Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. —ISAIAH 54:2
I preached on the life and the prayer of Jabez one Sunday morning in 2003 at Free Chapel. We were still in our former building on McEver Road at the time. The Lord had impressed me strongly to tell the congregation to “get bigger baskets,” because He was about to enlarge our borders. A simple, rhema word, that inspired the congregation to fast and pray into what God was calling us to do.
Jabez prayed, “bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory.” But there are some requirements for anyone desiring to have their territory enlarged. I have found some specific requirements related to this in the 54th chapter of Isaiah.
First, we must reject smallness. Enlargement requires us to get out of our small boxes, our small routines, our small thinking and our limited view of God. Caleb and Joshua saw a place of enlargement before them, but the rest shrunk back and stayed small. Caleb and Joshua believed it could be done, but the rest said they were afraid to try and remained small-minded.
Secondly, enlarging the place of your tent means making room for some new people in your life. People will s-t-r-e-t-c-h you! Relationships with people will stretch your nerves, stretch your patience and stretch your prayer life. If you want more, if you’re tired of an unfulfilled, unfruitful, barren life, then God is saying, “enlarge and stretch.” You will never see a miracle until you stretch your faith.
When God tells you to lengthen your cords, it means lengthen your reach. Wider tents require longer cords to keep them securely held in place. Once you lengthen your cords you must also strengthen your stakes, driving them deeper into the bedrock of God’s truth. Life is like a huge tree. The more the branches spread, the deeper the roots must grow.
The Lord stretched us from our Brown’s Bridge location over to the McEver Road facility, and then He stretched us to this 150-acre campus. But He didn’t stop there. Doors opened for us to expand to the west and just last Sunday—on the last day of our corporate fast for 2014—we had record attendance at our Orange County, CA campus with over 5,000 people in three services.
I believe these expansions and solid growth are born in faithfulness to fast. There is both reward and wisdom to be found when we tune out the noise of the world and come away to hear God’s heart through fasting and prayer. That is when you can hear that simple word that can take you from glory unto glory, from faith unto faith.
Every time this ministry has gone from one level to another, God has done it. But God had to take us as a people and put us through the expanding and the stretching, the lengthening and the strengthening. We felt the pressure and the stress of it, but I am so glad we did not spare; we did not draw back.