Rev 19:7 speaks of the church as a bride made ready, spotless. But the question here is how will the bride make herself ready??? We do know this will happen in the end times, for the church is ready and tested in the end-time events, and then Jesus comes back and then it is time for the marriage. But how will Jesus contend with our sin and compromise, and cultural excesses before then? How will break through minds and hearts almost fully given over indulgence in television and technology etc., the American church today? Part of the answer is the shaking of everything that can be shaking that wakes up the church.
But critically, part of the answer is also in Isaiah 33:17 “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty.” God’s beauty is infinite, but we must pursue it. This is why the prayer movement is so being established with the mandate to call the church to regularly pray Eph 1:18 that the eyes of our heart would be enlightened, and 1:17 for a Spirit of Revelation of Christ. The prophesy to see the King in His beauty will be ultimately and finally fulfilled in the generation that Jesus returns to. Part of the answer is causing the church to have a larger appetite for immersing themselves in the things of God and prayer. In Mark 4:18 Jesus warned of a Christian heart getting snared by the things of the World causing it to become unfruitful (seed falling among thorns). In the End times Jesus will have a bride alive in love, fascinated by the Spirit and Word and a heart that is free and bearing fruit. Bold, uncowardly, and victorious.
In this last few decades, prophetically the Holy Spirit was really highlighting and emphasizing the Father Heart of God. He is still seeking us to “root us and ground us in the reality of His love (Eph 3:17). However I have no doubt that what the Holy Spirit is highlighting to the bride in this hour to aid in the process of nourishing and washing with the water of the Word. Eph 5:26 reveals the process of the washing of the water of the Word related to the experience of being nourished and cherished by God. Take some time to look at that passage if you haven’t yet.
The Bridegroom Revelation
I believe Matthew 9 speaks of our current time period and generation. It speaks of generation where there is a new understanding, or ‘paradigm,’ of seeing fasting and prayer as desirable above earthly things, because of seeing the Bridegroom face of Jesus. It is no coincidence that every time Jesus talked about His return He called Himself the ‘Bridegroom.’ Look at Matthew 25. The issue at the end of the age actually will be ‘do we have intimacy (oil) with the Bridegroom?’ Bridegroom is just a bible word for Jesus as He relates to the church.
The Holy Spirit is likened to wine that makes the heart glad and imparts to us the love of God. The Holy Spirit also leads Pastors and Teachers to different Scriptural emphasis, or ‘wineskins.’ It is the wineskins that hold the wine, it is the different Scriptural paradigms that open the heart to experience the Holy Spirit. When Jesus talked about this, He gave the revelation of the Bridegroom face of Jesus, or Bridal Paradigm, as the premier ‘new wineskin.’
14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved’ (Matt 9:14-16.)
The disciples didn’t need to fast, they were already with Him. But He was taken from us at the cross and now sits at the right hand of the Father, but we can fast to be with Him! Fasting to encounter Jesus does not increase how much God loves us, which is always infinite, but it does increase our experience of it. Now fasting with out praying is just dieting. Im talking about praying Song of Solomon and the many scriptures that highlight His affection like John 15:9 and John 17:26, Eph 3:16-19, etc. Song of Solomon has always been taught about being about Christ and the church, though also the man and woman interpretation is valid. But there is no Scripture that doesn’t exalt Jesus and even rabbis before Christ taught this book as being about a love relationship with the coming Messiah. The Song of Solomon experience in praying it, is being led into the wilderness of prayer and broken down to the place of full dependence on God and being ruined for any other passion.
The church is called a bride in this context as Rev 19:7-9 details the Marriage supper of the Lamb where every Christian who has ever lived receives a new holy heavenly body (Mat 22:30), and the reality/concept of marriage changes but what it stands for and represents (union/communion) stays the same. There is nothing sexual or impure about loving the Bridegroom. The “kisses of the mouth” are the same as when Jesus said “I live not by bread alone but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.” At Ihop-kc we sing ‘Kisses of the Word,’ to stop confusion. We were never intended to picture an actual kiss, but we ask for the embraces of the Holy Spirit of the love of God on our innerman when we ask for the kiss.
Eph 5:18-19 says that we are not to be drunk on alcoholic wine, but rather be filled with the Spirit by Singing to Jesus the Scriptures. This message of singing the Word is being spread all over the world through the prayer movement, and it needs to be a part of our prayer life. God created the human heart so that singing opens the heart in a way that nothing else does. Singing the Word is the main biblical prescription, the premier way, to be filled with the Spirit and set on fire for God. Jesus was the Living Word before He became a man, and now we encounter Him by singing and praying/dialoguing the written word. I just feel such a strong emphasis on this, WE MUST TAKE THE WORD AND MAKE IT PRAYER TO ENCOUNTER GOD, HEAD KNOWLEDGE IS NOT ENOUGH. But we must grow our hearts in praying the Word.
That last point is driven home here: Jesus said “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40) We can’t make the same mistake the Pharisees did. The Word only enters the heart by prayer, not memorization. The relationship with Jesus comes alive by the Word and the Spirit, and dialogue. What is a relationship without talking? Studying and hearing men preach are great but are no substitute.
So very many Scriptures come impact us when we pray them directly, or depending on the verse, ask for revelation on them, or thank God for the truth in them, or ask for power to obey them. The Scriptures are living and active (Heb 4:2) and are so powerful as we pray them. They rewrite the code of our inner man until Christ dwells within us.
A lot of people think of prayer as simply asking the Father for things we need like finances and favor. That is important, but there is also prayer that seeks to spend time with God. God created man to have fellowship with God. In heaven will we esteem those who saw spending time with Jesus as what we were created for, as wise.
Prayer is the place where we are transformed into the image of Christ, by the renewing of our minds (Rom 11.) To be transformed into the image of Christ, we must behold Him, through the Spirit, by prayer with the Scriptures. The prayer movement is ministering to the church and in abandonment and extravagance, we are fully following and obeying God with our lives and hearts, and the first Commandment is being restored to first place, You shall love the Lord, your God with all of your heart soul and mind.
Additionally, Christian communities must redefine what they are reaching toward. Community in the church has become about friendship and movies, where relationships are the end game. Community without prayer the Word will end up in people devouring one another without being touched by the tenderness of God. “The fellowship we crave with one another flows from the deep love and joy we find in Jesus in secret. Community is fruit of this communion.”-Dana Candler