In May 1983, the Lord spoke audibly about establishing a ministry of 24/7 prayer with singers and musicians in Kansas City. (Only twice in my 40 years of ministry has the Lord given me a ministry assignment by the audible voice of God.) The idea of 24/7 worship and prayer was totally new to me, and I was not interested in it at that time. The Lord highlighted what King David prayed in Psalm 27:4:
"One thing I have asked from the Lord . . . for me to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to see the beauty of the Lord ..."
IHOPKC was founded in 1999, with 24/7 prayer and worship sustained by singers and musicians who have set their heart to behold the beauty of Jesus. But the message of God's beauty is not limited to prayer ministries, it is for the bride—for all in the body of Christ.
The Lord is emphasizing the message of Jesus' beauty to many ministries today. It is glorious that we have such access to the beauty of God—the very reality that has enthralled the angels in heaven from eternity past. The Lord wants His people to be empowered and delighted by encountering His beauty. He wants many to become messengers of His transforming power through their conversations, social media blogs, songs, sermons and more.
The biblical vision for the Christian life is that God's people enjoy relating to Him by delighting in His beauty. This was David's experience. At the time he wrote Psalm 27, David was in a season of personal crisis, weighed down by a storm of fear, insecurity, rejection and an uncertain future. He was fighting for his life in many ways—his position, possessions and honor were all under attack. When we read Psalm 27, we see the intensity of the pressures David was facing when he wrote this psalm.
The Beauty of Jesus—Our Most Powerful Weapon
Beauty is the battlefield where God and Satan contend with each other for the hearts of men. — Fyodor Dostoevsky
The enemy wanted David to see his life through a lens of negativity and mistreatment by others. But David refused to divert his gaze from the beauty of the Lord. He knew that encountering God's beauty would be his anchor through the storms that caused so many negative emotions in his heart.
We face many of the same challenges David dealt with—we are tempted to give in to fear, anxiety, insecurity, rejection, disappointment, mistreatment, bitterness and so on. The enemy wants these negative emotions to become strongholds of darkness in our life. Why? Because then people make bad decisions and more readily walk in compromise. But David determined that the story of his life would be dominated by pursuing God's beauty.
The more we see His glorious beauty, the more we become like Him. As Paul the apostle said, "Seeing the glory of the Lord ... [we] are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18).
Experiencing God's beauty brings liberty to our heart. It is an essential aspect of walking in victory, and of loving God and people with all our heart. I believe the most powerful weapon in God's "arsenal" against Satan is the beauty of His Son, Jesus. Filling our minds and our lives with His beauty equips us to resist fear, lust, offense, boredom and every temptation.
The strength found in encountering the beauty of God will be central to the safety of God's people in the generation of the Lord's return. In Isaiah 33, we read a prophecy about the people who will be alive when Jesus returns. It will be the most violent and the darkest generation in history, but Isaiah prophesied, "Your eyes shall see the King in His beauty" (Is. 33:17); he also assured us that it will be the strength and stability of God's people in that hour (Isaiah 33:6). Yes, in that day, the Spirit will emphasize the beauty of King Jesus to His people.
So How Do We Encounter God's Beauty?
The beauty of God includes many things. It speaks of His glory—everything about Him that is dazzling, stunning, magnificent and striking that fills our heart with delight. It includes how He thinks and feels, what He does and His infinite power and knowledge. The greatest dimension of God's glory is His personality—His kindness, mercy, justice, goodness, truth, love and all His excellencies. God's beauty is displayed in creation, redemption and His leadership over history.
We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. — C.S. Lewis
I recommend three simple tools that have helped me to encounter His beauty:
We Ask God to Help Us. We regularly ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see more of Jesus' beauty. Ask Him to lead you into more of the truth of Jesus (John 16:13–14) and release a greater measure of the spirit of revelation, that you would see Jesus more clearly (Eph. 1:17–18).
We Search Out God's Beauty. We study the Scriptures that reveal specific aspects of His beauty, we look for tokens of it in His creation and science and we also learn about the beauty of God in His leadership over history. We usually behold God's beauty in little glimpses about Him as we search for insight through Scripture, creation, science, history and so on—brief glimpses that bring a spark of inspiration to our heart and mind. A life is not usually transformed by one big insight, but by the accumulative effect of many small insights and glimpses of His beauty over the years.
We Praise God. We put into words our admiration of God's beauty, glory and excellent qualities. We speak out in prayer our admiration and gratitude for the small things we see about Him. We respond to Him—by speaking or writing what we see—with adoration and delight. When I praise Him for small insights into even one facet of His beauty, I sometimes receive a little more insight, inspiration and delight.
I am convinced that encountering the beauty of Jesus is essential to experiencing victory in our lives, especially in this hour when fear, lust, offense, rejection and violence are increasing in society. God's desire is that we would more fully experience the wonder of being loved by Him and loving Him in return.
What step will you take to encounter more of God's beauty?
Mike Bickle is the director of the International House of Prayer, an evangelical missions organization based on 24/7 prayer with worship. He is also the founder of International House of Prayer University, which includes full-time ministry, music, and media schools.
Mike is the author of several books, including Growing in Prayer, Passion for Jesus, Growing in the Prophetic, The Pleasures of Loving God, After God's Own Heart, and Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man. Mike's teaching emphasizes growing in passion for Jesus through intimacy with God, doing evangelism and missions work from the place of night-and-day prayer, and the end times. Mike and his wife, Diane, have two married sons and five grandchildren.
The biblical vision of the Christian life is one of enjoying relationship with God by delighting in His beauty. In The Beauty of God, Mike Bickle expounds on the revelation of God to the human spirit and how it is superior to every other pleasure in life. He presents a theology of God's beauty, teaching on His beauty in creation, redemption, His leadership over the nations, and even the way He designed humans to interact. Transformation occurs when God's people see His beauty, resulting in stability, joy, and strength (Isa. 33:6, 17). Click here to get this great resource »
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