A Supernatural Hunger for Heaven
How to Maintain Open Heavens Over Your Life
The prophet Isaiah made a remarkable and prophetic request of God Almighty in Isaiah 64 verses 1 and 2: Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence As fire burns brushwood, As fire causes water to boil-To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
This is a bold decree. Actually it is a prayer that asks for God to open the heavens and manifest Himself. It is a cry for the very presence of God to visit us. It is a desperate statement that is full of truth and pregnant with prophetic promises. Isaiah is weeping and asking the Lord to open the heavens. The result is that the very earth might be shaken by the presence of Almighty God.
Abraham was a friend of God who had such an experience in Genesis 17:1: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.” What we are really talking about is becoming a friend of God. We are actually asking for the presence of God to refine us and burn away everything that is within us that is not of Him. Some call this the refiners fire (see Malachi 3:2,3, and 1Peter 4:12). As a result of submitting to the refiners fire the friends of God walk under an open heaven much like Adam and Eve in the Garden.
So, from my personal experience, I can say that getting the heavens opened over my life was the first step in becoming a friend of God. This was a process and took a season of time. The progression of opening the heavens was accelerated by radical obedience to the Holy Spirit. This is not easy and requires that you walk blamelessly before God. During this process the Holy Spirit will frequently ask you to do things that seem impossible. These prophetic acts often do not make a lot of sense to our carnal minds. However, it is critical that we are obedient to the slightest leadings of the Lord. We must purpose in our hearts and minds to seek God no matter what the cost. Unusually the Lord will require us to give Him something that will cost us dearly in one way or another. But it is absolutely necessary to be obedient in these areas. Once the heavens are open over your life there is no guarantee that they will remain open. You will need to be diligent to maintain your open heaven. You will need to 'water' your open heaven with a lifestyle of prayer, repentance, and obedience.
I have called these requests from the Lord prophetic acts of obedience. These things are nothing new in the Kingdom of God. I am sure that you are well aware of the substantial track record that is contained in the Canon of Scriptures concerning unusual acts of obedience by friends of God. Ezekiel is a good biblical example of a person that was required to perform some unusual prophetic acts. However, the Canon of Scripture is littered with folks whom the God of the universe asked to do some weird things. He may require you to do a few odd things in your quest for an open heaven too (see Ezekiel 4:1-12).
Let me just sum this up by saying that God may ask you to march around the walls of Jericho seven times before they come tumbling down. Incidentally, the story of Jericho is a great parabolic picture of how God may choose to open the heavens over your life (see Joshua 6:4-15)! The impenetrable walls of the fortified city of Jericho can be a perfect representation of the heavens over a person's life. The heavens over your head may seem impenetrable in your current circumstances and geographic location, but, once again, remember that with God nothing is impossible. That is why it is absolutely imperative that we are obedient to the Spirit of God. Even if He tells us to march around in a circle seven times and shout, or be immersed seven times while being baptized, or to give away all of your earthly possessions, you need to be obedient to the Lord in things like these if you want to live under an open heaven. Incidentally, the Lord has asked me to do all of the above!
I am outlining several keys that can help you to rend the heavens over your life. It is important to be obedient to the Lord in these things as it is only God who has the ability and authority to open the heavens over your life. So the first and most important step is to be obedient to the Lord in ALL aspects of your life. Let me say this another way. Repent! You must cease from sin and turn away from it. Sin in your life will clog up the heavens over your life once you get them open. Again, one key to rend or open the heavens over your life is to walk blamelessly with God. This is called friendship or communion.
Briefly, this can also be a process. Allow me to open up for a moment. Thankfully the Lord is merciful and kind. He is patient with us and will often give us years to cease from sinful behavior. During this refining process the Holy Spirit will be wooing you and convicting you of any behavior that is unpleasant in the Lord's sight. Most people, myself included, are not able to stop sinning immediately upon receiving Christ as Savior. Some folks call this cleansing work of the Holy Spirit sanctification. In all honesty, I still have areas which the Holy Spirit is refining in my life. I am a work in progress. I was willing to stop the sinful behavior in my life. The Lord was gracious and delivered me from my sinful lifestyle in a gradual way. Profanity, deceit or lying, coveting, jealousy, envy, murdering others with my words, hypocrisy, lust, and sexual immorality were all things that the Lord has helped me to overcome since I have been walking with Him. (This is actually a very short list of my shortcomings, and there were a bunch). The point I want to make is that God is very patient with us, and the Holy Spirit will help us and patiently cleanse us from all unrighteousness in the refining fire or forge of God.
Romans 1:29-32 illustrates the sinful human or unrighteous nature that we need to overcome: Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Thank God that we have an advocate, and the Lord is patient and willing to forgive us of any of the sins and unrighteous behaviors that is listed above.
The key is to confess our sins and to ask for His help. We must desire to change. When we make that heart decision to change, He promised, to not only forgive us of our sin, but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! God has also promised to forget our sins (see Psalm 103:12). So, according to the principle of 1John 1: 9, we can be restored to a right relationship or friendship with the Lord: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God will cleanse us, and this is a very important step to rending the heavens over your life and also to maintaining your open heaven. As humans we can sin unwittingly on a daily basis. That is why a lifestyle of repentance is very important when seeking to open your heavens. Repentance is a very important key to maintaining the open heavens over your life.
So rending the heavens over your life is the first step to walking under an open heaven. Both obedience and repentance are crucial to this process. However, the heavens over you can open in several ways. You can find a geographical place where the heavens are truly open, and invest time seeking the Lord there, and practice the tools or keys to opening the heavens over your life. When the Lord spoke to me to travel to Newfoundland, Canada, in the middle of the winter He was positioning me in a place where He knew that the heavens would be open. The Lord also knew that I would have the opportunity to experience the effects of the open heaven there. So the Lord had me travel to a specific geographic region where He had preordained that the heavens would be open. I experienced an open heaven for the first time by proximity just like many folks in the Bible.
As I have stated, this series of events, which are outlined in Dancing With Angels 1: How To Work With The Angels In Your Life and in the this book, transformed my life. I was given a divine understanding of my need to repent and draw closer to God. However, when I returned to my home town in America the heavens were brass overhead (see Deuteronomy 28:23). Therefore, I purposed in my heart to rend the gates of heaven over my life and seek Christ's Face. I purposed within my heart to take the Kingdom of Heaven by violence. I did this by a combination of devotions, prayer, fasting and repentance. You will find a short list of keys, that you can easily practice, that will help you rend the heavens over your life and keep them open, at the end of this article.
Through the unction or leading of the Holy Spirit I entertained heaven. I sought heaven in my every waking moment. I determined to focus my mind upon Christ and to seek those things that are above (see Isaiah 26:3). I had experienced the reality of heaven, and the heavenly places or open heavens, and I simply decided that I did not want to live in the veracity of what most people consider a normal Christian life. I wanted God. I wanted all of God and everything that was available in His Kingdom now....in this life. In hind sight, I believe that it was, indeed, the Lord Himself that stirred me up to press into His Kingdom with extreme determination, prayer, and fasting. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will use this article to stir up your spirit in a similar manner?
Raised with Christ
Colossians 3:1-3 became my life style. I purposed in my heart to break into the realms of heaven. I actually declared to God in prayer on many occasions, "Lord, if You are not going to come down here, then I am going to come up there. I am going to press in. You promised me that if I sought you with all of my heart, that I would find you...so I am seeking you with every fiber of my spirit, soul, and, body." I became desperate for more of Him. I unwittingly practiced the prophet Isaiah's prayer found in Isaiah 64. I petitioned God repeatedly to rend the heavens and to come down, just like the persistent widow! I implored the God of Heaven to reveal Himself to me and to open the very heavens over my head and life. This is another tool or Kingdom key that you can also employ according to the principle of Matthew 7:7: Ask.
Asking God for the impossible, my friends, is another important way that can help you open the heavens over your life. God in heaven rewards desperation, perseverance, and obedience (see James 4:8). Look at Colossians 3:1-3: If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. You may wish to consider making this passage your heart’s cry as well. Even as I write this paragraph this evening, the Holy Spirit is whispering to me, "For some of you reading this book you can accept this promise from the scripture. You can seek those things that are above. You will find them. Among those heavenly things are the open heavens. You can have them too." God is ready, willing, and able to open the heavens over your life.
In my first book I also shared how Christ spoke the words of Jeremiah 29 over my life as He called me into my destiny. That promise is also open to you. Please take this passage from Jeremiah 29:10-13 as a prophetic promise for you as you read this book and prepare your heart to rend the heavens over your life (this is very special, I am writing in a prophetic manner that is a bit new to me): 10 For thus says the LORD: I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place (His presence). For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart (insert mine). The Christ will surely be found by you when you search for Him with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind. You can bank on it. This is really a promise of the heavens opening over your life. But you need to get real. You need to develop a passion, desperation, and hunger for the heavenly realm. Heaven must become more real to you than the book that you are holding in your hands at this moment. In fact it is.
We also have the pledge found in John 14: 21. I find these words of Jesus to be an amazing promise: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." What the Lord is actually saying here is that He will appear to those who love Him and are obedient. Just like the resurrected Christ appeared to the disciples, He has promised to appear to you and me in a similar way. Remember that when Jesus Christ comes, He manifests with an open heaven over Him, and when you see Him, you will also be in a position to enter into Christ's open heaven, just like the disciples. The Greek word used here for manifest is emphanizo (see Strong's Greek Concordance reference # G1718). The literal translation of emphanizo can mean: to exhibit (in person) or disclose by appearance, declare (plainly), inform, to manifest, to show, signify, or display. The connotation is the same as to display a fine masterpiece or work of art in a gallery setting.
Maintaining Open Heavens
What a wonderful promise from the Lord. He has promised to visit us and come to tea. That is also another aspect of an open heaven - visitations of the Lord. Once you experience the fruit that comes from living under an open heaven you will want to camp there. Once you begin to have an intimate friendship with the Lord and the precious Holy Spirit, you will never want to leave that place. Once you rend the heavens over your life, the Lord will open up your spiritual senses. Then you will begin to see, hear, and receive revelations from the heavenly realm on a regular basis. These gifts of the spirit and supernatural experiences will certainly transform your life, just like they did mine. They will empower and enable you to manifest Christ's Kingdom and His Kingship upon the earth and in your sphere of influence.
Once you get the heavens open in your life you will need to learn how to maintain them. This requires some discipline. However, the most important aspect of maintaining open heavens over your head, is a love and desire to be with the Lord above all else. There are no shortcuts here. Again, it is important that we follow Jesus’ model. Jesus was always obedient to the Father 100% of the time. We also need to develop a lifestyle in which we seek to live in obedience to the Holy Spirit and the Father. Remember what Jesus said in John 5:19: "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." We need to emulate the Lord in this passionate desire for obedience. Our goal should be 100% obedience 101% of the time.
The Lord also modeled a life style of fasting and separation unto the Lord. Jesus practiced a lifestyle of prayer and meditation of God's Word. That is why He often withdrew from the press to invest solitary time alone with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we also need to discipline ourselves to seek to find time to wait upon God in the secret place. Even after great moves of God and healing revivals, Christ sought times of separation and communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. We see this aspect of Christ's devotional life illustrated in Mark 6: 46: And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. It is important for us to also practice a lifestyle in intimacy and communion with God in our prayer lives too. Christ retreated from a massive revival that was full of miracles, signs, and wonders to be alone with His Father.
This discipline will play a key role in your ability to maintain an open heaven over your life (also see Matthew 14:15, 14:23 Luke 9:10,John 6:15). Investing alone time with the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary to maintain an open heaven. Jesus separated Himself, and made place in the business of His ministry for communion with the Holy Spirit. We must also separate ourselves, and follow Christ's example in this. There is no substitute for investing time in 'waiting' or 'meditative prayer' as in this place we draw close to God. In return He opens the heavens over our lives (see Psalm 4:4, Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:7).
At times the Lord may lead you into a wilderness experience. We have seen how this dynamic was used in the life of Jesus, Elijah, Moses, Paul, and, to a very small degree, myself, although I do not intend to place myself in the previous category. Far from it, I am but an ordinary person, but my experiences can be a prophetic promise to you too (see Revelation 19:10b). At times, the Lord will actually lead you to separate yourself with Him in a wilderness experience. These times should not be dreaded or avoided. In fact, they should be embraced and enjoyed. Often, when you are called into the wilderness, you will come out in the power of the Spirit with the heavens open over your life. You can rend the heavens open over your own life. At times you can get your own breakthrough. Or at other times, you can seek a Mahanaim. Find a geographic location where the heavens are already open, and invest time seeking the Lord there. This can help you to 'break through' and establish an open heaven over your life (see Genesis 32:2).
If you have the opportunity, you can, at times, 'piggy back' on other folks’ breakthroughs, and enter into the open heaven by their 'up draught'. We have seen this kind of breakthrough in the scriptures in the lives of the disciples who entered into the open heavens that were over Christ. Elisha was able to tap into the supernatural power of God by giving close attention to his teacher, Elijah. Joshua broke through because he served and honored Moses. In modern times, others have entered into the open heavens, or Kingdom of God, through the ministries of folks like Katherine Kulman, John Wimber, Maria Woodworth-Etter, William Brannon, and Smith Wigglesworth. The Argentine Revival was sparked when one woman tapped upon a small wooden table and opened the heavens over an entire nation with one simple act of obedience. Today we also have folks, like Bill Johnson, Randy Clark, Rolland and Heidi Baker, John and Carol Arnott, and Patricia King, who willingly train and teach people how to step into the miraculous and open heavens. It is also true that there are thousands more of the Lord’s people, with a heart to train you, that are hidden or obscure. So, seek out individuals who can help you in one way or another. My prayer is that some of you reading this will break through by these writings, and that you will be encouraged to 'dig your own well'.
In conclusion, I would like to encourage you to seek the Lord for yourself. Perhaps, if God, in His mercy, can transform the life of an ordinary man from the Appalachian Mountains, what many would consider an unqualified hillbilly, then the Lord can also transform your life too.
Here is a short list of keys that you can use to open the heavens over your life. As a result, you may begin to receive revelation and authority to co-labor with the Kingdom of Heaven and with God’s angels as you seek to establish His Kingdom in your sphere of influence.
Keys to Open Heavens
1. Prayer. Ask God. We need to live a lifestyle of ceaseless prayer (Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24, John 14:13, John 16:23).
2. Repentance. We need to live a lifestyle of repentance (Luke 3:21, 22, Matthew 4:17, Acts 2:38, Revelation 3:19).
3. Communion or Friendship with God. We need to live a lifestyle of intimacy with the Lord (2 Corinthians 13:14).
4. Fasting. We need to emulate Christ's model (Luke 4:2).
5. Hearing God. We need to cultivate the ability to hear the Lord at all times (John 10:27, Psalm 32:8, John 16:13-15).
6. Obeying The Lord. We need to live a lifestyle of total obedience (John 5:19,20, 1 Samuel 15:22).
7. Exercise your spiritual senses. We need to live our lives in the Spirit every day (Hebrews 5:14).
8. Seek the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31, Colossians 3:1).
9. Take the Kingdom of Heaven by force. At times we need to seek the Kingdom of God with violence (Matthew 11:12).
10. Focus our minds upon Christ and His Kingdom. We need to focus on the Lord at all times (Isaiah 26:3).
11. Seek to renew our minds. We need to earnestly seek to have our mindsets transformed from a carnal or worldly mindset into a Christ-like or heavenly mindset (Romans 12:2).
12. Invest time studying God's Word. We need to live a lifestyle of devotion and hide God’s Word in our hearts every day (2 Timothy 2:15).
13. Hiddenness. We need to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading and embrace and obey His leading to enter into a 'wilderness' or hiddenness experience (Exodus 3:1).
14. Proclamations. Begin to speak the promises in God's Word over your life and circumstances (Job 22:28, Proverbs 18:21, Matthew 15:18).
These keys can help you to start the process of rending the heavens over your life. However, you must take the first step. You must purpose in your spirit to seek the Lord with all of your heart. You must follow the example of Christ and practice a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. Don't forget to include daily devotions, separation, consecration, and repentance.
Finally, the most basic thing that you can do is to ask the Lord for His will and His plan to open the heavens over your life. Then you will need to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. Let the cry of our hearts be, "Oh, that You would rend the heavens, and come down!"
Prayer for the Cleansing of the Heart (Based on Psalm 51)
Father, today in the mighty name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I ask You, Lord, that You would search my heart. Lord, search my inner parts; and through the power and ministry of the precious Holy Spirit, I ask that You would reveal anything that is hidden in the chambers of my heart. Lord, shine the light of Your Kingdom upon me and uncover any hidden agendas or hidden sins that I am not aware of. Lord, reveal any idols that I have unwittingly allowed to reign in my heart. Lord, I ask that You would heal and deliver me right now, in the name of Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray that You would minister to me according to the precepts of Psalm 51. Lord Jesus, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, O Lord, have I sinned, and done evil in Your sight. Lord, may You be found just when You speak and blameless when You judge me, O God.
You are a merciful God. Remember, O Lord, that I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me. Reveal Your truth and Your nature in my inward parts, and in the hidden parts may You allow me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me with the blood of Jesus and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear with joy and gladness that even my bones may rejoice in You alone, Lord. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. And I pray in the name of Jesus that You would create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Lord, I ask that You restore to me the fullness of the joy of Your salvation, and uplift and heal me by the power of Your generous Spirit. Amen!
This article was taken from Kevin Basconi's book; "The Role of the Holy Spirit and Open Heavens in Activating Your Angelic Visitations".
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This article was written by Kevin Basconi, for King of Glory Ministries International, PO Box 903, Moravian Falls, NC 28654. www.kingofgloryministries.org -336-818-1210.
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