A Deeper Level
Gospel recording artist Israel Houghton takes readers to a deeper level in this book where fasting and prayer go hand in hand.
BY: Israel Houghton
Introduction: A New Thing
down your nets and you will catch a lot of fish!”
—Luke 5:4 (TLB, emphasis added)
Every once in a while you get a feeling that something big is about to happen. You can’t plan it. You can’t force it. In the end, it isn’t because of you anyway. You’re just sitting there in your boat, doing what you’ve always done, when Jesus turns and says, “Now go out where it is deeper.” And something inside tells you that history is about to be made.
Sometime last year, I began work on a new CD along with my band, New Breed. It was the first recording project in which we had the concept before we had the songs. We knew it would be about going to a deeper level with God. That was the calling. To accomplish this, the first thing I started to do was to define what deeper meant.
To me, deeper meant an even more intense encounter with some of my core values, including a passion to be more cross-cultural, cross-generational, and cross-denominational. These concepts were just starting to intensify. The deeper I ventured—the further I journeyed into the presence of God—the more vivid it all became. One thing became immediately clear: I didn’t want to tell the body of Christ to go to a deeper level unless I was willing to go there myself. So, I pondered over what deeper would mean for me and for New Breed. We kicked the topic around in loose discussion for a few days. Then, when it was all said and done, I told everybody, “In a couple of days, I’m going to present something to you guys, and we are all going to feel this one.”
What God laid on my heart was a path that He wanted us to venture down together, and part of the journey was going to entail a fast.
The path we were taking was going to be more than just a trial run at spiritual disciplines or a Bible study. The word we used for this journey was consecration. By definition, it means “to make or declare sacred; to devote irrevocably to the worship of God…to devote to a purpose with deep solemnity or dedication.”
In Scripture, God said, “You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 20:7 NASB, emphasis added). Notice, it says that this is a process that we do—not God. It is also something that He commands. “Consecrate yourselves…for I am the LORD your God.” “Be holy,” be separate, be set apart, “for I am the LORD your God.”
This consecration was going to be a period of time devoted to setting ourselves apart—apart from distraction, apart from certain foods, apart from the things of this world that vie for our time—in order to go before the Lord, fully prepared to be used by Him.
Let me say right here that this was God’s intention for us. It was not out of a feeling that we were anything special. On the contrary, it was out of the knowledge that God chooses “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise…the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). We knew that God has a tendency to call out ordinary people to carry out His will. He does this in order to make it obvious to all that the glory is His alone. God is not looking for successful musicians or authors or pastors to carry out His will. He is looking for ordinary people who will deny themselves and consecrate themselves to be used by Him.
Therefore, if it can happen for us, it can certainly happen for you!