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This is a repost of an article I did for the Justice House of Prayer in Washington, D.C.

Today we call it a global prayer movement. For centuries it was referred to as monasticism. Today we call them Houses of Prayer, or HOPs. For centuries they have been called monasteries. We call ourselves intercessory missionaries. For centuries our types were known as monks. At every point and place where Christianity came into crisis or compromise, God raised up a prayer movement, a new monasticism or faithful praying remnant to ensure that discipleship, grace and the Gospel were kept pure.

Most notably in the third century when Christianity became easy, grace cheap and the path wide, holy men and women went out into the dry places and deserts to die to self, stay pure, to encounter God, to learn to love him and obey, radically obey. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire into the Medieval Period it was the monks of Ireland who literally saved civilization (Good read: How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill).

Hung by his neck in a German concentration camp, pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s vision of “a new monasticism” also suffered an early martyrdom of sorts. Eight years earlier Bonhoeffer was leading an underground seminary in a chilly remote place called Finkenwalde. There he taught what we we know today as his Cost of Discipleship, much of which is a commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. There he and his students lived in community the daily rhythms of life and prayer which is spelled out for us in his short book Life Together.

finkenwalde

Dietrich Bonhoeffer with students at Finkenwalde Seminary

In a earlier letter to his brother Karl-Friedrick, he made a very prophetic and important statement that many of us have adopted today as our guiding charge.

The renewal of the church will come from a new type of monasticism which only has in common with the old an uncompromising allegiance to the Sermon on the Mount. It is high time people banded together to do this. (14th of January, 1935)

For Bonhoeffer, the Finkenwalde rule included life together in authentic Christian community, or in his words, banding together. In a 1936 letter to the Finkenwalde community, Bonhoeffer noted that it also included “assembling together every day in the old way to pray, to read the Bible, and to praise our God…” This illegal seminary at Finkenwalde was both a school of prayer and a singing seminary; the daily prayer rhythms and worship life of ancient monastic orders he revived in fresh form. The foundation of the curriculum was “The Discipleship of Christ” as given in the Sermon on the Mount.

The next generation of pastors, these days, ought to be trained entirely in church-monastic schools where pure doctrine, the Sermon on the Mount, and worship are taken seriously–none of which are at the university and cannot be under the present circumstances. (DBWE 13, 1/147, 217)

Bonhoeffer became captivated by and fascinated with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as the expectation Christ had of his followers. Bonhoeffer saw “these words of mine” in Matthew 5-7 as foundational for the Christian life and putting them into practice to be the key to successfully weathering the storms to come. The Sermon on the Mount ethic of enemy love was to Bonhoeffer the summit of the mount and his seminary at Finkenwalde was a training outpost for Christ-like passive resistors. He trained his students to use spiritual weapons and not take up the world’s weapons of war.

The crucible of political hostility and societal animosity toward Christians is definitely on the rise in the world and it tends to produce a more pure discipleship. And even though it only existed for two years before being shut down by the Gestapo, Bonhoeffer’s illegal seminary at Finkenwalde was a snapshot of Bonhoeffer’s prophetic vision of the essence of discipleship training within the context of a new monasticism resulting in the renewal of the Church.

In our day when church leaders more resemble CEO’s and celebrities than self-denying devotees of Jesus, and in our day when religious liberties are increasingly in peril again, Bonhoeffer’s model at Finkenwalde is truly a call back to the fundamentals of Christian discipleship, Christian community, a daily rhythm of prayer, Sermon on the Mount lifestyles and ethics.

CLICK HERE TO SEE JHOP DC’S DAILY PRAYER SCHEDULE

A book I’ve been recommending to those in our house of prayer is the book, Punkmonk, by Andy Freeman and Pete Greig. The title conveys how today’s monks in 24/7 prayer/furnace rooms in the major cities of the world look more like a pierced and tattooed generation of youth. The monks of the earlier centuries looked different too. It’s no different than what our friend Lou Engle is calling us to with the Nazirite vow. It is my intention here to open our eyes to the breadth of what the prayer movement looks like in the world today. It spans all the traditions.

To keep the discipline and perseverance required to pray continually means that you begin to experience different styles and types of prayer: New models, ancient disciplines, silence, liturgy, open prayer, prophetic prayer. Our prayer flows in rhythms. (Punk Monk, 127)

I want to reawaken the contemplative you if the contemplative you isn’t already awake. There are daily rhythms of prayer and communion and encounter with God that we must never step out of. Far back into Judaism, and far back into Christian history, the faithful had set times for prayer and set prayers for those times – and there was a unison chorus.

Spirituality is very varied and there is a time and place for all kinds of praying and expression. Many reading this are no doubt fluent in things like authoritative and warfare prayer, healing prayer, intercession, declarations, binding and loosing and so on.  But the ancient spiritual disciplines need to be reawakened too; Meditation, Fasting, Study, Simplicity, Silence, Solitude, Submission, Service, Confession, Worship.

Our spirituality needs to wider and deeper.  It will take a deep root in God to withstand the days to come!


A native of Kansas City, Steve Hickey is pastor emeritus of Church at the Gate in Sioux Falls, SD and a former South Dakota Legislator. He and Kristen live in Scotland where he is doing post-graduate work at the University of Aberdeen on Bonhoeffer, the Forerunner at Finkenwalde. He’s written several books including Obtainable Expectations: Timely Exposition of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and The Fall Away Factor.

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A few months ago I stirred the pot with a post called “Why we aren’t going to Urbana 09.” I needed to hear the honest responses I got from leaders at Urbana. Even so, here is a plug for what I am fully behind during that same time slot– onething’09 – December 28-31.

This year onething’09 will focus on the theme “What is the Spirit saying to the Church?” I appreciate the consistent, unwavering message coming out of Kansas City and here’s why.  I recently heard of a US Senator who went to seven major ministries in America with the question, what is God saying right now to our nation? Sadly, he reports he got seven very different responses.

Maybe this letter from Lou Engle and Mike Bickle will fire you up as it does me. My initial comments on the IHOPU Student Awakening are here. Paragraph by paragraph, from the evangelism explosion on school campuses to the false justice movement embedded even in evangelicalism, I couldn’t agree more with what is written below.

Dear Friends,
 
We stand at a critical juncture in our nation’s history. It is time to encounter God and to take action. The Holy Spirit is visiting His people with power. At the same time, the powers of darkness are raging against the moral fabric of our nation. The light is getting brighter as the darkness gets darker.

Many of you will have heard of the spiritual awakening at our Bible school. On Wednesday, November 11, the Spirit fell on a class for more than 15 hours. The word spread quickly, and over 2,000 people spontaneously gathered in the auditorium from all over Kansas City, as deliverance and physical healings continued to increase. We canceled our classes for the next week so that each one of our 1,000 students and interns could receive from the Spirit in an extended way.

We decided to meet four nights a week from 6:00pm to midnight because His manifest presence continues to increase. Visitors are pouring in from many places across America to partake of this spiritual awakening.

We will continue these evening meetings until our onething conference, December 28-31, 2009, when we are expecting 20,000 young adults to gather to worship, hear teaching, and participate in the supernatural ministry of the Spirit.

Last year, over 16,000 young adults attended this conference. We are still hearing testimonies of lives that were changed. This year, we are expecting to receive even more from the Spirit. We believe that this will be a historic and important conference, and encourage you to attend.

The theme for onething’09 is “What is the Spirit saying to the Church?” Our team will proclaim what we believe the Spirit is prophetically speaking to the Church in this hour. We will also share practical ways in which we can “adopt” high schools and colleges across our nation as we envision young people impacting each sphere of society with works of justice and acts of compassion. At the conference, we will have extended ministry times to receive healing, renewal, and impartation from the Spirit. We believe that the Spirit will release His power at this conference, as evidenced by what He is currently doing in our evening meetings.

Mark Anderson, a senior international leader in YWAM (Youth With A Mission), who also works closely with Campus Crusade for Christ, will host forums for leaders to discuss how we can systematically evangelize entire cities and campuses in partnership with the houses of prayer in their area. Mark has remarkable insight that comes from his thirty years of successful ministry in evangelism. The Lord has given him some bold new strategies for this hour.

The crisis in our nation is real. The serpentine stranglehold of abortion continues to squeeze the life out of over 4,000 wombs daily. Sexual immorality, both heterosexual and homosexual, is reaching epic heights of perversion. The number of women and children being trafficked into the dark underbelly of the sex industry in our cities is growing at an alarming rate. Entire school systems are giving way to darkness. The sanctity of marriage is under siege, threatening to destroy the moral foundations of our nation.

We will also address the growing crisis that is emerging in many churches across America. A new wave of confusion is systematically seducing many young adults into deception. Sincere young people whose hearts were once ablaze for Jesus are being allured into compromise on foundational biblical truths and practices, while at the same time they are increasing in works of compassion and justice. No amount of increased ministry activity can “balance out” their profound spiritual compromises. In the name of tolerance, they are settling for a humanistic and “politically correct” theology that trivializes the glory of Jesus. Many young adult ministries are falling prey to this as they are seeking “relevance” that dulls the razor’s edge of truth for the sake of man’s approval. It is not enough to mention Jesus’ name if they deny foundational truths about Him. Our works of justice must flow from deep allegiance to Jesus and the Scripture.

Our nation has never stood on such a precarious footing as today. The onslaught of spiritual darkness is increasing in our classrooms, boardrooms, courtrooms, and bedrooms. We must confront the confusion that is pouring forth from many pulpits as well as from the halls of Washington. It is time to draw a line in the sand. We must hear what the Spirit is saying, and we must act on it. The Spirit will confirm the truth with demonstrations of power.

It is darkest before the dawn. Our hearts are full of faith. We know another historic “Great Awakening” is soon to sweep across our nation. We look with confidence to God’s promise: “In the last days . . . I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17-21). All nations will receive the witness of the kingdom with power (Mt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9). What a privilege to live in this awesome hour of history.

At this very hour, Jesus is raising up young adults who are being mobilized to cry out in night and day prayer, win the lost, heal the sick, and do works of compassion and justice as they impact the very fabric of our society. Join us in Kansas City from December 28–31. The onething’09 conference is FREE. You can register at IHOP.org.

With passion for Jesus,
Mike Bickle and Lou Engle

This is a great book! We were blessed during our 12 city Urgency Tour in February to have Danielle and Darlene drive from KC to Church at the Gate here in Sioux Falls to personally deliver 300 copies of Justice Loves Babies so we could give them out to South Dakota pastors. God, raise up a children’s prayer movement for the unborn!

More info and ordering information here.

The Great Awakenings in early America (that evangelicals love to romantically look back upon) were scandulous and freaky to the mainstream church of that day. The revival leaders were heralded as “false-everything,” the manifestations made the news. Yet today we look back quite fondly on those “special times” God visited our nation. Today, May 1, is the National Day of Prayer. People are gathering all over America asking God to visit us again.

Let’s be honest… if God were to “visit” our churches today in similar fashion, half of yous would walk out and spread a bad report. Am I wrong? Before you judge what is unfolding in Florida, ask yourself this question… what will it look like when God shows up? The self-appointed, unaccountable, anonymous, bitter and fruitless doctrine police on the Internet are already having a heyday with Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Florida outpouring. They shoot their arrows from places of concealment. They sit in the seat of scoffers. They bother me because their methods and message are far more unBiblical than anything unfolding in Florida. The Bible cautions against those with forms of religion but who deny the power. Anyone else want the power? I do.

Come out of your cave and stand there and wait for God to pass by. You thought he’d come in a storm or a whirlwind didn’t you? Nope. He came in a still small voice. To all of you now standing outside your cave waiting for a still small voice, I’m guessing he’ll come now in the storm and many will miss his coming. Do you think he’s forever locked into passing by in only one fashion?

Some of us have been praying and fasting for years for God to come in power. Personally, I’ve been fortunate to have been in some recent outpourings – Kansas City being our hometown, Kristen and I experienced the early years of the Kansas City Prophets and saw God move mightily in those gatherings. We were dating at the time and that’s what we did for dates – go hear Bob Jones! There was good and not so good and, long story short, we bolted to Chicago for a few years to settle into safer ministries. But I love the Narnia line about Aslan the lion/Jesus… “Is He safe? No. But he’s good.” In 1996, the Spirit rocked us again. Since then I’ve been to Pensacola/Brownsville, Toronto, Nigeria and Kiev. Last summer my son Caleb and I, and friend Andy, went on a prayer journey to Herrnhut, Germany to tap into an ancient awakening there.

I believe in cross-pollination, transferable anointing and impartation. Historical revivals spread up and down the east coast of our nation because people traveled. I’m bummed some of the aforementioned outpourings didn’t last or, in any tangible way, transform the city in which they occurred. I believe we are learning more each time about how to steward a move of God. There are God visitations spoken of in the Bible that were soon quenched by carnality, pride and the like. I know we are to inspect fruit, but the Bible doesn’t discount the authenticity of a visitation just because the people afterwards veered off course.

And now something has broken out in Lakeland, Florida. With many others who also have their ear-to-the-track regarding the End Times, I’ve been waiting for something to pop somewhere and for it to go national, indeed global, in just a few weeks through the wonders of technology and transportation. In the 80’s back in KC we held on to prophecies that God would one day fill stadiums with prophetic healing meetings. This is happening tonight in Florida. Meetings that were only intended to go for a couple days have now been ongoing daily for weeks – they are outgrowing every venue they’ve moved into and tonight they will be in Tiger Stadium.

For these reasons I’m watching Florida really close and watching my tongue lest I speak against something God is doing. Friends who have gone have come back powerfully healed. Others report some misgivings. I certainly have some misgivings of my own but they are easily overcomeable. Each night our family has been watching via GODTV. A few guys in the church have talked with me about going. I probably will. I think you should do what Zack Hensley is thinking of doing – driving down with a buddy just to kick your skepticism in the face. Let’s be people who bless not curse. Thanks Zack for this blessing prayer:

Bless Todd Bentley, Bless those in Lakeland Florida. I pray that the Lord continues to give him a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that they would know the hope of which Christ was called. I pray for all those touched by the Lord in healing and salvation that He would complete the work he has started in them. That they would be counted worthy of His calling and that the grace and peace of Christ would sustain them until the end. amen

I’m not worried about being deceived. I trust God’s ability to keep me more than the devil’s ability to deceive me. Here’s what I fear more… missing a move of God because it came in a way that made me uncomfortable.

I share Randy Bohlender’s sentiments

Revival is always a polarizing event and this one is no exception. I don’t feel compelled to answer for ministry styles or personalities any more. I do know this – our friend, Kelsey Hayes, was dramatically healed (is there an undramatic healing?) last week. My guess is her parents didn’t worry too much about the ministry style. Do I wish people did things a different way? Of course…but not enough to reject something if God is in it.

[SH: Read a news report of Kelsey’s healing here. I highly, highly recommend you read this testimony/news report.]

Do desperately hungry people get real picky about how and who hands food to them? No.

Numerous CATGr’s are quite familiar with the main personality in the Florida outpouring – Todd Bentley. A year ago I led a group of 30+ people through a study of his book on the Supernatural World. It was a great upgrade for those of us ready to “set our minds on things in heaven, not on earthly things.” Others have been to conferences where Todd has ministered. Same story… some powerfully touched, others report misgivings.

Personally, a few of his antics and of course, the observables (tattoos and piercings) don’t make much sense to me. But here’s how I’ve overcome that… I asked myself what the 21st century equivalent to eating locusts/wild honey and wearing wild camels hair and a belt might be. What do you think it is? Wearing wild camels fur put John the Baptist in league with the outcasts and unclean. I’m thinking today’s equivalent might be tattoo’s, t-shirts and piercings. Lou Engle once commented about the young generation that God is raising up today that is so full of piercings. Frustrated, he told God… they “look like fishing lures.” God responded something to the effect, “Precisely, and I’m going to use them to reel in the nations.”

What should a “man of God” look like? Do I fit the bill? In other nations, cultures and camps probably not. Twenty two years ago when I entered ministry the “man of God” wore a blue suit and a red tie (that is if you had any holy role on the platform). But I started to move in other circles and discovered a camp where the “man of God” had to have a $3000 suit to show off his anointing. If I’d have shown up with my $100 blue suit/tie they’d have kept me off the stage and cast the spirit of religion off me and tried to introduce me to the new wineskin.

Today we are active in the ARC and in the prayer movement. Last week we were in Birmingham for the ARC conference and repeatedly saw how the “man of God” wears an embroidered untucked shirt with the sleeves barely rolled up, jeans and dress shoes. At IHOP, frankly, anything from Goodwill will work. They don’t care down there because the knees will wear out soon anyway from hours in the prayer room. Dressing like that in the house of God is “offensive” to some – where’s the reverence and respect?! I say, lighten up. In the case of female attire, at least they exude a modesty I’m not seeing in suburban evangelical youth/college ministries. My son Caleb graduates high school in a couple weeks and is heading to IHOP’s Forerunner School of Ministry in the fall. After four years of buzz haircuts for Marine Corp JR ROTC, he told us this AM his hair is going to get longer and that he is thinking about a tattoo on his arm of the Hebrew letters for the word “Nazirite.” I told him to hold off on the tattoo but I was delighted that he has the heart of a Nazirite. Maybe I need a tattoo. When I cut my long hair a few years ago many CATGr’s were relieved. One of our worship team peeps commented to me the day I cut my ponytail off… “good, now I can invite friends again to church!” Maybe I’ll put my earring in again.

One of our praying people at CATG once told me regarding Heidi Baker that “she offends the natural mind before she even opens her mouth.” If you’ve seen her you know about the twitching and jerking. It does… it offends the natural mind – many probably think “this lady is a certified nut.” But, no. No, no she isn’t. God is using her to minister to the discarded children of the world – to start thousands of orphanages and churches. She is going to the hopeless places in the world the scoffer has yet to go and, unlike the scoffer, she is bearing eternal fruit. And, buckle up for this… she is literally seeing things in her ministry like the feeding of five thousand with a single bowl of soup.

One things I know about a genuine move of God, it will offend the natural mind. If you can get past that you can get into the supernatural.


I hope you’ll also read my other posts on Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring.
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part two
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part three
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Angel Emma
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley, Violence and the Kingdom of God
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley, the manifestations of the Spirit or Kundalini?

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