For some time now, I have been cultivating a word that I heard from the Lord in June. It was during a moment in worship that I heard the Lord say, "Prepare. Prepare the people. I am looking for those who will be carriers. Prepare the carriers of oil. Tell My people to be carriers of oil."
After this word came in the midst of worship, I had an understanding of what the Lord was saying, and I have shared this with some others for their insight since then.
From that time until now, this word had yet to be released from my spirit. I have been hearing it echoing in my prayer time. It feels like a word that has an expiration date stamped on it. It feels like a word that has a warning attached with it. It feels like a word that is marked with urgency.
Expectation Without Preparation
Matthew 25:1-13 says:
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps, but took no oil with them. But the wise took jars of oil with their lamps. While the bridegroom delayed, they all rested and slept.
"But at midnight there was a cry, 'Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out.' The wise answered, 'No, lest there not be enough for us and you. Go rather to those who sell it, and buy some for yourselves.'
"But while they went to buy some, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Afterward, the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us.' But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.'
"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."
When we read these Scriptures, we need to recognize the error of the five foolish virgins and how their same mistake applies to our own lives today. The foolish virgins had their own lamps but took no oil with them. Their problem wasn't in the expectation of the bridegroom. Their problem was in the reality that they were not prepared. What separates the foolish from the wise is their unwillingness to be prepared. Both the wise and the foolish are expecting a return. However, it is the expectation alone (just the expectation, without preparation) that exposes the foolish ones' failure in the moment of revelation.
Today there are many within the church who are like the five foolish virgins. They have their lamps, but they are unwilling to pay the price for the oil.
Look at the Scripture again. The five foolish virgins knew where to get the oil, but they refused to pay the price of the oil. Because they did not pay that price when it was available, they immediately expected the wise virgins to pour out the oil that they had paid for.
Today, the Church is often filled with individuals who are looking for someone else to pay the price for oil. These individuals aren't willing to pray, seek the Lord, worship, praise, show up, minister to others and more. These individuals are looking for the fast pass of Christianity while expecting to be considered among those who have paid the price for oil.
Conferences are filled with individuals clamoring for the latest prophetic word of encouragement (only). Altars fill with people wanting impartation without sacrifice. Individuals want the apostle to "go" for them, the prophet to hear for them, the pastor to feed them, the evangelist to save them and the teacher to grow in knowledge for them. The multitude has become foolish, while demanding to be identified as wise.
Preparation Without Expectation
Acts 12:1-17 says:
About that time King Herod extended his hands to harm certain ones from the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword. Seeing that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to arrest Peter also. This happened during the Days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him before the people after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison. But the church prayed to God without ceasing for him.
The very night when Herod would have brought him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. And the guards before the door were securing the prison. And suddenly an angel of the Lord approached him, and a light shone in the prison. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, "Rise up, quickly." And the chains fell off his hands.
Then the angel said to him, "Dress yourself and put your sandals on." And he did so. Then he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." He went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guards, they came to the iron gate leading to the city, which opened to them by itself. And they went out and went forward one street. And immediately the angel left him.
When Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I certainly know that the Lord has sent His angel and delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."
Realizing this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. As Peter knocked at the door of the porch, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter's voice, from joy she did not open the door, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the door.
They said to her, "You are insane." But she insisted that it was really so. So they said, "It is his angel."
But Peter continued knocking. And when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Motioning to them with his hand to be quiet, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, "Go, tell these things to James and to the brothers." Then he departed and went to another place.
In these passages of Scripture, we see where the apostle Peter had been imprisoned and was facing certain death. While he was in prison, the Scripture says that the church was in constant prayer for him. We read this passage and see how the Lord intervened for the life of Peter, and through supernatural events, an angel led him from the depths of his prison cell to the (opened) gates of the city. From there, the apostle Peter went to the home where those in the church were praying for him, and we learn about the young girl Rhoda.
Here is where we need to pay attention to what is happening. You have to understand that the church was praying for Peter. Possibly, the prayers consisted of the release of Peter and/or the pardoning of Peter's impending death. Regardless of what exactly the prayers were, we can definitely say that they were seeking the Lord for the safety of Peter's life. In other words, the church was preparing for the life of Peter to be spared. Then, in the midst of prayer, Peter arrived at the gate of the house.
Herein lies the problem. A young girl recognized the "voice" of Peter and immediately alerted the praying church. We can only imagine that because Rhoda was a young girl, the Church disregarded the possibility of Peter being at the gate for multiple reasons. The Church was preparing for the life of Peter (outside of prison) through prayer, but when the prayer was answered, it came in a way that they did not expect. They possibly envisioned the leaders standing before Herod, pleading for the release of Peter. They could have prepared their speech before Herod, and when the idea of that not happening was presented to them, they quickly dismissed the girl because it was not how they expected it.
How many people within the church today, are dismissing those who recognize the "voice" of the Lord simply because the Lord is showing up in ways that the church does not expect? Individuals are preparing for the presence of the Lord, yet their preparations have them missing the reality through wrong expectations. Today, many are not only denying the movement of the Lord because of missed expectations, but they are also refusing to open the gate!
Look at the Scripture again. Peter remained at the gate (that was never opened to him), while the church remained at the door of the house. Churches have become settled with the Lord at the gate, yet never welcomed into the house. Individuals are satisfied with a wave and a conversation at the gate, while unwilling to open the door for dwelling.
Be the Carriers of Oil
We need the sons and daughters of God to pay the price for the oil. Individuals need to stop depending upon others to do it for them. Stop demanding the oil from those who are willing to pay the price. Cultivate and steward your prayer life, the Word of God, your worship and your praise to the living God. Pay the price for the oil. You cannot keep demanding that everyone does the work while you sleep with half-empty lamps.
The culture is redefining the church in this hour simply because many have chosen the route of the foolish and defined it as the wise. It's time to get our expectation to meet our preparation so that we may be the carriers of oil!
Ryan Johnson is dedicated in helping equip the body of Christ to awaken the nations with a prophetic call of a rising ekklesia. Ryan has devoted his life to the righteousness of Christ, with the demonstration of the Father's heart in regions, individuals and the church across the world.
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