Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church; Message on Prayer School – On Lesson 10 – The Song Of The Lord – Making God Your Prayer Partner; Date: 18 July 2010
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From Praise To Glory
I quote from the last session of our Prayer School: “God gave us a command in Isaiah 54:1 to change the situation through SONG! He said that the fruit that would come from it would be much more than in the natural … Isaiah 54:1-2 [NIV]: ‘Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the Lord … ’” (Suzette Hattingh & Gayle Claxton: Prayer School. Study Book, West Midlands: Voice In The City UK: 2009, p90-91).
Yes – bursting into song – shouting for praise – is a powerful strategy for prayer. I don’t know whether the teaching can be based so much on the particular Bible verses of Isaiah 54:1-2 (as we have it in the Prayer School) but there is something here for us to pursue this morning and – with your permission – I am not going to focus so much on a key Scripture passage but introduce you to some of the prophetic revelations on praise and worship which God gave to the church through American preacher and author Ruth Heflin. She died in the year 2000 but before her death – for nearly forty years – she had been ministering in more than 240 countries and in 1990 she published an exciting book with the title “Glory. Experiencing The Atmosphere Of Heaven” (Hagerstown: McDougal Publishing 1990).
This book – apart from teaching simple truths – was prophetic in nature and (you may judge this for yourself) in the time since its publication the prophetic revelation has been confirmed by what has transpired in the church world-wide (and, therefore, by now the book has been translated into about twelve other languages – the last session of our Prayer School is flowing in agreement with the content of her book) and even here at Living Grace we have already received a taste of what God was pioneering through Ruth Heflin. For instance, she was already seeing gold dust manifesting from the glory of God in the 1950s.
Another reason for us to engage with Ruth Heflin and her book – this morning – is that – in her teaching – God made everything very practical and simple. The book “Glory” has come out of experience. Do you want to know how to pray and draw near to God? Then do this – I quote from the book – the main thesis: “Praise … until the spirit of worship comes. Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.” Do you understand what this is saying? It is simple but – on the other hand – we may not be used to hearing the truth in this way. “Praise … until the spirit of worship comes. Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.” Be hungry this morning to learn because I have the feeling that God wants to give us further revelation.
Ruth Heflin’s basic teaching is that when you pray and worship, there are three basic stages in drawing near to God and God drawing near to you. You move from a) praise to b) worship to c) standing in God’s glory and as you move along this continuum the presence of God keeps intensifying around you. Maybe the language of Ruth Heflin can be a little confusing because how can you differentiate between praise and worship? In our understanding praising God is worshipping him. Therefore, what does it mean to move from praise to worship? However, if we engage with the language, there is wonderful truth here.
Our worship begins with praise. Every time that we pray, the first block of time belongs to praising God. I quote from the Bible – Psalm 100:4: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise … ” Psalm 22:3: “ . you are … enthroned on the praises of [your people] … ” We never outgrow praising God. In some circles there is a teaching among Christians that “praise [happy hallelujahs] is for the immature, but intercession [the intense labour of petitioning God] is for those who are spiritual.” However, according to Ruth Heflin “that couldn’t be further from the truth” (Ruth Ward Heflin: Glory. Experiencing The Atmosphere Of Heaven, Hagerstown: McDougal Publishing 1990, p8). In the Bible – praising God takes centre stage – Philippians 4:5-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! … by prayer and supplication … let your requests be made known to God [but with thanksgiving – with praise] … ” The praise of God is to be in everything that we do and this will remain the same for us even in heaven – Revelations 19:1-8: “ … I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God … ’”
Then, Ruth Heflin was aware that on the deepest and most basic level we cannot praise God by ourselves. Unless God changes our hearts, we don’t feel like going into raptures about God. None of us! We need God to draw us closer to him and – therefore – Ruth Heflin quotes one Bible verse from Isaiah 57:19 which says: “I [the Lord] create the fruit of the lips.” Thus, she also writes from her own experience: “I am not thinking, ‘I want to praise the Lord.’ I come into his presence, I open my spirit to him, and my mouth automatically begins to proclaim his praises as the Spirit of God begins to move through me. I find myself praising God, and through the ministry of praise, I come to know him in ways that I never knew him before … The words come easily: ‘You’re so wonderful, Jesus. How beautiful you are. How delightsome you are. Thou art fair, my Love, so very fair.’” (p16).
Yet – on the other hand – not negating that is God who is drawing us to himself – Ruth Heflin asserts that we – as Christians – can determine – by an act of our will – to enter the stage of praising God – we can make a commitment to praise God – which distinguishes this stage (of praising God) from coming into worship. She writes: “One of the first secrets of worship is how it differs from praise. When I praise the Lord, I will to praise. When I come into the house of the Lord, I offer my lips and I will to praise. But you do not will to worship. The spirit of worship must come into a meeting, must come upon you, and then you worship” (p91).
More quotes for clarification:
Pages 88-89: I see the difference between praising and worshipping as if I were part of the Psalm Sunday procession. I join others as we take our coats off and exuberantly throw them down so the Lord can ride over them. We pluck off palm branches and wave them, even strewing them in his pathway. We shout with the whole crowd, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” That is praise. I suddenly spot a little donkey moving along the Palm Sunday route. It continues on its way until it passes directly in front of me. It stops. Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is seated on that donkey. He looks at me. He says, “Ruth, I love you.” Tears stream down my cheeks, as I reply, “Lord, I love You.”
Now, I’m no longer waving my palm and shouting, “Hosanna!” I’m bowing in worship and saying, “My Lord and my God.” It seems that the crowd is no longer present. In reality, the multitude is still there all around me. Others are still waving their palms. They’re still shouting, “Hosanna!” But I’m totally oblivious to what is happening around me.
He looks at me, and all the love of eternity is poured into my soul. At this moment, I know how much He loves me. I know His majesty in a way I have never known it before. Nobody has to tell me He is King. I know it, and I worship Him, bowing before Him, recognizing His majesty, His regal position.
Worship is you shut away with God. In the middle of the busiest street in town, in the busiest restaurant, in the midst of the greatest activity of the day, you find little moments to be alone with the Lord. Thank God there can be many moments throughout the day in which it is just you and the Lord. Even though many things are happening around you, you can close yourself in with Him.
Page 118: When the breath of the Holy Ghost blows across you, there should be an immediate response on your part. “I love You, Lord. I worship You. I adore You.” Let your mouth become the pen of a ready writer. Pour out your soul to Him.
Page 123: God will teach us how to worship. He will anoint us unto worship. He will create worship within us. He will touch the depth of our being and allow us to be those who truly worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Page 128: God wants to awaken your heart to love. He wants to awaken your heart to adoration. He wants to awaken in you the ability to worship Him …
True worship is like that. We must be able to go home from the House of the Lord and know that at some point in the service we have poured out our hearts in love and adoration and worship before Him. If we make up our minds that we’ll never go to the House of the Lord without pouring out the depth of our spirit to Him in worship, He will be pleased. He delights in a people who delight in Him — not just in what He does for us — but in Who He is.
Worship is an attitude of the heart in which the heart bows down before God. No one else is present. There are no thoughts in your mind other than God. You haven’t come with a petition. You haven’t come with a request. You haven’t come because you need healing. You haven’t come because of some other need. You have come because you love Him so much and you feel the need to express that love. Worship is a time of love. He pours out His love on us, and we pour out our love to Him.
We have now (briefly) covered the first sentence of Ruth Heflin’s main thesis – main teaching – which I repeat now: “Praise … until the spirit of worship comes.” The presence of God intensifies – something changes – as God moves us from praise – from cheering God – to worship – which is the adoration of who he is. Then Ruth Heflin’s main teaching continues by encouraging us with two more sentences: “Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.”
Ruth Heflin explains the concept in her book:
Page 143: What is the glory realm? It is the realm of eternity. It is the revelation of the presence of God. It is the manifestation of His presence. He is glory. He is everywhere, but glory is the manifestation of that reality. Earth has the atmosphere of air, whereas the heavenly atmosphere is glory, His presence. When glory comes down, it’s a bit of Heaven’s atmosphere coming down to us, a taste of His manifest presence.
We don’t see the air, do we? But all of us would be dead if we were not breathing it. We are not conscious of the air unless we see the wind blowing the leaves on the trees. Yet, the earth is covered by it. In the same way, not one inch of Heaven lacks glory. Now, God is giving us a taste of that glory, Heaven manifested on earth.
God is revealing His glory visibly to many people …
Page X: As air is the atmosphere of the Earth, glory is the atmosphere of Heaven. It lifts us up above the earthly, into the very presence of God.
Page 159-160: The first thing we notice about the glory realm is the ease it brings. The glory brings an ease in every dimension of ministry. The glory brings an ease, for instance, in the ministry of healing. We may have prayed for the sick in one dimension, but when we move into the glory realm, healing just happens. There is no struggle. The glory brings ease in the area of finances. Whereas we have asked the people to give to the Lord and perhaps have had to urge them at times to do so, when the glory comes, they quickly and willingly empty their pocketbooks. Whatever God has called us to do, in any realm of ministry, the glory brings an ease to it and takes away the struggle, the striving, the effort. It makes you feel like you are on a Holy Ghost roller coaster. You just let the King of Glory do the work.
I want to spend a few minutes on backing up what Ruth Heflin was teaching. The best Bible illustration for explaining worship to us is the tabernacle which – on one level – was the worship setting of God’s people in the past but – on another level – had been and remains the worship setting for eternity. What God commanded to set up on earth was modeled on a permanent reality in heaven. The principles of worship never change.
God – at one time – gave the following instruction – I read from Exodus 25:9: “Make this tabernacle [that is the worship tent or dwelling place] and all its furnishing exactly like the pattern I will show you.” Thus, God revealed a pattern for worship which – as the Bible confirms in other places – existed in heaven and was now to be replicated on earth in the tabernacle. For instance, we read in Hebrews 8:5: “They [human priests] serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’” Then, another person actually had a vision of the tabernacle in heaven – Revelations 15:5: “After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony was opened.” [Cf. Revelations 11:19: “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant.”]
Now – the tabernacle immediately confirms Ruth Heflin’s teaching because the tabernacle likewise knows of three stages in drawing near to God or God drawing near to us. The presence of God intensified as worship moved from the Outer Court in the open air to the Holy Place and then Holy of Holies which were under cover. At this point I simply show you a picture slide of the tabernacle’s design but do not want to spend more time on this. There is no doubt that there are indeed stages of God’s intensifying presence and this basic concept of worship is modeled according to an eternal worship pattern in heaven.
However – for those that are more familiar with the broader Bible teaching on worship – (and this is only going to be a brief comment) – there still seems to be something missing. That is: repentance. Is there no acknowledgement of core passages like 1 John 8-9: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves … If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” There is an ongoing need to humble ourselves before God, turn away from sin and receive forgiveness from God in Jesus’ name. [Explain that Jesus died for the very reason of overcoming our sin through repentance and forgiveness on account of his sacrifice.] How can Ruth Heflin put so much emphasis on praising God and have so little to say about repentance? This is a legitimate question but I have the suspicion that there is not really a problem. Whoever is praising God is almost by definition repenting of his sins. You cannot lift up the name of Jesus and at the same time lift up your own name – do things your own way – remain proud and separate from God. Praising God means that you humble yourself before the one that you praise. Your commitment is to him and not to sin. That is – in a rather practical way – repentance.
Then, Ruth Heflin dealt with any concerns that we might have, when she wrote:
Page 105: There is a greater change that comes about through worship than through any other means. If you want to be changed, worship is the key. When you are worshiping you look into His face, and you are changed from glory to glory. We become like that which we worship. We become like Him Whom we worship. I can sit down and read every book on holiness, and I might develop some concept. But I can worship a minute and feel His holiness and know what it is. Not only that, I can study about holiness and may get angry while I am doing it; but I worship and desire to be like Him.
On the positive side – Ruth Heflin’s emphasis on praising God guarantees is that we will always draw near to God with faith. She writes:
Page 9-10: … A voice of praise is always a voice of victory. That is why the enemy fights praise. You can’t praise very long without entering into victory. You can sometimes pray about matters, and the more you declare the problem and pray around it, the more your faith begins to waver. You see the problem first as it is. Then, it becomes even bigger than it really is. And, finally, it becomes overwhelming. But when you praise, you always enter into victory. Praise is entering in … [and – here we may add – it is a practical expression of faith in the truth of God’s sovereign power].
Before we advance further and get more into Ruth Heflin’s prophetic revelations, I want to list some of her practical insights that help us to apply her main teaching: “Praise … until the spirit of worship comes. Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.” I do not want to spend much time on this but here are a number of quotes:
Pages 75-76: You can praise God when everything around you is totally cold and believe God to create praise within you. When I come into the Lord’s House and I begin to praise Him, I must be conscious that I’m ascending. I’m ascending the hill of God. I’m coming up into the high place of the Lord.
Have you ever driven with somebody that is just learning to drive without an automatic transmission and is using the clutch on a hill? (Jerusalem is built on hills; and most of our cars do not have automatic transmissions.) I’ve ridden with some people that didn’t quite have a grasp of the clutch yet. As they begin to ascend a hill, they go up a little and slide back a little, go up a little and slide back a little. The ride is so jerky. Have you ever been in a song service that was like that? You experience spiritual whiplash.
The person leading the service begins to sing, and you feel yourself ascending. Then he does something else or perhaps changes rhythms and you slip back down. With the next song you go a little higher, then slip back again. By the end of the song service, you have spiritual whiplash. This happens because the song leader hasn’t learned to ascend in the Spirit.
Sometimes it’s better to sing fewer songs. When the anointing falls on a particular song, stay with it until you get to the top of the hill. It’s not the song that’s important, it’s the anointing. The anointing is like the gasoline in the car that will take you to the top of the hill. Some song leaders insist on singing a chorus twice or three times no matter what the Spirit of God is doing. Sing until you get to the top of the hill.
Be conscious that you are ascending the mountain of the Lord. Don’t stop praising till you get to ‘the holy place.’
Sometimes it takes fifteen minutes of singing and praising. Sometimes it might take ten minutes. On another day, in another service, it might take twenty. At another time it might take only seven. Or you may get so hungry for God that you run quickly up the hill of the Lord and get there in three. The time will vary, but there will always be the ascent. There is always the entering in. We come from the outside world. And we always “enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name.” Praise is the entering in, and praise is the ascent.
Pages 91-92: It helps to sing songs that are not very complicated. Spiritual things are easy. If your mind has to be so involved with words, you’re too busy thinking. Your spirit doesn’t ascend. We want our spirits to ascend in praise as the anointing increases.
Use a simple chorus. Don’t worry about the beauty of the words and ideas. Don’t worry about complicated thoughts. Let the choir sing those complicated numbers. Let the congregation praise and worship and adore in simplicity so that one can be lost in worship.
Overhead projectors are a blessing for visitors who may not know the choruses being used. If the congregation, however, still needs the help of the screen then the music is too complicated for true worship. As you sing simpler songs, the spirit of worship will come.
Pages 93-96: Just as we praise until the worship comes, so, if we want the glory, we worship until the glory comes. When you praise, worship comes, and if you want a great depth of worship, then you must have a great height of praise which enables you to ascend to the top of the hill.
Sometimes, when we are about a quarter of the way up the hill, we say, “Now let’s sing a worship song.” We sing it. We mouth the words, but does our heart worship? We try to worship before we get into the atmosphere of worship.
At other times that atmosphere comes so easily. We weep before the Lord. We worship Him in depth. We feel His majesty. We feel His kingliness. With every move of God comes praise. In the past we have had a small amount of worship in proportion to the praise. That will change as revival grows. We will praise less and worship more.
When we started singing the new song, singing spontaneously, we learned a lot. We learned much about our relationship to God. We noticed that it was much easier for us to use a phrase that had a verb in it. “The Lord heals; He saves; He baptizes; He comforts; He cares; He provides.” But in worship we are focusing on the person of God, Who He is, not what He does. When we tried to worship without using the verbs, we experienced great periods of silence. So, we would return to our usual praise songs with action verbs. Through them we would move back into the presence of the Lord to see what He would show us. It took us time to learn to worship the person of the Lord.
If your relationship with your husband is one in which he makes the living, he takes out the garbage, he drives the car, he does certain errands, then it’s not much of a relationship. That happens with many marriages. It is a “verb” relationship, based on what he does.
Many husbands, in turn, say of their wives, “She is a wonderful cook. She keeps the house clean. She cares for the children.” Before you were married, did she cook the meals? Did she clean the house? Did she take care of the kids? What was it that made you love her?
“Well, it was those blue eyes.” Have you forgotten she still has those blue eyes? “Well, it was that smile.” Have you forgotten that she still has that smile? “There was something wonderful and scintillating in her personality.”
Women forget what made them fall in love with their husbands, too.
“Oh, it was the way he stood. There was just something about him. I could feel his strength.” That was the way she thought of him before they were married. Afterwards she thinks only of what he does. He thinks only of what she does.
It is the same in our relationship with the Lord. When we first met Him, He hadn’t done anything for us that we were aware of. But we saw that He was wonderful. “Oh, I love Him with all my heart,” new converts are prone to say.
After we’re saved a while, we think about Him in a different way: “He saved me. He filled me with the Holy Ghost. He heals me when I’m sick.” But what about Him as a person?
“Well, when I needed Him to pay my bills, He gave me money.” But what about the Lord as a person?
Our praise is verb-orientated. We forget Who He is. If we fell in love with Him, not knowing Him, shouldn’t knowing Him bring a greater relationship of love and worship? The angels in heaven worship and they have never been redeemed. They worship because of the person of the Lord. They worship because they know Him, not because they’ve been saved, healed, or filled with the Holy Ghost.
I’m not minimizing praising God for what He does. We should never fail to do it. I’m only stressing that God wants us also to know Him, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, to feel His presence, to come into His presence in such a way that we will worship Him in the beauty of holiness at His holy hill. His will is for us to seek to be worshipers above all else.
Page 118: When people are beginning to worship, and they find themselves not moved as they should be by God’s presence, I encourage them to do a little fasting. Fasting decreases the natural and increases one’s sensitivity in the Spirit. One develops keenness. It restores and releases those sensitivities that we have suppressed again and again.
132: As Americans, one of our problems is that we hear too many sounds. We hear too many voices. There are even too many ministry sounds. I tell people jokingly (because I have my own tapes available) that I want to produce an audio tape titled, “Learning to Know the Voice of God” and sell it all over America. When you put it in your tape player, it would be totally silent for an entire hour. “Learning to Know the Voice of God” — One hour of silence, making it possible for us to hear God!
Pages 154-155: One morning we all came into the prayer meeting in Bethlehem a little weary from a late meeting the night before. One brother that morning, within about two minutes, ran up the mountain of God and was already at the top waving his banner. “I’m here! I’m here!” Nobody else had reached the foot of the mountain yet.
In the old days of Pentecost, when someone got blessed, you were happy that they got blessed, and you stood by and watched them get blessed. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Come back down and let’s take everyone up together.”
This is not a day in which one person sees the glory and the rest of us just sit back and watch and listen. Oh, no! This is the day in which all flesh shall see it together. There is nothing more wonderful than the glory being revealed collectively to an entire congregation.
That morning the brother came back down and we continued praising, moving up slowly, until everybody began to flow together. Flowing together we came up higher and higher. Then we began to worship and the glory came. After a couple of hours had passed, I tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “Wasn’t that better?”
“Yes,” he admitted, “it’s better when we all see the glory together.” God is teaching us how to do it. What has happened previously individually is now happening congregationally. It was the congregational aspect of the praise that was new to the people when we first came to Jerusalem.
Pages 143-145: God is revealing His glory visibly to many people. I was speaking at Dr. Fucia Pickett’s church in Dallas. A brother came up to me after the service and said, “Sister Ruth, as you were speaking we saw the glory as a cloud enter and begin to rise in the aisles, slowly covering the congregation. The more you spoke the more the cloud rose. By the time you finished, it was over the heads of all the people. You were on the platform and that glory continued to rise until all we could see was your head”
There have been times when I have spoken that people couldn’t even see me. They could only see the light of the glory of God. Many times people have told me that as I was preaching they saw a cloud form like the figure of a man and stand beside me while I was ministering. The cloud has also been seen above me, beside me, behind me, in front of me, and engulfing me.
Sometimes the glory comes down as dewdrops. Sometimes it comes down as golden drops of rain. Sometimes it comes as a pillar of cloud. Sometimes it comes as a pillar of fire. Sometimes it comes as a mist. Some people see little sparkles, the glory dust that falls from His garment. Some see it as a gray or yellow smoke. People see it in many different ways. It doesn’t matter exactly how you see the glory, just see it.
One of our young people in Jerusalem saw the glory and described it as a “giant marshmallow.” Well, if it looked like a marshmallow to him, that’s okay. Some see the fire of God coming down as a ball of flame or tongues of fire. The vocabulary with which we describe the glory is not the important thing. Experiencing it is. Let the glory come into the midst of the people of God, the glory of His presence.
Page 201: Most of us, when we fall out under the power of God (or “rest in the Spirit,” as some say), get up too quickly. God wants us to stay there. He doesn’t put us on the floor just to show us He can do it. That’s His operating table. At times we are not even conscious. But, whether you are conscious or not, let vision flow. Let God show you things.
“But what if that’s not happening?” I can hear someone asking. Well, just stay there and praise and worship and adore. God will be putting things into your spirit without your even realizing it. Then, when you stand to minister, you will stand in greater authority and teachings will come forth from your mouth that you will wonder where you have learned them. Know that God placed them in the depth of your soul, put them into your understanding, put them into your spirit — while you were out under the power.
We must linger more at His altar and let Him cause us to know. It is given unto us to know.
“Praise … until the spirit of worship comes. Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.” This whole teaching is practical and it works because this is how God degreed that we are drawing near to him and he is drawing near to us. All right – now – finally – we come to the prophetic edge of Ruth Heflin’s teaching and her own experiences with God.
When she grew up – as a young girl – she attended most of the Wednesday afternoon prayer meetings of her church. The faithful of the congregation would come from one to four pm. During the first two hours they would be making petitions and interceding before God and during the last hour the group would just bask in God’s presence. Ruth Heflin loved those meetings and she later shared that – with all of these experiences in her younger years – she was raised on travail and intercession.
However – as a grown adult – God took her on a different journey and – so we might say – used her – prophetically – to usher in a different season in the church. At one point in her journey she wrote:
Pages 57-58: Outside the Greek chapel in Bethlehem, where we prayed on Friday and Saturday mornings for a number of years, we had a big sign: PENTECOSTAL PRAYER MEETING 8 to 12 NOON. After a while, that sign embarrassed me. I thought, “We’re not really praying anymore.” We were raised on travail and intercession. Now, we spent most of our time singing and dancing and rejoicing. I didn’t learn until years later that many places in Scripture which speak of praying are speaking of singing. There is a singing prayer. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19.
There are so many ways to sing unto the Lord. There are songs of love, songs of rejoicing and thanksgiving, songs of petition, and many others.
I felt embarrassed because we weren’t formally praying. Yet, it was during that time that the Lord gave me the song, “I Ask for the Nations.” He gave it to me spontaneously in a prayer meeting and we spent the whole morning asking for different nations. But we weren’t doing it in the formal way we had known before.
God was speaking to us about the nation and showing us the answer to the problem. We were then declaring the victory, prophesying it into being and rejoicing to see it all come to pass. We were not agonizing, weeping and supplicating as before. And we didn’t quite know what to think about it.
Ruth Heflin was confused. She had always been travailing and labouring hard in petitioning God during long hours of prayer but now something different was happening. Everything was bathed in praise and rejoicing with dancing. At that time she also noticed that she was not alone in her confusion. The season was beginning to change for others as well. She wrote in her book:
Page 58-59: A little later Rev. Edward Miller, of the Argentine revival fame, invited me to speak in what he considered to be “the greatest praise and worship churches in America” and arranged a little speaking tour for me. When you cross America you find out what people are thinking. In every church people asked the same questions. After about ten days I knew the one thing that was on everybody’s mind: “What about intercession and travail?”
My answer to them was, “I used to be an authority on the subject. If you had asked me this a few weeks ago, I could have given you all the answers. But God is doing something new and different. I’m not sure what He’s doing.”
Then, Ruth Heflin explained her growing insight:
Pages 59-71: Many times we are guilty of doing things as we have always done them, while God is moving in some new way. We’re still traveling down Highway #1 while He’s already opened I-95 to us. It’s bigger, it’s broader, it’s faster. But we’ve always traveled on Highway #1. Highway #1 will get you somewhere, but I-95 doesn’t have the local traffic and the impediments that slow you down on Highway #1. Seemingly we would still rather stop at every red light. So, God lets us do our own thing while He has opened other ways in the heavenlies.
“I don’t know what God is doing,” I said to those people. “We find ourselves singing so much in our prayer meetings. Yet, we feel tremendous release in the Spirit, and we know God has heard us concerning the nations and concerning people’s needs.”
I went home to Virginia for campmeeting. Mother asked me to take the Sunday morning service. It was communion Sunday. God said, “Turn to Isaiah 53.” I read: Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: Isaiah 53:10-11.
When I read that verse I suddenly saw that not only was salvation in the atonement and healing in the atonement, but travail is in the atonement. And because travail is in the atonement, I need never travail. He has done it. If I can appropriate it, I need never travail.
When I saw it, it was so freeing. And notice this: Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Verse 12.
God the Father divides Jesus a portion with the great. And Jesus, in turn, divides the portion with “the strong.” Who are “the strong?” The praisers.
When Jesus spoke of perfecting praise in the mouths of babes and sucklings, He was quoting from the eighth Psalm: Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. Psalm 8:2.
Jesus said it in a different way: And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? Matthew 21:15-16.
“Ordained strength” has become “perfected praise.” After He has travailed, Jesus divides the spoil with the strong. Our praise causes us to enter in and possess our inheritance. We take it through praise.
“Yes, Lord,” I said, “I understand now that I don’t need to travail. But what do we do to appropriate it?” (There are ways to appropriate everything that God has for us.) He said, “Keep on reading.”
The chapter divisions were added to help us find our place in the Bible. We have street names and numbers to help us locate one another. These numbers only serve to find our location. The scroll was written and flowed on from chapter 53 to 54. “What do I do, Lord?” I asked Him. He said, “Sing.” “Sing? I can appropriate this by singing?” “Sing,” He said. Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Isaiah 54:1.
Notice “sing[ing]” and “break[ing] forth into singing.” They are two different things. Most of you sing. Some of you are learning to break forth into singing. Singing is using the vocal chords. But there is a breaking forth into song, in which God puts a song in your spirit. You go to bed with it at night. You wake up with it in the night season. You still have it in the morning.
How many times has this happened to you? You are in a perplexing situation. You are overwhelmed. You don’t know what to do, and your mind is going a thousand miles a minute trying to figure it all out. Suddenly you come to a stop sign. The car is jolted. With the jolt you focus back on the moment and discover that you’re singing. You have been singing the whole time your mind’s been working.
The Holy Spirit has been singing the answer in your spirit while you have been looking for the answer in your mind. “Isn’t that the faithfulness of the Holy Ghost!” you say. “I have been trying to work out the answer in my mind, and all the time the Holy Ghost has been giving me the answer. Thank God for the stop sign that forced me to hear the song of the Spirit.”
We’re not going to sit around and prophesy to ourselves. The ministry of prophecy is for others. But song releases the voice of the Spirit within you in your language and builds you up, as praising in the Spirit does. People that prophesy to themselves have gotten into a lot of error. But I can sing. I can let that song of the Lord come forth out of the depth of my being. Some of the greatest revelations I have heard have come in song, when we have been singing and each person has been given a little verse of the song.
If we had asked, “Has anyone had a revelation this morning?” everyone would have answered, “Oh no!” The word “revelation” is so big. It is interesting. In Catholic Charismatic circles they use the word “picture” instead of the word “vision.” “Has anybody seen a ‘picture’ this morning?” The reason they do it is that “vision” seems so big and awesome. “No, I haven’t had a ‘vision.’ But yes, I did see a ‘picture.’ No, I haven’t had a ‘revelation.’ But I have a ‘song.’”
Often, as we allow a little song to come forth, it holds such revelation. It is God perfecting praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. It is so beautiful, so marvelous. I keep a book each year in Jerusalem. As I sit at the piano, spontaneous phrases come to us. Beautiful vision and revelation come out of the mouths of the people. “Sing!”
I want you to sing from this day on more than you have ever sung before. Don’t just sing the familiar choruses you already know. Let a little song come out of your own spirit. Keep it simple, one little verse at a time. Don’t get too complicated …
After the Lord showed me that I no longer needed to travail, someone that I greatly respect came to visit us in Jerusalem and ministered the old teaching on travail. That teaching is not wrong. God is just showing us easier ways. I think I want to buy a typewriter because I am from the typewriter generation. But anybody that knows how to use a computer feels that typewriters are obsolete. “What do you want a typewriter for?” they ask.
Typewriters still serve a useful purpose. But if there is a computer in the room, why buy a typewriter? Do you see what I am saying? If there is something that you can do more with, why reach back to the familiar? God is moving on. I didn’t buy a typewriter.
It is the same with prayer for the sick. There are a number of formulas in the Word of God for ministering to the sick, and all of them work. I never anoint anyone with oil. I feel that God has given me a gift of healing, so that I don’t come under the same category as the elders who anoint with oil. People frequently hand me bottles of oil. I avoid using it as gracefully as I can. “Brother, you anoint them, and I will pray with you,” I say. I am flowing in a different anointing. God has given me a revelation, and I want to flow in that revelation.
Does that mean that God is not healing through the anointing oil? No, it doesn’t. God works in a variety of ways.
When I heard this person speak of travail in the traditional sense, “... we get down and pray until we feel in the spirit the birth pangs, feel the burden for people, as a woman giving birth, and bring forth individuals into salvation, bring forth even nations ...” etc, I said to the Lord, “I really want to know if I understood you correctly. Give me a little further indication concerning this new thing.”
The wife of one of our couples was expecting a baby. She didn’t know what I had asked the Lord. She told me later, “That next day the Lord woke me up with this verse: ‘Before Zion travailed, she brought forth.’”
“What does that mean, Lord?” she asked. That day she and her husband were busy and suddenly she felt a twinge of discomfort. She mentioned it to him and he suggested stopping by the maternity house since they were nearby.
“I know the baby isn’t coming yet,” she protested. “These are not labor pains.” “It won’t hurt to stop,” he insisted. “We’re nearby.” So, they stopped. The doctor was in. He put her on the examining table and began to check her over. “The baby is coming,” he said, surprisedly. “It couldn’t be,” she said. “I haven’t done what I am supposed to do yet.” (She and her husband had taken some lessons on just what to do.) “I can’t help that,” the doctor said, “the baby is here.” When she told me that, I said, “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!”
When I hear how people are being instructed to pray, I feel sorry for them. I have one friend that gets up at five in the morning and goes through one man’s formula and another man’s formula and even another man’s formula. By the time I got through all those formulas I’d be worn out.
I do my best to teach the simplicity of coming into His presence. But, even if we do it all wrong, He makes it come out all right.
At our campmeeting sometimes we have visiting ministers preach that give us twenty-one steps to faith, or seven ways to be healed, etc. My dear, saintly mother often steps forward to the microphone and says the most spiritual thing that has been spoken all evening. For instance: “It doesn’t take very much faith to touch God.” It’s true. “Before Zion travailed, she brought forth.” I was so excited by that.
Then I was on my way to Australia again. I was flying out of Hong Kong on Quantas Airways to Sydney. The trip was coming to a close, and toward the end of a long trip, you’ll read anything. I picked up a magazine to read. It was the Australian Woman’s Weekly. They have the recipes, the latest fashions and a romance or two. Right in the middle of all that were the headlines, “SING YOUR WAY TO A PAINLESS CHILD-BIRTH.” The article was written by a famous French obstetrician. He said he was not referring simply to the singing that comes from the mouth, but the singing in which the total woman is involved. When she is caught away in song, he said, she can have a childbirth without pain.
In Jerusalem our expectant mothers use a little maternity hospital. The husband goes and stands on one side of his wife, and I go and stand on the other side. We start singing in the Spirit. The Moslem doctor knows that we are going to be there singing in tongues. We get lost singing in the Spirit, and in a few moments the baby comes. That’s what God wants us to know.
If we sing, we won’t have to come into that realm of travail. Why? Because the joy of the Lord brings a release of faith, and faith does the work. In a moment such as this we can release more faith for Israel and see more accomplished than in five nights of all-night prayer prayed in the realm of the understanding.
We are creating the atmosphere for miracles. Blind Bartimaeus just called out, “Son of David, have mercy on me,” and he was healed. When Jesus was present things happened easily. And God will do it easily for us.
Don’t let anyone else do your singing for you. If you have to start in the car, then start in the car. Most of us get enough time driving in the car by ourselves. We can’t disturb anyone. Just sing. I have a friend, a Korean businessman, who calls me long distance from Seoul when he’s in business trouble. After we have greeted each other, we sing together in the Spirit. Sometimes we sing for ten or fifteen minutes.
When we are lifted up in singing, God begins to give the answers. First, He lifts us up above the cares, the problems, the needs. There is a realm of ease in God. We make spiritual things difficult. He wants to make them easy. He wants the King of Glory to come in and fight our battles for us.
Most of the time we are so busy fighting our own battles that we don’t let the Lord do it for us. Remember when Jehoshaphat went out against the kings, the singers and the dancers — the praisers — went before the army. Because the praisers went before the army, they didn’t even need to fight (2 Chronicles 20:21-24 [highlight these Bible verses]). And you will never need to fight your own battle if you’ll move into this realm of praise and worship unto the Lord.
At one time we had a number of houses in Israel where visitors and pilgrims lived. Once we had a sister staying with us who was on a long fast. We always welcome such visitors. The problem was that she was not willing to go to church with us. I am not willing for anybody to come and fast with us who doesn’t go to church. When you fast you need the anointing you receive in the service. If you fast without going to church, you will experience difficulty.
I sent messages through all the appropriate channels, but I always got a negative response. I got more and more disturbed by her. One morning in prayer the Lord spoke to me, “Why don’t you let Me handle this?”
I almost laughed. Have any of you ever laughed at God? We think we have been letting Him handle it. I thought to myself, “If the Lord can do something with her, He can do something with anybody.”
“Okay, Lord,” I answered. “You fight the battle.” And I forgot about it. There are always another dozen problems that come up in the meantime.
When I got to church that night, who should meet me at the door but this sister who had continually refused to come. She not only met me without being coaxed, she met me with an apology. “I was praying today,” she said. “God spoke to me that my spirit had been wrong and my attitudes had been incorrect. I’m sorry.”
“How foolish we are,” I thought. “We think we are letting God fight the battles, but we’re not really.” The more we sing to Him, the more He will fight the battles.
Ruth Heflin took a while to understand that there was a new season coming in God and this season was about acceleration. She used the image of moving from an old typewriter to a computer. God was on the move and he was on the move with a mission heart (remember that her song “I will give the nations to you” was given to her by God in a praise session) so that the transition from long periods of prayer travail to active praise served the purpose of speeding up the mission breakthroughs. This is what informed Ruth Heflin’s journey in her faith from the beginning:
Pages 6-7: One night a visiting American minister, who had been working in Nigeria, spoke to us. He looked over our group of young people, saw that they were all vigorous, and decided that they should be out passing out tracts. With his past experience he could visualize how we could reach the whole city of Jerusalem in a short time and was calculating how many thousands of tracts could be distributed. “You must be out sowing the seed,” he said.
Everything the brother said was biblically true. We believed in sowing the Word and had done great Bible and Gospel distribution programs in other countries. In Nepal we even rented helicopters to lift us into remote areas with our Gospels and crossed barriers, with the help of the royal family, to distribute them. But in Jerusalem, there were certain restrictions. If we were going to live there we would have to abide by the law.
What the brother said was biblical, but it just wasn’t God’s answer for Jerusalem at that time. In every country God has a plan. There is not necessarily one single answer that works everywhere or one practical solution that fits every situation.
As the brother was speaking, however, I could sense that our young people were being challenged. I could visualize twenty-five young people lined up the next morning to ask, “Where are the tracts? We are ready to go give them out.”
That night I prayed, “Lord, give me Your answer for them.” In the middle of the night the Lord spoke to me and said, “You sow to the heavens, and I will sow to the earth.” That was the way our ministry of praise on Mt. Zion was born. I didn’t have a precise Scripture verse at hand to back up what God was saying to me. And I didn’t understand yet all that He meant by “You sow heavenward, and I will sow earthward.” But I was determined to learn.
Pages 10-11: On New Year’s Eve the Lord spoke to us and said, “Even now, while you are praising Me, I am pouring out My Spirit in another part of the city.” We got so excited. We could hardly wait until the next day to see what God had done in some other part of the city.
The next day we learned that a group of twenty-five Arab Baptist young people had gathered for a social evening when suddenly the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon them and they began to speak in other tongues. Twenty-five at that time in Jerusalem was like two thousand, five hundred in the United States.
How thrilled we were!
Page 12: A few weeks passed. God spoke to us of an outpouring of His Spirit in the Galilee. Subsequently we heard of the outpouring of the Spirit in the Galilee. A little more time passed and the Lord spoke to us and said, “I will come to My people, the Jews, and will reveal Myself to them where they are — in the kibutzim, in the fields, in the factories.” Jewish people began coming to our place of worship, telling us that they had received a personal revelation of Jesus.
We learned that we could praise the Lord in Jerusalem, sowing to the heavens, and that God would take our praise and sow it back on the earth — in Jerusalem, Gaza, and Galilee — all over Israel. Later we were enlarged to see that praise would likewise reap a harvest in the ends of the earth. Praise is one of the most powerful tools of harvest in the kingdom of God.
Today – looking back to the time when Ruth Heflin began her ministry – we can confirm that this was indeed the case. God was on the move and acceleration was happening – is happening in so many places right now. All over the world millions of people are being swept into the kingdom of God. Look at how things have been speeding up over the last few decades:
Evangelist Marcel Favreau (http://www.marcelfavreau.com/mfliberation.org/documents/10-Message.htm): Christianity grows three times as fast as the world’s population. Every day, more than 178,000 people enter into the kingdom of God. Every day, 28,000 people in communist China alone are converted and enter into the kingdom of God. Every day, 20,000 in Africa and 35,000 in Latin America are reached with the Gospel. According to statistics, every minute, between 400 and 500 people accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour in Latin America.
In 1900, Korea was considered unreachable with the Gospel, but in 1986, 20% of South Korea was Christian and today, 40% of the population professes Christ (bringing the total number of Christians to 12.5 million). In 1950, China boasted a total of one million believers; in 1980, that total grew to 40 million, in 1992, over 75 million and in the year 2000, Christians totalled over 100 million.
In India, there are over 85 million believers, more than in the United States. One soul is saved every 10 minutes, one baptized every 42 minutes. According to P. G. Vargis, founder and leader of the Indian Evangelical Team, a new church is established every day. There are 3250 churches in India at the present time.
In 1953, there were no Christians in Nepal. Today, in spite of very tough laws against Christianity, that number has soared to 150,000. Over the last 10 years in Iran, more have been more converted than during the last 1000 years. Churches can be found in almost every town and village.
In 1900, South America totalled only 50,000 Born-again believers. In 1980, the number increased to 20 million, and in the year 2000, over 100 million. That segment of society grows 4 times quicker than its population. During the Persian Gulf war, Christian soldiers shared their FAITH with people of Islamic background; more than 100 churches were started in Saudi Arabia and in Kuwait. The work medical missionaries managed to do amongst the Kurds at the end of the war resulted in seeing almost the entire Kurd population come to Christ.
In Myanmar (formerly Burma), 37 of the most influential Buddhist monks gave their hearts to Christ at the conclusion of the very first showing of the film on Jesus …
[And take note of this:]
Since the days of the apostles until now, this kind of event had never occurred! According to the editors of “Religion Today”, a record 1.6 million people filled to overflowing a 80-acre site in Lagos, Nigeria on November 12, 2000 to hear Pentecostal evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. The Sunday evening service was probably the largest meeting ever held without the assistance of modern technology such as satellites or the Internet. Bonnke’s six-day series of meetings drew a total of 6 million people. Hundreds of thousands accepted Christ as Saviour. Approximately 200,000 counsellors actively worked each evening, handing out Christian literature and writing down names and addresses. Up to 2000 churches worked together in one accord during this event. Thousands of people came forward for prayer and healing. A Florida doctor, Rodney Thompson, attending these meetings, certified that the sick, the deaf, the blind, and others suffering from tuberculosis and all forms of cancer were healed …
Edgar: At a church meeting two years ago Bill Johnson made the observation that when he asked hundreds of pastors in the past, whether they were experiencing miracles on a regular basis, maybe three or four would raise their hands. Now most of them raise their hands. There is a change coming. While in the past many church leaders simply could not believe the testimonies which he was sharing, now when they meet him, they spend the first half hour telling him the amazing testimonies from their own midst. Faith is rising. God is accelerating the church.
Even last week we heard more testimonies at the Christian Leaders’ Network of someone coming to faith in Jesus Christ on her first visit to the Healing Rooms at the Range Christian Fellowship and I also heard how Pastor Herman Ruyters prophesied the Bible verse of Amos 9:13 over the Rangeville Community Church – and by extension – over the Toowomba region.The Bible verse says: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills.” In other words: The sewer will be overtaken by those that gather in the crop. The harvest will come so quickly that the sewer has not even left the field yet but – behold – the fruit – in abundance – has already grown. This is acceleration and Herman Ruyters discerned the coming of this season to Toowoomba and he is just one more voice confirming what has been and is transpiring in the world right now.
Here at Living Grace – are we taking this on board and are we exercising our faith to join in with what God has planned for us? As I was preparing for this week’s message, I made the discovery that I had already released a similar word in March 2009. When we – for the first time as a church – committed ourselves to the spiritual discipline of fasting, this is what I was led to say:
I close with a testimony from a healing evangelist. This is what he saw in the Spirit. He heard engine noise (wrrm wrrm – as gutsy as formula one cars) and he heard wheels screeching. A car came round the corner and inside was the Lord. He slammed the brakes, jumped out of the car, threw him the keys and said: “Do you want to drive this one? This car is the new model for 2005. It is not for lease but ownership and authority. This is the new model for ministry in the church.” The evangelist had a closer look. What kind of model was it? God said: “This one is ‘Fast’. That’s the name of the model. It will get you to your destination quicker. What used to take six years is going to take six months – what used to take six months will take six days – what used to take six days will take six minutes. Do you want to drive it?” Just then a salesman came by who sold oldsmobiles and he tempted the evangelist to settle for an oldsmobile – settle for the old way of doing things in ministry: “Be wise. Why risk anything new? Save money. Trust the old ways.”
The evangelist had a choice to make. What did he want? [Side comment: This visitation came in 2004 – the very year General Motors discontinued the making of oldsmobile.] Then the Lord said: “This car drives on one highway only and one lane only – holiness. This is the only way that you can handle the car and its power. Drive on the highway of holiness. This new model is for acceleration – for buildings, harvest, land, partners, money, multitudes.”
Do we want to accelerate as a church? Yes, we do and therefore we commit to the highway of holiness – even in fasting. God humbled us this week. He made us rediscover the Christian core discipline of fasting – but for a reason. He is about to throw us the key of the new model of ministry and the new model is fast. Here comes our church: Wrrm wrrm. Amen.
Has God not already confirmed his word? At that time we had no idea what would come next for us but – within three months – 90 short days – God had moved us out of the Concordia Chapel and provided this new worship home. Within the same time period God turned our financial situation around; by the end of the year blessed us with the miracle of gold dust from his glory presence; not even a year later – as a church – we ministered for the first time in Papua New Guinea; all the while Jubilee ministry grew in leaps and bounds and God has added so many new people to our church. He is accelerating us fast. As we continue to praise and worship – at the Prayer Watch on Friday nights – we are not going to slow down.
What Ruth Heflin pioneered as a prophetic forerunner is coming into its fullness in our day. As a church we accept it. We stand on this word and confirm it with our faith.
God has ordained the praising of his holy name and we are now in a season where such praise is a mighty tool for spiritual breakthroughs and harvesting. In this respect – Ruth Heflin also discovered that God wanted the kind of praise that was vigorous and – at least to her – uncomfortable. God used Ruth Heflin also to pioneer more unrestrained expressions of glorifying God. These days her worship behavior would no longer be that out of the ordinary (there are enough books at Koorong to prove that) but back then Ruth Heflin was on the cutting edge.
I let her tell the story:
Page 9: We discovered that not only did praise delight our God and He desired more of it, but that He also liked it louder. Not only does He urge us, “Praise the Lord.” He tells us to praise with “the voice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 26:7), “with the voice of triumph” (Psalm 47:1), “with the ... voice of a psalm” (Psalm 98:5), and with “the voice of rejoicing” (Psalm 118:15).
The voice John heard was “the voice of a great multitude,” “the voice as of many waters,” and “the voice of mighty thunderings.” Our praise rises until it thunders like Niagara or Livingston Falls. So great are the rushing sounds of the joining together of voice to voice. It rises further until it is “as ... mighty thunderings.”
Page 17: Once I was in an automobile accident. I have a little dimple on the chin that reminds me. My jaw hurt too much to do any talking for a couple of days. I had heard people say, “It’s just the same. I can praise Him on the inside.” I discovered it’s not the same. Up until that time I couldn’t refute them and say it was the same or it wasn’t the same. But when I had that experience of not being able to praise Him aloud, I suddenly knew that it was not the same.
There is a liberty that comes from putting your praise into audible words. It releases the river of God to flow out of you as you open your mouth and begin to declare the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, declaring the miracle of the Lord, declaring the healing of the Lord, declaring the victory of the Lord, declaring the newness of the Lord, using your voice as a trumpet, sounding forth the blessings of the Lord.
Page 25-29: Some people have a problem with praising God in the dance. I understand that. I was one of those who believed that dancing was biblical but was very happy for everybody else to do it for me. In those days, only a few people danced in our church — my mother and two or three others. Dancing was not as widespread nor as acceptable as it is now. I always made myself unavailable when the spirit of rejoicing was among us.
One of the bad things one learns in church work is how to keep busy with “holy activities,” “holy busyness.” I was at the piano or at the organ. I was always unavailable to dance. Then, one day the Lord spoke to me concerning the time that David returned to Jerusalem dancing before the Lord. When he came back into the city, bringing the Ark of God, he danced along the entire route.
And it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:12-16.
The Lord showed me that if we wanted to bring in the Ark of God we would have to dance too.
After David had successfully returned the Ark to its place, he rewarded all the men and women who had helped him with a piece of meat, a loaf of bread and a flagon of wine (2 Samuel 6:19). He thus became the only one in the Scripture to ever feed a nation.
Jesus fed the four thousand on one occasion and the five thousand on another. Other miraculous experiences are related in the Scriptures in which others were fed. Nobody except David, however, ever fed a nation. He did it after he came back to Jerusalem dancing. Nobody else fed a triple portion except David. The Lord said to me, “If you want to feed a nation, and if you want to feed a triple portion, you must dance.” He didn’t tell me I had to dance in order to be saved. He didn’t say I had to dance in order to go to heaven. He didn’t say I had to dance to be part of what is happening in the local church. He was letting me know that dancing brings an anointing that feeds nations the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. If I wanted to feed the nations a triple portion, I had to begin to dance.
I had already been to the nations. I had served the Lord in Hong Kong for four years, had preached in Japan, Taiwan and India. In India I had preached to multitudes. I was already blessed. I had witnessed revival wherever I had gone. Now, God was speaking to me concerning a further dimension of ministry, an enlarged place in which to stand in God. I love the challenges of the Lord! We must live by the challenges of the Holy Ghost. Something in our human nature causes us to rebel when other people give us a good suggestion. But when the Lord speaks to us, we had better listen. We also need to learn to be just as responsive to the servants of the Lord as we are to God. The servant of God is the voice of God to us in many instances.
This was a hard word for me. In fact, I had a greater struggle with this than when the Lord called me to the Chinese people at the age of fifteen. Leaving home and family to go to Hong Kong when I was eighteen was easy in comparison to what God was now asking me to do.
The Lord kept dangling that spiritual plum before me: “If you want to feed a nation, you must dance.” He spoke that to me toward the beginning of campmeeting that year. I made up my mind that every day during that meeting I was going to dance. Campmeeting lasted about a month then. Now it continues for ten and a half weeks. The first day I was so self-conscious, so sure that everybody was watching me, that everybody could see me. At our campmeeting everyone is so caught up in the Spirit that they hardly know what others are doing. When the power of God comes, when the anointing falls, you may think that every eye is on you. But you can get lost in the crowd easily, even if there isn’t a crowd. There is a crowd of angels and of the anointing. And many things are happening round about you.
That first day I don’t think I did much more than wiggle my toes inside my shoes. I understand the problems others have in this area. I often say when teaching people, “If you do nothing more than shift your weight from one foot to the other, that’s a start.” But every day I made myself available to dance before the Lord. Daily I became more and more free. At the end of the month the Lord spoke to me through my mother prophetically. She didn’t know what God was saying to me. Nobody had even noticed that I was trying to dance a little. The Lord said to me, “I am going to change your ministry. I am going to send you to kings, queens, potentates, people of position, and you will speak to them of Me.”
I believe that dancing brings an anointing for the nations. I never let a day go by without dancing. I have danced in the toilets of 707’s, 747’s and DC10’s. How do I do it? Straight up and down.
You need that anointing to flow through you every day. Dancing brings that anointing. If you are ministering in some place where you don’t have that liberty, get in your closet and dance a little before the Lord. If you have that dance in your feet, you will have an anointing to feed the bread, the meat, and the wine unto nations.
Pages 47-48: The lifting up of the hands is one of the most powerful praise ministries we have. It is just as powerful as dancing. God said: I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 1 Timothy 2:8.
When I am standing before the Lord in Jerusalem, I don’t keep my hands at “half mast.” I raise them up high because I need the strength that comes from on high. Sometimes we don’t need to declare anything. We just need to stand with our hands uplifted. That very standing in the presence of God with our arms raised is, in itself, a very powerful declaration.
When the battle was raging and Moses had his hands upraised, the battle went in favor of Israel. But when his hands began to sag, the battle went against Israel. Aaron and Hur saw it and rushed to Moses’ side to hold up his hands until Israel prevailed.
And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. Exodus 17:11-12.
I was praying in Jerusalem when I saw a vision of Moses with his hands lifted. I saw the prevailing power manifested.
Pages 54-56: Another aspect of praise that is so powerful and which we need to use more and more is singing. A number of years ago God began to do something new in our fellowship in Jerusalem in this regard. He began to give us a new song. Now, it is happening all over the world. I am hearing messages in many circles concerning singing a new song to the Lord.
The Lord spoke to us and told us to sing a new song to Him. We didn’t really know what He meant. But when God speaks to us and we don’t understand, He keeps saying it until we do understand. Or He sends someone else along to say the same thing, until it begins to break forth in the midst of the people.
God is very persistent. He can have the same message for a very long time. If we are hearing the same message over and over, maybe it’s because we haven’t stepped into it yet. The Lord will move on quickly to something else if we catch on quickly to what He is saying.
He kept telling us to sing a “new song.” We weren’t sure if He meant sing with a different beat, sing a different melody, sing in a different style. We didn’t know what He meant. None of us were particularly talented musically. One day, as we were praising, we began to sing a little song that we had never heard, never learned, never been taught, never memorized. We just sang out of our spirits spontaneously. There is more in our spirits with which to bless God and the nations than we’ll ever be able to use — if we’ll release it in God. We’re still asking God to pour it in, “pour it in, pour it in.”
He’s saying, “Pour it out. Pour it out.” “Lord, I’ll pour it out if I have something to pour,” we say. It’s already there, but because your faith is not working in this area, you’re not releasing it.
When God is leading us into something new, we are unsure of ourselves and go slowly. We put our toe in, then bring it back out, then put it in again to test the water. God blessed us when we sang spontaneously. At first we only did it in our prayer meetings in Bethlehem. When we were in the church on Mount Zion, we conducted the service, as usual, as we were accustomed, with songs and choruses we already knew.
The Lord said to us, “Can’t you trust Me? If you can sing spontaneously in the prayer meeting, why can’t you sing spontaneously on Mount Zion?”
“But, Lord,” I said, “people come ten thousand miles to be in one service. We don’t want to make mistakes in front of them. What if it doesn’t work?” Personally, I like an occasional stutter or stammer in a service. When we are too polished, it may be because we have done it that way too many times. We are doing it by rote, and it lacks freshness. The stammer indicates that people are moving into new territory, reaching into revelation by the Spirit.
He kept after us until we started singing spontaneously in the regular service as well. From then on we haven’t looked back. We sing spontaneously in our services. In this way the Holy Spirit teaches us.
God made his teaching very practical through Ruth Heflin: “Praise … until the spirit of worship comes. Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.” However – I hope that this is what we are discovering this morning – this teaching is not only practical but also prophetic – showing us what God is moving toward. God is emphasizing praise because this is no longer the season of travailing in long prayer sessions. (At least there is a shift discernible.) God is accelerating spiritual breakthroughs and the harvesting of souls in his kingdom through praise and it is the kind of praise that is vigorous – involving the whole person – with singing and shouting, dancing and arms raised up. Do we agree and likewise exercise faith in this direction?
The second prophetic edge – after the emphasis on praise and its dancing nature in practice – highlights the last two sentences of Ruth Heflin’s main teaching point: “Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.” Listen to what she pioneered:
Page 145: We are only beginning to see the glorious day of the Lord. God has shown us that every day we can experience the glory through the simplicity of praise and worship. It is not that we haven’t had praise in the church. It is not that we haven’t had worship in the church. And it’s not that we haven’t had glory in the church. But we haven’t known how praise and worship work together to bring forth the glory.
Page 151: When you preach on salvation, folks get saved. When you preach on healing, folks get healed. When you preach concerning financial provision, folks begin to move into the provision of God. And when you preach on the glory, you begin to have a revelation of the glory of God.
P160-161: That day in Jerusalem I felt it as never before. I suddenly knew how easy it is to raise the dead and to heal all manner of sickness and disease. How easy it is in that realm of glory! How easy to see people leaping out of wheelchairs and off of stretchers! How easy to see blind eyes opened and deaf ears unstopped! In that realm nothing is impossible.
That glory must have stayed with us two or three hours. God was giving us a foretaste, as He often does, of a greater day, so that we could encourage ourselves and others to move into the glory realm.
God showed me that day that if there is no death working in me, if there is no bitterness, no strife, no criticism (nothing of death), I can command death. If death is working in me, I have no authority over death. If only life is flowing through me, I have an authority over death and I can command it in the name of the Lord. We must move into the resurrection power of God. As we live in the glory realm, we will see the miraculous such as the world has never seen.
Page 162: God is not saying that His glory will come down upon the world, willy nilly. No! God has always used earthen vessels. So, if we’re going to see an increase of the glory on the earth, it will be through people such as you and me. We must become familiar with the glory. We must experience the glory realm as never before.
Every Spirit-filled child of God has the privilege of bringing the glory and the ease into a service, into their own lives, into their households, into their churches, into their communities, into their nation. We do it with our voices. The lifting up of the voice brings a different atmosphere into a place.
Page 168-171: Earlier in Pentecost, we were not taught that we all could see. We believed in vision, and there were always those who were visionary. Because we were not taught to believe to see, many of us were without seeing for years. God spoke to us one day in Jerusalem and said that the whole man (in the natural) sees, hears, and feels. If someone doesn’t hear, we say he is “deaf.” If he hears a little, we say he is “hard of hearing.” If he doesn’t see at all, we say he is “blind” or, if he sees only a little, we say he “sees dimly.” Yet we’ve never been taught that we can all see in the Spirit.
God wants to take us in vision to His throne. He wants to show us the face of Jesus. In seeing Jesus, I am changed. Every time I stand in the glory, I’m changed a little more. Every time I look on His face, I have a desire to be more like Him. He is the example. It’s in the glory that I see Him and desire to be like Him.
There may be a general desire to be like Him aside from the glory. But in the glory I know what it is to be like Him. I know what His compassion feels like. I know what His holiness feels like. I know what His love is like. I know what His mercy is like. In the glory I know Him in a way that I can’t know Him in any other way.
The Lord wants us to be anointed to see. Anything that Ezekiel saw you and I can see. Anything that John the Revelator saw you and I can see. We simply haven’t taught enough on seeing in the realm of the Spirit. God showed me that if people are taught, it is very easy for them to see the face of the Lord. I tried it out at summer campmeeting.
Sister Gladys Faison, who has been attending our church for fifteen or twenty years, came on the platform weeping one night that week. “Sister Faison, why are you crying?” I asked. “I have been so blessed,” she said. “All these years I have struggled, wanting to see the Lord. I have struggled, wanting to see the heavenlies. I have struggled, striving to enter into something eternal. This week, while we have been singing in the Spirit, I have seen the Lord every day. I have seen the heavenlies. It has all come so easily. I never knew it was so simple.” Dozens of others had a similar experience.
I sometimes go into churches that have several hundred people, and none of them have ever seen the face of the Lord. As the congregation stands and worships for ten or fifteen minutes, at least fifty of them see the Lord for the first time.
Why does it happen at that moment and come so easily? Because they have been taught that they can see and they look expecting to see. When you look expecting to see, you begin to see.
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.
No matter what experience you have in God, you’ll never have anything more thrilling than looking at His face. In the glory you gradually learn how to come in and see His face more often. His face is not, then, so elusive. And you don’t see it through a glass darkly, either. You see Him face to face.
I remember a time when I longed to see Him so. Some of my friends had seen Him face to face and I hadn’t. I didn’t know how to do it. I wish somebody had taught a seminar on the subject. I was so hungry, so very hungry to see His face. I am so grateful that He taught me how.
I remember the days when Irene, my friend and associate, would weep because everyone else was having visions and she wasn’t. Now, the spirit of revelation works so beautifully in her that it’s a joy to be in a meeting with her.
If you will praise until the spirit of worship comes, and if you will worship until the glory comes, you will see the Lord. He will show Himself to you in so many wonderful ways. You’ll see Him more and more clearly and you’ll know Him more and more intimately — until your heart is bubbling over with so much love for Him that you could write your own Song of Songs.
Pages 176-178: You might say, “Sister Ruth, I’m not spiritual enough for all that yet. I’m a new believer.” We often find that new believers come into these things more easily because they don’t have anything to unlearn. Many have the impression that these things are for a select few. I, myself, was willing to live and travel for years hearing the voice of God and not seeing vision. But since God awakened me to the fact that I needed to see as well as hear, my life has known a fullness that I didn’t experience before.
In the natural, I don’t know of anything worse than blindness — not being able to see the beauties of nature. For a Christian not to see the Lord, and just walk blindly, is just as bad. Seeing is one of the ways God speaks to us.
We don’t need to walk blindly. God’s glory is revealed. If we can have faith to believe for people to be healed, if we can have faith for finances, if we can have faith to go to the nations, can’t we have faith in the area of worship and believe to see the glory of God? Did not the Lord say, “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of the God” (John 11:40)? God wants us to be anointed in this way, to have that desire in our heart to see the glory of God realized.
In our campmeetings throughout the years, we have had glorious angelic visitations. We have had experiences in the night in which the glory of God has come and ministered unto the people. The King of Glory is present, as God promised. But in these last days we will see an increase in both His presence and that of His heavenly hosts …
If you want to be an effectual intercessor, you must know the realm of glory. Otherwise you will live in the realm of man’s understanding and spend most of your time praying about all the wrong things. When you move into the realm of the Spirit, He shows you what to target in on.
Pages 191-193: I wasn’t visionary. Others were having visions and revelations and I was always thrilled to hear what God was showing them. I heard the voice of the Lord clearly, but didn’t personally receive visions. Part of the reason was that we were not taught to believe for it. We must exercise faith in worship. We exercise it for salvation, for healing, for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and for financial miracles. But we are seldom taught to exercise our faith in worship. Let us use our faith to move into the glory realm so that we can see and know.
My other problem was that I had never asked to see. When I started asking, I started seeing. One of the reasons I hadn’t asked before was my misunderstanding of what Jesus said to Thomas.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. John 20:29.
I accepted the fact that it was fine if I didn’t see. Many years later, when God began to challenge me to see, He let me know that this verse had nothing to do with my seeing in the realm of the spirit.
What God is doing today is not brand new, but He is doing it for more people. We used to be content to have one or two people be blessed in a particular service. We went home rejoicing that Sister Jones got a blessing. Now, God is doing a new thing. He wants us all to have the same experiences. In the natural, we can all sit down in front of a television, turn to the same channel, and watch the same program. In the glory realm we can all have a corporate vision. We can have a corporate revelation. We can all see and know and perceive by the Spirit of God. Let the glory lift you into the realm of revelation.
The case of Thomas was different. He was trying to get the Lord to prove something to him. Ask for visions and you will receive visions.
Susan, who was an Episcopalian, started having visions from the moment she was filled with the Spirit. God taught her the Bible by vision. One day she said to me, “Ruth, you do see vision.” “Oh, no, I don’t,” I answered. “I don’t see vision.” (Some people are almost proud that they don’t: “Other people need those things. I don’t need aids or signs to help me hear from God.”) “Oh, no! I don’t see any visions,” I asserted. “Yes! You do see visions,” she insisted. “No, I don’t,” I continued stubbornly. “Why is it, then,” she asked, “that when you prophesy, I hear you say, ‘I see so and so’?” I had to think about that for a moment. I know I don’t lie and I certainly wouldn’t be lying while I was prophesying — if I did lie. “Well,” I answered, “I see, but I don’t see.”
We spend so much time explaining away something God has already given to us. “I see, but I don’t see.” From that day on I began to take notice of what was happening while I prophesied, and I learned that she was correct. Although the vision was not the most important thing, God was giving me help as I was prophesying over these people. The vision was revealing to me what I was to say. Vision is one of the important ways God speaks to us.
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. Habakkuk 2:1-2.
This is exciting. Do you believe the teaching? All over the world the body of Christ more and more believers come into the very same experience that Ruth Heflin is describing, that is: Christians are getting a taste of God’s glory. “Praise … until the spirit of worship comes. Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.” You can experience the glory of God. You just need to exercise faith. It is easy.
In a most radical statement Ruth Heflin declares: “The Lord wants us to be anointed to see. Anything that Ezekiel saw you and I can see. Anything that John the Revelator saw you and I can see.” Maybe our experiences will not be exactly the same as what Ezekiel and John were seeing but – on the other hand – how many recent testimonies have we heard over the last few years (flooding in from all over the world) where people have indeed seen the same realities of heaven that Ezekiel and John saw: the sea of glass, the emerald rainbow over God’s throne, the four living creatures. One of my own relatives – in her last days – saw the sea of glass and other things and I have even heard a testimony where someone woke up on the sea of glass in heaven with one of the four living creatures breathing into his face. This is out there and therefore – in the beginning – when it happened to a Lutheran colleague (Dirk Willner), he did not talk about it because he was afraid of the consequences. All the others in the church would think that he was weird.
Yet, the Bible does teach that in the past – before Jesus was born – Moses saw the glory of God and – now that Jesus has poured out the Holy Spirit on those that believe in him – we will do so even more – 2 Corinthians 3:8: “ … [the people] could not look . at the face of Moses because of its glory … will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?” 2 Corinthians 3:18: “ … we . with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory … ” When we are “in the Spirit”, then the glory realm opens up and Jesus can be seen – John 1:10-12: “ … [At that time] I was in the Spirit, and I heard … and when I turned I saw … [Jesus] … ”
Let the Bible encourage you – Ephesians 1:18: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened … ” Ephesians 2:6: “ . God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus … ” The glory realm is not far. We belong there.
Ruth Heflin was a pioneer in helping people to experience the glory of God and what she pioneered has now become a more widespread phenomenon. Even this year (and last year) the glory of God has manifested among us like never before: just consider the now weekly occurrence of the gold dust that is manifesting from God’s presence – (maybe confirming intimacy with God and that God adorns us like any other bridegroom would adorn his bride) – and a growing number in our midst do come into new experiences of entering into the glory realm. E.g.: Someone was surprised when – in prayer – she was taken to another place and was walking in the garden of paradise with Jesus. What surprised her even more that any time she wanted to go back to this place again, she could – if she managed to still her mind in God’s presence.
All over the world (just look at the books in the Koorong store – resources from Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, John Paul Jackson, David Herzog, etc) – including in our midst – developments are confirming the prophetic character of Ruth Heflin’s message. She was right and this morning – in a more intentional way – by faith – we want to come into agreement with the teaching because we want all of us to experience as much of the glory of God as we can.
“Praise … until the spirit of worship comes. Worship … until the glory comes. Then … stand in the glory.” The praising time may come with the lifting of your hands and dancing before the Lord but you will stand in his glory. We will stand in his glory. Amen.
For further evidence that more people – even unbelievers – are coming into the experience of God’s glory consider the following. These are just small snippets of what God is doing right now on a bigger scale.
Evangelist Marcel Favreau (http://www.marcelfavreau.com/mfliberation.org/documents/10-Message.htm): Supernatural visions of Christ resulting in dramatic conversions to Christianity are reported. In Algeria, an Islamic nation, the entire townspeople living in Bugia became Christians when Jesus appeared to every one in a dream, all during the same night, proclaiming : “I am the Lord”.
During the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Mecca in 1991, many Mullahs (holy men) from Nigeria were busy praying in the huge mosque, the Islamic holy place, when Jesus appeared to them, declaring He was God. After this encounter, many were converted to Christianity.
Outside Kathmandu, in Nepal, a Hindu nation, 200 people called the local police and reported seeing a Man nailed to a cross among the clouds over their houses. Most of these people had never even heard of Jesus. Many became believers.