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

God Will Send Us Teachers

Meditating on the Word of God is the most meaningful part of my devotional life. It causes me to worship, pray, know God deeply and personally, act according to His truths and follow His direction because when I meditate I hear His voice.  I do not see myself as the most qualified person to write or teach about Biblical Meditation, but I have been graced to be alongside many that were. 

I had a unique experience for which I thank God. I found Jesus, or rather He found me, in France at the age of 18. After some days of extraordinary engagement with young Charismatic Catholics, who seemed so alive (making me realize I was not) I had a God ordained encounter with an evangelical Austrian woman called Linde Danzer. She spoke English with a crisp and clear accent that conveyed to me she was intentional in all her communication. Indeed she was, as I found out when she directly asked me if I wanted my life to belong to God. To my astonishment I heard a loud voice inside my head say, “Yes.” Linde believed that everyone should know Jesus better, and I was a prime candidate in her view. Having challenged me with this question that evening she invited me to her room at 6.30AM the next morning. (Who does that to a teenager?) I arrived full of exuberance at my new understanding that my life now belonged to God. This was the first time that I had felt sure of anything beyond the temporal.

She motioned me to be quiet, sat me at a desk with a welcoming cup of coffee, a pen and an open notebook with a few words written on the top of a page. She explained that we would talk in half-an-hour but until then I was to write down anything I felt God might be saying to me through those words. I was flummoxed. Thirty short minutes later that page was filled to overflowing with my thoughts and responses. What Linde was doing was teaching me to meditate on the Word of God. Little did she know what those few words would come to mean to me. “I will never leave you; nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). I had experienced rejection and abandonment in my life and these words were the beginning of my healing. Linde and I repeated that exercise of a silent half hour in the Word of God each morning for the next ten days until I returned to England.

Shortly thereafter I began at college and on my dorm corridor there was a young woman called Helen Reed who had been taught by her mother to meditate on the Word of God. We became friends and prayer partners and I quickly recognized how she approached prayer through the Bible. My education in meditation continued. About that time I was taken to a meeting where someone called Pat Hughes was speaking. She taught Biblical Meditation from Exodus 16, paralleling the gathering of the manna to how we meditate in the Word. A light bulb went on as I realized this concept was deeply embedded in the Bible. I had recently met Stuart, my future husband, and then his parents, Shelagh and Campbell McAlpine. Campbell held a School of Biblical Meditation and was later to write what was one of the great books on this subject entitled “Alone With God” (now sadly out of print, but reprinted as The Practice of Biblical Meditation). God was about to bless my life further. Shelagh led a prayer ministry called Lydia Fellowship where the mandate was to “pray the Word.”  We were told you did not ‘join’ this fellowship, you just ‘did’ it. So I kept doing it with this precious group of women from 1973 until 2008.

I could name so many who have influenced me enormously over the years, like Tryna Bahl. I met her on our arrival in America in 1980. She was rigorous in her teaching on Biblical Meditation and pressed me into that place of discipline. My greatest gratitude to the Lord is for His gift of a life partner in Stuart, who not only meditates on the Word as a constant practice but also preaches out of his meditations. Since 2008 I have been part of ASK Network where we gather to ask with the Word. This has been an incredibly wonderful part of my story, asking with men and women of every generation in many nations. God loves His children to ask with His Word, so has bestowed His favor upon this Network. My life has been enriched by many, especially the teachers and prayer partners God has given me along the way. 

Celia McAlpine,

International Director, Washington DC, USA

ASKing since 1973