Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - Tabernacle Prayer

Chris Hodges - Tabernacle Prayer

Chris Hodges - Tabernacle Prayer
TOPICS: Pray First, Prayer, Tabernacle

All right, who's glad to be in church today? Anybody, anybody? All right, you do. Oh, good to see you, everybody. Welcome today to week number two of the series based off my new book called, "Pray First". We're so glad that you guys are here today. Let me look straight into the camera and say hello to all of our campuses, our locations across the great state of Alabama and in Columbus, Georgia. And God bless you guys today. What a joy it is to bring our ministry, our community, everything that we are as a church into more than 20 of Alabama's Department of Corrections facility. Love you guys so very much. And there's always people watching online somewhere, are live right now around the world, or maybe on demand later in the week. We're so glad you're along for the ride, as well, today.

Grants Mill, help me welcome them like you've never done it before. Come on, everybody. Thank you. We're also in day 8 of 21 days of prayer, and I always like to encourage people. Kind of we're midstream like this, that don't be afraid to jump on in. Some people said, "Oh, man, I missed the beginning". No, no, no, you can jump in at any time with your fasting or your praying. I did a little teaching on fasting last week. We have lots of resources on our website, as well, if you've never fasted before, but it's a powerful time, and I just want to say thank you to every one of you guys. We are having some of the largest crowds we have ever seen at 6 o'clock in the morning, I mean, literally thousands and thousands and thousands of people that are praying every morning, and I just want to thank you for that. I really believe God's moving.

I think something shifted here, and I'm excited, not just here at our church, but I'm hearing it everywhere in churches around our nation. I believe God's moving, in Jesus's name, and I really do, and I want to invite you to come be a part of it. We are praying at 6 o'clock every morning. And if you can't get here in person, you can always stream it live online or watch it on demand, as well, and have these times of prayer with us. And I want to encourage you in the fasting time, as well. We're Saturday at 9 o'clock for our prayer time, and just want you to come along for the ride. In the middle of all this, we are talking a little bit about prayer. You know, I've been talking about and resourcing Christians for a long time on the topic of prayer, and I did write a book that really is 40 years of everything I learned about prayer and making prayer work.

And I would love for you to get a copy of the book. Some of the campuses have them. A lot of them have already sold the copies that they had on hand, but they're available everywhere books are sold. And but I want you to have this material. This is something that I've actually been sharing with Christians and the people that I lead for a long time, and I want to share a portion of it today with you, as well. You know, I get asked a lot of times by pastors, "How in the world did you create the prayer culture you have at Church of the Highlands? How in the world do you get thousands of people showing up that early"? And here's a simple answer: I gave them resources to show them how to actually enjoy it. And that really is the truth. It's a whole lot more than inspiration. I think, personally, the flaw, and it's not that it's bad. It's just not enough. The flaw is that people are always being told to do it, but never how to do it.

So, I think you need more than inspiration. I think you need information. You need to know the tools. And if you're like me, you grew up in prayer with something you know you were supposed to do, but you never liked it. And I was paranoid about it. In fact, when I was called on to pray at meals or whatever, you know, you seize up. I mean, it's just like, "Oh, my God, what do I say"? And I remember my first panicked prayer moment when I was young. And some of you that have been around, you've heard this story before, but I vividly remember a Sunday school class, I was raised Baptist, in the Sunday school class, the teacher stood up and said, "Okay, we're going to join hands". Well, that's creepy already. I don't know where those hands have been. Come on, everybody, right? And I remember holding hands, and she says, "We're going to do circle prayer".

You Baptists remember circle prayer? So, that's where everybody is going to pray. Teacher says that. Everybody's gonna pray. I'm gonna start. I'm gonna set the bar so high, you can't touch it. Like, I'm gonna start here, and I'm gonna pray, and when I'm done, squeeze, squeeze hands, squeeze, squeeze. You know, that means it's your turn. Well, you're on the other end of the circle, right, which is terrible, because you're in the disadvantage. Everybody's gonna pray your material before it gets to you, right? You know. And I'm not even praying. I'm like, "Oh, God, what do I say? What do I say"? I'm panicked. My heart's beating real fast. I'm not praying. I'm like, "What do I say"? And then they did it, then they did it, and then there's always somebody in the circle who can just wax so eloquent, like they're... and then do it in the King James.

I mean, like, they had this way too high of a bar set. And then it comes to you. This is a true story. I vividly remember it. It was to me, finally. And the person squeezed my hand, and I just went squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, and just sent it on around. I got nothing. There was nothing there. And so just move on around that circle. Or if you ever remember like recited prayers. And there's, by the way, nothing wrong with memorizing prayers, but some of them, if you think about it growing up, like, "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake", I mean, come on. Hope you have a good night, little 5-year-old. Hope to see you in the morning. Maybe, I don't know. You know what I'm saying? Sleep good.

You know, like, what is that all about, you know? And I don't know, and for some of you, you grew up in religions, too, where they taught you just to memorize prayers and recite prayers. And there's nothing wrong with that, but God always intended for prayer to be a whole lot more meaningful than that. So, when I got saved at 15 years old, one of the first things that I got discipled in was prayer. In fact, I remember them talking about setting the bar high. They were talking about praying for an hour because of this one verse where Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, and he told his disciples, "Could you not tarry with me an hour"? And my answer was, "No, can't do it". I mean, I just didn't have anything. There was, I mean, I had about 5 minutes worth of material, if I'd go real slow, you know? And so anyway, they were saying, "Yeah, we're gonna pray an hour".

My goodness. And it sounded like too much. And I'll never forget them introducing a topic that I want to introduce to you today, and that is they showed me some of the models of prayer or the patterns of prayer by looking at the prayers in the Bible and how they really teach us something. In fact, the first one I learned, we're not gonna talk about this one today, but I write about it in the book. It's the Lord's Prayer, not as a prayer; because if you just pray the prayer, that's 26 seconds. At my pace of reading, that's 26 seconds. And you know God always intended for us to spend more time with him than 26 seconds. And again, there's nothing wrong with praying the prayer just as it's written, but Jesus didn't say, "Hey, pray this prayer". He said, "After this manner, pray".

In other words, use this as a model or as an example, the way I like to say it, as an outline, and there are seven elements in the Lord's prayer. And someone taught me, "Hey, you can take your time on each phrase, and here's what you can pray for," and it revolutionized my Christian life. And I started using this, and prayer became easier for me. And this is what I've done for churches and the people that have been coming to our church for years, and that's why I believe that it's worked. And today I want to teach you another model, and here's kind of our theme verse of the day. The Bible says pray in the spirit. In other words, pray God's way. And then it says "in". Say the next to words out loud. "In..." I'm gonna give you one more chance to do it a little stronger. Pray in the spirit in..."

Yeah, in other words, prayer is not this quiet time in the morning. And for some of you, it's gotten way too quiet, 'cause you've fallen asleep, right? And so it's not a quiet time, and it's not just this moment, and it's not a meal thing. What if conversation with God was supposed to be all day long, sort of like the conversation you might have with your best friend... or for me, with my spouse, Tammy. I mean, we text all day long. "Hey, I'm on my way home". "Hey, pray for me right now. I'm heading in this meeting". We have a relationship, so there's an ongoing conversation, and it doesn't feel hard because I love her, and I know her. And really God says, "I want you to pray in every situation. Pray in the shower. Pray in the car. Pray when you go to work. Pray when you're coming home from work. Pray before the meal. Pray before you go to bed".

Just what would it look like if you threw up one sentence prayers in moments all throughout the day, sort of like you're texting with your friends and had a conversation with God? I'm gonna tell you what would happen. You're gonna enjoy it. It's gonna become more personal and real. And then the next line says, "And use every kind of prayer and request that there is". And I didn't even know that there were different kinds of prayers and requests. So, for the past 40 years of ministry, I started collecting outlines out of the Bible, writing them out in ways people can understand, and showing them, "Hey, this phrase in Scripture during that prayer means you can take a few minutes and pray for this, and then pray for this". And we've made it available.

When we first started, they were just stapled together sheets of paper. We've graduated to beautiful booklets that we give away during the "Pray First," and the 21 days of prayer season, and then we also just recently put it in an app where all these prayer models and all these different ways you can pray, every one of them that I've taught, warfare prayers, the prayer of Jabez, the Lord's prayer, the Tabernacle prayer, all these prayers are in an app. And watch this. We've even matched music with it, so it goes with you. So, as you're praying these different kinds of prayers, and today I want to teach you one of those models, and why? Because it's my favorite way to pray.

Now, before I give it to you, I want to say this to you. I'm kind of giddy about this message today in an unusual way. I've never really felt this way. I'm having some of the same feelings that I had when I gave my daughter away to my son-in-law. Now, I had two emotions that day. "Oh, my goodness, I'm giving you this precious gift, and I think I want to punch you in the face". Like, I had both of those emotions going on at the same time, right? And I don't want to punch you in the face, but I do feel like I'm giving you something that's very precious to me. And I'm very giddy about it. I actually think, "Oh, my goodness, I'm getting ready to share with you one of my top three greatest revelations I've ever had in my Christian walk," and that's not an exaggeration. I know preachers are known for exaggerating. That's not an exaggeration. I'm getting ready to share with you something that's very precious to me, and I'd like for you to lean in.

In fact, even if you're not a normal note taker, I'm asking you to take notes today and write down these little seven phrases, and I want you to just follow along, and it might even turn into, as I'm teaching it, we actually turned it into praying a little bit. I'm gonna share with you my favorite way to pray. It's called Tabernacle prayer, and the context of this prayer comes from a story that you probably are familiar with, but let me build the context. Moses and the children of Israel, of course, slaves in Egypt. You know the story. Even if you're not a Christian, you probably have seen the movies, right? God sends Moses as a deliverer to lead four million Israelites out of Egypt. They, of course, cross the Red Sea. The Red Sea parts.

You know the story. They go to Mount Sinai, get the Ten Commandments. After the Ten Commandments, they were headed to the Promised Land. It should have only taken a few days. It took them 40 years to get there. They wander around in a circle in the Saudi Arabian peninsula, in the wilderness, the Bible calls it, because God was teaching them some things. And since they weren't permanently in their home yet, they needed a portable church building along the way. So, like, we have permanent locations, and then we have portable locations. About nine of our campuses are still setting up and taking down every Sunday. I do want to pause and look into the camera to every one of our portable locations and give a big shout out to all the setup and takedown teams who've been up since 4 o'clock in the morning.

Come on, show some love to them, everybody. Yeah. Okay, so they use two different words for their portable and permanent. Their permanent was called the Temple. So, if you see that word, that means that was in Jerusalem. It was the real building, okay? And Lord willing, every one of our locations will have their own building, permanent building one day. But the portable version of it was called the Tabernacle. So, it was a moving church on carts, and when God, who was a cloud by day and a fire by night, when he stopped, they stopped, set up church. When he moved, they packed it all up and went to the next place. He stopped. And God says to Moses in Exodus 25, "Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary".

And notice the why. "So I love them". And you need to know that the reason why God wants to spend time with you is because he loves you. He wants to, he's an affectionate, jealous, like, he loves you. He wants to be not your celestial Santa Claus. He's not there just for your latest prayer request list. He loves you. He wants to live among you, and you must build a Tabernacle and furniture, I'm gonna show you the furniture in it here in just a second, exactly according to the pattern. Now, I'm a pattern guy. I believe that some of the patterns in Scripture, God still puts his hand on, even when they're in the Old Testament. Say, "Well, we don't do it that way anymore. That's the Old Testament". You're right, literally, but the principles I still believe live on in the New Testament. Jesus said, "I didn't come to abolish the Old Testament. I came to fulfill the Old Testament".

So, we look to these patterns, and I want to show you what it looks like. So, the Tabernacle would've looked like this, sort of. It was a tent that had walls and no top. And then inside... and by the way, there were two pieces of furniture in that outside part, which is called the outer court. And then it had a smaller tent that had a top. In fact, it not only had a top. It had a curtain dividing it into two sections, and this was called the holy place or the tent of meeting. And so in the outer court, there were two pieces of furniture.

In the first second of this inner court were three pieces of furniture. And then you had this curtain which they called the veil, and that was the veil that when you read the Scriptures in the New Testament, where Jesus died on the cross to pay for sins, the veil of the Temple tore right down the middle, because the veil was there to keep you from God. You couldn't get to God. You had no access to him. And because of the blood of Jesus, that veil has been torn, and you do have direct access to God, right?

Okay. Which means you could bypass all this furniture, and just go straight to him, and it wouldn't necessarily bother him. But what would it look like if you still honored the principle of the process? What if you honored the protocol of getting to God? Because when you got to God, inside the tent of meeting, watch what happens. And this is my desire for you. In fact, let your eyes burn on this screen right now, and this is what I want for you so bad. Because it was there when you really worked your way toward God. And it's not works, but it's just when you really take these beautiful steps of the protocol to the presence of God. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face and not formal, and not in the King James version, like a friend talks to another friend. And if this ever happened to you, I'd never have to tell you to pray again, like, if you really met with God. And I'm getting ready to show you the best model I've ever used in my life.

So, probably 70% of the time that I pray, I use this particular pattern or model in my walk to spending time with God. It's a protocol to the presence of God. Six pieces of furniture in seven steps. Here we go. And the first is, before you even got to the first piece of furniture, you came to that outer court, and you walked through the gates. So, you entered into that Temple. And the Bible talks about how when you enter, before you even get to the first piece of furniture, you would take some time, long before you'd ever ask God for something new, you'd thank him for what he's already done. And I think one of the flaws of our prayer life sometimes is that we just jump in. Okay, God, here's the latest list. I need you to get to work on it. I don't have any more time.

All right, good luck, God. Right? Like we just kind of lay it all out there for him. But what would it look like if we said, "God, really, you don't owe me anything. The cross was enough, and I want to thank you for this day. I want to thank you for my life. I want to thank you for my blessings. I want to thank you". Would you like to take three seconds and give God your best praise right now? And just let him know, "I'm so grateful for what you've done in my life". Gratitude means what I have is enough. And what would it look like if I just paused and say, "Lord, I just want you to know I'm not greedy for more. You've done so much, and I love you". And I try to think of a fresh reason to thank God every single day.

I got up this morning, turned on a praise song, and I lifted my hands and say, "Lord, thank you for this beautiful, beautiful day. Thank you for sweet home Alabama. Thank you for these amazing people at Church of the Highlands. Thank you for my family. And, God, there's a lot in my world that's not perfect, but what you've given me is more than most. I don't even deserve it, and I love you with all of my heart". Why? Because we enter the whole process, his gates, with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. And can I encourage you that the first words out of your mouth not be something you're asking him for. But what if the first words of your mouth were, "Lord, I just love you, and I thank you. You've been so good to me, so, so good to me".

And then you came to this brazen altar, it was called, and on this altar would've been dead animals, and it would be burning, and you'd see blood everywhere, and the four horns of the altar would be covered in blood, and it reminded you that something had to die, because I've sinned. It reminded you that because of our sins, blood had to be shed. And, of course, in the New Testament, we don't burn and kill animals anymore, because the cross of Jesus was once and final, and it was the perfect sacrifice of the spotless Lamb named Jesus, who paid for all my sins. And that's why I take a moment every time, and I just pause right there at the altar, and I picture the cross, and I focus on the cross, and I thank God for the cross of Jesus.

Honestly, church, the only thing that gives you the right to take another step toward God, now listen to this very carefully. It says we boldly enter the presence of God, not by what I've done, but by what Jesus has done. This is Hebrews chapter 4, and now I can approach the throne of grace with confidence, knowing that Jesus already paid for everything, so that I could stand before God, holy and pure. And so I like to pause there, and I have songs. I have three different song playlists that help me walk through these prayers. And so, like, my first ones are all thanksgiving, but my second ones are all about the blood of Jesus. And I sing about the blood, and I just sing about the power of the blood working in my life, and I always quote this verse, because it lifts what I call the fivefold benefit of the cross. And I want you to see these, that when Jesus died on the cross, he didn't give you just sins forgiven. He gave you five things. And I pause here and thank him that my sins are forgiven.

Come on, everybody. Past, present, and future. He takes care of what I did, what I'm doing, and what I will do. He's paid for that already in advance, and he heals all my diseases. And diseases aren't just sicknesses in my body, but it's also dis-ease, every place I'm sick in my soul: depression, anxiety, fear, worry, stress. And I just thank God that he's already took the stripes on his back so that depression doesn't have any power over me. Anxiety has no power over me. Fear has no power over me. I'm preaching about 33 1/2 percent better than you're responding right now. Are y'all listening to me? And then he goes to he redeems my life from the pit. Do you know what the pit is? Where your life ended up, that your life wasn't supposed to end up. And the Bible says he'll redeem you. Redeem means he'll put you back to your original intent.

That's what the word means. And I don't know about you, but my life was headed to, and I got in a deep pit. I was, and this is not false humility. I'm a nobody. I'm an average person on my best day. I had no skills, no ability, no purpose, no passion. I was failing classes in college. I'm a nobody. And God took this miserable life and ripped me out of that miry clay, and he set my feet on a rock, and here I am a senior pastor, and I'm leading people, and only God could've done that. I'm an author. Come on, English teacher who gave a D, I'm an author. Only God could've done that. Oh, I wish they could see this book now. Anyway, right? And only God could've done that.

So, I thank you, God. Thank you for redeeming my life. You've put me back to my original intent. And then it says you crown me with love and compassion. That means he transformed me into a person I was never gonna be able to be on my own. He's putting a new work on the inside of me. And finally, he satisfies my desires with good things. That means he's blessing me. So, every day, I say, "Lord, thank you for giving me, healing me, redeeming me, transforming me. Thank you for your blessing on my life, so that I can be a blessing to the world around me". And I just thank him for the cross of Jesus. And I would just so much love for you to pray this way and see the power and how much you'll enjoy. And then, finally, in the outer court there was this bowl of water called the laver.

And what's interesting about the laver is it was made out of mirrors, so that when you washed, you saw yourself, and it reminded you that, yeah, God's doing a lot of great work in my life, but I've got a little ways to go still. And before I approach God, I say, "God, I am saved, and I can approach you right now because of the blood of Jesus, but I'm not satisfied, and I'm asking you to cleanse every part of my life". And I do it by offering every part of my life to God. Let me say it this way. I offer every body part to God, every part of my life. And I literally start at the top of my head, and I got all the way down, right? I say, Lord, today, my mind, I'm giving you my mind, and my mind is not going to think greedy thoughts, lustful thoughts, prideful thoughts. God, I want my mind, according to Philippians chapter 4 to be things that are excellent, praiseworthy, of a good report. I want them pure, I want to be a mind of integrity today, God, and I offer my mind to you. It's going to think great things today.

My ears say, "Lord, let my ears be sensitive to your voice and turn away from the voice of the stranger". This is John chapter 10 for you note takers. God, I understand when you're speaking, and I know when the devil is speaking, and I turn away from that voice every day. God, give me eyes today, God, that are not looking around and lusting. I make a covenant with my eyes. I'm gonna be faithful to Tammy. I'm gonna not allow my eyes, as Job says, I make a covenant with my eyes that I not look lustfully at a maiden. I'm gonna keep my eyes pure today. My mouth, Ephesians 4:29, I'm gonna speak things that build people up, never words that tear people down. There will be no curses out of my mouth, only blessing. I give you my mouth. Are y'all following me, everybody?

And I give you my hands. I'm gonna live an open-handed life today. I'm gonna have a hand that reaches out, cares, hugs, loves. I'm gonna care for people. I'm gonna be a giver, not a taker today. My feet, Lord, let every step be the one that you ordered of the Lord. There will be no swerving to the right or to the left, according to Proverbs chapter 4, but I'm on a path that's straight toward everything you have for my life, God. And finally, I give you every part of my body, everything that I am, my possessions, my wife, my children, this church. Anything, God, everything you gave me, it all belongs to you, my money, God. I offer my life to you. "Why do you do that, Pastor"? Because the Bible says, "I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies". And I think he meant it literally. I think he literally meant to say, "Hey, why don't you take very part of your life and offer it holy and pleasing to God, this is worship to God".

When you're offering yourself to God, and I'm just telling you, if you'll do this, I think you're going to enjoy prayer so much". And just because I can be deceived, and just because I offered everything to God, but it might not be everything that there is, I pray one final prayer, and I have prayed this prayer every day of my life. God knows I'm telling the truth. I pray this every day. I say, "Lord, according to Psalm 139, search me. I want you to know my heart. I want you to see if there's anxious thoughts. I want you to test that heart, and I want you to see, is there something in there that's offending you that I did not mention to you? Am I doing something that you just don't like? Would you please show me what that is and lead me in the way of everlasting"?

And almost every day, the Holy Spirit says, "Yeah, still need to work on this attitude". We still need to work on this. And I offer that to the Lord, as well. And if you do, I'm telling you, you're gonna enjoy God and enjoy this walk with God, and now we go into this little tent. So, we part in, and there's three pieces of furniture. And the first one you would see would be that seven-pronged Jewish menorah that had fire burning on it continually, never dying out. And Old Testament and New, the candlestick always represents and the fire represents the work of the Holy Spirit. And I invite the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. And I want you to do the same.

Listen to me. God the Father and Jesus the Son, they're in heaven, and you're gonna get to meet them one day. And they love you, and you can talk to them, but the Holy Spirit is right here with you on earth, living in you and among you, and he has the desire, if you'll allow him, 'cause he's just a perfect gentlemen, honestly, if you'll allow him, he'll talk to you all day long, but you've gotta say, "I want to be led by the Spirit today". And I pray three different things. I pray, first of all, that the sevenfold Spirit of the Lord, which I think those seven prongs represent, a sevenfold Spirit of the Lord be working in my life. I need the Spirit of the Lord. I need the Spirit of wisdom. I need the Spirit of understanding. I'm praying for the Spirit of counsel, might, knowledge. And, Lord, work inside of me the fear of the Lord. And every day. And if I have time, I slow down.

"Lord, I need counsel in this area. Is this the right way, God? Should I be doing this? And, Lord, I need some might. I feel like a coward. I feel afraid to do this, Lord, but I'm gonna need your strength today to walk through this particular thing that I'm dealing with, and I just invite the sevenfold Spirit of the Lord". Are y'all okay out there, everybody? I'm telling you, I'm just giving you my favorite way to pray. I just, and then I go to the fruit of the Spirit, according to Galatians chapter 5, with love, joy, peace. Oh, God, put even just a ray of patience in my heart today, God. Work that inside of me. Kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. What would it look like if you asked God every day, "Work kindness". Wouldn't y'all agree with me that the world needs a little dose of kindness these days?

And I think let it begin with us. Let it be said that when they meet us, man, that's the most joyful, patient, kind, faithful, self-controlled human I've ever met. Why? Because I invited that work of the Spirit of God on the inside of me. And then, finally, the gifts of the Spirit. So, the Spirit of the Lord, the fruit of the Spirit, and then the gifts of the Spirit. They're found all throughout the Bible. 1 Corinthians 12, Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, the gifts that God has inside of us. And I ask God to fan those gifts into flame. I believe God's given me spiritual gifts. In fact, let me look straight at you and say, whether you know it or not, there is an ember of a gift. For some of you, it's burning brightly, because you've allowed us to help you find it and help you build it. But there's an ember of the fire of God on the inside of you; and if you come around us, if you'll allow us, we'll kind of blow on that ember and get it going.

And when that comes white hot on the inside of you, when the fire of God is burning inside of you, you know your passion, you know your purpose, it doesn't matter what's going on in the weather, or in politics, or if your team got beat by 40 points. You don't care at all. Now you've got the work of God going on, on the inside of you, because you know why you're on this planet. And Paul said, "Hey, fanning the flame". I'm trying so hard right now to blow on you and work a little fire of God. But it's not you right now 'cause you have a gift and you have a calling. And you do. And if you'll come to step two today of the Growth Track, we'll help you find what it is. Take you to a spiritual gifts profile and a personality profile and help you really just find that ember.

Let's blow on it, get you doing what God's called you to do. And then you would go to the other side of the room, and there was this table that's called a table of shewbread, and it looked just like this, had 12 freshly baked loaves of bread. All y'all fasting, don't y'all think that sounds good right now, amen? I know, give me a slab of butter and three hours, and I'll see y'all later. That sounds good. And it would be fresh every day, and it would be smelling like, if you've ever been around freshly-baked bread, it smelled just like that. And it was to pull you and to lure you into the only thing that could actually feed your life, that we feed on God's Word. The table of shewbread represents the time for us to feed on the Word of God, and then use the Scriptures we have like Jesus did in spiritual warfare against our enemy.

When Jesus was tempted of the devil, he used Scripture. He used Scripture like this: that man shall not live on bread alone. In other words, you can't just live on physical food, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. That's your Bible. And so I take my prayer time. Say, "Chris, I thought you were praying". This is prayer. In fact, what kind of conversation would it be if I did all the talking? Why don't I stop my conversation and say, "Okay, God, now you speak to me". And then I grab those promises, and I claim those Scriptures, and then I use those Scriptures as an offensive weapon against my enemy. Ephesians chapter 6, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God".

Notice the full armor of God is all defensive: helmet, breastplate, shield, belt, shoes, everything to protect me. And then it says to take the sword of the Spirit. That's your only offensive weapon, which is, and it tells you, it's your Bible. And that means that when you go through something, do you have a verse? And if you don't, it's in there, and I want you to have it. And I start quoting Scripture to the devil, and I start claiming the promises that God's given me, and praying. And then, finally, before you go meet with God, there was this little altar, and it was burning incense. It was called the altar of incense, and it never went out. But this one's not blood and animals. Y'all, this is Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Come on, y'all. This is like ooh, ooh, ooh. And it actually soothed your soul. And you would walk up to this altar, in Old Testament and New, I could show you, if I had time, verse after verse. Incense is something that we give to God, and our lives are supposed to be a burning incense. One verse says, "Let my life be a sweet-smelling fragrance to you, God". And what is that? That's worship, worship. You say, "Well, PC, I thought we already did, I thought we already worshiped". No, we praised. Praise is thanking him for what he's done for us, but worship is magnifying him for who he is. And the way you worship, I'm gonna give you a little secret. This is so beautiful. It's found in his names, his names.

So, any time you want to really bless somebody, you show them their names. Like, I've got a dear friend on the front row, and his name is Hamp, Hamp Green, and that's his name, but he's more than Hamp. He's my golfing buddy. He's one of my personal intercessors. I dedicated the book to my seven personal intercessors. Hamp's one of them. So, he covers me. He's a dear friend. Hamp's a confidante. He's also my golfing buddy. And the names honor him and describe him. And I love you, my friend. And that's what we do to God. He's not just God. Hey, God. No, your Comforter, your Peace, your strength, your protector, your provider, your Shepherd, your Counselor. You're wonderful. There's no one like you, and I love you, and I worship. Why? Because the name of the Lord.

I sense the presence of God here right now. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, and righteous people are smart. They run to that name. And every day before I go throw out all my list to God, the last thing I do, and for me, I actually get on my knees, because a man on his face can never fall from that position. And every day, you ought to go a little low. I must decrease, Lord. You must increase. And I worship your mighty name, Lord Jesus.

I can't sing, but I can worship, and I give him my worship. And then in the Old Testament, they had to part the curtain. It's already parted because of Jesus. And the next thing you see: God. You'd see God. Between these wings is called the mercy seat. That's where that cloud and that fire was. Say, "PC, what do you do when you're actually face to face with God"? Very clear in Scripture, you now act as an attorney, an intercessor, and you plead the case of everybody you know. And I don't even worry about my own list. I fight for you. I fight for you every day. Every day I go before God and say, "God, here I am by the blood of Jesus. I love you. And, Lord, right now I'm calling on your name, on behalf of some marriages in our church and some children in our church, and some teenagers who need to know you, Lord God. I'm crying out for their health, and their emotions, and their strength, and their finances, God. I'm asking you for breakthrough, Lord".

And I plead your case every day, and I'm gonna tell you, if you'll plead the case of others. I urge you, if you have God's mercy, I urge you to make intercession, thanksgiving for all people. And then if you can't think of what to pray for, pray for kings and those in authority. And every day I pray for civil authority, parental authority, spiritual authority, workplace authority, and I bless them by name every day. And if I do, I'm going to lead a quiet life, a godly life, a holy life, and I intercede for others. And I'm trying to tell you something. This is just something I have learned, and it means so much to me, that if you'll just take the steps toward God, and enjoy the protocol to his presence, thank him, worship, the blood, cleanse, fire, the Word, worship, intercession, you're going to enjoy your time with God.

And the promise of Scripture is if you'll draw near to God, God's gonna draw near to you. And if this happens, you're gonna love spending time with God. Let's bow for prayer. If you're here today at any one of our locations, and you'd say, "PC, I need a fire lit up in my prayer life, I'm asking God, I want to enjoy, this message is speaking to me, and I want to let God know that I'm ready to get that kind of a closeness with him". Lift your hand right now, if that's you. I'm lifting my hand. I want to be closer to God. I want to be, I want to know God. I'm letting God know, "God, I want my prayer life to grow. I want to enjoy my time with you like never before". And God, I pray... you can put them down.

Lord, you saw hands, hearts that just are drawn to you right now. And I pray, God, that you would just speak to them. And God, light a fire. Let them take this simple model and pattern and get close to you, in the name of Jesus.

Heads bowed, eyes closed. If you need Jesus today, I'm going to give you a chance right now to surrender your life to him. I woke up this morning with news of a young person in Tuscaloosa, in our church. He lost his life in a traffic accident, and our hearts and prayers are with the family and everybody affected by that. It's just I can't imagine. But it reminded me once again that this is no joke. Every one of us could be standing before God in moments. You don't know. The question is are you ready? And if you're not ready, you need to give your life to Jesus. If you sense his conviction in your heart right now, if your heart's beating fast right now, you know it's time for you to take this step, maybe you're coming back to God. Maybe you're just gonna recommit.

I don't know where you are in your walk with God, but you know what you have is not enough, and you're ready to surrender everything to Jesus. I'm gonna pray for you right there where you're seated. I'm not gonna have you stand up or come to the front. Our campus pastors are on stage. I just want to know, is that you? Is that you? And why not today? Why don't you just surrender your life completely to Jesus? If you want to pray this prayer right now, I want you to slip your hand up as high as you can. Say, "Count me in, count me in". Come on, lift it up high, lift it up high. Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. Just see literally dozens of hands all across this room. God bless you, all across this room. Way at the very top, see your hands everywhere. God bless you. Slip them down just for a minute. Thank you. I see your hands. God bless you. Put your hands down just for a moment. Pray this prayer right there where you are. Say:

Jesus, I need you. I surrender myself completely to you. Be the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sin. I believe you're the Son of God. I believe you rose from the dead. And today I'm giving you all of my life. In the name of Jesus we pray.

Are you Human?:*