Week 1, Day 3

Heavenly Places

“In Your presence is fullness of joy...”
(Psalm 16:11)

God meets us in our desperation. There I was, a seventeen-year-old boy, in Cleveland, Ohio, recovering from my fifth open heart surgery. Four days had already passed, and it was getting late.  My parents had just enough time to catch the last shuttle to their hotel. They reluctantly said their goodbyes, and I found myself alone. I’m looking at my hands strapped to the bed - the doctors didn’t want me accidentally pulling out my drain tubes. What could I do, really? So many thoughts raced through my mind. I needed a distraction. A sudden heaviness fell upon me. A dark depression was overtaking me. All I could do was cry out to Jesus in desperation. “Lord, help me...please!” Suddenly the Holy Spirit filled my room. His presence permeated every part of my being. I was no longer bound and alone. In my darkest hour, Jesus transformed my hospital room into a heavenly place. I believe this was the most intense prayer time I’ve ever experienced. God heard my cry. He carried me that night. He gave me peace.

Throughout scripture, we see God show up when His people pray. Jonah said, “I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me. I cried from the depths of hell; You heard my voice” (Jonah 2:2). 

No matter how we end up in our circumstances, we are never out of God’s reach. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.” (Acts 16:25-26) Paul and Silas were awake at the midnight hour - bound in chains - praying and praising!

Are you desperate for an encounter with Jesus? When God spoke through Jeremiah to the exiles, He said “you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12-13).

Today we find ourselves in a whirlwind of distractions. My wife laughs at my made-up word - Hecnicity. I describe it as being pulled in so many directions, it’s impossible to function properly in all of them! Don’t let life get so hectic that you overlook His presence. In every moment, find Jesus.

Reflection Questions

• Can you remember a time when you were in prayer and the Holy Spirit filled the room and changed the atmosphere?

• Are you willing to pay - and pray - the price for the answers to the questions you are currently asking?

• What would you like to commit to prayer during this study?
Brad serves on the Heritage Prayer Team and leads a Saturday morning men’s prayer group at the Midpoint Building.
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