“To conclude this series on prayer, I have asked fellow Jessup student Sara Lewis to share her insights on prayer and experience of God through it. Please give thought to what she has to say about the power and authority given to believers!”
— David Andrew
Walking in the Spirit
Only in the last couple of years have I experienced just a taste of what it means to sit in His presence, and every time only leaves me wanting more and wishing I had started sooner! It is never what I expect, always breaks me at my core, makes me aware of my smallness and desperate need for Him, yet always leaves me with what every soul has sought after since the beginning of time: peace and fulfillment.
That said, you’d think we’d all be tapping into this resource like free drugs, right? (Maybe that’s a bad analogy). I’d be ashamed to admit to the trivial, even dumb things I let get in the way of time spent in prayer. The enemy doesn’t care what else I fill my time with, as long as the time is spent. (If you haven’t already, please read C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. I can’t stress its eye-opening importance enough!)
Why would the enemy spend so much effort in keeping us distracted? Spinning our wheels? What about us spending time in the presence of God is so detrimental to his cause?
Time spent in the presence of the Almighty God cannot leave a person unchanged. The Spirit of that God dwells within us, and the more time spent communing with it, the stronger and more dominant it becomes, and the smaller we become. I see people walking in the power of that relationship like Heidi Baker, Kim Walker, Brooke Fraser- people who can enter a room and darkness flees, simply by the power of the Spirit dwelling in them – and I don’t know about you, but that is something that stirs a hunger in me deeper than I can describe. It is a power so beyond ourselves that we must be empty of ourselves and filled with Him.
This doesn’t happen by osmosis! It’s available to us, but God waits because we must ask. It takes time and effort. Even sacrifice. (i.e., time spent online, watching a movie, hanging with friends… instead of finding a quiet place to invite God’s presence and ask Him to speak and change our hearts).
Here. A story to sum up my heart in this: I was in Amsterdam 2 years ago on New Years Eve on a mission trip. (if you understand the utter insanity New Years Eve in Amsterdam involves, and you know me, that would shock you)! It was just after midnight in Daam Square, I was bundled in 293 layers and just trying not to get vodka, urine, or vomit splashed on me, and was filtering smoke-filled air through my scarf. Thousands of people had flown in from all over the world just to be part of that massive party, and I was smack in the middle of it with my friends.
If Europe is one of the spiritually darkest places of the world, Amsterdam is the epicenter. It felt heavy, oppressive, and “lost”. Not something I’m used to, having been raised in church! It was as if my spirit was resisting the oppression with everything it had, and it left me feeling sick. After midnight, we were watching fireworks from a rooftop and I couldn’t take it anymore; I was exhausted in every possible way. A guy friend on my team said he would take me to our hostel, and a hostel employee guided us. What followed was an experience I will never forget, and as bad as it was, I hope I never do.
The streets were so crazy that fireworks were being lit into crowds, drugs and alcohol were flowing freely, (I got several offers…which I turned down), and the street was carpeted in firework wrappers and who knows what else. Safety was a concern, so my friend offered me his arm, and I held it with a death grip as we walked on around more corners, through more alleys, among more jostling crowds that never seemed to end. I closed my eyes because I felt a strange, overwhelming heaviness, as if I was being suffocated. I hit me that this was an environment so absent from God that it was as if I had entered enemy territory and I was a target.
Then, as if it could get worse, we entered the most famous red light district in the world. (Later I found out our guide got a talking to, because he wasn’t supposed to take us that way). A totally foreign thought entered my mind: “You’re going to die. You won’t make it out of here.” From a physical standpoint, that thought made no logical sense. Yet I understood it perfectly, and believed it. I felt my lungs collapsing like something was pushing on them, and I couldn’t breathe. I looked up in desperation and only saw those dark, A-line rooftops that lean in toward the street, tall and ugly in the glowing red lights and flickering of fireworks. I remember thinking, “God! Where are you?! What the heck is this?” I heard clearly, “I never left You.” I thought back, scared and wanting to cry, “But it’s so BIG!” (The world around me and whatever was suffocating me). I’d never felt so small and easily squashed in my life, nor had I realized how big evil could be in comparison. But the verse we all know was suddenly spoken in my mind’s ear as clearly as any spoken phrase I’ve ever heard: “Greater is He that is in You than he that is in this world.”
There are those times when people quote familiar, well-loved Scriptures to us, and that’s nice. This wasn’t that. It was said with authority, took me by surprise, and held everything in it that I needed to understand at that time:
- Yes, the “thing” around me was bigger than me. But it’s not about me.
- The Spirit living inside me, the Spirit I am ushering into this place simply by setting foot there, is BIGGER, and it is a threat.
- I must realize the authority I am walking in or I’ll be useless. All the enemy has is fear, and if He can keep me too afraid to fight back, he will win.
It took me a couple of years to unpack everything God showed me in that experience, and realize the lasting impact it would have on my perspective of the spiritual realm and the reality of our position in it! Imagine something simple for a second: every believer in the world walking in the divine authority given to us through Jesus. Realizing we carry His power within us.
Holy. Stinkin. Cow.
To say our world would not be the same is a pathetic understatement. Seeking after the face of God through listening prayer on a practical, daily level is easier said than done- I’m realistic- but come on. Both present and eternal rewards far outweigh anything else that could take its place! He loves when we seek Him- the results will not disappoint!
Sara Lewis is a marvelous pianist and a woman of great depth in and love for Christ. She also shares her thoughts and experiences on Tumblr!