How the Spirit is leading me to pray in covid-19? A new thing!

I’m in covid-19 self-isolation by the beach in Whitianga. This might be self-isolation from people, but it’s opportunity to be up-close with Our Father. As I asked the Holy Spirit, what to pray? He said, pray for my ‘church’ to arise and shine like Daniel.

Arise and shine like Daniel

In Daniel 9:2 we find Daniel reading Jeremiah’s words, that after 70 years Israel would return from exile in Babylon to their own land. So he prayed for this to be so. What he read was Jeremiah 29:10, this puts context on Jeremiah 29:11 which seems to be prophesied over almost everyone at some stage.  To receive this ‘prophesy’ in Jeremiah 29:11, we must have lost a lot through the Father’s discipline. Discipline through which we have set our whole heart to seek Jesus, praying for his future for our lives on earth. Check it out in Jeremiah 29:10-13, seeing Jeremiah 29:11 in context will remove  lot of disappointment amongst those still waiting for their hope and future, but not seeking Jesus with all their heart.

The Spirit led Daniel to pray for the prophesied return of Israel from their exile in Babylon, an exile during which they had prospered in wealth. But which was not in the promise of God. In fact, Isaiah 43 likens this return from exile as a new thing bursting forth in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

I am about to make a suggestion I want you to consider. The ‘third soil’ in the parable of the soils in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8 has similarity to the exile in Babylon. Read these passages and ask the Spirit; is this a major reason we see so little fruit for the gospel? Are we choking the word with our pursuit and anxiety about wealth and well-being?

Now I’ve given some context, here is what the Spirit said to me this morning. (I am now writing with Spirit as first person, please allow for my humanity)

What the Spirit said to me

Pray for my people to come out of their exile in the third soil and come into the fourth soil. In these days I am working and calling my people to come out of their exile in the strange land of anxiety to rest by faith in Jesus Christ.

While exiled in Babylon my people continued to identify as my people, they maintained worship and religious practice. But they were not seeking first my kingdom coming on earth, as in heaven. They were seeking first their identity as Israelites and their prosperity, and their security in society on earth. This was not my purpose for them, my hope for them, my rest for them, nor my best for them.

While they prospered on earth they did not prosper in Spirit, and they did not bear spiritual fruit. They were barren. They were like what I described in the third soil. My word was in them, but the cares of this world and their desire for wealth choked the life in it so they had no spiritual fruit. So, at a set time, I called my people out of exile. I called them to awaken, to arise, and to return to life in my promise. And only a remnant returned, and through that remnant salvation came to all who will believe.

Hear what I the Spirit am saying: “I am calling out those who will find their rest in risking all in this world and the next into my care: trusting that my word is true.”  Pray with me for the ‘remnant’ to awaken, arise and return to risking all, trusting our (God) word is true. This is my groan within you. (Romans 8:26)

Much of my church has enough word to identify as children of God. But most expect the gospel to spread through their kindness. Hear me clearly: Human kindness does not bear spiritual fruit, and for the gospel to spread there must be spiritual fruitfulness in my people.

I have set a time for my people to come out from the fear of lack, and to seek first my kingdom. I am not calling you to pray against covid-19, but to pray for yourselves as my church to come into your promised new place of rest and fruitfulness.

These are the days to meditate on Matthew 6 and 7 and let me the Spirit speak into your hearts. I will cause your faith to arise; enabling you to throw off the anxiety that is choking you. If you let me, I will purify your hearts from the double-mindedness of serving two masters.

Every time anxiety arises in you, confess it before me and reset your heart to believe: Your Father in heaven knows what you need before you ask him, he will add to you all things, he gives good gifts to those who ask him. Get my word in your heart from mediating on Matthew 6.

As my people come out of their exile in the cares of this world and their desires for wealth that choke the word; they will begin to produce the spiritual fruit I have purposed for them. This spiritual fruit will spread the gospel through the earth.

Back to me, Paul: Thankyou Holy Spirit for helping us to see what you are doing in these days.

What now?

Now is our opportunity to set morning and evening times to humble ourselves before God and pray. Ask him to set us free from all our anxiety and fear, and to obey as he leads. I encourage you to:

1) Meditate on Matthew 6 and let the Spirit set the truth in these scriptures alive in your hearts.

2) Be ruthless with your anxiety over the things of this world, see it as something of your flesh to crucify with Christ; again and again until you’re dead to it.

 3)Hold the truths of God’s love and promised provision in this world firmly in your heart and in your mouth. This is being the fourth soil that bears fruit.

4)Pray for yourself and the church across Aotearoa to come out of exile in the third soil where the word’s potential is choked to where new fruitfulness will burst forth.

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