As we explore prayer during our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, I think it’s important to examine the process that leads to spiritual breakthrough. Yes, there is a process by which we discover God’s best for our lives—and it requires our participation!
There are three steps to breakthrough. Some of us sense that God wants to do a new thing in our lives—we sense it with every fiber of our being. We’ve been praying for it, and waiting on it. The thing is, unless we understand and go through these three steps, we won’t see the fulfillment of that new thing. So what are these three steps?
Step number one is desire. This is what the disciples had when they said, “Lord, teach us how to pray. We want that kind of power. We want to experience God like that.” It begins with desire. This is what Jesus meant when He said in Luke 12:34, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Only when our hearts are centered on Him and His will for us do we fully encounter everything He wants to reveal to us.
Step number two is discipline. It’s all good and well to want God’s best—to desire breakthrough; but it’s another thing altogether to exercise discipline and seek Him. You’ve got to not only want it; you’ve also got to be willing to do what’s necessary in order to attain it. That’s where discipline comes in. This is what God meant when He said to His people in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Discipline is necessary if we’re going to breakthrough in our knowledge of God and in what He has next for us.
Step number three is delight. When you make seeking God a habit, it’s not just desire and it’s not just a discipline—it becomes a delight. David knew that God’s presence, and the purposes He created in David, were a life-giving place to live in. That’s why He writes in Psalm 23:2-3, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]for his name’s sake.” David had reached a point in His relationship with God where spending time with Him, and following His lead, had become not just a chore or an obligation—these things were a true delight.
Ultimately, this is the place we want to get to in our quest for breakthrough—the heart position of God’s will being our delight—even when it doesn’t line up with our will. This is a posture that says, “Lord, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God has a plan. God has an agenda. Our job is not so much to try to make God do something He doesn’t want to do. Our job, when we come together and pray, is to say, “God, this is what you said. This is what we’re believing you for. We stand in faith, and we look for you to do it.” As we focus our desire and discipline in this place, God brings about a delight in Himself in our hearts. That’s how true breakthrough happens.