My title comes from Isaiah chapter 54 verses 2-3: “Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your habitations; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.”
In recent years I have often woken between the hours of 2:30am and 4.00am. A lot of people would say, "gee that's an ungodly hour". But it is quite the opposite! Recently, life has involved me praying a prayer to go deeper with our heavenly Father. Just like Oliver, I want more. My more is not about a bowl of cereal, I want more of my relationship with God.
"Let's go deeper Son"
Since surrendering my life to Christ, my greatest desire is to go deeper and deeper into this amazing relationship. I am not satisfied because I know each day I wake I know I can go deeper. This does not mean Christ is not enough. It means I want to experience more of Him each day and experience the new levels of relationship that God offers.
This deep level of relationship has totally revolutionised every aspect of my life for the better. It reminds me of the great chapter in Ezekiel 47, where there is a vision of a man who is encouraged to not settle for ankle height level, but rather to be fully submersed and swimming in the mighty river that flows from God, in which He invites us to jump in and go with his current.
When we do this it is both scary and exciting at the same time. It puts us at the mercy of His flow as we achieve more than we could ask or imagine. The Holy Spirit in you is activated, and there are no limitations as to what might happen through your body, mind and soul. For me, the rise of the Holy Spirit in me has had a profound effect and has seen me, at times, go beyond what seems to be humanly possible.
Early sessions with the Father
For this past season the Lord has regularly woken me up at really early times saying, "get up." I have a choice to stay in my comfy, warm bed or get up to see what is next. It is right He asks for my obedience in the first task before unfolding why He has woken me.
Once I get up I ask, "Lord take me deeper." In the action of drawing near to Him, He draws near to me in amazing ways. In recent mornings I have been absolutely blown away by the experiences I have had with my heavenly Father. These times have seen me become so excited about the next time He says "get up".
Deep in my gifts
God calls to be who He has created me to be: an artist. My early mornings usually involve me sitting down at a blank canvas, ready and armed with paint and brushes. I often start with an attitude of worship. This helps me to purpose my heart and to press in to listen to what He has for me. I know whatever I paint will be about His Kingdom being lived through me.
From this place I am moved to create, and what comes from my brushes usually astounds me on two levels. I am moved because I know what I produce was not in my head before I started—it comes from God. I am moved because I had no idea I was even capable of producing art with so much depth and insight into Kingdom matters.
These 2am masterpieces often impact many in ways I could not imagine. Recently I shared a painting on social media and I was flooded with comments about how the image spoke to my friends, encouraging and challenging them. Sometimes, unknown to me at the time of painting, I have created the same vision God showed a friend in a dream the night before. I never knew waking up in a dark house would have such a profound and lasting impact on so many—reaching the far corners of the world.
Deep in the Word
Sometimes my times with the Father see me just getting deep into His Word. I am sometimes flooded with revelation about a passage I've read hundreds of times before. It is amazing to read His living word and be changed by the very words of God as they leap off the page. The fruit of these occasions always overflows into the life of my wife and those I see through the day.
Deep in his Voice
Other times it's just waiting on His voice, that's right, His voice. I read in the Bible that His sheep know His voice, and to me there is no other way of reading this (John chapter 10, verse 1–10). So, as His sheep, in my early mornings I wait on His voice, His directions and His answers.
We read of this kind in interaction with the Father in Romans chapter 10, verse 17, which says faith comes by hearing, and hearing by His Word. In English this just seems to imply that it's only by the Bible he speaks to us, but if we go back the root word in Hebrew, which is translated in the Greek as 'rhema', it actually means His revelatory word, His spoken word.
So pressing into Him gives me an ability to hear His voice really clearly. People often say 'how do you know?' And 'aren't you worried it's just the thoughts in your head?' I reply to them I would rather live in a place where I hear His voice and believe it's God, than miss out by allowing my mind to rob me of what the Father wants to speak to me. You will see God's hand by the fruit of what he reveals.
These rhema words have seen new life come into those I minister to also. This has nothing to do with my wisdom—it is about being willing to be obedient to the Father's voice and His directions. Last week I had one of those early morning wake up calls in which God spoke some names into my heart and showed me really specific revelations about each person—things I just could not have known beforehand. That morning I was able to minister to someone in Thailand, Queensland and Victoria all before 8am. The fruit was instantaneous as they all replied and were stirred towards God to solve their problem, their worries, and their questions.
Deep calls to deep and it's so worth it
I cannot speak highly enough of how this early hour has seen my relationship with my heavenly father to go to even deeper places. No missed sleep could even be compared to the value of what I've learnt.
I'm often asked, "Don't you get tired?" I just reply, "Not by might, not by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zechariah chapter 4, verse 7). The Holy Spirit in me is never sleeping; He is always communing with the Father. It is just my flesh that needs sleep. For me, getting up when God commands allows me to join in the conversation already taking place! I get to partner with God in ways I could not have dreamed or imagined.
So next time God asks you to "wake up" what are you going to do?
Justin Monaghan is currently launching as a professional prophetic artist under the label JR Faith Creations and runs a creative home fellowship with his wife Liana. Justin is also heavily involved in his local surfing community of South Australia as a surf coach, a judge of surf contests and a member of Christian Surfers
Check out JR Faith Creations to see some of his art at www.facebook.com/Jrfaithcreations
Justin Monaghan's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/justin-monaghan.html