Create in Me a New Heart
I read a Bible verse the other morning that caused me to approach prayer differently in this unique season. In Psalm 51, David is responding to the Lord after he got exposed for his sin with Bathsheba by the prophet Nathan. In his repentance and longing for reconnection, he cries out to the Lord and says, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10 NIV).
As I looked a little deeper into this verse, I discovered that the word used for "create" (bara'), here, matches the one used in Genesis 1:1 where God created something out of nothing in the very beginning. Psalm 51:10 in The Message Translation reads like this:
"God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life."
David was not simply asking God to reform and reshape his heart. He was not asking God to redeem what had gone wrong in his heart or to restore it to make it whole again. He was also not asking Him to fix what had been broken. From a place of repentance, David was pleading with the Lord for a new beginning, for a fresh start, for a brand-new heart.
Psalm 51:10 in The Passion Translation says, "Create a new, clean heart within me..." David was asking God to create a brand-new heart to replace the old. He was willing to let the past die, never to be resurrected again, and instead receive a new heart. He was willing to be rebirthed into a new season. This was all in the context of wanting to be in closer relationship to God.
As I continued meditating on David's prayer for a new heart, I was also reminded of the following verses:
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws." (Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV)
Reformation of the Old
In these two passages, God promises not simply to reform our hearts but to give us brand-new ones. There is a removal of the old and a reception of the new. This is such a radical exchange. Reading these verses stirred my heart and made me wonder if God wants to match this new epoch we're stepping into with a brand-new heart.
In the midst of this pandemic, one of my prayers up until now has been, "God, please reform my heart. Refine it to become like gold. Change whatever needs to be changed in my life and ministry so that I am in perfect alignment with Heaven. I invite the fire of God to come and purify my heart, thoughts, motives, and passions. I sense there is more—not just for me but for us all. God, give us a reformation." (Photo via Pixabay)
Reform means to reform or reshape something that already existed. Jeremiah 18 is a good example of this, as the potter decides to reform the clay that has been marred. Instead of throwing out the old clay and starting over, he chooses to reshape the existing clay. Thank God for this! And while that passage in Jeremiah 18 was a very significant "now word" for me a couple years back, it feels as though God is emphasizing a new word for me, and maybe for us, in this new season.
What if, in this season, God is actually creating the new rather than reforming the old? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love, teach on, and have been marked by reformation fire; it indeed has had its significant time and place in history. I'm actually a trained revival historian who has given my life to researching past moves of God. I've seen how history can prophesy into our future. But what if in this unique season, God wants to take us beyond reformation of the past because He is creating something brand new? What if, rather than reshape existing structures, mindsets and heart postures, He actually wants to do a new thing? What if He is waiting for us to surrender the old so that we can receive the new?
I think in this time we need to be open to the possibility and even expect God to do something never done before. What if God wants to match this unprecedented storm with an unprecedented new move of God?
Positioned for the New Birthing
Today, will we make room for God to birth a new thing within our hearts, families, and churches? Will we let go of the old to receive the new? Will we let go of what's safe for something that's dangerously outside of our comfort zones? Will we lean in close to the Father's heartbeat to hear what new thing He might want to birth in and through us in this season?
What if, on the other side of this pandemic, we don't just have reformed hearts, but we have brand new ones instead? Or what if the Church isn't just reformed to become a better model of the one it was before the pandemic, but it becomes a brand-new wineskin—so much so that people don't even recognize it because it's so fresh, vibrant, and able to steward the new wine of the season? What if the following Scripture is actually a "now word"?
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?..." (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)
What if, in our present times, God wants to do something so completely new that we have never experienced or even heard of in our lifetime (Joshua 3:1-4)? What if the new thing God wants to do is so different from what we've seen before, so outside of our boxes, that it's even offensive to some because they have no grid, box, or program it will nicely fit into (John 12:3)? What if the Holy Spirit wants to lead our lives, ministries, and churches beyond all of our best plans, strategies, visions, histories, and agendas in a whole new way that looks like nothing we've ever experienced before?
I am not saying all of this so that you throw away everything you've spent your life building up until now; but I do feel that our generation is pregnant with birthing the next great awakening. Indeed, the billion-soul harvest has already begun for those who have eyes to see. Don't be surprised if the next great awakening comes in a way we've never seen throughout history before, or even in the midst of or on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn. Be prepared, just in case God wants to completely transform, turn upside down, radically transform, and set new foundations for everything you've done up until this point. Don't be surprised if everything in your world looks different soon; this actually might be the work of God.
A Time to Risk Like Never Before
There is no other time in history where the entire world has been affected exactly the same way as it is today. There has been a global pause or reset for many of the people not on the front lines. I feel that now, more than ever, is our moment to press in for a mighty move of the Spirit, no matter what that might look like. Now is our time to dream outside of the box, courageously follow our hearts, and move beyond reforming old ways so that we can lean into receiving and helping to birth the new thing on God's heart.
It's time to lean into intimacy with Jesus and to move wherever the Holy Spirit is leading—even if it's into uncharted territory. There needs to be a yielding and willingness to move wherever the Spirit leads, in the smallest of details to the greatest—even when we don't understand why. There's never been a more opportune time to risk on the other side of this pandemic. Enough time has now passed; change is inevitable. Normal will never look the same. I feel that the reformation of heart we have leaned into has prepared us precisely for this moment in history. (Photo via Unsplash)
We are now in a pioneering and birthing season. God wants to move beyond reforming what has already existed to birthing something brand new in this new epoch.
On April 9, 1906, the Azusa Street Revival was birthed when a small group of family and friends gathered in a home with one agenda—to encounter more of God. This ignited the Pentecostal movement that has since impacted the world in a tremendous way. Just months before this revival, on November 16, 1905, an intercessor in Los Angeles named Frank Bartleman felt a stirring similar to what many of us might be feeling today. He said:
"Pentecost" is knocking at our doors. The revival for our country is no longer a question. Slowly but surely the tide has been rising until in the very near future we believe for a deluge of salvation that will sweep all before it...The spirit of reviving is coming upon us, driven by the breath of God, the Holy Spirit. The clouds are gathering rapidly, big with a mighty rain, whose precipitation lingers but a little.
Heroes will arise from the dust of obscure and despised circumstances, whose names will be emblazoned on Heaven's eternal page of fame. The Spirit is brooding over our land again as at creation's dawn, and the fiat of God goes forth—"Let there be light!" Brother, sister, if we all believed God can you realize what would happen? Many of us here are living for nothing else. A volume of believing prayer is ascending to the throne night and day. Los Angeles, Southern California, and the whole continent shall surely find itself ere long in the throes of a mighty revival, by the Spirit and power of God.
Truly, we, too, will see heroes "arise from the dust of obscure and despised circumstances." Even if what God is doing in this new season feels uncomfortable because we've never seen or felt Him move like this before, remember that in this season, God is doing a new thing. He's inviting us to lean in close to His heart so that we can see and receive the new thing He has or us.
Prayer for a New Heart
This is my new prayer during this time. If your heart resonates with this, feel free to pray this as your own.
God, I ask You in this moment to give me the strength to let go of every structure, discipline, strategy, reputation, previous success or failure that I've held onto dearly. Give me the grace to come to a place of absolute surrender of the old in my life. Help me to lay it all on the altar and to ask for Your fire to come. As I surrender everything I've known and lay my life at Your feet, I also invite the Holy Spirit to come and fill every cell in my body with Your power. Give me the courage I will need to welcome the new that You have for me in this season, regardless of what it looks or feels like. I want more of You, Jesus, no matter what the cost. Let my heart explode with love for You and Your people like never before. Help me to recognize my need for You, today.
God, create in me a new heart for this new season. Give me a new wineskin for the new wine You are pouring out. Give me a new mind to know You more. Fill my life with new hopes, dreams, visions, and a new reality of Your amazing love. Give me a new capacity to connect more deeply with You than ever before. Lord, create in me a new heart and birth a new thing in and through me for such a time as this. Yes and amen and let it be so for the glory of King Jesus.
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Jennifer A. Miskov
Jen Miskov Ministries
Jennifer A. Miskov, Ph.D., is a revival historian, author, writing coach, and itinerant minister who loves to lead people into life-changing encounters with Jesus and invite them to receive a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire. She founded the School of Revival which is a mobile intensive school as well as an online school to raise up revivalists around the world. She also regularly facilitates "Writing in the Glory" workshops around the world and online to catalyze authors to write their first books. Jen is ordained by Heidi Baker with Iris Global and currently teaches adjunct for Vanguard University in CA, and The King's University in TX. She received her Ph.D. in Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies from the University of Birmingham, U.K.
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