard of four squads of soldiers. The church came together to pray for him without ceasing. Peter was asleep in prison; bound with two chains, kept between two soldiers while the church was yet speaking to God in prayer, God sent an angel to supernaturally free Peter from prison. After being freed, the church was still in prayer not realizing that God had already answered their prayer (Acts 12:11-16).
While you’re yet speaking in prayer, God answers and it is done! (Ps. 33:9).
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind . . . 24 “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:17, 24 NKJV
In the new heaven and new earth, God promised to hear your prayer even before you starting praying. So, the new heaven and new earth, has it occurred or will it occur in the future? Isaiah the prophet, apostles Peter and John all recorded parallel revelations as regards the new heaven and new earth. Some of their respective passages in Scripture refer to the Church age, or the Kingdom age, or the Millennium, or the Eternal State, or a combination of all these dispensations (Isa. 51:16; 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:7; Rev. 21:1). But regardless the era or time, the Father knows the things you have need of, before you ask (Matt. 6:8).
It is likely that Jesus had the new heaven and new earth in mind when He taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Also when He told the Pharisees that, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation . . . For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). If you believe that Scripture interprets Scripture, then you must consider Apostle Paul’s apostolic understanding of the new heaven and new earth. Paul wrote that in order for anyone to participate in the new heaven and new earth, he or she must be a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-18). God answers your prayers before you call because the new heaven and new earth is within you.
In prayer, you need to always be cognizant that before you call, God will answer, and further realize that: the things you desire already exist (Matt. 6:10). When praying, you are praying for what already exist; you don’t have to seek the thing, it seeks you. The blessings will come upon you and overtake you (Deut. 28:2; Amos 9:13). You can’t outrun God’s good and favor (Ps. 23:6); and, the answer to your prayers is waiting on your asking. Before you decided what you desired, God had already had it prepared (Mark 11:24; Matt. 7:7). Before you call, God will answer!
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God . . . Hebrews 11:1-2 NKJV
Faith is now (in the present tense); it is substance; and, it is evidence. The evidence upon which we base our faith is not in the facts we see, but in the truth of God’s Word (Heb. 11:1; Rom. 10:17). Faith is the “title deed” that provides access to all the riches in the kingdom of God, and the key that that unlocks the doors of the kingdom.
Bible faith is always placed in a person not an outcome (Mark 11:22; 2 Tim. 1:12). Faith is not believing something; it is believing someone, i.e., Jesus Christ. You cannot exercise faith to manipulate circumstances to bring about a preferred outcome or get God to do what you want. Faith is trusting God no matter the outcome—trusting God to meet your need no matter how little your faith may be. It is obedience to act on God’s Word, i.e., the present-tense voice of God (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:8-10). For example, by faith in Jesus’ Word, Peter walked on water (Matthew 14:25-31). Never believe the enemy’s lie that you don’t have enough faith because faith was given to you from God and is placed in God. Again, faith is focused on God not an outcome. Could we ever have enough faith to buy, exchange, or trade for God’s favor? No. Faith is a gift from God given by grace and God always give us what you need (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 4:7).
God has given us faith. He has put faith on deposit in us to respond to every circumstance that arises in our life. God didn’t make a mistake and not give you enough faith (Rom. 12:3). Faith operates the same way for daily living as it did when you received Jesus as Savior and Lord (Col. 2:6). The focus was God then and it is still on God now for daily living by faith (Matt. 6:11). We weren’t saved by works and, ergo, do not live by works. We live by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). God’s blessings and favor are free, unearned and undeserved. We cannot earn them or buy them. Faith is responding to the grace of God (Eph. 2:8). Self-efforts and works cancels out faith (it is opposite of faith; see Romans 4:4-6). Remember the man born lame that was healed at the Gate beautiful in Acts chapter 3. His healing is an example of faith obtained by grace in response to God’s grace (Acts 3:16). As Paul testified to the Elders at Ephesus in Acts 20:21, not only is repentance toward God but faith is also toward our Lord Jesus!
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him . . . In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven . . . 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:7-10, 31-33 NJKV
There is an inseparable connection between prayer, the kingdom of God, and righteousness. An answered prayer begins with the foreknowledge and omniscience of God and understanding who God is when you pray (Ex. 3:14; Heb. 11:6; Rev. 1:8; 4:8). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduced God has our heavenly Father who knows what you need even before you ask. So, in prayer, why should you be anxious, confused, or in doubt because the need is already provided for. This is the power of prayer,
“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). Because Father knows, you can ask with an attitude of gratitude. No need to ever beg; seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (the character and quality of being right or justified by faith); and, knock with consistence and persistence—never abandon your prayer request. Continue to thank God for the answer. Father knows and He rewards them who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
In our text above, Jesus connected answered prayer with the coming of the kingdom here on earth. Therefore, every time you pray, you’re asking for a manifestation of the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:10). Prayers are consistently answered with the coming of the kingdom and in righteousness (Luke 17:20-21; Rom. 14:17; Gen. 15:6). Trust God our heavenly Father and take him at His Word. Father knows all and Father knows best!
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:24-26 NKJV
The Scriptures teach us to have strong confidence when approaching God in prayer. If we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us. And if we know that God hears our prayer — whatever we ask — we also know that we have what we’ve desired of God (1 John 5:14-15). In prayer everything is possible according to God’s will except for when there is doubt or unforgiveness in our heart. Doubt confuses faith in God, and unforgiveness hinders faith that could otherwise “move mountains (Mark 11:23). God first and foremost forgives us and we must forgive ourselves and others. Forgiveness flows from God to us and faith flows from us to God. Unforgiveness clogs up the flow of faith in the “prayer pipeline.”
Unforgiveness is like a spiritual poison. Poison is any substance that causes harm, sickness, or death if it gets into our body. When unforgiveness gets in our heart, a root of bitterness, animosity, ill-will and resentment toward the unforgiven one will spring up to trouble us and defile our faith (Heb. 12:15). Unforgiveness poisons prayer.
When you stand praying, forgiveness is a basic condition for an answered prayer. Could this be God’s paternalistic way of dealing with us, His children—as our heavenly Father—to administer reproof and correction? (See Matt. 6:10, 12, 14-15). When we harbor unforgivness in our heart, we deny the character and nature of God and deny His character and nature in us; we basically bind love and acceptance and loose anger, animosity, ill-will, ill-feelings, and even rejection (Matt. 18:18); and, we empower the unforgiven one and while depowering ourselves. Unforgiveness poisons prayer and our fellowship with the Father and hinders the flow of blessings when we pray (Mark 11:25-26).
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:22-24 KJV
Jesus instructed His disciples that when you pray (Matt. 6:6), believe that you receive whatsoever you ask for (Mark 11:24—(it goes without saying that the “what things soever” must be consistent with God’s promise). But before you can believe God’s promise, you must first conceive it in your heart, i.e., have faith in God (Mark 11:22). Faith responds to the promises of God, and the promises of God is our foundation—the solid Rock on which we stand, and faith is the key that unlocks the door to all the blessings, riches, power, and kingdom authority.
So, when you pray, how do you “believe that you receive”? When praying for your desire, lay hold of (appropriate or claim) what you believing for and reckon yourself to have the desire rather than just begging for it (John 1:12; 14:13-14; Rom. 8:14, 16). By faith, imagine the thing desired and act as though it is so (Eph. 3:20; Rom. 4:17-21; Gal. 3:29), and, do not hesitate to lose yourself in your desire while praying. Feel the joy and continue to name it, claim it, confess it and possess it (Heb. 10:23).
Caveat: when you pray, if you’re conscious of the problem more than you are of the promised in God’s Word, you’ll be rewarded with more of the problem (Matt. 13:12; Joel 3:10). “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you . . . [a]sk and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt 6. 6; 7:7-8). Ask, seek, and knock. Conceive it; believe it; and, receive it!