In Old Testament times, the tabernacle in which the Jewish people worshiped and prayed consisted of three main parts: the outer court; the inner court, or holy place; and the most holy place, or Holy of Holies. The general congregation was restricted to the outer court. The priests had access to the inner court. But only the high priest could go behind the veil that separated the inner court from the Holy of Holies. This was the place where the presence of God was manifest.
In order to qualify for the privilege of meeting with God, the priest had to undergo certain rituals of purification. Today, we qualify to be in God's presence not on the basis of rituals, but on the basis of our righteousness in Christ. We are all called to intimate fellowship with God, and relating to Him through prayer is our birthright as adopted sons of the Father.
However, going beyond the veil—communing with God at the deepest level—requires that we be transformed.
When I first started my journey to go behind the veil (the most intimate level of prayer), God used to knock me out in the Spirit a lot in church. I would be minding my own business while the praise team was singing, "We exalt Thee," and bam—I would be out cold on the floor! At times when the moving of the Spirit in our church service would go to a higher level, I'd be sitting in the back, but the next thing I knew, God was throwing me all the way up to the front of the church on the altar.
At this point in my spiritual journey I began to realize there was a level in God that went beyond religious experience. I saw that our Christian journey is about more than what church we attend, what we wear to the service or who is leading worship. It is about our relationship with the Lord. As we remain in His presence, we will be changed, often as a result of the correction He brings to ensure effective results in prayer.
Keep in mind that the ark of the covenant, which was kept in the Holy of Holies, was perfected within and without, so it held the manifest glory of God—despite its small dimensions. The more of the impartation of God's grace (the power of the Word working in you) you experience, the more your outer man will reflect His glory—and that's when His power will be released through you in prayer.
One of the problems in Christendom is this: Too many believers talk about living behind the veil without even knowing what it means. Many have mistaken those times when they were touched deeply during a high point in a service or when they were slain in the Spirit during worship as behind-the-veil experiences. Although that is part of the experience, it does not constitute the total meaning of a spiritual encounter with God.
Why? Going behind the veil is not a one-time event or experience. It is a lifestyle. After you enter the "lifestyle" of intercessory prayer, you are to live in that place.
We cannot minimize the true meaning of living behind the veil by relegating it to a mere song that is sung, or to whether everything in the service has gone according to plan. Living behind the veil is a supernatural lifestyle. This means that whatever occurs in your life from that point on is the result of decisions you make that originate from the heart of God—not your flesh.
When you have entered the dimension of prayer in which your heart begins to hold the precious things God imparts to you, you will experience a mighty manifestation of His power and be on your way to becoming a behind-the-veil intercessor.
Fishers of Men
Jesus called ordinary men to be His disciples. He said: "Come after Me and be My disciples, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And at once they left their nets and [yielding up all claim to them] followed [with] Him [joining Him as disciples and siding with His party].
"He went on a little farther and saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were in [their] boat putting their nets in order. And immediately He called out to them, and [abandoning all mutual claims] they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and went off after Him [to be His disciples, side with His party, and follow Him]" (Mark 1:17-20, The Amplified Bible).
Jesus is saying the same thing today: "Come after Me and be My disciples, and I will make you fishers of men. Come after Me so that I can get rid of everything I see in you that doesn't match the principles of My kingdom."
Jesus did not save you so that you could go to church, sit in a pew, shout, jump and sing in the choir. He didn't bring you into God's kingdom to have a "Christian" experience. He brought you into this heavenly realm to become a fisher of men.
The Lord did not deliver you from addictions and spirits of depression and oppression to enable you to sit in a cozy building wearing a nice suit wondering when you are finally going to get a front-row seat. He didn't fill you with His power for you to sit idly by, wondering, When are they going to ordain me as an elder? God drew you into His house to disciple you so that, in turn, you will make disciples.
The place of prayer is where you will receive your spiritual assignment—and the power to walk it out.
When Jesus called the disciples, they left their nets immediately. They walked away from their own abilities and put their faith in Jesus, the living Word. They submitted to His authority and trusted Him to deliver them from bondage and provide for all their needs.
From that day forward, they walked in the reality of true intimacy with the Lord. Today, there are a lot of people who pray, but there are not a lot of intercessors who meet God behind the veil.
When Jesus calls you to salvation, it speaks of the outer court. When He calls you to discipleship, it relates to the holy place, the place of maintenance. But when He calls you to your divine assignment as a fisher of men (an intercessor), you can fulfill this commission only through the workings of the Holy Spirit.
He will help you develop spiritual disciplines—without which you will not be able to hear what He hears, see what He sees and know what He knows.
You cannot become a fisher of men and complete your divine assignment as a high-level intercessor until you yield all to Jesus and drop your net! You cannot come into this level thinking, I am not supposed to lie on the floor—because this level requires a prostrating of your body (most of the time) and a prostrating of your heart at all times.
Now, drop your net! Drop what you think ministry is supposed to be, and give it all to Jesus. Drop what you think God has called you to do because without a life of prayer you will never be able to finish what you have started.
You cannot enter a deep realm with God until you lay it all down and say: "God, I'm willing to be transformed into an intercessor who knows what You see, feel and desire to be accomplished. Show me the assignment You have ordained me to fulfill for Your kingdom."
Mark 1:20 states that the disciples "[abandoned] all mutual claims." When you meet the Lord behind the veil, you can abandon your religious claims because you have received the highest call in God's kingdom—the call to effectual, fervent prayer.
You won't glory in being a deacon when you have answered the call to prayer. You won't care if you don't sing in the choir when God meets with you in a high level of prayer. All things religious will become less significant, and you will abandon all your titles and rights.
Effectual, Fervent Prayer
Anyone can pray, but not everyone is equipped to make effective intercession. Going to church is easy—anyone can do it. But can you stand in the gap for someone's life? Can you command HIV to let someone go? Can you command a crack cocaine addiction to be broken off someone's life?
God is in travail today because of prayerless preachers, evangelists, prophets, teachers and choir members. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance—but what we do in God's kingdom isn't about gifts.
It's about snatching others from the fire of destruction, for Jude 23 says: "[Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality."
When God calls you to Himself, He empowers you to come through not only the outer court, but also the holy place and the most holy place. In this three-step process, you will also encounter the power of the three altars (as they are represented in the Bible). First, there is an altar of stone—the place where you must come to repentance. Then there is the altar of brass, where your flesh struggles against submission to the Word and is ultimately laid on the fires of purification.
Then you come to the altar of gold, which is the place where you enter into worship. It's where you lay yourself down and let God pick up the work.
At this altar, the Lord is working with you and teaching you how to lay down the earthly ministry and pick up His ministry, which is the ministry of prayer. Your flesh has ceased from the battle against the Word as you learn to let go and let God. The altar is where we die and Christ begins to live through us.
When you pass through the veil into the most holy place, the work of the flesh ceases and the work of the heart of God begins. It is there that you will begin to see what God is doing, over and above hearing His voice.
When you are in His manifest presence, God will say: "I want to show you My glory! I want to show you what I am going to do for you and where I am taking you. I want to show you that you have victory and power. I don't want just to speak to you. I want to reveal Myself to your inner man so that I may speak through you."
When your intercession is empowered and directed from His divine presence, it will shatter the gates of hell. Remember, James 5:16 says that it is only the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man" that "availeth much" (KJV).
The more you come to God with a pure heart, the more He will take you to new levels and fresh, exciting experiences through your walk of prayer. If you are ready to find God beyond religion, denominationalism or anything you have ever seen or experienced—He is calling for you. Let God lead you through His pattern of prayer all the way into His presence behind the veil because that's where the impossible is not only possible—it becomes reality.
Juanita Bynum is a dynamic speaker and singer who has ministered to millions worldwide. She appears frequently on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and is the author of several books, including Matters of the Heart and My Spiritual Inheritance (both Charisma House).