|CONSUMED WITH ZEAL FOR NIGHT AND DAY PRAYER
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Mar 26 2010 08:00A.M.
In this generation, I believe the Lord is calling young and old, rich and poor to the ministry of night-and-day prayer and
worship as He did in the days of David. Many scriptures from Genesis to Revelation make it clear that God has
scheduled a prayer movement to sweep the entire planet in the generation in which the Lord returns. Scripture also
seems to indicate that there will be a great harvest of souls at the same time. More than a billion souls will come into the
kingdom. These new believers won't enter a spiritual vacuum where their initial exuberance is ground down to business
as usual. They will enter a spiritual atmosphere that has been revolutionized by night-and-day prayer. I am convinced
we are at the beginning of the generation that will reach the pinnacle of worship and prayer ministry described in the
Word of God. That means we have a lot to learn from David, who was a glorious prophetic picture of the End Time
house of prayer God will establish across the earth. David was a prophetic down payment and a token to encourage us
today, and we should carefully study his example and the example of other zealous men in the Old Testament.
Even now you can observe what is happening in the body of Christ. A worship and prayer movement is rising up,
birthed and orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, used by God to unify the church across cities and nations. It seems to have
begun in the early 1980's or late 1970's, but it has been accelerating in the last five or ten years. Observers have
watched in awe at the increase of prayer activity across the world in the last few decades. That increase will continue
because it is following a divine pattern God is establishing from heaven. He is creating a worldwide prayer movement to
prepare the church for the great harvest. As a result, thousands and thousands of men and women will be consumed
with the zeal of God for His house.
A Perfect Portrait of Zeal
What does it mean to be consumed by zeal? It's best to see it demonstrated in real life, and for a truly awesome picture,
we should focus on one of the greatest leaders of the Old Testament, a man who is often overlooked. If we are to stay
on course in our generation, we must learn from the experience of zealous people of the past, and this man is one of
the most zealous we find in Scripture.
In 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army wiped out Jerusalem and took the Israelites into slavery. The
temple in Jerusalem was burned to the ground. The prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel witnessed it firsthand. It
was the darkest hour the nation had experienced to that point in their history. But after seventy years, about fifty
thousand Israelites were released from captivity, and they left Babylon and walked back to Israel, a hike that took about
five months and covered around seven hundred miles. They rebuilt the temple, or the house of prayer as it was called,
and during times of discouragement God was faithful to break in with power and strengthen them until the temple was
A generation later, about 444 B.C., Nehemiah, an incredible apostolic figure, called with great zeal for the people to
build walls around the city. He was intense and tough, which is exactly what the survivors of the Babylonian captivity
needed. They were in distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and its gates burned
(Nehemiah 1:3). Walls would protect the temple, the house of prayer, so night-and-day prayers would rise before God.
Nehemiah saw what was at stake, so he called on the people to build the walls so they would no longer bear reproach
(Nehemiah 2:17). His zeal resonated with the people, and they rose to the occasion (verse 18). What a day that was!
After building the walls of protection, singers and musicians began night-and-day ministry of worshiping before the
Lord. With the protective walls in place, they spent the next twelve years with the house of prayer in full swing and the
people learning how to move into intimacy with God's heart.
But Nehemiah had to return to Susa, the capital of Persia, and was absent for several years (Nehemiah 13:6). While he
was away, the people's zeal slumped, and they fell into negligence and passivity. Enthusiasm for the house of prayer
faded away. When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem five or ten years later, he was brokenhearted at what he saw
(verse 8). The singers and Levites had given up singing and quit the prayer meetings. The people had stopped giving
money and had fired the priests and singers. They apparently concluded that it was all a bit fanatical; after all, the
business of getting their military and government established was much more important than doing some weird worship
thing at the house of prayer. They had to think logically, practically. But Nehemiah contended with the rulers and cried,
'Why is the house of God forsaken?" (verse 11). He pleaded with them to remember how God had delivered them from
Babylon. With godly vigor, he gathered the priests together and set the musicians and singers back in their places.
Nehemiah's heart reverberated with God's own zeal. He was consumed by it as he faced the task of protecting God's
house night and day.
That is exactly the kind of zeal we must have today about the house of prayer. David said it best, "Great is the LORD,
and greatly to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 48:1; 96:4; 145:3, 147:5). David saw that God's
greatness is unrestrainable, unexplainable, uncontainable, and beyond our capacity to grasp. Day and night the
seraphim cry out, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" (Revelation 4:8). Their
continual testimony gives witness to the unsearchable nature of God's greatness and inexhaustible beauty. That was
David's motivation in establishing the house of prayer in his day. After drinking from the ocean of God's emotions and
affections, he lifted his voice to say, "I tell you, He is great, and He must be praised!"
God's greatness and beauty is the sustaining foundation of all houses of prayer, from far back in the Old Testament to
our present day. God's greatness demands a response, and we respond by personally and corporately praising Him.
As we give ourselves to our obsession with His greatness, we become consumed with making sure He is greatly praised
on the earth by fiery, abandoned, lovesick people.
This deep conviction has been burning in my spirit for some time. It is in my heart to see a habitation of God in my city
of Kansas City, Missouri. My heart has said to the Lord that I am going to labor at building His house until we see a
place of God's dwelling built there. But I'm not the only one with this vision. God has stirred many others around the
world with this same urgency. He wants believers across the earth to take hold of the dream of worshiping the great
God with abandonment and with skillful singers and musicians. He wants to impart the vision for continuous praise in
cities everywhere. Is there not cause to lift up His praise night and day? Is it not something to live for - building a
habitation of God on the earth?
We are Zealous Because God is Zealous
Our zeal comes from the nature and personality of God Himself. In the five to ten-year gap while Nehemiah was away,
God anointed Malachi to prophesy to the Israelites. Through his words we see God motivating His people to build His
house in the midst of discouragement. He began with, "'I have loved you,' says the LORD" (Malachi 1:2). Notice that in
the generation God was rebuilding the house of prayer, He began with the message of His affection and love. He
affirmed them by saying, "I love you. I really do." He promised they would delight in Him (Malachi 3:1).
Malachi spoke to leaders who in spite of their leadership were not on fire for God. They had answered the call of God
and actually began to do the labors in the house of God. They said yes to the prophetic history and believed in the
prophetic words. But when it came down to the substance of their hearts, they were neither lovesick nor fascinated nor
zealous for God. They had no consuming passion to make His name great. To bring them into right motivation, the
Lord beckoned them with His own love. He was not trying to build a new ministry organization called the House of Prayer
so He could feel better about Himself because people were praising Him all the time; rather, He was kick-starting a love
exchange between heaven and Earth.
The prophet Zechariah brought the same message. "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'I am zealous...for Zion with great
zeal'" (Zechariah 1:14). The message was that His heart was burning with desire. The revelation of God's desire and
affection is the foundation for building His house. He wants builders consumed with "one thing" of extravagant love and
devotion. He wants worshipers after His own heart. Jesus displayed zeal for His house when He walked through the
temple with a whip, overturning the money tables and driving out the animals (John 2:17). He manifested the same zeal
that David spoke of when he said, "Zeal for Your house has eaten me up" Psalm 69:9). God's zeal springs from love.
The Lord calls us to build the house of prayer because the house of prayer is all about Him and catching the waves of
divine affection from God's heart. The prayer movement at the end of the age is called love. It is about love for God,
love for one another, and love for the lost.
fury." Zechariah 8:2
Oh, the zeal of God! The word fervor literally means heat or rage. God portrays His zeal as something hot within Him,
an unrestrained desire, a burning passion. His zeal is a powerful and positive aspect of His heart, not something to be
afraid of. God possesses intimate knowledge and deep concern about every individual in His kingdom. He has deep,
deep feelings of emotion about His people. He is not in the least bit distant or aloof. Even when the enemy tries to
convince me that the Lord is not full of zeal or love, and I find myself saying, "Lord, am I on the back burner? Did you
forget about me?" the answer is no. the Lord burns with heat, rage, and intense desire for all believers, including you
I saw a Bill Gates biography the other day, and the commentator said that for fifteen years he would go to bed at 2:00 a.
m. and get up at 6:00 a.m. He was fanatical to see a career breakthrough. I was proud to realize I know believers who
have as much zeal as Bill Gates does, but they have it for an imperishable crown. I am not saying you need to sleep
four hours a night. But we should have zeal for our cause in history. I'm not waiting for this type of ministry to be
popular. I'm not catching a new trend. I don't care if it's ever popular. I have sunk the boats and burned the bridges
behind me. I am going for it, and I am looking for a few men and women - I don't care if they're fifteen years old or
ninety - who say, "I'm not waiting for the famous guys to do it. I'm not waiting for the best-selling book to come out. I'm
going for it!"
I have heard many friends over the years say, "I want to have balance in my ministry." I tell them, "I believe in Jesus's
version of balance, and He was not considered balanced by anyone in His day. Even the apostles did not think that He
was balanced. If balance means retreating into risk-free leadership with no power, I'm not interested in balance. It won't
Others have told me, "I'm interested in compassion ministry. We have to water the hard stuff down to get people to
come." But if you want to show compassion to a little boy who's demonized or has a terminal disease, you don't play
patty-cake with the problem. You cast that devil out and give the boy his life back.
We have to be filled with the zeal of God. One of the primary ways God displays His zeal is by rebuilding the place of
worship. In Zechariah 1:16, He stated this purpose in His heart. "I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall
be built in it." With zeal and mercy, He will build the house of worship and prayer in Jerusalem and all over the earth.
Beloved, we are recipients of God's zeal and mercy. He has great zeal that His people would cultivate grace to live a life
of prayer. The Lord will lead His church into prayer in a dozen different ways, and all are valid. People will give
themselves to lives of prayer for numerous reasons, but at the very core of it all is a God raging with zealous desire.
We desire Him because He desires us. We are zealous because He is zealous. When we encounter that emotion, it
translates into renewed energy to give ourselves to prayer, fasting, the prophetic ministry, and the End Time Harvest.
Gripped With Zeal for God's House
David knew that the fullness of God would not come to pass in his generation without night-and-day prayer, which is why
he was consumed with zeal for the house of God. This vision so consumed him that he set up a prophetic worship
ministry to the Lord with four thousand musicians and two hundred eighty-eight singers (I Chronicles 23-25). One of the
central themes of Scripture ever since that time is how God has been building the house of prayer throughout the
generations. Through the Word we see how He gathers the people, they fall and stumble in the process, then He
gathers them again and gives them victory. He allows struggle so that when the victory comes, our hearts are protected
by the grace of humility. At the end of natural history, God says, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all
nations" (Isaiah 56:7).
It is very important to understand that God named the temple "the house of prayer." The building of the temple was
essentially and mostly about worship and prayer. Five hundred years later, after the temple was built, Jesus came
along and confirmed that God called the temple a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13). In all of our studies of the temple,
we must understand it is the house of prayer, a place of love, worship, and encounter, not just a historic temple with
religious rituals attached to it. It's about a worldwide church living in a spirit of prayer with fasting and overcome with His
love so that the events at the end of the age will be released.
David caught wind of this passion in God's heart and refused to give himself to anything else until he saw it come to
pass in his day. But his decision brought much affliction.
Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine
eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of
Jacob." Psalm 132:1-5
When we give ourselves to building the house of prayer, we will meet God in affliction. Affliction is a part of the divine
equation, as we learned earlier from the apostle Paul and the prophet Daniel. There are two different godly responses
to affliction found in Scripture. In some of the affliction we rise up in the name of Jesus and drive it out; and other
affliction we endure as our love grows and matures. In Psalm 132, the psalmist prayed that the Lord would remember all
that David said, "Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD" (I Chronicles 22:14). He
spent his money, time, and strength on this preoccupation and pressed on through many types of affliction. Even his
own sin didn't hold him back. The cry of his heart to the Lord was, "You will be greatly praised!" Everything in his life
became subservient to the zeal for God's dwelling place that "ate him up."
God is raising up a company of people all over the earth with this kind of zeal. They burn within for this moment and this
purpose in history. They won't find their value in their pet ministry ideas or personal fulfillment, but in building a dwelling
place of God.
The End Time Prayer and Worship Movement
Jesus said that when night-and-day prayer is in place, speedy justice will be released in the cities of the earth (Luke 18:
8). Speedy justice speaks of unprecedented revival with signs and wonders. Throughout the Word of God, we find only
one thing that ultimately stops the power of darkness at the end of the age. It is the prayer and worship movement
within the church worldwide. This is not optional to God. He requires it to bring this age to fruition. It is an invitation with
urgency. It's not enough to read and agree; we must jump in with all our hearts and find how we can be part of this
Our twenty-four-hour ministry in Kansas City is a small prayer ministry. We are not the house of prayer in Kansas City,
but one of many catalysts for prayer. We understand that the house of prayer is not one or two churches' little ministry
idea, but the core identity of the church worldwide in this age and in the age to come. One prayer ministry at one
church cannot contain or express it. Even a whole city full of prayer cannot express it. All local houses of prayer are
merely catalysts pushing us to the time when the whole church operates in the anointing of intimacy and authority to
speak on the earth and see the heavens move at the sound of their words.
Beloved, that is the glorious hour in which we live. You have been brought to the kingdom for such a time as this. God
is raising up people in this generation who respond to God as David did, becoming students of His emotions, seeing
God for who He really is with the strong passion and love for us in His heart. That transforms us and puts us on a path
to realizing our earthly destiny. We are empowered by happy holiness; we become people of one thing, men and
women after God's own heart. We feel what He feels and love what He loves, and that compels us to contend for the full
expression of the apostolic faith in our day. We acquire God's own zeal to create a habitation for Him in the earth, and
so we commit ourselves to being part of the prayer movement being raised up by the Holy Spirit. We will have the
pleasure of seeing the largest amount of people in history come into the kingdom at the deepest level of love. We will
witness the most powerful revival the world has ever seen. And when the age draws to a close, we will lift our voices as
the bride in unity with the Holy Spirit and cry, "Come, Lord Jesus," until He splits the sky and we are caught up together
with Him forever!
AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART, by Mike Bickle, Copyright 2009, Charisma House.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES