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Secret Place of the Most High, Kingdom
Learned Student, Honest.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Taking the "Saul out of David"

So I’ve been asking for wisdom and revelation . . .

Last summer, I was placed in a living situation, for my internship, and I realized I could have handled the situation better towards the end of the summer, a little too late. This summer, I’ve been placed in another living situation, similar in some respects and very different in other respects.

During the first week, we had a class called Encountering Jesus. The pastor preached on an issue he experienced, which in hindsight prepared him for a coming controversy. Before he could progress though, the Lord had to take the “Saul out of David.” The Lord intentionally allowed David to go through his different trials with Saul to prepare David for leadership with a character that was absent all the character traits of Saul. We learned that God used the earlier occurrence to prepare him for the second occurrence. This later bigger issue would be his time to execute sound leadership in a way he learned through overcoming the first issue.

I had an interesting first half of my second week apart from the prayer room and classes. In short, in my biased opinion, I feel like I was the “most different” amongst the Pursuit interns. I reminded myself of my agenda and purposes for coming to the internship. Highlighting my differences, comparatively, in a group was not one of my initial purposes, on its face. Yet learning to love better unconditionally is something I asked the Lord for last summer, that could always be improved, and I’m still learning it.

I shared my interesting experience, in confidence, with a few others, outside of the internship, that I could relate to. By vocalizing my experience, with my justifications, I was able to reflect on what I said as well as the responses I was given.

I was in the prayer room on Thursday afternoon and I was reminded of last summer. I realized I was basically resorting to handle the current situation similar to the manner which I handled my living situation towards the end of last summer; do my own thing and keep out of harm’s way to prevent any conflict and subsequently reduce interaction.

I immediately saw the trap I could be falling into once again. Meanwhile, I feel the Lord is teaching me to be a better Christina through even this. It is a lesson and preparation on adaptability and adjusting to new environments where it is likely that I may be, once again, the “most different.”

It’d be less convincing to a stranger that I’m adaptable and flexible if I didn’t have recent and relevant references of me venturing out of my comfort zone. Moreover, I don’t generally believe we were made to be comfortable. If I always gravitate towards people who accept me, I’m in effect, making myself comfortable. By staying in my comfort zone, I would not see the areas the Lord is trying to work on in me to prepare me for what is to come.

As I pray Ephesians 1:17-19, I perceive three dangers of maintaining dim eyes to this understanding. One, the Lord may determine that I currently lack the qualifications to be placed in a new setting. Two, I could remain stagnant, missing my kairos opportunity due to my own disobedience. Or three, I would end up learning and realizing that in later less appropriate setting because I decided to do things the comfortable way.

As long as change is constant, it is foreseeable that I will be in these situations in the months and years to come as I enter new beginnings. I would have no excuse not to improve that ("that" essentially being: unconditional love, humility, and meekness) in this setting, not only because one of the safest environments to do so in but it is a test of what I began learning last summer.

I’ve been divinely checked; revelation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

prayer for African youth and young adults

Yesterday, at the all-staff intercession, we prayed for the gift of spiritual hunger with Psalm 42 verses 1, 2 and 7 as our reference.
(1) As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
(2) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
(7) Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
I specifically prayed for my African Christian Fellowship brethren and called them out by name. I also prayed this prayer for relatives, friends, and the youth and young adult groups at Jesus House Chicago and within the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Please pray this prayer with me, as often as you remember:

LORD please awaken our hearts, the hearts of African youth and young adults. Give us the desire to want to know You more. Give us the gift of spiritual hunger. Stir up a spiritual hunger within us, a longing, a thirst in our hearts. Just as the deer pants for the water brook, let us thirst and long for the Living Water and hunger for the Bread of Life. Lord give us the thirst and hunger that only You can satisfy. Deep calls out to deep.

“You are the Lover, You never run dry. You are the Lover, only You can satisfy.”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Prayer Room

“To have faith, by definition, is to pray and keep on praying and never lose heart in prayer”

In the prayer room, at the International House of Prayer-Atlanta, the fire is kept burning on the altar 24/7.

Leviticus 6:13: "The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out."

The perpetual fire in Moses’ day represented uninterrupted offering to and appeal to God on behalf of Israel. (Zondervan Study Bible)

For two hour sets, around the clock, the intercessory missionaries keep the fire burning in the form of worship with the word, devotions and intercession. So if you walk into the prayer room at 3am or 3pm you will find people in there, praying and worshiping. During the services, the prayer room moves to the building next door.

During intercession, there is worship and then there are intervals whereby people to come to ask the others in the room to agree with them on prayers that have been placed on their heart. After the person or people pray on the microphone, the worship set sings parts of the prayer and parts of the scripture used in the prayer as a chorus. Many of the scriptures used are prayers that Paul wrote the churches in the New Testament; apostolic prayers. Meanwhile, other people are pacing the room back and forth or sitting in place, it all depends on your style or how you’re being moved at the time.

On Tuesdays at 4pm everyone who is on staff or an intern at IHOP-Atlanta is required to come to the all-staff intercession. This past Tuesday was the second all-staff intercession I attended. I went to one in October too, when I came to visit. They’ve both been live; worship and intercession sets; sometimes you feel like dancing.

At this past all staff intercession, there was a focus on interceding for the churches in Egypt, Muslims, and the word of the Lord to spread rapidly throughout the nations from 2 Thessalonians 3.

The Pastor (director) called the new interns up so that we could be prayed upon and blessed as we begin this season. I don’t recall there ever being a time in my life when so many people came and prayerfully laid hands on me. We also heard from missionaries who have setup a house of prayer in Uganda.

At the end of the intercession sets, the leader will ask people to indicate whether they need a form of healing. Then he will ask for the believers nearby to lay hands on the people who seek healing. So in a sense, if you’re not being prayed for, you’re laying your hands on people to pray for them.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: 

“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' For some time he refused. 

But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'

And the LORD said, “Listen to what the unjust judge said. And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you He will see that they get justice and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? Luke 18:1-8.
 We have to be like the persistent widow.

Faith always prays, unbelief stops praying.”

The IHOP World – Lawrenceville

It’s funny because right after high school, I used to tell some of my classmates/teammates from high school, that I tried out for the MTV reality show: The Real World and I would be on the next season. Meanwhile, I was taking my Gen Eds & Psych classes in Champaign at U of I.

In all actuality, I never tried out for the Real World. I’m Nigerian; we can’t bring shame to our parents in that manner. The thought of it crossed my mind though: living with 6 strangers for 2.5 months in a different city.  

Well, what I said post-high school came to pass with a twist.

All The Pursuit interns are housed together by gender. We have guidelines that are intended to foster the consecrated environment. I’m living in a townhouse with 7 other women, one of the women is the core leader/RA from IHOP staff but she is also a young adult. There are two male interns in another house. This definitely was not one of my motivating factors in my decision to do The Pursuit.

I share a room with one other intern. I haven’t shared a room (as opposed to house or apartment) with anyone since 2004, as a resident in the dorms, in undergrad. And at 25, I am the oldest in the house with the others ranging from 18-24.

Living communally with 7 others, 6 who will share my same daily schedule, for the duration of this season, can at times be overwhelming. Sometimes, I desire a little privacy.

At times, it feels like I’m in a bubble but I’m also on the outside of the bubble, observing. This is an interesting group and at second glance, a diverse group of Christians, indeed.

Of course, here, there are no cameras, we’re not being filmed, but transparency is foreseeable. As it happens whenever you’re placed in a new environment, you’re bound to learn several things. I’m sure I will learn things I didn’t even expect from this experience.

So welcome to The IHOP World – Lawrenceville.

Thank you for your support!

Before deciding to come to The Pursuit officially, I told my close friends that, I knew that if God wants me to do The Pursuit, He will provide every cent. Jehovah Jireh!

I started raising support earlier this month, and the LORD is providing for me through friends and family. I really really really appreciate the love and support from my family and friends; it really encourages me. I am so grateful to have wonderful people in my life. Thank you!

I’m still raising support (prayers and financial). It surely increases your faith in Him, not knowing how He will provide, but trusting Him enough to know that He will provide for you; total abandonment in Him.

My main expenses will be groceries and gas. One of my goals is not to buy anything I already have at home or can do without. This will mean little to no fast food and unnecessary spending.

I would like to one day support missionaries in some capacity and go on missions trips overseas too. I learned that many of the missionaries here are living below poverty. Everyone from the pastor (director) to the IT director, to the worship leaders and full time intercessors raise their own support, they do not receive a salary. Some live on as little as $500 a month.  All of this, combined with other occurrences, really provokes my missionary mentality. I have thoughts about that topic that I’ll write about in an upcoming post.

If you would like to support me prayerfully or financially please contact me at IHOP Email for more information.

Thank you and God bless you.

And so it begins, The Pursuit.

The Pursuit – a three month season, May 15th to August 4th, of intense consecration, prayer, worship and pursuit of Jesus tailored to young adults who have an ache in their soul to know the deep emotions of the Living God. The three months will include spending time in IHOP-Atlanta's prayer room where the worship, music and intercession continues 24 hours, 7 days a week. We are also on a media fast consisting of no television, movies, or radio; not even watching the playoffs.

Although I miss my community (friends, family) back home, I am glad to be here in this community for this 3 month season.

I have a lot to say and update so I’ll break up the posts by topic beginning with this one as a general overview.

My first week is complete, and it’s a pretty busy schedule. This week included orientation, move-in, classes, prayer room - praying, classes, goal-setting, reading, classes, service, prophecy, and classes. I like the classes. And to think, I told my friends, I was done with school. We will forever be students in some way; forever learning. I’ve also been applying for positions, that I will begin after this internship, and continuing to raise support.

There are eight interns taking part in The Pursuit, two in the Night: The Watch and Nitro and a family doing Intro. More information on each internship has been hyper-linked for your convenience. Perusing the website, you will see there are few more internships as well.

We have had several classes thus far which will continue throughout The Pursuit, and a few more which will begin next week.
  1. Foundations
  2. Understanding the Old Testament
  3. Encountering Jesus*
  4. Song of Solomon
  5. The Millennial Kingdom
  6. End Times
*This class was just during the first week. The schedule is pretty full from 10 to 8 and 10 to 10 on Friday.

We have also received several books to read during this season.
  1. Apostolic Foundations – Art Katz
  2. The Final Quest – Rick Joyner
  3. Unrelenting Prayer – Bob Sorge
  4. The Culture of the Kingdom - Billy Humphrey
  5. Until He Comes - Billy Humphrey
  6. The Heavenly Man – Brother Yun
  7. The Pleasures of the Loving God – Mike Bickle
I will spend many hours in the prayer room this summer and I would like to pray for you. It’s always good to have specific prayer points to agree with people on and join our faith to see what we say and request come to pass. Please send your requests to me at IHOP Email

I hope you do because my inbox is really empty right now. :)

For the prayer requests I’ve already received, thank you. Let’s keep praying and keep me updated on the progress.


I want wisdom; the Spirit of wisdom and revelation and the knowledge of (not just about) Him. And for Him to know me.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ in, the glorious Father, may give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which he has called us, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength. Ephesians 1:17-19

Now my heart's desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours,
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

Knowing You Jesus, knowing You; there is no greater thing.

It will be a continuous process.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Testimony - called to the bar.

In November, I gave a testimony at my home church, Jesus House Chicago, and at the end of the testimony, I said I would be back to tell the second part. Thankfully what was said came to pass and I gave the second part of my testimony at church yesterday. “Say what you heard, so you can see what you said.

Immediately after graduation in December, without a break, I began the bar prep course for the Illinois Bar exam. My “holiday break” was spent studying so that I could go to a short conference, although I was studying there too, and it was worth it!

This was a faith tester which subsequently resulted in a faith-booster. I was fearful of this test. It is a very hyped test. I put “The Bar Exam” into prayer probably as soon as I got into law school and increasingly so, last year as the reality of the test approaching quickly, sunk in. I cried out to Him and He heard my cry.

I had to change my fear and doubts, to faith. I had to change my attitude regarding the test and what God is capable of doing in every situation. I don’t know why I began to doubt and start giving credit to all the “what-ifs” that could possibly happen. Had the LORD not seen me through the past 7.5 years, the past 25+ years, even? Did I not trust Him enough to take me through this exam?

I was dreading this experience based on some things I've heard. There was a point when I considered postponing the exam due to unforeseen circumstances. Notwithstanding unexpected occurrences, this bar prep and exam experience was an answered prayer from God. First, the course was miraculously paid for - part 1 of the testimony. And although many attorneys have told me it was the worst time of their life, in hindsight it really wasn’t for me because I was seriously surrounded by support, love and prayers. If that was supposed to be “the worst time in my life,” then I am even more excited about what is next and I just praise the LORD for his mercy and grace.

When the LORD opens a door, no one can shut it. When the LORD decrees a thing, no one can change it, at all. He is faithful!

I am so grateful for the prayers and support of my wonderful family and great friends, who I’ve taken as family as well! I am really thankful for the community I am in.

This includes my amazing brethren from ACF who cooked for me (I seriously saved so much time because of that) and prayed with me, and over me, kept me calm, focused, sane and so much more. So much thanks, so much love.

This also includes my pastors and network from Jesus House Chicago, Kings Assembly (and the Illinois Zone 1 of RCCG), especially my JHC House Fellowship group. They are a great group of people who were and are very supportive, and always so positive. My RCCG family laced every comment or inquiry with a prayer.

This also includes people I’ve taken as mentors who started this process earlier than me from the UI College of Law, the Nigerian community, and people from along the way. Some of them took time out of their schedules at random moments on my account.

All glory and honor to the LORD on Thursday, May 5, 2011 I was admitted to the Illinois Bar. If I boast, I boast only in the LORD because it was only by and through Him and the people He has blessed me with that I was able to receive this license.

I would be remiss if I did not give an additional public thanks to (in no particular order) my mom and family, Tosin Ogunnaike, Omolola Adegoke and family, Jerry Bwanhot, Henry Bwanhot, Kelly Bwanhot, Andrew Poswal, Laolu Oladosu, Sam Esan, Yinka Owolabi, Lolade Moustapha, Ebony Reid, James Desir, Emi Aprekuma, and Sheri Fadeyi.

Thank you to everyone who gave me studying advice, an encouraging word, checked-in, everyone who joined with me in prayer and of course you ;-)

Thank You LORD! Praise the LORD with me!

My name is

A name can be a blessing or a curse. Sometimes you see people taking on the characteristics of their name (or ironically the opposite). A friend from undergrad has a Yoruba name that means “do not spoil.” We used to joke around with him that he actually was spoiled.

Lately, Nigerian parents are getting very creative with the names. Yoruba parents are known for giving names that are incomplete phrases or complete sentences: "Hisbanner" "Oretosemipoju" or "Esupofo." Igbo parents are known for those adjective and fruit of the spirit names, like "patience," "happiness," "peace" etc.

Some names make you wonder what the parents were going through or thinking for them to name their child that name. Like "Nabal," why would parents name their child “fool?” Beats me.

My first name is Christina. Christina means "anointed, follower of Christ."

I have several names from different family members and groups.

Before I was born, my mother wanted to name me Elizabeth. Then when I was born my father gave a list of several names, that list became my names except for Tina. Tina was his chosen English name for me. There is a joke that it’s because he liked Tina Turner. *shrug* My mom was not feeling Tina for me, so they decided on Christina.

My mom actually wanted my name to be Christianah, the Nigerian way of saying Christina. She took preliminary steps to formally change it on my certificate, but she didn’t think the fee, and the court appearance was necessary. “It all means the same thing,” she would say.

Of the several names, Omowunmi was the second name so that became my “middle name,” and that’s all they could fit on the birth certificate. Omowunmi means “I want a child.” That name makes sense since I’m my parents’ first born child. However, no one calls me that, not even my parents. It’s interesting because most of the elders in my family, and family friends, parents age and above do not call me Christina either, nor my parents once again.

When I got to Edison, my grammar school, my mom wanted them to call me Yetunde, another name of the seven I have. Yetunde (or Iyabo) is a name given to the first female child born after the mother of one of the parents has died. My paternal grandmother passed before I was born and I was the first female issue born from her immediate offspring. However, my school also said they had to use my first name, or she would have to pay a fee, fill out some forms and go to court. So once again, she just left it as is. So at school, I was Christina. And over the years, I’ve been given nicknames stemming from different pronunciations of my last name or a shortened or remixed version of Christina.

After a while, growing up around friends with Yoruba first names, at summer camps and such, I also wanted to be called by a Yoruba name. My family friends would call me Yetunde in private and correct themselves to call me Christina around others, but I really wanted them to call me Yetunde in public too. Gradually, they decreased their usage Yetunde and Christina was the name that stuck.

At home, I’m (Oluwa) Funmilayo; The LORD gave me joy. In second grade, my mother sent me to school with pencils inscribed with “Funmilayo A----;” that’s what she calls me. I’ve heard it said in several different ways, and I know what it means when it is said in each way respectively. Example, Funmilayo with an emphasis on the “O” and an exclamation probably meant I was about to get it. She said one of the reasons she picked that name was because it’s also one of her names. However, after surveying the names in my family, we've noticed that there are a couple repeat names.

Try to imagine the slight confusion my peers had and people trying to pronounce Funmilayo. Fun-me-lay-oh? No, foo-me-lie-yoh. Who is that? Me. *insert more explanation of a double-cultured student here* as if the Ankara for Halloween in Kindergarten was not enough :-)

I relate to the names Christina and Funmilayo the most, probably, because of the meaning. I’ve adopted the characteristics of both names.  Regarding Funmilayo, not only has the LORD given me joy but I feel like I give joy to others, and it brings me joy to give joy. So I like when people call me that and I would hope they mean it when they say that.

I wonder what the LORD calls me though. In modern day, I’ve met many people who have the Abram - Abraham, Jacob - Israel or Simon - Peter story. Namely, I’ve come to know Christians that have a Yoruba surname giving honor to a pagan God as the prefix like Ogun: God of Iron and have changed their surname to their father’s first name or the pagan prefix to Olu, Oluwa (LORD God) or something completely unique.

Lately, I feel like I am becoming Imowunmi. “Imo” means wisdom in Yoruba. I want wisdom, hence the blog name change.

I wonder what He calls me, or what He knows me by. Christina? Imowunmi? Friend? Daughter? Servant? Gatekeeper? All of the above? I hope so.

Do you have a name story, (named after someone etc. alliteration, other) share it with me.
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