I recently spoke with Henry Miersma about my new prayer devotional, Climbing Prayer Mountain. Here are some quotes from the conversation:
“It’s crazy how Climbing Prayer Mountain came together, but God put this book on the front burner… So I think He has something for it. I think that especially in the days that we’re living in… God is calling his body, His beautiful Bride, to seek His face. When we seek Him, we find Him.”
“Prayer is that incredible vehicle that brings us deeper into the heart of God, and that love relationship with God. That brings us the strength, the security, and the joy we need to make it in challenging days.”
Every Tuesday for the last year, we’ve knocked on Bronco Willy’s* door at a motel on East Colfax and asked him if he’d like burritos, bananas, chocolate chip cookies, and prayer. He usually says yes to all of the above. Willy is often sporting a Denver Bronco shirt and loves talking about football. After “Bronco talk,” Willy proceeds to share his prayer needs, which includes his battle with dark thoughts and feelings of insignificance. The ministry teams from Jesus on Colfax have turned Willy’s front door into a Holy place, pleading with the Father to show our brother His powerful love through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.
A few weeks ago Nate, one of the team members, spent a longer time then normal with Willy. When I walked by his door Nate had his hands on Willy’s shoulder and was praying fervently. As our groups finished the night and gathered together, Nate joined us beaming, and told us that Willy asked to receive Jesus into His heart. We all rejoiced with the courts of heaven at the miracle of salvation that broke into Willy’s life that night. After a year of praying with Willy for Jesus to release him from the darkness and bring him into the marvelous light of the Father’s love–heaven broke in. Alleluia indeed!
As we knocked on Willy’s door last Tuesday he opened the door with a smile. Instead of our small talk about the Broncos, he shared with us how he took the bus to church, and even though he got lost, eventually got to the right building and was overwhelmed by the love he experienced. Thank you God!!!
The miracle in Bronco Willy’s life shouts out to the life-changing power of prevailing prayer to change the atmosphere from bondage and darkness to the brightness of heaven’s glory invading earth. Tuesday nights on East Colfax in Aurora, Colorado can be extremely dark as Satan’s demons lurk in broken hearts that have attempted to find healing in his awful lies–lies that bring chaos and destruction. But over time we have witnessed how persevering prayer is our greatest weapon to pierce the darkness with the all-consuming light of the Father’s love for His children.
As I ponder the events going on in our world the last few weeks; protests filled with demonic hate, the never ending terrorist attacks, senseless murders, threats of nuclear war, crisis in churches, etc. There is only one way to change the atmosphere and that is through persistent prevailing prayer. Our enemy hates prayer and he knows when we keep “asking, seeking, and knocking” our Father is going to hear and unleash the gift of His Holy Spirit to flood the atmosphere with His glory (Luke 11:9-13).
Prayer changes the atmosphere. Prayer brings hope and that is exactly what the book Climbing Prayer Mountain is about–encouraging God’s children to develop a deeper relationship with Him in prayer. When that happens the atmosphere of His love begins to transform our lives and the lives of those around us, resulting in His Heavenly Kingdom invading earth. I appreciate so many of you letting me know you have already ordered a copy, please know I am praying our Good Father will use it for His glory as you seek Him in prayer. If this is the first time you are hearing about the book, feel free to go to http://climbingprayermountain.com/ find out more.
https://oceansministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/oceans-logo-horizontal-340x156.png00Tim Spykstrahttps://oceansministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/oceans-logo-horizontal-340x156.pngTim Spykstra2017-08-22 04:00:302017-08-22 07:03:48Changing the Atmosphere
Africa-Daniel stopped by one day to ask for work while a group of students were painting a fence. I explained to Daniel that we were volunteers from the United States serving at Beautiful Gate and unfortunately didn’t have any additional work. He graciously nodded his head to say he understood and since he had nothing else to do he shared a few details of his life. For the last several weeks he had waited across the street with a large group of young men all hoping to obtain a day labor job at a Chinese clothing factory being built in Lesotho; however each day he and a host of others were passed up. Daniel stated the he wished he’d worked harder in school and how he ended up dropping out since his grades were poor. Now his daily grind consisted of waiting for work-and the truth was the chances of him being chosen were next to none.
As we talked another young man named Bernard crossed the street to listen in to the conversation. My heart broke for these two men and I felt their hopeless situation. Knowing only a miracle from the Father’s hand would supply a job to meet their basic needs I asked if they wanted to pray. To my surprise their faces lit up and they responded “yes!” As our team gathered together out of the corner of my eye I realized another group of men were running across the busy street from the worksite. In a matter of seconds our circle multiplied-right there on the red dirt of Africa heaven invaded our hearts! We joined hands together in prayer and asked God for the miracle of provision. None of us from the US had ever seen anything like it. None of us from the US will ever forget it. It is not everyday one witnesses men sprinting to join a circle of prayer. For many in Lesotho, prayer is the only hope, a gift necessary for survival.
The States-This past Sunday I entered into the Denver County Jail to teach on the Lord’s Prayer. I encouraged the men to turn to Luke 11 in their Bibles, but before I could get another word in a young man named Joshua shouted out, “Wait a minute I have no idea who Luke is. I’m brand new to this religious stuff!” The guys next to Joshua helped him locate the correct page and I decided this was a good place to start the study. I asked Joshua if he would share with us how he came to the “religious stuff!” Joshua shared that while he was living on the streets a man prayed for him. Joshua still remembered that prayer and felt as if something powerful happened inside of him and afterward he asked Jesus into his heart. Joshua’s testimony about the power of one man’s prayer over him ushered in a hunger for prayer in the group that Sunday morning. By the end of the teaching, men were asking the Holy Spirit to fill them up and replace addictions to drugs, alcohol, and sex. They asked the Holy Spirit to replace fear and anger with the love of the Father through Jesus.
This time heaven invaded a cold, sterile room and turned it into a holy place filled with the presence of the Father’s love. Both in Africa and in the States the gift of prayer is readily available. The Father gave of us the gift of prayer, which allows us to come to Him anytime and anywhere, and He promises to meet us with His faithful love.
Prayer is an incredible gift given to help us communicate with our Creator. Ever since I was young, prayer has been what carried me through life. About a year ago, I felt the Lord prompting me to write a devotional on prayer. The idea has now come to fruition with the devotional Climbing Prayer Mountain. This 40-Day Prayer Guide delves into the prayer lives of Moses, Elijah, Jesus, Peter and John. Each of these men climbed into the presence of Father in prayer and powerful transformation followed.
I’m praying that our Father uses Climbing Prayer Mountain to help individuals, small groups, and churches encounter the Father’s life-transforming love through the gift of prayer. Please visit http://climbingprayermountain.com/ for more information on the book and how you can obtain a copy.
https://oceansministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/oceans-logo-horizontal-340x156.png00Tim Spykstrahttps://oceansministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/oceans-logo-horizontal-340x156.pngTim Spykstra2017-08-15 04:00:372017-08-14 18:02:14The Gift of Prayer
The last night at Beautiful Gate,in Lesotho Africa, I handed each team member a package of seeds-there were sunflowers, zinnias and even corn and red peppers! From day one as a group we had been echoing the prayer of Jesus on the cross:
Father, I place my life in Your hands (Lk. 24:46 MSG).
After 10 days of praying this prayer the seeds were a tangible reminder to continue to allow the Father to plant His Kingdom seeds into each of our hearts as we returned to the familiarity of US soil. The challenge was to live our lives to bring Him honor and glory in whatever soil He brought us to.
The team had been exposed to powerful displays of His Kingdom as we cared for abandoned babies at Beautiful Gate, played soccer with high school students at a youth prison, ate pizza with high school orphans and teen moms from Bountiful Hope, were part of an impromptu prayer meeting with a group of young men looking for work, handed out talking Bibles in remote villages to whomever we felt God placed on our heart, danced and worshiped with a powerful freedom at the Christian Revival Church, and a whole lot more. The Holy Spirit used a variety of experiences to show us the Father’s Heart and organic Kingdom Discipleship.
After the seeds were handed out we ended our time spiritually eating and drinking the body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Once again reminded at the LORD’s Table that abundant life begins with dying with Christ Jesus on the cross to our sinful selfish ways and placing our lives in the Father’s hands to be resurrected into the glorious image of His Son. The tears flowed freely as we released our lives and wills over to the Father. We wanted Him to be the one that planted our seeds in the places where He could raise us up for His glory. We desired the seeds to be planted in fertile soil where His Kingdom would break forth and His love could be displayed.
Seeds, such a small and yet powerful picture of what our Father can do with “faith like a mustard seed” placed in His hands. This picture was taken in Israel while walking through the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. The guide pulled down a pod from a mustard plant and placed the seeds in my hand. What a reminder of what our Father can do when we do just as Jesus did and surrender our lives over to the Father’s. When you and I “die to self” it means we are surrendering our will so that we can live and grow in His Kingdom.
Why not pick up a package of seeds place them in your Bible and let them be a reminder to keep praying the words of Jesus:
Father, I place my life in Your hands (Lk. 24:46 MSG).
The vision of Oceans Ministriesis making the Father’s love known to physical and spiritual orphans around the world. That is why the Board of Oceans has asked Mike and Dawn Verkaik to join us in this calling. The Father has uniquely gifted this couple to shine His Kingdom Heart both in Africa and the United States. Please join us in asking the Father to demonstrate His favor upon them as they take this step of faith. Below you will hear a little from Mike’s heart:
This is being written as Tim and I are returning from our fifth trip to Lesotho, Africa over the past four years. Although each trip is similar in design, I continue to be amazed at how our Father takes our preparations and orchestrates something new and unique each time showing us the work of His hand through His Holy Spirit. As this trip concludes there are unexpected images of Daniel, Bernard, Jacob, Raphael, and Goodness. Meeting and praying with these Basotho people were not on any itinerary. They were gifts given by our heavenly Father. As I leave these snapshots are a representation of the poor, the broken, the jobless and the sick of Lesotho. My heart is full as I once again process my life, my repeated prayers and the questions that exist from the deeper knowledge of the injustice and brokenness I have obtained.
For the past 34 years I have been a math teacher and coach. It is a profession I have poured myself into over the years and has filled my life with joy and satisfaction. However, over the years our Father has been instilling in me a greater passion for experiencing and working in His kingdom in a different capacity.
This journey is too full of divine appointments, orchestrated events, and provisions from our Father to mention in this blog. However, I came across this journal entry I wrote after playing with the children at Beautiful Gate. I believe it gives a glimpse of the work God has done to lead me to join Oceans Ministries:
“Father bring me to the place in my life where I run to you and seek you more and more. I am tired of valuing other things more than you. I want to get to the place where anything I have isn’t worth holding onto when I know you are here and want me to do something with you. I keep thinking of the children I play with saying to me, “again, again”! I get tired of doing the same thing, but they just love being with me and experiencing the rush of the power I have to throw them in the air or push them higher. Abba Father, may I develop that characteristic with you. I have seen your power, the way you orchestrate people and events to make incredible, beautiful things happen. I want to see it, and experience it again. How can I change my life to be more and more a part of the God moments you want me to have? Father, help me to trust you more, like they do me.”
That piece was written in 2015. Contemplation of leaving teaching was not what Dawn and I were remotely considering. That was our security. However, as we continued to prayed and seek Him, He has called and pulled us further into the water, and given us a deeper level of trust in Him.
As I continue to work with Oceans Ministries God is opening new doors for discipleship with our partner organizations of Beautiful Gate, Bountiful Hope, the Christian Revival Church and the Semonkong care center in Lesotho. I am also excited to develop similar relationships in the United States as well, especially western Michigan.
https://oceansministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/oceans-logo-horizontal-340x156.png00Tim Spykstrahttps://oceansministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/oceans-logo-horizontal-340x156.pngTim Spykstra2017-08-01 04:00:022017-08-01 10:08:37Out of Africa
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The Journey to the Father’s Heart – Book & Study Journal
When I reflect back on our wedding ceremony I get a little pit in my stomach about the text we gave the pastor to speak on. Having done many weddings over the years I don’t think I have ever had as difficult of one as we gave him. Patty and I both attended a Fellowship […]