We can only press on and do what God calls us to do after we have pressed in to the presence of God.
The late revivalist Leonard Ravenhill was like a spiritual grandfather to me. One thing he always said to me was, “Press on, Doug. Keep pressing on.” Eventually I realized that I could only “press on” when I understood that first I have to “press in.”
We see this in Mark 5, in the story of the woman with the issue of blood:
Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. (Mark 5:25-29 NKJV)
When this occurred, Scripture tells us, Jesus immediately asked, “Who touched me?” He had sensed virtue being drawn out of him. His disciples answered, in effect, “Lord, everybody’s here because you’re here! They’re here to see you—the crowds, the multitudes. They’re all here and they’re all trying to get close to you!”
Jesus knew many in the crowd were there just to see Him or to see with their own eyes the things they had heard. But there is a difference between just being in the crowd and being someone who draws virtue from His presence that changes them. We can be a part of large or small gatherings, studying the Word, going to Christian concerts—all good things. But there’s a difference between doing these things and pressing into the very presence of God.
According to Levitical law, a woman who was having issues of blood or bleeding could not be around people. But she was so desperate, she wasn’t looking for what was appropriate or acceptable. She knew if she could just get to the dangling tassels below the hem that something good was going to happen. She knew she needed to press in to see God break through.
The word used here for “hem” is “Tzitzit,” and it can refer to the dangling corners of the bottom of a garment—the lowest point. She was thinking, “If I could just get to the lowest part of His garment, the most dangling part that gets dusty, the part that’s been touching the ground, I know something will happen.”
There’s something in that kind of desperation that draws God’s virtue to bring change. Brother Ravenhill also told me, “God doesn’t answer prayer. He answers desperate prayer.” There’s a difference between just saying religious incantations and being desperate for the presence of God and passionate for the things that touch His heart.
DON’T LOSE YOUR PASSION:
When Hannah was praying in the tabernacle of Shiloh, she was desperate. She was miserable. Her personal crisis was humanly impossible—but it wasn’t impossible for God. She cried out and got a word from Eli, a man who was flawed and had compromised his calling for his sons, Hophni and Phineas, by overlooking the evil acts they were committing even as they served God.
Sometimes we compromise for other people. We need to love people with our whole hearts, but we cannot compromise the values of the Kingdom of God for those who want to draw us into their world.
We must walk in the environment of God’s presence because we know it will, ultimately, draw other people into their own place of victory. If we compromise our convictions, like Esau did for one morsel of flesh, we give up our very calling and birthright. Do not compromise what God has called you to do. And when you fail, don’t run from Him and make excuses. We’re justified by faith, not by excuses.
I was having lunch one day with Bishop Dale Bronner when I was in Atlanta to minister at his church. We were talking about the many people we know who started with a passion for the things of God but who, somewhere along the way, began to lose that passion. “Doug,” he said, “maybe it’s because their passion for the things of this world has become greater than their passion for Jesus.”
It’s easy to say, “That would never happen to me.” But we have to be so careful lest we, too, fall. Everything we do has to be filtered through that place and posture of humility before the Holy, Holy, Holy God of Israel. When Isaiah encountered the awesome presence of the Lord, he cried out, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5 NKJV)
We, too, must maintain that realization. We are nothing without Him. When we recognize that, we become desperate for His presence. And just like the woman with the issue of blood, we press in just to get close to Jesus. In that place of pressing, His virtue is released because He senses the desire, the passion, the desperation in our heart for Him. He releases His anointing, and the power of heaven is released so we can go do great things in the Kingdom. Not because of us, but because He allows us the privilege of His calling, to say yes to Him, to be available to Him.
Dr. Edwin Louis Cole used to say, “Champions are not those who never fail, but those who never quit.” The issue is not about never failing, the issue is about not quitting. Don’t run from the presence of God, run back to the presence of God and say to Him: “Here I am. My life is not my own, God, it belongs to You. I need You, and I want to be a part of what you’re doing in my generation. I want to be a part of the prophetic generation, anointed, called, and commissioned by the power of Heaven to go forth and to see people saved, healed, liberated, and delivered.”
GRAB HOLD OF HIS WORD:
I was ministering at a church in Australia years ago when I got a call from the pastor saying one of his staff members had an issue of blood. “They don’t know if she’s going to make it through the night,” he said. “They can’t seem to stop the flow of blood.”
We went to the hospital to pray and bring encouragement. I was believing in faith that God could heal her, but yet, in my human frailty, I honestly did not think she would survive. When I left the room I said, just to be kind, “I will see you next time I come back to Australia!” Something inside of her grabbed that word as if it was the Word of the Lord. And she lived! She went on for many years to serve in that congregation.
Likewise, Hannah came to the tabernacle sad, got a word, and held on to that word. Something changed in her that brought about a change in her situation — because she pressed in to the presence of God. To quote Duncan Campbell from the great Hebrides Revival, “It takes the supernatural to break the bonds of the natural.”
When we’re going through struggles and doubts, difficulties and pains, hurts and broken-heartedness, we need to press in to the One who loves us like nobody else can. We press in to the Healer of Healers, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. He is the greatest physician of all, the Great Provider. He is Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rapha. He’s our everything.
GOD CHANGES CIRCUMSTANCES:
When I went through cancer in 2015, I would tell people, “Every day is a good day, because we serve a great God.” Some days were better good days than others.
People would say, “How can you keep praying for miracles? How can you keep traveling and ministering, when you’re going through that and getting treatments and losing your hair?” I would answer: Because my circumstance doesn’t change who God is. God changes circumstances. Why should I compromise His Word to fit my circumstance when He can change my circumstance?
Everybody’s story is different. But whether we have one day left to live or 100 years, He’s still the Lord, and we still have the promise of eternity. Brother Ravenhill wrote me a note one time that said, “Brother Doug, let others live on the raw edge or the cutting edge. You and I should live on the edge of eternity.” When I go through challenges now, I remember those words.
Do you need God to do a breakthrough in your life? Do you believe only He can do what needs to be done in your life—in that place of bondage, mental and emotional challenge, broken relationship or marriage, or finances?
David Wilkerson told me the ones God wants to use the most are the ones the devil tries to distract. The reason we go through distractions, sometimes, is because the devil knows his time is running out. He sees a prophetic generation that is gathering to go to the nations of the world and to spark revival. Revival occurs when the personality of Christ has impacted a community. That’s what God is doing.
Doctors told the woman with the issue of blood that her situation was hopeless, and that is what many voices inside and outside the Church are saying today. They say the situations in our communities and nation are hopeless. But when the woman connected with Jesus, He sensed His virtue being drawn from Him. It changed her narrative and become part of recorded history.
When we press in to Jesus, our perspective, our narrative, and our history change, too. May we not just sing about, talk about, and pray for revival, but may we be those who are part of a revival in our generation that will transform not just our families or our cities, but one that will change the narrative of history and impact the nations of the world!