Prayer In The Darkness
By Sammy Tippit
…There is not only a growing global darkness, but also a deepening domestic darkness. It doesn’t just dwell in a far away desert in the Middle East, but it can easily be seen spreading throughout Western culture like a seismic tidal wave. I am convinced that the epicenter of this darkness lies within the family. The collapse of the family unit has left a moral and spiritual vacuum. It can be found on any street where the spiritual power source has been disrupted, leaving many homes without any guiding light. Anger, abuse, and base behavior threaten to engulf entire communities.
Perhaps the greatest darkness facing each of us is the inner darkness dwelling in the human heart. Most of us would like to say, "The global darkness is really bad, and the darkness down the street is shocking." However, few are willing to ask God to search our own hearts and expose the dark areas of our own lives. David, a leader who was described as "a man after God’s own heart," once said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" (Psa. 139:23-24).
The Power of Authentic Prayer
It is this kind of deeply intimate prayer that carries the power to expose and expel the darkness. This is not the first moment in which history has displayed such deep darkness. There is an entire era described as the Dark Ages. Yet, God’s brightest light has always shone at the darkest moments. Historians often refer to these times as Great Awakenings.
Mighty prayer movements have preceded every great historical and Biblical revival. Spiritual awakening always descends on the wings of a handful of praying men and women. As darkness covers a community, someone comes under a great burden to pray and seek God’s face. The Holy Spirit responds to such cries and enlightens hearts, communities, and even entire nations. As people carrying light fill the community, the darkness is dispelled. Revival comes. Communities are awakened and lives transformed. God moves in mighty power.
I learned that there is no place too difficult for God. Nothing is impossible with Him. He specializes in shattering the darkness. He could and will destroy the darkness in one millisecond. However, He has chosen to work through people; humble, holy, praying people. He is looking for people who will seek Him. It does not matter whether the darkness is down the street, in another country, or deep within our own hearts. His light dispels the darkness.
Prayer that Dispels Darkness
Prayer is universal and some form of it can be found in all cultures. However, the kind of prayer I am talking about is not a "form of prayer." It is not religious praying, but intimate communication.
Prayer is not a religious duty, but rather a divine encounter. It is not an attempt to reach up to God, but it is walking by faith into His holy presence. It is joy unspeakable – intimacy with the Creator. We love Him because He loved us first.
Many Christians don’t pray because they think it is a religious duty and don’t realize it is a grace relationship. Prayer is laborious for many, but it is delightful for those who understand that we have been granted access into the presence of the One who is absolute purity. Because Jesus provided us forgiveness when He died on the Cross, we are able to enter into a deeper and intimate relationship with a holy God. Once I understood that truth, everything changed. Prayer ceased to be dreaded drudgery and became divine delight.
When we understand that we come into His presence by grace, it produces praise for who He is and thanksgiving for all He has done. It ushers us into true worship. When prayer is rooted in His perfect love rather than our human obligation, it sets us free from fear. We don’t fear His light searching our hearts. We know that His desires are always good. We allow His light to shine in any area of our lives because we know His goodness always produces what is best for us. Even though we know that the darkness of our hearts will be exposed, we realize His plan is perfect. It is this kind of intimate prayer that ushers in the dawn of a new era.
Elements of Such Prayer
As I’ve walked into the dark areas of the world, I have seen several common elements of prayer that dispel darkness. The first: transparency. The darkness often drives God’s people to find a place of safety, and His presence is the most secure spot on this planet. Because of His perfect love, all fear is cast out. Because He is full of grace, we can be completely honest. There is no need to allow guilt or deception to dwell in our hearts because the way into His presence is through the Cross. By His death, we are made clean. No need for fear. No place for guilt. Honesty and change flood our souls as the light casts out darkness.
When we allow His light to shine into the secret places of our hearts, we are already on the road to revival. It produces deep confession and complete repentance. Confession brings freedom from the darkness and repentance produces great peace and joy. The change in our lives is the light, which leads us to a highway called holiness. That highway leaves no room for pride. We are escorted onto the highway by the Holy Spirit and can only continue the journey by His amazing grace. We travel the road leading to revival because God’s grace is manifested in our lives.
The second characteristic of prayer that shatters the darkness is a deep sense of desperation. I shared the platform with the Distinguished Professor of Evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Roy Fish, several months before he passed. During a question and answer session, a pastor asked him, "Do you see any hope for revival in America?" Dr. Fish’s response was quite interesting: "The great hope I see is that there is a growing feeling of hopelessness in the Christian community."
Historically, revival has swept the Christian community when believers became hopeless. Once they realized that their methods and material resources could not chase out the darkness, they cried in desperation to God. Their hopelessness drove them to the only hope for humanity – Jesus. Look at the great moments of Biblical history and discover the desperation that precedes the radiance of God’s glory.
Life looked hopeless for the children of Israel before Moses encountered God at the burning bush. The light radiating from that bush would usher God’s glory into the lives of millions of Hebrews. Their future and freedom arose from the light displayed in an old bush in a desolate desert. We see a similar sense of hopelessness in the New Testament. The disciples were dispersed with a feeling of defeat when Jesus died on the Cross. But the greatest manifestation of God’s glory was just around the corner. He conquered death, hell, and the devil. The world has never been the same and that light continues to shine to this very day.
Desperation precedes divine visitation. Hopelessness drives us to a place upon which we hear the words, "Take your shoes off, for you are standing on holy ground." Doubt and fear lead us to the One who says, "I will be with you always." It’s in such a place that desperate hearts are revived.
There is one more characteristic I have seen among those who have sought God in the darkness and became witnesses of the marvels of His light. There has been a passionate plea for the freedom of those trapped in the darkness. The most amazing thing transpires as God’s people flee the darkness and run into His presence. Those who have been abused by the brokers of darkness pray with passion for their persecutors. They love those who hate them and pray for those who abuse them.
I ministered in Romania during the dark period of the evil communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaucescu. Christians had been severely persecuted under his rule. During that period, some friends and I took a Romanian friend out to eat in Bucharest. It was a nice restaurant on the top of a tall building. We were able to see much of the city. I was reminded of a passage from the Bible where Jesus lamented over Jerusalem. I began quoting the passage, but changing it to say, "O Bucharest, Bucharest, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings…" (see Matthew 23:37).
I wasn’t able to complete quoting the verse. I glanced at my friend as he sat silently weeping. I knew I was with a man who loved his people. We all sat in silence and wept. God’s love poured over our souls in wave after wave.
An amazing miracle rises when we pray for revival. When we enter into intimate communion with God, He converts hate into love, anger into peace, and fear into courage. Passionate prayer transforms us into compassionate people. The love of God always produces a love for people and an abiding faith in His promises. It is in the place of faith that the darkness is dispelled.
– Taken and condensed from Light In The Darkness by Sammy Tippit. Copyright © 2015 by Sammy Tippit. Used by permission. For more information about Sammy Tippit’s books, visit www.sammytippitbooks.com.