Currently, my church is in the middle of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. (Please, check out the link to see the structure and what we do everyday). Each morning, we are up and at 'em praying over prayer cards, other believers, and lists of people that need intercession. We do this every January and August to center ourselves under God after a time of rest. I have gone to God in this time and asked Him to bless my legacy mentality that I have for 2020-- planting seeds even if I don't see the harvest, loving people even if they don't love me back, and giving even if I get nothing in return. God (via Pastor Mark Pettus, Pastor Chris Hodges, and word association) gave me the word ANOINTING through the story of Elijah.
Pastor Chris had recently preached on how to cultivate an anointing in a First Wednesday message. It was so powerfully convicting. He spoke on how we can't allow the things of the world into our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies and expect God to come out. This encouraged me because I have worked really hard in the past several months to get rid of things that don't service my spirit. It's been a detoxing type of experience to get rid of the urge to scream at my kids or snooze through a prayer time, but there is no feeling like going to bed and telling yourself "I kept my promises to myself today." It's been through this discipline that I have felt God's peace and let me tell you, it couldn't have come at a better time. So many things have come across my path in the last several months that have flipped the tables on my life. I might be clinging to the mast as the ship is tossing and turning, but it reminds me of how many people don't even have a boat.
Coming into a new year, I wanted to take the disciplines I had added to my life and really use them. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I believe if anything in life is reduced to checking a box on the to-do list, you shouldn't do it. Take a breather, go walk around the neighborhood, get a snack, take a nap, go for a drive, but recognize when you can't dig in and recalibrate. I never wanted prayer time to become the first thing on the to-do list. I wanted to always respect it as
my time with God,
my confrontation of the devil, and
my time to set my intentions for the day.
I spent so much of my time in a posture of gratitude and humility. I often prayed, "Lord, let you will be done" and a lot of "thank you for what you've already given me." Let me be clear on this. Humility and gratitude is attractive to God. It welcomes Him because He is being exalted as what He is: almighty, a provider, and second to none. Humility celebrates that we don't stand in our own abilities. Okay, so now that we've set the stage for God's power, shouldn't we... ask for it? Seriously, we've done all this work to get His attention, what are we going to do with it?
In an earthly scenario, imagine someone you greatly respect. Maybe a political figure that has helped his citizens or a wounded veteran that is helping other veterans; someone that used their influence to make the world a better place. If you could have their undivided attention, wouldn't you do more than thank them? Wouldn't you ask for a blessing in some way? Whether that be just gaining knowledge from them, bringing another need to their attention, or just ask for advice? I hesitated to do those things with God, feeling like I wasn't worthy to ask even though the Lord has already used me in so many ways. I think I paralleled Elijah.
In 2 Kings 18, Elijah is being challenged by the prophets of the god, Baal. Jezebel is calling for execution of all prophets of the Lord, so Elijah and his friends are hiding them in caves. The hunt for these prophets eventually becomes a showdown on Mount Carmel-- Elijah is facing hundreds of prophets of Baal where they will see who can summon the real God. Elijah is so confident! He even tells the prophets of Baal, “Shout louder! Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." (2 Kings 18:27) After hours of crying out to their god, Elijah built an alter. He summoned the Lord and the Lord consumed the offering with fire from heaven and all the prophets of Baal were killed.
Amazing right? God is amazing and Elijah is amazing because supernatural things happened with just one prayer. As you can imagine, this made Jezebel mad. She vowed to give Elijah the same fate as the prophets of Baal and he fled. FLED! God literally delivered his enemies to him with minimal effort and he fled because Jezebel threatened him! Not only did he run away, but he ran into the wilderness and became suicidal-- praying for God to kill him. He fell asleep. An angel woke him and said to get something to eat then to rest some more. (the Word I'm hearing right now is that most of the time we just need a nap and a snack.... just sayin'). When he woke the second time, he felt stronger and walked forty days to a cave where the Lord met him.
God asked “What are you doing here, Elijah?
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
In other words, get out of this cave where you hear the echoes of everything you're afraid of and come meet me out here where I can show you, again, that I fear no one. God shows his power in a wind that tears the mountain apart, an earthquake, and fire. Then he gives Elijah instructions to go back and anoint more prophets and kings so he would not be alone.
Being anointed is nothing more than God choosing the right tool for the job. Except what's ironic, and sometimes hilarious, God will choose the most unlikely to achieve His mission. He will choose people with a past or no skills to not only carry out a great mission, but to build the spiritual muscles of the person He chose. The thief develops the heart of a hero but doesn't change on the outside so he can save more thieves.
Stepping into our anointing is stepping into an identity. It's the only thing that's powerful enough to rebuke both pride and doubt.
Learn from Elijah. Don't make the Lord show you over and over why you should seek Him for the things you want. If it makes you feel any better, He already knows you want them, so just ask for the steps in obedience and faith that will steward those things well.
Be an active part of your blessings today!