I would like to begin by sharing a true story about an on-fire preacher and pastor for God named John Harding. John wasn’t always a Christian and emblazoned for the Gospel of Christ. He was initially a career army man. He came out of the army and was living a sinful and wretched life. John’s mother however, was a Pentecostal woman attending a little old church in their town; and she would pray, and pray, and pray for her son John. One day John got rip roaring drunk and took a notion to go down to that little old church. Now, this country church had those old fashioned swinging doors that when you push they swing both ways. He walked into the church and saw his mama sitting on the 2nd row not wanting to disturb anything he just slipped into the back row unseen. The preacher started preaching and something started messing with him on the inside. He knew that if he didn’t get out of the church right then, he would never get out. So he got up and ran for the door. He pushed those twin doors and when he did, his testimony goes, that it was like hitting a sheet of concrete. They wouldn’t open. John stepped back and came at the doors again and again they would not open, no one was standing behind them and he knew that they opened both ways. By this time people in the back rows were watching him. John went to approach the doors the third time and that’s when he heard the voice of the Holy Ghost say to him; ‘John if you push that door this time they’re going to open’.
In the third test and trial of Christ’s temptations, the devil challenged Jesus in His relationship with the Father and all of Heaven. He was tempted to pray and call upon the angels to perform supernatural feats of divine protection. Throughout the forty days, Christ spent many hours in prayerful communication with the Father. And although, Christ knew that the Word did decree for his protection; He also knew, that everything lawful to Him may not necessarily be profitable (see 1 Cor. 6:12). This revelatory knowledge came from interaction with his ‘Abba Father’. Dr. Raymond Culpepper, General Overseer of the Church of God Cleveland TN, once wrote “prayer is more than communicating with the Father, it is interacting with Him.” (Culpepper) Christ’s interaction with His Father during fasting was far greater than interaction with all of heaven and its angels in time of testing.
One of the greatest lessons that Christ gave to his disciples on the matter of prayer was where he taught that prayer was a means of interacting with Him. Jesus said “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9). There are three means of interaction with the Lord through prayer; To ask, To seek, and To Knock.
The first means of interaction with God through prayer is to “ask and it will be given to you”. We find in James “…you have not, because you ask not” (James 4:2). This initial means of interaction is not to be thought of as a despised or prideful level of communication with God. This interaction should not be confused with a ‘give me, give me’ mentality. This form of interaction is appropriate as Paul instructed us to “Let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). The first thing a baby is taught as they learn how to speak is to ask for things. As we learn how to interact with God, we first must come to understand that “whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do” (John 14:13 KJV) Asking is a part of receiving, and receiving involves interaction.
The second means of interaction with God through prayer is to “seek, and you will find”. Some things cannot be apprehended by asking alone. Some things you have to search for. The world’s greatest treasures, like gold and diamonds, have to be discovered in the caves and river beds. Likewise, the greatest treasures of His glory cannot just be asked for “But seek ye first the kingdom of God…and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mat. 6:33 KJV) In seeking after Him, we receive things we would otherwise never be able to receive. For after all, “He rewards those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6) We can interact with God by seeking Him.
The third means of interaction with God through prayer is to “knock, and it will be opened to you”. In the spirit, we do not knock on windows or walls; we knock on the door, which is Christ (see John 10:9). This means of interaction is assuredly the highest and most ultimate place of communication with God. It is at this level of interaction, where one enters into the presence of God. When we knock, we will be invited in to the place where God is, where his plans are revealed, where his purposes are understood, where his praises are heard. When you come to this final means of interaction with God and you enter through the door by your secret place of prayer coming in to His presence; in that moment asking for something just doesn’t seem appropriate, seeking and looking around appears futile, in that place where everything else is insignificant the only interacting that is done is God’s people basking in His beauty and grace; “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
The purpose of prayer and fasting is not just to communicate better with God and His Spirit, but it is to interact with Him for the purposes of the Spirit in the world in which we live.
When drunken and sin-infested John approached that door for the third time, and he heard the voice of the Holy Ghost speak audibly to him, he turned himself around on his heels and ran to the altar of that little country church. He got saved and filled with the Holy Ghost (Franklin). John is now preaching the Pentecostal Message in a church today, all because one mama interacted with God through prayer and together witnessed a lasting miracle.
Have you interacted with God today?
- Power in Fasting – Strength Conditioning (pastorstrom.com)