Revelation Prayers

[To listen to the audio recording of this message, CLICK HERE or scroll to the bottom of the post and us the Spotify Player.]

Today we are going to wrap up a series we started a few weeks ago. We were focusing on 3 areas of prayer: The Lord’s Protection, Direction and Revelation for your life and the life of the church. Our first week we looked at Protection Prayers. The Prayers we pray most often. Protect me from sickness, keep me safe on my long car trip, guard me from doing poorly on my exam or work review. These seem to be prayers to be saved from the grip of something undesirable. Nothing wrong with that. Jesus himself asked if it was possible for the “cup of suffering” or his pain and death on the cross to be taken from him. That he wouldn’t have to endure that. Nothing wrong with that at all. 

But what Jesus did next led us to our next type of prayers: Direction Prayers. He continued in his prayer to his heavenly father, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.” He submitted to God’s directions. The plan he had for Jesus to save the world, Jesus gave himself wholly to them.

You might wonder “how can I know God’s directions for my life? I have a hard enough time paying attention in church. How am I supposed to hear from God?”

“I’d follow what he’d say if He’d only reveal it to me…”


It’s that last part I want to talk about today: Revelation. Not the last book in the bible, per se. But the act of God revealing his plan, vision, desires for you and the world in which you live. Your immediate family. Your work environment. Your neighborhood. The Direction side of the equation is how we live out what is revealed. I believe there are important questions to ask concerning the Revelation of God. 1) How we can be receptive to his revelation 2) What his revelation looks or sounds like 3) what do we do with it?

[Before we get into the message, I want to give you a heads up. At the end of this message, If God has recently revealed something to you – You’ve been praying for a personal revelation and God delivered, I will ask you to share that with the rest of us. I know it’s hard to be vulnerable, but if what you share can bless and benefit someone else, who are you to keep it to yourself?]

In the Spirit

First Question is “How can we be receptive?” Back in the day…I mean WAY back in the day, TV’s used to pick up broadcasts by using an antenna. Most of us would refer to this device as “Bunny” or “Rabbit” ears. Like two walkie-talkie antennas. You’d have to turn them every which way, but eventually you’d get some sort of signal and could watch the show you wanted to watch. 

Receiving a revelation from God involves a level of receptiveness on our part. 

I said this sermon wasn’t about the book of Revelation, but when God wanted to communicate something so vivid to John, he did so when John was most receptive. (Revelation 1:9-11)

9I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” Revelation 1:9-11 NIV

Revelation 1:9-11 NIV

On the Lord’s day, John was in the Spirit. He was connecting and communing with the Lord. He was OPEN. Another instance of Revelation coming to someone who is open to receiving it comes from the book of Daniel. You’ll know Daniel, because of course the book carries his namesake. His friends who also had similar positions in the community and spiritual giftedness, Hananiah, Mi-sha-el, and Azariah. Oh those guys don’t sound familiar? Their Babylonian names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Daniel 1:17 tells us a little of their giftedness:

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

(Daniel 1:17 NIV)

But in the next chapter, this giftedness and the resolve of these Hebrew would be tested. The King of Babylon has a disturbing dream. He requires his wise men to not only interpret the dream to guide him – but to tell him what the dream was. None of the worldly wise men would even try to do this because they knew the King would know they were lying. So the king orders all his wise men to be executed. We pick up the story in Daniel 1:16

16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven.

(Daniel 2:16-19 NIV)

Regardless of his spirit-given reception, Daniel and his friends still had to intentionally set aside focused time and energy to hearing from God. There certainly was a sense of urgency, but God came through and revealed the dream to the men. They were…

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

In the Spirit. They were…receptive. What does receptiveness look like?

Permit me a little water analogy. 

First, We have this closed Mason jar. Its purpose is to hold things. But this jar is closed. Nothing can get in and nothing can get out of it. – I’ll prove it. (Pour a little water on the cap.)

Photo by jamie he on Pexels.com

Nothing is getting into that jar. It’s super Closed!

Second, we have a plate. Much like a jar, plates are made to hold things, but not much. When I pour water into this plate, it only goes up to this high. It’s shallow.

 

Photo by Angela Roma on Pexels.com

Last, if we take the lid off the jar, place a funnel inside it’s opening. When we pour water into the jar, all of it is going to go in. It’s open, it’s receptive. 

Be Like John. Be like an open jar with a funnel. 

If you want to receive a revelation from God, you’ve got to be receptive.

What does that look like for you, practically? Perhaps limiting the distraction in your life. Simplifying your life so that nothing will stand between you and hearing from the Lord. Do the things that draw you into the presence of the Lord. Shed the things that draw you away from the presence of the Lord. I’m not saying you have to move to a deserted island in exile like John, but times of solitude allow you to focus on connecting with God. When he is the only voice, it becomes easier to hear what he has to say.

My Story – Part 1

I’m going to sprinkle in my personal story in this message. I have only had a few times in my life where I have so clearly heard God, so plainly having a revelation spoken into my life that would direct the course of my life.

I was in high school at a district youth retreat. I had a lot on my mind. Relationship opportunities or the lack thereof are always on a teens mind, but the main thing I was exploring that weekend was What does God want me to do with my life? I think it was more specific to this question: “What am I going to study if I go to Olivet?” I wanted to know. I didn’t want to go to college without a focal point, an end goal. I liked a lot of things, but I wasn’t sure what God was calling me to. I started to wonder if it was a call to the ministry. Full-time vocational ministry they like to call it.  

One thing I did that weekend was meet with God in prayer. Whenever the altar was open, I went and prayed. I wasn’t always sure what I was praying for or how to pray, but I was being open. I was doing my part that weekend to take the lid off the jar of my life. That retreat was like a funnel. I was expectantly waiting for the water to come. 

If you want to receive a revelation from God, you’ve got to be receptive

Another thing I did that weekend was ask the following question: 

What does Revelation sound like? (Get to know the revealer)

It’s such a hard question to answer, as I’ll come back to my story later. Let’s try to get at the heart of this question by asking another.

“How do you know you are in love?”

—- Take a second to ponder that. Have you ever asked someone that question? 

When dating a person, someone might ask a friend or mentor who is happily married “how did you know you loved your spouse? How did you know you wanted to share the rest of your life with them?

Sometimes they will give a clear example that is personal to them. “I found myself thinking only of them. I couldn’t couldn’t picture my life without them.” Other times, and most often it is the following expression: “I just knew.” There is something unique and hard to define when it comes to Love. It seems personal revelation from God follows a similar path. 

  • You can compare what you’re hearing up against the character and Nature of God revealed through the Word of God.
    • Do you believe God is revealing something to you? 
      • Does it contradict something he has already said or shown to be in the scriptures? 
    • To answer that best is to pursue a deep dive into who God is, what the Bible says about His character, his nature. And when you or I pursue him, much like “getting to know” someone you might be relationally interested in, you can know their heart better.
  • Example from scripture: Daniel and his comrades are seeking God’s revelation. The King’s requirement was to tell the king what he dreamed, (akin to mind reading) and then give the interpretation of the dream. The first part is absolutely impossible without God. The second could just draw on human understanding and wisdom that God gave Daniel, but he gives God glory and praise, humbly keeping none for himself. (Daniel 2:26-28 NIV)

26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”

27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.

Daniel 2:26-28 NIV
  • Daniel knew who to trust, who to go to to receive the answers desired. He even saved the lives of others in his job position that did not believe in Yahweh, who worshiped false Gods. He intervened to allow time to go before the Lord and hear from him. This saved others from death, even though they were no help in interpreting the King’s dream.

If you want to know what the Revelation sounds like, you’ve got to get to know the revealer.

Story part 2

Beside praying throughout the weekend at that youth retreat, I began to ask the question, “What does the call of God sound like?” I asked one of the members of the ONU worship team. I and a few friends of mine sat down in the campground cafeteria and we listened to him share his story. For some reason it didn’t seem to resonate with me. However, one of my friends, who didn’t even ask the question, seemed to connect with his salvation and calling story. I was just along for the ride. 

I also inquired of the evangelist that weekend. After the first evening service we chatted briefly, but then, all of a sudden had to leave the retreat! I know, funny right? Retreating from a retreat? I guess it had something to do with his wife going into labor. He drove that night all the way from Illinois to where he lived in Ohio. I wondered if I’d have a chance to talk to him again…

All weekend long nothing clicked with me. I was still pursuing, being receptive. I was asking questions and getting to know the character of the one who would speak, the one who would reveal…but still nothing.

Thankfully, the evangelist was able to come back on the last day of the retreat. His friend drove all the way so he could sleep. If I remember right, his wife gave birth to twins. 

So I was able to connect with him before the end of the retreat. Our paths crossed outside of the shower house. I was getting ready to load my stuff in my youth leader’s car so we could head home. The minister asked if I was still considering if I was being called into the ministry. I relayed to him what I had been doing that weekend, seeking and asking questions.

Then he reminded me that evangelists sometimes take interns with them on speaking engagements, camps and trips. We had seen as much that past summer at church camp. 

I assured him I did know about interns. 

“I can take interns too.” 

Such an innocuous, matter of fact statement. But in those five words, God revealed to me something I knew for certain was from Him.

“I want you to speak for me.” I had no idea what that would look like practically, if it was pastoring children, youth, being an evangelist, a missionary, a chaplain, or a senior pastor of a church. I just knew God wanted me to be open to this big picture.

Speak for me.

One reason I know this and remember this was from God and not something I reflectively assumed, looking back on that weekend: I immediately testified to it. I told my youth leader who came to pick us up from the retreat. “God spoke to me. He wants me to speak for him.”

She thought that was really cool. I did too.

Sharing & living it out (What do we do with this?)

The last question remains, “What do we do with this revelation?” The Church of the Nazarene USA/Canada have been asking for a revelation concerning the life of the church and the individual. It’s something you can’t hear if you don’t know the one speaking.   It’s something you might miss if you aren’t looking for it. It’s something that you’ve got to open to…open to do something with.

In the book of Genesis, Joseph was gifted with the ability to interpret dreams. Gen 41:15-16

Joseph (Genesis 41)

15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires

Gen 41:15-16 NIV

Not only did he have confidence in the one who reveals these mysteries but he also followed through. He did what we are to do when a Revelation comes from God: Share it and Live it.

Joseph not only told Pharaoh what his dream meant – a famine, but he gave advice on how to deal with the famine: Stock up on food while you can! This advice was so good, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the project. He went from prisoner to policy maker and Pharaoh’s right hand man. This happened because he shared the revelation and then he did his part to live it out.  

When you Know, You need to Share and Go.

If God reveals something, tell someone and then live it out.

Many times, if you are blessed to get a revelation from God, you might be called on to share that with someone in authority. You might hear from God: “Drugs and addictions are destroying our neighborhood. They don’t honor me.” You take that message to people who are in authority and work with them to make policy in your community, your town, your state.  

You take it to anyone who will listen and get on board with you. You start a support group to get people off addictive substances and away from destructive behaviors. 

They might see the natural benefits, but you see and know the spiritual ones. 

People free from the bondage of addictions are a testimony to the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. 

Maybe it’s something else, but that was one practical example.  

PART 3

For me, I shared that revelation right away. Like I said, my youth leader heard it first. I affirmed it out loud, “This is what the Lord says.” But it didn’t stop there. I’m sure on my application to Olivet, I put my testimony. In the following years of Ministerial licensing, I wrote this story down – shared it with those who would review and encourage my calling. But this revelation and sharing it had to move me to further action. I needed to live it out. 

So I enrolled at Olivet as a Religion major. Nowadays they refer to it as a Bachelors of Pastor Ministries. This would give me a general understanding of the practical application of this revelation, this calling. Scripture studying, sermon writing and presenting, devotional focus, and evaluating and forming my biblical worldview. It gave me tours on how to guide someone through an emotion or spiritually confusing time. That calling still echoed, “Speak for me.” 

So I went into children’s, teen, and adult ministries. And now we serve the Lord in this community, in this capacity, at this time of my life. That was and is my living it out.

Call to action

Being receptive. Know the one who reveals. Share and live it out. All pertain to receiving a revelation from God. Not a play-by-play

So what’s your story? What has God been saying to you these days? Has he given you the BIG picture? The Revelation? He usually follows it up with some specific directions to keep us on course. 

But I’d like to ask you, has God given you a big picture and if so, what is it? You might not know all the details – And that’s probably best. The church of the Nazarene is praying to get “the big picture” from God. We’re praying and listening. But what as individuals are we hearing?

What’s the big picture? What revelation has God shared with you? Comment below.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s