Lately, I have been really challenged to up the ante in what we are asking God for and what we have faith to believe God will do in us and through us. It seems every message I listen to, every Bible verse I read, every time I am in worship and prayer, this is confirmed over and over again.
Ps. Dave has been speaking on entering a new era. We are moving into a time when God will empower us to do things differently to before.
“But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun!
Do you not see it?”
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)
God is doing a new thing! He is leading us into a new era.
The idea of being early on our knees may not get you excited (especially the non-morning people), but I guarantee that if you jump on board with this, which we hope everyone on the team will, your personal faith journey will go to a new level. This is not for the faint-hearted; this is daily discipline, hard-core, life-changing stuff, so don’t tune out, decide right now that you are going to take up the challenge, walk this journey and see it through!
Earlier this year at our first Team Night we spoke on 2016 being a year of breakthrough for our team and how it would take some stretching. Well, this challenge that we are setting may just be the biggest stretch of the year, but I am certain that it’ll also bring the biggest breakthroughs.
To understand this ‘Early On Our Knees’ challenge, it’s important to understand why we do what we do. So, why do you think we do what we do? To see every person encounter God through worship and the creative arts.
One thing we care about and often focus on in our creative team is the level of excellence in how we lead people to God encounters in worship. We take great joy in bringing our absolute best when we serve God, not for the sake of excellence itself, but because we believe what we’re doing is worth us playing, singing, mixing and creating to the best of our ability. We want to be authentic in everything we do and do it well.
As you know there are certain expectations in joining the creative team. Here are some that spring to mind:
Reliability and punctuality
Communication with team leaders
Accepting dates when the roster comes out or finding replacements where possible
Attending team nights
Skill or being willing to learn a skill
Pursuing an ever deepening relationship with Jesus through prayer and reading of the word
Heart to serve the greater vision of the church
Attend heart & soul nights
Represent God and His church in all areas of your life
Be dedicated to improving the gifts God has given you – practice, study, attend lessons, online training courses
Be available for all special events and conferences where possible
They are our ‘not-negotiables’ I suppose, and one of those points in particular is what we want to focus on as we embark on this new era: ‘pursuing an ever deepening relationship with Jesus through prayer and reading of the Word’. It’s something that runs deeper than how well you may sing, play, or mix. What you design, write, and dream is awesome, but we care more about what the rest of us don’t get to see. Yes, excellence and execution as a creative team matter, but to grow and to see breakthrough, we need to give attention to our purpose and devotion; it is an important step in our faith to lift our devotion and expectation by being on our knees in prayer in the unseen hours.
Devotion matters. Prayer matters.
Ultimately, we don’t just want to engage our heads when we serve in church. Focus not just on your execution, but also your devotion. It’s tricky to measure – but is also best indicated by your mindset. How do you feel now about what you bring to the creative team? Is your approach the same as it was 8 months ago? Is there some negative thinking perhaps? Have you stopped working on your gift? Is some complacency creeping in perhaps? The key is to let your devotion to your creativity and giftings be fuelled by a growing private prayer life… hence the ‘EARLY ON OUR KNEES’ challenge.
“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” E.M. Bounds – 1907
Prayer strengthens our relationship with God. It’s one of the most important weapons we have to protect ourselves from the attacks of the enemy and to move ahead into what God is calling us to. I know for our team we need breakthrough in many areas if we are going to achieve all that God has in store for us to achieve. So why don’t we, together, accept the challenge to pray daily on our knees? Research suggests that on average, it takes anywhere between 21 and 66 days before a new behavior becomes a habit. So we went for the middle: for the next 40 days, Energizer Creative are on a mission to be early on our knees in prayer.
You may have heard the saying “if you want God to do something new in you, you cannot keep doing the same old thing.” You have to do something different. And if you do, God will create new capacities within you. There will be new gifts and new revelations. But you’ve got to pay the price (or pray the price in this instance). You’ll get out of this what you put into it. So… are you ready to take up the Early On Your Knees challenge?
Here are some pointers to get you started:
1. No More Excuses (ouch)
Let’s MAKE MORE TIME in our day – it’s a choice. Become aware of the enemy’s tricks and don’t let him invade your time with God by using things like busyness and tiredness as an excuse.
2. Teach Me to Pray
Even the disciples had to pray “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11). Don’t be so hard on yourself if you aren’t sure how to spend 15, 20, 30 minutes in prayer. Let that be your first prayer. Teach me how to pray focused prayers. We also encourage you to keep your own journal. It’ll help you not just pray, but pray through until you see the breakthrough.
3. The Posture of Prayer
We are choosing to kneel in fervent prayer because fervent prayer is necessary prayer. It is a total body posturing, focusing, and communing without multitasking. The true purpose of prayer is to get into God’s presence so He can outline His agenda for us.
4. Early Rising Prayer
We encourage everyone to rise 30 minutes before your normal routine each day to pray. We can learn this discipline from Jesus himself – in Mark 1:35 he demonstrates this for us: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
The Early On Our Knees prayer challenge is going to change your life. In fact, we believe the next forty days have the potential to dramatically alter the rest of our lives. We are believing that God is going to begin a good work in us, and He is going to see it through to completion. If you press into God’s presence like never before, you will experience God like never before. You’ll look back on these forty days as the best days of your life. They won’t be the easiest days; in fact, they may be the hardest; don’t be surprised if you experience spiritual opposition along the way. But if you pray through, God will break through in new ways.
The time that Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting and praying, marked a critical chapter in His life. Jesus was tested like never before, but this experience set the stage for His greatest victories. When Jesus returned from the wilderness, He wasn’t the same person. You won’t be either. You’ll emerge from this Early On Our Knees prayer challenge, full of the power of the Holy Spirit.
As we dreamed up this challenge, we were drawn to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
Our prayer is that this daily habit won’t stop on day forty but it will be something we all continue to do for the rest of our lives. Our prayer for you is that each day on this journey will yield a new discovery. Those discoveries will change the way you pray, and when you change the way you pray, everything else changes. We as a team are going to GROW FROM THE INSIDE OUT by being EARLY ON OUR KNEES.
Remember, breakthrough won’t happen when we are operating in our comfort zone, breakthrough will happen when we are operating in the faith zone. “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
We don’t want this team to just do what is comfortable or what comes easily; we are called to break new ground, to take back what the enemy has stolen, to pave a way for people to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, to put on the armour of God for us and the people around us, to bind up the broken-hearted and to set the captives free; we are called to operate in the faith zone. It’s a new era.
Let’s be early on our knees!
Who is going to take up the challenge?
– Katie Swift