Me and Jesus at nighttime equals incredible. I have had some of the sweetest moments of my life with the Lord in the middle of the night. I have always been a night owl. I love being in my room alone with the Lord when I know everyone else is asleep. It feels like just me and Him hanging out. Sometimes I’ll just lay on my bed and cry as His presence washes over me. I don’t need to say anything to Him and wake up my roommates. He already knows my heart. Sometimes He has a lot to say at night and sometimes we just sit together and enjoy eachother. These incredible nights first began when I worked the evening shift at a bookstore in Dallas. I usually got home at around 11pm in which I would immediately watch Conan O’Brian while I ate my Ramen noodles and then turn Conan off, lay across the living room floor on my back and stare at the ceiling fan. My roommates were all asleep so nobody could hear my conversations with Him. We would talk about my family, my church, my failures, His plans and other items that were always up for discussion.
When I was in Fire in the Night– an all night internship at the International House of Prayer I learned that there were many verses and actually whole Psalms devoted to encountering God in the night.
“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” Psalm 16:7
“Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil;” Psalm 17:3
“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” Psalm 63:6
“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” Psalm 119:48
Psalm 134 was believed to have been sung to the nightwatch as they entered tabernacle of David. Yes. There was a nightwatch back then. The tabernacle had 24/7 worship and prayer and so David actually had hired guys that came in and hung out with the Lord all night long.
“1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.
3 May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 134
I was able to be a part of one of these nightwatches in the summer and winter of 06. I came into the prayer room at midnight and paced the stinky floor of the IHOP prayer room until 6am. I would like to say it was heaven and sometimes, yes it was, but there was a lot of time where God was preparing and strengthening me for many things yet to come. It was a time where He was speaking destiny over me in the middle of the night. Where he was calling me to a place of really hearing His voice and working out the rough areas of my life that I hadn’t yet submitted to Him.
And not only do I encounter Him when I am awake at night but I encounter Him in my dreams. In my dreams I see Him washing my feet, sitting on the side of my bed having a conversation with me, or giving me a hug. Sometimes I encounter Him in ways that are NOT so sweet. Like maybe I’m exposing demonic forces and wake up speaking in tongues at 5am (like this week) , fighting in an endtimes battle, evolving into the prophet Jeremiah, or maybe He’s revealing secrets to me about the future that aren’t so pleasant.
So when I heard Norah sing that first line this week I couldn’t help but feel He was calling me back to that night season again… and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Yesterday was a fasting day. I was in the prayer room during the 4-6 set, taking in all the sights and sounds of a few hundred Jesus lovers gathered to cry out for mercy and pour their hearts out at His feet. I took note of my posture as I was observing the Lord moving on various people in the room. Standing up, I had one hand in my pocket and another grasping an Ozarka water bottle. For a brief moment I had a flashback of myself in this same physical posture at a show in perhaps Dallas or Little Rock, a Bud Lite or a Heineken in hand enjoying the idolization and glorification of the talent of human beings… not to mention the seduction of rampant immorality in these bars and clubs.
Now, I do have to mention that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having fun and enjoying an art form. I have been to shows that have actually inspired me to love God more (though these were performances by Christian bands) and it wasn’t just words but music that awakened something in me.
I think of King Herod in Acts 12 “On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a mere mortal.” Immediately , because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.”
Not that audiences in most concerts are shouting at the muscians “You MUST be a god!” (though I have to mention that some of them do scream things similar to this), but the majority of bands are completely idolized for their talent. If you think about the hundreds of women (whom most of the musicians take advantage of) that follow them from town to town, this might conclude some of your questions. What about the posters plastered all over the walls of teenage bedrooms? These kinds of things don’t happen to normal folks.
What I love about IHOP is that when outside people visit, more often than not, most of the people don’t have any idea who is playing on stage. They haven’t come to oooh and ahhhh over the musicians (though they might respect the gift God has given them), they have come to seek the living God.
Sometimes I wonder if I should be like Lou and just chill at IHOP 24/7. During fasts I sort of feel like I live here. I never get to see my apartment. Today Dale thought I was moving in. I had 3 bags containing my laptop, two kinds of juices and an exorbitant amount of books including two different Bible translations.
I’ve noticed in the last week or so that people seem to be smiling much more in the prayer room. In fact, in the prayer room last night, a total of four people, out of nowhere, volantarily and SINCERELY smiled at me as if they actually were glad to see me.
I was stunned.
I was so stunned I didn’t know what to do with myself. How do I react? Is it okay to smile back at someone in the prayer room? Is that kosher?
I think we need to make this a new precedent in the prayer room. I think we should smile at eachother more often. We are the body of Christ, you know. We should like eachother.
And trust me, I know. I’m the choir that I’m preaching to. I don’t smile often while I’m in the prayer room. In fact, people have told me that they have been scared of me when I get in my whole pacing routine. But that’s gonna change, baby.
I’m going to be a smiler. One of these days it’s going to become easy to make people feel appreciated, loved and welcome at IHOP.
It has been a somber yet clear and beautiful day after Mike’s exhortation yesterday during the staff meeting. Actually, I don’t know if exhortation is the right word… but I’m very grateful for Mike’s leadership and I’m grateful for the leadership of the Holy Spirit who prompted Mike to give this word of correction. There is nothing more destructive to the body of Christ than sexual immorality. It not only affects our own hearts but it affects the hearts of those we love. Trust me on this when I say that it can absolutely DESTROY the hearts of those that you have made vows with.
One thing, specifically, that I felt the Lord highlighting in my heart was the secular media. I have felt the pang of guilt as I watched a show on TV or watched a movie that was not particularly pure. Why am I watching something that Jesus would clearly frown on? We can make all the excuses we want by saying that we can’t seclude ourselves from the world and “we are in the world but not of it” but the truth of the matter is Jesus might go to a movie if it were today but He definitely wouldn’t sit through a bed scene or laugh at the raunchy humor of an effeminate charector. He wouldn’t consider a promiscuous couple to be “cute”. He wouldn’t embrace wickedness like we do when we let ourselves be entertained by it.
Art and film are beautiful things. I LOVE a well-made, well-written film. That’s why when the Lord started speaking to me last night during the meeting, things began to click in my head. Consider this a prophetic word… blog-style. Once we take the position of severing our connection with wickedness and embracing righteousness… God will honor it. How will he honor it? By filling the void that we think we have with divinely-inspired creativity… which can only be the best kind of creativity. I don’t think the believing community has done a great job with asking the Holy Spirit for ideas for higher-level artistic expression. It’s already inside of us, we just need to tap into it. IHOP has been prophesied over that we will be producing films… so let’s start believing God’s promises about this and not use the world for inspiration. Let’s use Him!
It feels like the week of freedom. As I’m waiting to hear back from my Aunt who is in Redding California right now getting healed of cancer, I can hardly manage to contain myself with thoughts on how tender, merciful and compassionate Jesus is. I’ve been learning a lot about the freedom we have through the blood of Jesus and through the truth of the message of the Gospel. God has been giving me a lot of revelation… some through the Holy Spirit and some through others… about how to destroy the works of darkness that have held us in bondage since childhood. It is actually very simple. Through intimacy with the Maker of Heaven.
The unsettling truth is, many of us have strongholds that have held us down since childhood. It all started in a moment when words of rejection were spoken, we were touched in a wrong way… it could have really been a number of things… and since we were children we didn’t understand our innocence in the situation… we just believed a lie about ourselves and about God. This is when the enemy decided to take advantage of us and create a stronghold in our lives that would last until adulthood. As I’ve had moments of breakthrough in this area this week, nothing has been really formulated enough to actually articulate.
Today in the prayer room (during Misty’s 2-4, of course) I suddenly caught a stream of thoughts running through my head. A wave of rejection came over me and suddenly I heard clear voice in the midst of the chaos of lies. It said to me “that’s not true, Brooke.” Suddenly, I had a flash-back to a couple of moments in my childhood that I had filed back somewhere in my brain and sort of left alone. I remember at the time these words were spoken I really believed that I was a bad person but as an adult remembering the situation, it was an absolutely terrible thing to say to a pre-teen girl and had really no truth in it what-so-ever. The Holy Spirit began speaking truth to the lies I had believed and internalized all of these years. Lies telling me that I was a fraud, that I only worshiped God and spoke about Him constantly to get attention from others. These lies pushed me into a pattern of striving to earn God’s love all through-out my life and if I didn’t live perfectly than I would become consumed with shame. I was in the prayer room today actually concerned that as I was softly weeping in the presence God, others might think that I was conjuring something up, that the love I had wasn’t real. I had all kinds of accusation coming at me but the Holy Spirit broke in and spoke truth to me and I believe a lot of freedom was experienced today.
Praise God that we can be confident that no one knows our true motives and the thoughts and intentions of heart but Jesus, Himself. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone else, including Him.
Yesterday I was singing for a team at the JPR and we had what I thought was a fantastic set, though I tend to feel deeply insecure every time I walk off stage… I’m hoping that this will change over time. Anyway, I was all concerned that I had botched some things up but one of the guitar players started in on a very profound speech. He is also a guitar player for a popular team at the GPR so he’s pretty experienced, of course. He began to discuss the importance of being able to submit to what the Spirit of God is doing in the room during a set… to not just spout out scriptures because you think you have something good to say but to connect your heart with God and flow together in the Spirit with the rest of the team.
I’ve heard various singers say things like “singing is just like any other thing I do. It has the same emotional significance to me as doing the laundrey.” That just sounds really sad because to me, singing is prayer. At the same time, however, since I am a fairly new singer to IHOP and haven’t quite gotten accustomed to singing for reasons other than to pump my ego up, I struggle with not allowing my insecurities to overshadow what God is doing in my heart and in the hearts of the others in the room. I know this is a very easy reaction to have as a singer or musician.
Well, I have thought a lot about this speech since last night. The remedy? More soaking prayer. More prayer in general. More prayer room. And not only that but to remember that the reason I’m singing in the first place is to be more in love with Jesus and assist people, globally to be drawn away into a spiritual atmosphere where they can be more in love with Jesus as well.
It’s the same remedy we have when we are struggling with general prophecy. Prophetic singing obviously needs the prophetic spirit behind it. Prophetic singing isn’t just singing whatever comes to mind and having no heart connection to it at all. Prophetic singing is declaring, through music, what is on the heart of Jesus.