I received the following question, and with permission would like to share this with those who read this blog:
What does it even mean to “call down the powers of heaven?” Are these things that come from heaven’s will or from our will? Does will have a say in this?
There’s a part of me that thinks that getting to gather to “call down the powers of heaven” sounds almost like a bunch of teenagers getting together to experiment with a ouija board. Sorry if this sounds offensive, I’m sure it shows what little faith I have. I’m sure I’m still full enough of unbelief, and that’s keeping me from seeing the truth of this inquiry.
How does such a thing happen without the right combination of things being present? What exactly are those things? Surely it’s more than just a simple desire to bring down a fire from heaven to prove to ourselves that we have the “Right Stuff”.
What does it take to be the kind of people that can just make an appointment to get gather after work and just “call the power down?”
When had power been called down historically? Was it by appointment? Or did it just organically happen as the need arose?
I understand I think, the concept of 2 or more gathering in His name. But, if that’s not done because those gathering understand a specific need to gather, then what is that?
I’ve seen people who have gathered others together only to surprise the majority of the group with some kind of unexpected prayer session to take care of something that only the person setting up the meeting knew about from the beginning. Very awkward, very weird, very uncomfortable.
I’m sorry if my thought’s see random. I just find the concept purposed here so foreign in my life. I guess that’s why you are asking the questions because there is a desire for this to be something normal and common. I guess I’m just the loner type that hopes to have experiences between me and the Lord as he sees fit to lead me into that direction.
To call down the “powers of heaven” does not mean to say the magic word, or to play a game of curiosity. It is to act in faith in a manner which invites the gifts of the Spirit to manifest themselves.
“And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will. And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ. And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.” Moroni 10:17-19
How does this happen?
41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, [turn your heart to Christ] and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness [unbelief] shall be removed from overshadowing you.
42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.
43 And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.
44 And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.
45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words. [gifts of the Spirit] Helaman 5:41-45
I do believe that it is more than to simply “desire,” but that is a good start. Exercising faith is seeking revelation and acting upon it, having the intent to keep the Lord’s commandments given to you. Those who attend a meeting of this sort should come with the intent and understanding that they will seek God and do such things. It cannot be forced upon them, and they cannot force it upon God. It needs to be understood that although we can draw upon the powers of heaven it is only according to the laws that govern such things. The baptism of fire is the glory and light of heaven that sheds itself on those who exercise faith according to God’s will. Its purpose is to make us clean and prepare us to receive salvation as well as help others to do this. God freely gives these gifts to the faithful. If we are not seeking these things we are like those in Lehi’s dream who walk the path never grabbing hold of the iron rod. They are susceptible to being lulled away into forbidden paths, which are typically the philosophies of men (false religion).
Historically, these gathering have taken place in scripture and are occurring in Christendom even today, and not by appointment, but because of faith. We have records throughout the New Testament after Christ’s resurrection of Christians having such experiences, and they continued for a few hundred years until the church became fully corrupted. Joseph Smith had many such meetings in the earlier days of the church, and today there are Christian groups throughout the world who also experience outpourings of the spirit and the baptism of fire. That doesn’t mean all of these modern gatherings are legitimate, but it is real and I have witnessed it many times.
I agree that the idea of being with a group of people and crying out to God, praying with hands raised, and experiencing angels, gift of tongues, healings, prophecy, and seeing others wrapped up in the Spirit sounds “awkward,” as you say. I don’t believe any of the people in these groups just suddenly became this way. They too had to shed the unbelief that has bound our generation. We do these things because our hearts are broken and contrite, only caring for the Lord and His mercy upon us. When a group of like-minded people seeking God gather in His name and the Spirit is present, the veil of heaven is rent, the fire comes down, and Jesus is literally in their midst.
62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—
63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
64 Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you;
65 And if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.
66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.
67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. D&C 88:62-68
After this scripture was given Joseph Smith was commanded to form the School of the Prophets for the purpose of doing such a thing with a group of men. Groups can be organized according to revelation for men, women, couples, or families. Such worship shall exist in Zion. As we learn to worship without unbelief, and trust in the Lord in humility, we shall draw upon the powers of Heaven and experience the love of God in full measure.