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Holy Living – Spiritual Principles from YWAM’s Early Days

Published on: February 12, 2020

This month we continue our “Spiritual Principles from YWAM’s Early Days” 4-Part series on the topic “Holy Living” with Lynn Green. Thank you for joining us this month as we take up “The Invitation” and join together with YWAMers from around the world as we pray and hear from God.

We read in Scripture, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev 19:2). From our early days, YWAM has placed a value and a high priority on holy living. The purpose of our current prayer series “Spiritual Principles from YWAM’s Early Days” is aimed at reflecting on key principles that God showed our founders and leaders early in our ministry. The prayer is that YWAM, on a united front, would reflect on these principles and that God would lead us in an ever-deeper way going forward.

Listen to the letter

Please reflect on the 13-minute video associated with our second topic, Holy Living. In this video, Miranda Heathcote, who works with YWAM in Spain, interviews Lynn Green, a YWAM leader who attended YWAM’s very first school 50 years ago:

In this video Lynn identifies teachers from our past who modeled holy living and shares an ongoing story of holy living being modeled by a group of young people. See his challenge to live holy lives in 2020. A more detailed summary of the video can be found at the very end of this prayer material. Remaining topics in this series are the Fear of God and the Lordship of Christ.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Proverbs 9:10 (ESV)

Please join us this month during The Invitation prayer day on Thursday, February 13, as we pray and discern. If you only have a few moments to pray please pray that we would increasingly reflect the character of Jesus as we seek God and we ask God to convict us. Thank you for being part of The Invitation. We would love to receive stories from you regarding how you prayed. You can email us at [email protected].

Prepare to Pray:

Whether you pray through these materials alone, or gather together with others to pray, ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart to receive this message.

Read aloud from Proverbs 4, 20-27:

My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

Consider the image of a spring flowing from the core of your being – what the writer of Proverbs calls the heart. How clear is this spring water in your life currently?

Principles For Effective Intercession Photo credit:

How To Pray:

  • Recognize that holy living begins not with rules but with heart attitude. Take time individually to respond to God in whatever way he directs you.
  • Pray that we would be sensitive to those attitudes or behaviors that do not reflect the character of God. Allow time for identifying these patterns through confession and repentance.
  • Lynn spoke about God’s desire to display His power through people who display His character. Pray for your YWAM team or community, and for YWAM in your nation or region. May we be those who exhibit the character of Jesus in ways that point others to him.
  • Pray that YWAM would experience a return to holy living in any way that is necessary, that our actions would match our values and this integrity would impact our fruitful ministry in the world.

After you have prayed: some thoughts about a response

It could be that after praying, you and your group are wondering what practical things you might do to respond to what the Lord stirs in you on the subject of living holy lives. Be sensitive to anything that you feel especially prompted to do by the Holy Spirit. In addition, you may consider the following ways of learning to live with a keen sensitivity to this call to holiness.

Principles of Intercession (see above image)

To what extent does your YWAM community practice the Principles of Intercession? (You can find them here: ) If you don’t already, consider incorporating these principles into your regular times of intercession. How would it be for you to practice this way of paying attention to the ways you are living, individually, relationally and with God?

Love Feasts

You may want to revisit this article ( about the YWAM tradition of holding “Love Feasts.” Pay special attention to what Tom Bloomer remarks about heart preparation prior to sharing this special meal: “There was a sense of expectancy and holiness that whole day. Students and staff both prayed for hours during the afternoon for the love feast. People would go and knock on each other’s doors, to confess things to one another and ask forgiveness. Nobody wanted to be an obstacle to the Lord’s meeting with us that evening.”

What would it look like for your community to share Love Feasts in this way? Consider trying it out just once, before making it a regular fixture of your community rhythm.

The Examen Prayer


This is a simple and ancient pattern of prayer. It can be used daily as a way of cultivating a sensitive and responsive conscience. Here is one way to do the Examen prayer:

  1. Recognize your blessings.
  2. Request the Holy Spirit to reveal what you need to see.
  3. Replay your day.
  4. Repent for where you fell short.
  5. Resolve. Discuss with Jesus how you can do better tomorrow.

Challenge yourself to try it every day for a month and take note of any effects on how you think and behave.

Further Reflection Questions

These questions could be used for personal journaling, or as part of a group reflective discussion:

  1. To what extent do your regular practices—reading scripture, interacting with those in your community, self-reflection—help you to stay aware of ways in which you are not fully living in submission to the person and the ways of Jesus?
  2. Lynn talked about his own tendency toward judging others. What are your repeated patterns of behavior that don’t reflect the heart of God? How might you cultivate a sharpness of conscience in this area in particular?

Living Holy – 2 Corinthians 7:1

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Photo credit:

Take Action

  • Incorporate Joy Dawson’s Principles of Intercession regularly as a team or as an individual as noted above.
  • Conduct a love feast as noted above.
  • Incorporate the Examen prayer attitude as noted above on a regular basis.
  • Seek the Lord to show you how to live holy in an unholy world.
  • Meditate on the following verses and the context around them. What do you discern about holy living?
    • Leviticus 11:44-45
    • Leviticus 20:26
    • 1 Peter 1:13-16
  • As a group or individually, read the promises that precede 2 Corinthians 7:1 (2 Corinthians 6:16-18). Discuss how they inspire you to holy living.
  • Share on, post a picture and add a comment about how you prayed.
  • Go to; search for #praywithywam and tweet about your prayer time/post a picture. You can also post a photo on Instagram and use the same hashtag, #praywithywam.
  • Send an email to [email protected] letting us know how you prayed and what God revealed to you.

How We Prayed

January 2020 – Seeking God

  • Almost 900 people liked or loved our Facebook post for The Invitation in January. 36 people responded and it was shared 94 times.
  • We received a request to pray for southern Cameroon where villagers have suffered due to violence.
  • A man wrote to say the video of Loren reminded him of when he first saw a photo of the Cunningham family hanging on a wall in Italy. He said “it was the family that most made me believe God exists.” Now he prayed: “May the Lord go beyond all human expectations in consoling you and providing for your every material and spiritual need.”

Photo credit:

Future Topics:

Series: Spiritual Principles from YWAM’s Early Days

  • March 12: Lordship of Christ (Darlene Cunningham)– 3 of 4 in the series
  • April 9: Fear of God  – 4 of 4 in the series
  • May 14: Ending Bible Poverty (Loren Cunningham)

Don’t Miss The Invitation:

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  • Download prayer updates in a specific language. Go to (Currently available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Indonesian, Korean or request other languages.)
  • Join the conversation about how God is leading in these prayer times. Comment on the Facebook page on the second Thursday at or on Twitter @ywam, hashtag #praywithywam. You can also post a photo on Instagram and use the same hashtag, #praywithywam.
  • You can now listen to The Invitation as a podcast. To sign up or listen to past episodes, go to:
  • If you sense God giving you a word or a direction for YWAM’s prayer, please contact us: [email protected].

Summary of Lynn Green’s Video:

Miranda Heathcote, who works in Spain as part of the team for The Invitation, spoke to Lynn Green about the early days in YWAM. She asked Lynn how he and other young YWAMers sensed God calling them to holy living.

Lynn said holy living was one of the major themes through their entire first school. In 2019 YWAM celebrated the 50th anniversary of this first school, the School of Evangelism that took place in Lausanne, Switzerland. Two of the teachers Lynn remembers who talked about holy living were Joy Dawson and Duncan Campbell. “It made holy living really desirable,” Lynn recalled.

Duncan would say, “God doesn’t want to display his power through people who don’t display his character.”

Lynn said he thinks we struggle in the body of Christ to sustain what holy living is because we have a Pharisaical tendency. “We’ll work out what we can do and what we can’t do, and then we’ll make rules.” These rules go out of date and people live by the ethical and cultural standards of two decades ago, and that’s called holiness.

He grew up with a set of rules that meant they didn’t dance, they didn’t drink, and they didn’t smoke. They didn’t even go bowling, “maybe because they served beer at the bowling alley.”

Lynn said, “We struggle because holiness is a matter of the heart, and there are parts of our hearts that are not yet under the lordship of Christ.” He said he regularly sees bits of his heart that aren’t right. For example, he feels convicted about judging people.

He said it takes a closeness to the Holy Spirit to live out the commands to be holy as God is holy. We regularly face situations that aren’t specifically addressed in the Bible, like how to respond to a person on social media.

“Our conscience alone doesn’t do it,” Lynn said. “We have to allow the Holy Spirit to sharpen our conscience by being in the Scriptures, being in His presence, listening to Him every day.”

Miranda asked Lynn for an example of how he has seen holiness playing a part in YWAM.

Lynn told the story of a church he encountered in 2003 in Washington State in the USA. It was a conservative Baptist church where they pressed in to God and “holiness was at heart of what they were doing.” He and his wife visited the church and saw young people converted and discipled into holy living. This church sent seven teams to YWAM Harpenden. This summer a team came and they saw the “radical power of God” in people being humbled and delivered.

Lynn said “I believe that anointing is still there for us.” It’s what he saw so much in that first school with Joy Dawson and Dr. Campbell. It was an anointing for “deep works of God, the power of God at work transforming people.”

Lynn added,  “Holy living is one of the prerequisites God puts to us before we can move in that kind of power, because if we don’t have His character, we have the power and we misrepresent it.”

Miranda asked Lynn how he would like us to pray for holy living in YWAM.

He suggested we use the Principles of Intercession from Joy Dawson until they are second nature. [See]. “You know, you are waiting on God, you are dying to self, you are asking if there is any reason the Holy Spirit would not speak to us, any unconfessed sin.” Lynn said this kind of prayer brings into our communities’ confession to one another.

He said at their staff meeting the day before in Harpenden, England there was a spontaneous, deep, humble confession by one of their staff people. “That’s a good sign,” Lynn reflected. “If we are in a community where there has been no real openness and humility and confession with one another for a long time, we’re probably not moving in a holy group.”

He said, “The Principles of Intercession, where you wait on God and you ask Him to convict you, where you need to humble yourself and repent of what he shows you, that is fundamental to our identity.”