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Seeking God – Spiritual Principles from YWAM’s Early Days

Published on: January 3, 2020

This month we begin our “Spiritual Principles from YWAM’s Early Days” 4-Part series on the topic “Seeking God” with Loren Cunningham. 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.

For the next four months, The Invitation will focus on spiritual principles from YWAM’s early days. The four topics in this series came out of a conversation with YWAM leader Lynn Green, who reflected on spiritual themes he encountered in YWAM’s first training programs. He saw these principles lived out in the young men and women who formed YWAM’s first outreach teams. As we pray during these four months we hope to embrace these principles in a new way. For January our topic is Seeking God and we have included a video of YWAM co-founder Loren Cunningham speaking on this topic. Remaining topics are Holy LivingFear of God and Lordship of Christ. For each of these months The Invitation will include a video specifically prepared for this purpose by one of YWAM’s leaders from the early days.

Seeking God Photo

In our first video, Loren relates a wonderful story from 1972 where God put a vision on the hearts of a group of YWAMers who had prayed in unity. In the video, Loren is interviewed by Miranda Heathcote, who works with YWAM in Spain. Please watch and enjoy this 8:55 minute video.

For a written summary of this video, please see below.

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Psalm 105:4 (ESV)

Please join us this month during The Invitation prayer day on Thursday January 9, as we pray for YWAMers to seek God in a new way. If you only have a few moments to pray please pray that YWAM will pray in unity and that we will hear from God–insight for now and visions for the future. 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].

Listen to the letter

Prepare to Pray:

In this short video, Loren Cunningham refers to the ten steps of effective intercession originally introduced to YWAM by Joy Dawson. Refresh your memory of these principles here: Try to use these principles as a format for your time of prayer.

Take time in silence to allow the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind any action or attitude of yours that was not motivated by love. Put this right with God and with anyone else affected by it. For a few minutes, speak out praises to God, read a psalm of praise, or sing a praise song together.

Seek God
Photo credit:

Pray for YWAM:

  • Ask God that YWAM communities around the world would be living by the principles of effective intercession, and especially the call to unity and living in right relationship with one another. Consider your personal role in relationships, rather than praying only for others. As God brings issues to mind, pray specifically, rather than only in an abstract way.
  • If God brings to your attention a personal issue or corporate issue, or a subject for intercession take time to wait on God for direction and then pray as God leads.
  • Pray that we would be people growing in our awareness of the presence of God and in our hunger to seek Him. Prayerfully consider how we might, as individuals and as communities, arrange our lives in such a way that we prioritize and make room for His presence. Take some silent time to consider what this might mean for you personally and make a note so that you can remind yourself of it later.
  • Pray that the word of God would be increasingly alive to us and powerful to bring about change in our lives, so that we live out the good news of Jesus in such a way that others are drawn to the light of who He is. As an inspiration, read through this list of scriptures about seeking God: Pick a verse and pray it out to God.
  • Identify an area of your life individually or corporately in which you are especially aware of your need for God’s wisdom and direction. Name this need before Him and confess your desire to listen.
  • Close with a prayer that we would not shrink from the high calling to be distinct from the cultures we come from and those in which we live. May we be God-seekers who are truly like salt and light in the places we live and minister.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)

Take Action

  • As a group, set up a quiet place to pray where there will be no distraction and pray Psalm 46:10. After a set amount of time discuss with the group what God showed you. Focus on areas of unity. What action does God want your group to take?
  • Meditate on Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (ESV) Search scripture to identify and further understand these rewards.
  • Talk to others about what can be done at your location to establish an environment where people are seeking God continually. Take action on these ideas.
  • Take a one-day retreat with just you and your Bible and God. Disconnect from everything else.
  • Talk to others at your location about how to be a generation of those who seek him. Talk to others at your location about how to pour into the next generation of children associated with your location so they will be God-seekers.
If You Seek Me . . .
Photo credit:
YWAM in Jeju, South Korea praying for Yemen in December
Photo credit: YWAM UofN, Jeju

How We Prayed

December 2020 – Yemen

  • YWAM University of Nations in Jeju, South Korea – Forty students and staff came together to pray in the morning of YWAM’s global day of prayer. Later that evening the entire YWAM community joined together during their worship service to pray for Yemen. God brought several scriptures to their attention including Revelation 6:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. (Enjoy pictures above and below.)
  • YWAM locations and individuals reported on Facebook that they were praying for Yemen. They prayed from Chiang Rai, Thailand; Orlando, USA; Canada; Washington, USA; Zambia; Madagascar; Cape Town, South Africa; Senegal; Sydney, Australia; Puerto Rico and Spain.
  • We heard from a woman who suggested that we pray for the nation of Haiti as the people there are going through a very difficult time. (We have added this to our list of potential prayer topics.)
YWAM Jeju, South Korea praying for Yemen in December
Photo credit: YWAM UofN, Jeju

Future Topics:

  • Series: Spiritual Principles from YWAM’s Early Days
  • February 13: Holy Living (Lynn Green) – 2 of 4 in the series
  • March 12: Fear of God – 3 of 4 in the series
  • April 9: Lordship of Christ (Darlene Cunningham) – 4 of 4 in the series

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  • If you sense God giving you a word or a direction for YWAM’s prayer, please contact us: [email protected].

Summary of Loren Cunningham’s Video:

Miranda: “When you think about seeking God, what are some stories that come to mind from YWAM’s early days or maybe more recently?”

Loren: At his father’s funeral in 2003 a chaplain came up to him and they spoke afterward. The chaplain told what happened after a YWAM prayer meeting in 1972. In 1972 at YWAM Lausanne in Switzerland they would start all their days with a time of intercession. They would break up into groups of five or six, and would use the principles of intercession from Joy Dawson. They would make sure they had a clean heart, they would declare their faith, they would do spiritual warfare, and then they would wait on God. Loren said, “That’s another way of saying seeking God. We seek God in detail to find out what is on His heart.”

One of the people in the meeting spoke up and said they were to give Bibles to the USA military in the camps in Germany. Someone else said, “Yes, and it’s 100,000 Bibles.” Loren got an impression from God privately, “Call Dr Kenneth Taylor.” Loren didn’t know Dr Taylor or where he was, so he called his friend Brother Andrew in Holland. He told Loren he was planning to have Dr Taylor visit him that very week, but Dr Taylor needed to go home the next day. He was flying from Athens to Chicago. Loren called him and found out Dr Taylor would spend two hours at the airport in Frankfurt.

So the next day Loren met Dr Taylor at the Frankfurt airport and shared what God had shown the YWAMers the day before. They needed 100,000 Bibles for the military in Germany. Dr Taylor asked, “Where did you get that number?” Loren explained that one person in the prayer meeting got that number and the others prayed about it and felt that it was right. Dr Taylor said they just happened to have 100,000 Bibles left over from a Billy Graham crusade. He said they cost $6 a piece, but they would give them all to the YWAMers if they could pay to have them shipped. Loren agreed.

Right away, Loren called his friend who was the top chaplain over all the USA’s military chaplains in Germany. He had taught on leadership at YWAM’s school in Lausanne. Loren told him he had a vision to share. This chaplain, who lived in Frankfurt, invited Loren over for dinner that night. As Loren shared, his friend said “Your timing is amazing.” Loren thought, “My timing? I just heard this the day before in prayer.” His friend said, “Tomorrow all the generals are going to meet here in Frankfurt. They have asked me to give a devotion. Instead, you share the gospel and tell them your vision. They will decide.” At the meeting, the generals agreed with Loren’s proposal. In fact, the US Navy and Air Force brought together the huge load of 100,000 Bibles. They distributed them to the troops in the camps and then allowed the YWAMers to go in and share the message of Jesus. This chaplain said it was the greatest move of God he had ever seen up until that time in the military. “So many came to Christ!”

At Loren’s father’s funeral this chaplain said that many of the believers in the military said they came to faith in 1972 in the camps in Germany when these Bibles were given out.

Loren concluded, “That’s the reason why in unity, with clean hearts, as you seek God He knows what to pray about better than we do. We think we know a lot in YWAM, and we do, but we only know a little compared to what He knows. Seeking God. How important it is!”

Miranda: “And it sounds like we can really seek Him for details. The timing of that story is amazing.”

Loren: “Yeah, it was amazing because it was God’s timing, not mine. I expected to be in Lausanne that week, but that all changed.

“Seeking God comes from knowing His presence. This is what I try to live by every day of my life. Practicing the presence of Jesus, so that whether you pray or whether you work or witness, or whatever you do, you practice the presence of Jesus.”