Settle Your Heart, Then Pray
New Orleans Revival Services 2009
Nita LaFond Johnson
The Lord once appeared to me and told me that Shabbat was, and still is, His favorite time of the week because it is family time. Whether you do Shabbat Friday to Saturday or Saturday to Sunday or even Monday to Tuesday, He just loves family time. He is so personable; it is wonderful and amazing to me.
Just the thought of Him and how wonderful He is brings a smile to my face. He is the way of life. In Him is life; in Him is the light that leads you into the life. Come to the light. How? Get out His Word and meditate on it until it becomes a part of you. Immerse yourself in His Word until you want the Word more than you want to eat. That is the hunger of heaven. I just saw Him, He stretched out His hand to you and said, "My little children, come eat of my bread, drink of my wine and I will fill your cup." His hand is outstretched. You never have to say “yes” to His invitation, but why would anyone ever say “no”?
During our second Gathering of the Eagles held in Washington D.C. after 9/11 we prayed for our nation and for Washington D.C. After we finished that GOE, I went and hid myself away in a mountain cabin. By the time I arrived at the cabin, I had come down with a bug and was feeling really sick. My flight had arrived too late in the evening to go and get groceries, but it was a Friday night and I wanted to share Shabbat with the Lord. However, because I didn’t have any groceries, I had nothing with which to celebrate Shabbat. I sat on the sofa and said, "Lord, I want to share Shabbat with You so badly tonight, but I have no bread and I have no grape juice for communion." He appeared to me and in His hand He had a loaf of bread and a cup of grape juice. I said, "Lord, You have communion!" He replied, "I have come to share Shabbat with you." How wonderful that night was.
The call is so simple, this love of God calling you so easy to embrace. He wants His love to soften your heart. Let Him fill and permeate you with Himself. He is so simple and uncomplicated. As Christians, we often attempt to make Him so complicated, but He is not, and He will lift you up into the glory of His love! You do not need an eloquent sermon to experience the love of God. You simply need a heart willing to open up and say, "Yes Lord, fill my cup with Yourself."
The light of the Lord is on you tonight. If you knew that every time you pray you are having fellowship with the Son, would you pray more? Do you not know that every time you come to Him in the true spirit of prayer, you are dining on the Son? Now listen to me: if you come to Him murmuring or complaining in bitterness of spirit, if you have given people in your world a hard time today, if you have found yourself accusatory, argumentative, and combative, then when you come and pray you cannot enter His presence in the spirit of prayer. It is impossible. You can talk, but He is not listening. If He were listening, He might have to chasten you, so He just does not listen. However, if you settle your heart and remember who is God and who is Lord, allowing your heart to be at peace with His Lordship, making right the wrongs immediately, His ear will be bent down deep to your prayers, and the fellowship will begin. There is no place else that I would rather be than in the fellowship of the Son. Create in me a clean heart and a right spirit, oh Lord. How I want my heart to be clean and my spirit right before You, that I might have fellowship with You in the spirit of prayer.
When you lift up His name and remember how great He is, you remember that He is the One that created heaven and earth. It becomes impossible to forget that He is the One that gave His life for you and that He is holy, just and pure. You embrace the knowledge that His heart is set upon you. Though He is God, He is your friend. If all be against you, God is for you; therefore you will not fall and you will not fail. Even if all were for you but God was against you, you could not stand. That is a lot to praise Him for! When you remember His goodness, your heart’s desire is to praise Him. He is mercy, truth, goodness, compassion and holy justice. He is love, and He loves you. It always makes me smile to remember who my God is and who He is when we pray.
When you pray, begin your prayer by remembering who He is. Praise Him for who He is. When you enter the prayer closet complaining, "Lord, I hate my boss, give me a new boss," He might give you a new boss, but let me share a secret with you – the new boss may just be worse than the one you have because God desires to teach you to praise Him in all things. He wants to teach us to love Him in the midst of all things and to learn the lessons He has put before us. We cannot do this if we are complaining and murmuring. So when we come before Him, things may not be going really well; in fact, things may be going really rough, but He is God nonetheless. The situation and circumstances are not God; neither are the people with whom we are having difficulty. Our own heart is not God; only our Father above is God. No matter how rough or hopeless the situation may seem, He is still God and it is amazing what He can help you overcome, if you will praise Him.
I have had a pretty bad heart condition for a long time. In August, I almost did not make it. September was worse than August; we did not know from one day to the next if I was still going to be here. My team was there, they can tell you. Despite my illness, I never complained and never murmured. Every day I remembered how great my God is and I rested in His hands no matter how bad my heart got and no matter how great the suffering. I would remember every moment the love of my God. I would meditate on how good He is and how good He is to me. Now, there were moments of fear because it did get really bad and at times – I did not know whether or not I was going to survive. So I would deal with fear from time to time, but mostly, I rested in the peace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. I rested in prayer because my colleagues would pray for me day and night. Together we won! Satan lost.
Now what would have happened if I had spent that whole time murmuring and complaining? Well, I would still be here because the Lord was not ready to let me go home, but I would have felt so bad because He came through and all I did was murmur and complain. I would have come through that terrible storm without learning a valuable lesson that the Lord had for me.
Now, I know none of you have ever done such a thing! You have never put on the sad soap for the Lord or sat around feeling sorry for yourself about your many troubles, because you would not do that, right? But you probably have neighbors on both sides that do. The nice thing is that when you do not complain and the trial is over, you are free and without guilt because you handled your suffering with grace and you found that you grew because you learned to trust.
Now, every day I get out of bed I trust for today and only for today. I have learned that at this time in my life, this happens to be how I have to walk – trust for today and He gets me through each day. We rejoice together and laugh together; my colleagues and I see great miracles happen because we pray and we believe. Prayer is a marvelous thing, but more marvelous even than prayer is God Himself.
Jesus never had to get sick to learn dependency. As a boy, His troubles were many, His trials were great. We read the Gospels and imagine that He just flew over every cloud and He had a great time here until the end, that handling problems was easy because He always had the right answer. Have you noticed that? Have you ever read those passages and thought, “why cannot I respond as He did?” He turned every wrong situation into praise for God. He just seemed to be so wise. Despite the many trials, He had the oil of joy in God, the oil of joy above His fellows. As the book of Hebrews says:
You have loved righteousness, and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy above your companions. (Heb 1:9)
Because He believed in God who was His Father and because He loved righteousness, He stayed in constant fellowship with the Father. Think about that! What a wonderful place to be.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon you so powerfully that you have grace enough to fly over every storm. This is what He is saying to you – you have grace enough to rise above every storm. You have grace enough to spread your wings and draw near to God. You have grace enough to know Him in the dark places and to know Him when the sun is shining brightly.
If you are someone who is suffering at the hands of someone you love, God wants you to know that He is your Friend and He is going to help you. You have grace enough for less of you and more of Him. You have grace enough to receive the knowledge, the wisdom and the revelation of God that can get you as far as you want to go into the life of the Kingdom where you, not your enemy, are the one ruling and reigning. You truly have enough grace to understand the ways of God and to be more than you have ever been. You have the grace to be more than you ever thought you could be in God. You have the grace to rule in this life, to bring your flesh under subjection so you can live. My friend, these words are from the throne of God straight to your heart, so read carefully that you my live by the life of the One who bought your soul, the One Who gives you life extraordinaire. You have the grace you need to walk in and live in the life of divine love. He has granted you the knowledge and understanding to know what it is like to walk in the life of the Spirit that lifts you above yourself and everything the enemy throws into your life in his attempts to rule you.
May perfect grace and peace, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity and freedom from fears and agitated passions and moral conflicts be multiplied to you along with the full personal, precise, and correct knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that are requisite and suited to life and godliness through the full personal knowledge of Him who called us by and to His own glory and excellence.
He has already done it; He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He has bestowed upon us His precious and exceedingly great promises so that through them you may escape from the moral decay, rottenness and corruption that is in the world because of covetousness, lust and greed, in order that you might become sharers and partakers of the divine nature. He has already given us the grace to become partakers of the divine life and nature of Christ. How marvelous a God He is. It is not something He will give you; He has already done it! You can become just like Jesus with the deposit of grace that He has put within you. In that seed of life is the knowledge of Him that has the power to transform your soul. Whatever problem with which you are challenged today is not your real problem; your problem is that you need more knowledge of Him. You need to dine upon Christ because He is the life of which you must drink, so drink of that Life! Drink of this strength, love, grace and joy. Drink of the Lord! This is not a difficult thing that I am sharing.
We have all things that pertain to the life of this world. Now it is time to break free of all that. You have been given all things that pertain to His life and the Godliness it creates within. That Godliness is so beautiful in the eyes of God. I only know this by hearsay because I am not a man, but you know, when a man falls in love, he likes to look at his bride and say in his heart, "You’re so beautiful and you are mine!" He may not say that directly to her or say it very often, but he knows it in his heart.
When Christ looks at you and you are clothed in godliness, He says in His heart, "You are so beautiful," and – this is the part He likes the most – "You are Mine!" When you are godly, you leave the world and the ways of the world behind for you are clothed in godliness.
I am seeing the most marvelous vision right now. It is a vision of the Bride, her face is translucent with glory and she is beautiful in His sight. Be clothed with Christ. How? Pray, because it is the only way. All that reservoir of grace that is within you is released to become strength through prayer. It is the only way you can ever be what He has created and desires you to be. We are to pray with a happy and joyful heart. With a heart filled with faith and trust so we can be an open and empty repository for Him to continue the work of pouring Himself into our souls.
Does that sound like a wonderful life? Pray like this: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy glorious name. Holy be Your name in me Lord. Let me reflect the glory of Your presence and holiness, for You are Holy and wonderful in your workings, oh Lord, creator of heaven and earth. Redeemer of my soul, you are my Lord, my friend, my ever-present help in time of need. You are beauty, you are grace. That is how you begin your prayer. Now you have His full attention and He is ready to hear what you have to say. Just remain in the Spirit and do not come down into the soul. You are blessing, glory and honor and we bless You, Lord. You are a blessing Lord; bless them with the knowledge of your love and care. Bless them, Lord, with whatever they need; they need to be touched by Your wonderful hand. For You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. We give You praise!
In His Love,