Ruined for the Ordinary

Ashamed to say, I was a spirtually arrogant 18 year old who had read just about every book on prayer available. I was quite certain I knew everything there was to know about prayer.

I was listening to a visiting young YWAMer teach on Steps to the Throne by Joy Dawson, when the beautiful conviction of the Holy Spirit overshadowed my heart and humbled me. 

Moments later we gathered in a small circle, and we asked God what nation to pray for. We all got India. I thought to myself “What are the statistical probabilities of that?”  

Some of the group had come to Jesus just the day before. I was already to pray about India, but Kel Steiner said, “Now we need to ask Jesus, what about India?”  Everyone heard children. I was astonished again.

I was like a race horse pawing the ground at the gate, I could hardly wait to start praying. But then Kel said, “Now we need to ask Jesus what about children in India?”  Finally we began. 

That meeting ruined me forever for ordinary prayer. 

Sadly, the next 15 years were a prayer desert for me. 

I prayed for nations by myself, but couldn’t find a group who felt passionate about it. If I suggested we meditate on Scripture and pray what God gave us, people looked back at me blankly. It was a foreign concept. 

Then Tanya Geue invited me to the home of Virginia Otis, to a prayer meeting.

I felt like a dehydrated fish put back in water, slowly coming back to life. Ah, water. Life giving water flowed around us. We were praying over Los Angeles, and I remember one person saying “Jesus, we are not afraid to feel your emotions for this city.” We were not just praying intellectually, but with our emotions open to God to feel as He feels. This profound beauty of feeling how God feels isn’t limited to a select few who hear God well.  It is available to everyone, everywhere.

That was almost 3 decades ago. As I have meditated on Scripture and prayed with Lydia, and now ASK, it has significantly transformed me.  It has been the most formative part of my journey with Jesus.   It has enlarged the borders of my being.  Praying Scripture has taken me places from which I can never return. 

I dream of a day when every person first coming to Jesus, is immediately taught the beauty of Biblical meditation turned into prayer for nations, communities, those they love.

We love a God who speaks. We love a God who knows intimately, in real time, the needs of the world.  We can echo the prayers of Jesus and travel to the remotest parts of the earth in real time, and see Jesus do what only He can do. 

Pascal says, “God give man the dignity of causality in prayer.”  God dignifies us, by giving each of us a part of working together with Him to see His kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.  

It is a peerless pleasure.

Fawn Parish

Camarillo, California USA

ASKing since 1991

Prayer Has Become So Personal

Almost 35 years ago my friend Betsy contacted me.  “Let me tell you about this exciting way of praying I have found out about.”  As I learned more about praying, meditating on God’s Word and learning to listen and pray together in a group, it changed my life forever.  At first I wondered how God could speak to us all so directly as we gathered, but as time went on I began to see the way God worked in our group.  Meditation was not something I had even thought of in my busy life as a pastor’s wife and the mother of 4 children.  No time for that, or so I thought!

Our group gradually learned how to listen as God spoke to us through the Word.  We always worshiped first and that paved the way for the Holy Spirit to come and be a part of our meditation.  As we gathered to worship, the Holy Spirit’s presence was tangible.  Then we focused on a few verses God had given us to meditate on and we wrote fast as the thoughts tumbled out.  As we began to share what God had given us there was usually a pattern to our meditation and we learned to pray in agreement  for each revelation  and then go on to the next subject.  It was not uncommon for several of us to receive a similar thought, but there was always something new added also.  The meaning of Psalm 119:130 became so clear to me, “The entrance of your Words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”  The truth of this verse has been proved  over and over again to me, both in personal and corporate prayer.

For example.  During  a recent ASK meeting as we meditated on Psalm 126, the first country we prayed for was Israel.  Look at this Psalm and see all the wonderful things we prayed.  Then we prayed in a similar way for 2 other countries that God had shown us to pray for.  The meeting was just before Thanksgiving.  We prayed for families and prodigals asking that we would be lights to our families. Then we extended it to families across the nation, praying for  Christians to be lights around the Thanksgiving table.   God gave  a vision of shafts of light beaming down on us from heaven and then widening and extending to our families and others across the Nation.  This led to us praying for the Churches throughout the nation and then our local churches.  Can you see how the thread goes?  As we prayed we kept listening to the Lord and He continued to reveal to us how to pray from the Word. Another person in the group also had a vision about us being lights.  God’s  Word was the focus and we kept going back to pray the Word. Note:- Other Scriptures are often brought to mind as we pray.

Throughout the years this way of praying has become very personal to me.  As I read the Word each day God uses these verses to teach me, instruct, convict, encourage etc. (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  I have daily prayer tools from His Word that I pray constantly for myself, family, others, the nation(s) etc.  So much revelation.

There is much I could share but let me encourage you to start ASKing the Lord to reveal from His Word how you can pray for yourself, your family, community, the nation(s).  You’ll be hooked for life!

Beverley Coad

St Augustine, Florida USA

ASKing since 1985

ASKing for Muslims during Ramadan

In our call to ASK for Nations and Unreached People Groups, it is really exciting to join with other ministries and intercessors around the world at key times during the year. 

It is coming up to Ramadan, 24 April – 23 May, and I thought it would be good to share two resources with you that I find really helpful.  Each one gives a different focus to help us ‘dig in’ in prayer.  They are filled with inspirational stories and videos giving deeply insightful information that has increased my understanding and helped me grow in love for the Muslim people.

Do take a look at the links below.         

The Prayercast link gives you the option to have a prayer inspiring video sent to you each day during Ramadan.  The video explains the lives and circumstances of different Moslem people groups from many Nations and prayer is shared.   The most unreached people groups are a particular focus. The website also gives beautiful prayer videos and moving testimonies of Muslims who have come to know Jesus in remarkable and miraculous ways.

30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World is a wonderful prayer booklet and there is still time to order a copy or to download a PDF file to your mobile or desktop.   (USA)   (UK)

Jenny Bailey

Cheshire, England – ASK Network UK Director

ASKing since 1986

Discovering Ourselves Through ASKing

I attended my first Lydia gathering in Arrowhead Springs, California when I was 25 years old.  My beautiful mother-in-law Virginia brought me along, my four-month old son Brendan in tow.  I was hooked from the beginning.  My next participation was at an international conference in Scotland some two years later.  It was attended by 500 women from around the world.  I remember standing in the midst of worship that first day and knowing in my very depths I was at home.  

Throughout the days of that Scotland gathering, I was impacted by how personal and deep each woman’s relationship with God was.  Yes, they had gathered to pray for nations – but it was not just a prayer task. It was obvious to me that they knew Him intimately – more than I did.  It was expressed in the way they worshipped, in how they expectantly listened for His voice during meditation in scripture, in the prayers of great faith that arose out of the insights they received waiting on the Lord.

That gathering was 34 years ago and I have remained a part ever since, first with Lydia Fellowship and now with ASK Network.  It has been one of my unshakeable priorities, no matter what life has brought.  I am still part of a faithful group of ASKers who have gathered once a month from across Washington State (USA) and British Columbia (Canada) for many years.  We have prayed for the generations, prayed and traveled on assignment to dozens of nations, prayed and worked in the streets of our own cities, on Native American reservations and so many unexpected places, ASKing for God’s goodness and promises to materialize for others.  

To this day, every time we gather to be still, worship, meditate in His word and respond (ASK!) I am reminded how incredibly intentional God is toward us.  We come because we have been drawn to this work of intercession, but as we settle into worship and the Word, He never fails to make a revelatory connection with us on an individual, very personal level.  We desire to be good and faithful servants, and all the while God is making us known—as He knows us—to ourselves.  He calls us back to who He created us to be, just as we call out for others in intercession.   We cannot be in His Word, listening for His voice and not be personally revived, remade – made NEW!

I realize now, looking back, that I have been experiencing this great exchange for decades. 

I read in a recent blog by Maria Shriver, “At the end of the day, I believe that the greatest gift we can give someone we love is to see them, hold them, nurture them, and know them for who they really are.”  I want to affirm this is the great reality we experience in the place of ASKing intercession.  He is a faithful, intentional Father to us.  Loving us back to Himself all the while revealing the truth of who we really are.

I’m so grateful to be on this journey of fruitfulness and discovery with you.  Your lives continue to enrich mine – both in the obedience of intercession and the pursuit of individual wholeness.

Lisa Otis

Snohomish, Washington USA

ASKing since 1983