Do you pray with power? Nicky Gumbel in the Alpha course says over fifty percent of the population prays. “Prayer” is the most searched word in Google today. Yet, few people know “who” they are praying to or understand how effective and powerful prayer can be.
I am excited to announce God not only has the answer — He is the answer!
“Call on me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
Pray With Power
Three years ago, I sensed God’s prompt to begin writing “a” book on prayer. Though I tried, I (and God) knew I was incapable of such a task. Through a series of interviews with dozens of people of all ages from around the world, not just a single book but several books have been conceived. They all include a combination of biblical foundation and testimonies.
Unlocking Legacy: Taking Your God-Given Territory Through Prayer also covers subjects like: faith, praying God’s Word, prophetic and travailing prayer, fasting and praying with authority, corporate prayer and more.
The last chapter contains multiple miracles experienced by those interviewed.
May you be inspired as you read this first chapter. Unlocking Legacy is available for preorder today.
Thank you for this opportunity to say a brief Easter and Passover prayer for you. I offer this small but sincere gift to each one of you.
“Lord, thank You for each person who is joining me in prayer today. May they feel the comfort of your tender heart and sense your Presence with them.
“You, O God, are gracious and compassionate. You are closer than the breath we breathe. In our weakness, we discover Your strength. In our frailty, we see Your power.
“Today, we remember the price you paid on Calvary and how You humbled Yourself even to the cross. We thank You for bearing the weight of our sin, for redeeming us from our past and purchasing the healing for our bodies. ‘By your stripes (the beating of your body), we have been healed.’
“There is no sin too great; no dis-ease too powerful; no scheme of the enemy too cunning for YOU!
“Today, God, we remember the greatest victory ever won through Your death and resurrection. Arise, O Lord! Arise in our midst and may Your enemies be scattered.
“Shelter each one today under the shadow of Your wing. Circle them with a hedge of protection. Strengthen those with feeble arms and weak knees. Fill us all with Your love, grace and boldness.
“May we re-present You well in this hour. We are not those who shrink back and perish, but because of Your life, we persevere to life. ‘Your divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.’ Your cross and resurrection created an indisputable plumb line dividing history past from future destiny — the old from the new, the tainted from the pure.
“Again Lord, we look to You. We look to the victory of the cross and the empty tomb. Show Yourself mighty on our behalf. Remove fear and fill us with audacious faith — faith that rests in You alone.
“I ask for wisdom and discernment for each one. Show us what to do and how to do it. Give us Your words to speak and a heart of grace to speak it. I declare health over weary bodies and peace over troubled minds. In Your goodness, sustain us and help us. As a Shepherd lead us, as Warrior King fight on our behalf, and as the All-Sufficient One, I ask that You meet our needs.
“Nothing can isolate us from Your Presence, for You, God, are with us. You are the Light penetrating all darkness and our God of Peace in the midst of every storm.
“May this Passover and Easter season be a transitional point in each one of our lives. We ask You to come and remove the cloud of oppression and depression that hangs over Your people. May the joy of the Lord be our strength and the knowledge of our God bring us courage. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
“I ask You to show Yourself strong to each one today. Bless them. As a Father, watch over them with tender love. Your mercy is great and Your goodness unfailing.
“‘O God, create in us a pure heart and renew within us a right spirit.’ I ask God for a supernatural move our Holy Spirit upon us . . . upon our homes . . . and in our churches . . . throughout our communities and over our nations.
“Lord, we make room for You today to cut through our busyness and establish Your rightful place among us just like You did at the original Passover. The cross and the empty tomb still speaks to our generation. Capture our attention and bring us into a deeper closeness with You.
“May our ears be open to hear Your nudging, our eyes to see Your blessings and our hearts to respond to Your love. May our lives become acceptable offerings of praise and adoration unto You.
“Lord, we come humbly before You, to give You thanks. We thank You for your great grace and immeasurable love. Thank You that Your ear is turned toward our prayer and Your hand stretches out to help us. Thank You for daily carrying our burdens
“Lord I ask You to bless each listener drawing them every closer to You this Passover and Easter. This is my prayer, Lord, that they may know You are with them.
How do you prepare for triplets? Making room for one new addition requires planning, energy and resources, but triplets demand so much more. Before you think this seasoned grandmother, well beyond the childbearing years, has lost all grip on reality, I can explain. No! Cuddling the recent influx of babies being joyfully deposited among the young and thriving families hasn’t given me the desire to turn back the clock and start over.
Nonetheless, God has conceived in me triplets. When I first became pregnant with anticipation, I consented to one birth; but alas one has become three. Such surprising encounters occur to those who wait and listen for God’s promptings.
“I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”
To “station” oneself “on the ramparts” means to take a stand at a place of siege or distress. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, that is exactly what God was calling me to do. About two years ago, I was standing at my prayer watch — well more specifically on my face, weeping in the prayer room. I felt God’s distinctive nudge to write a book on prayer. Though prayer is an active part of my Christian faith, I certainly neither felt equipped nor authoritative on the subject of prayer.
Yet, God persisted.
Then the LORD replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Writing and making it plain sounds simple enough for a less weighty subject. However, looking at books written on prayer by Dutch Sheets, Anne Graham Lotz, Stormie Omartian, C. Peter Wagner and many others left me feeling intimidated and inadequate to say the least.
Regardless, I was pregnant! There was no turning back. After several months of hesitation and deliberation, I accepted the reality. “Okay, Lord, we’re having a baby, but this definitely has to be more You than me.”
And so, the writing began. About thirty thousand words into the process, God nudged me again to interview people, gathering testimonies about the miraculous interventions they have witnessed as a result of prayer.
My excitement was building. Since I love hearing other people’s stories, I looked forward to the process without considering the technical details involved. I began to approach people I respected in my small prayer circle, asking for their assistance.
“. . . ‘declare how much God has done for you.’
And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city
how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:39
The voice of this once demonized man exemplifies the power of testimony. As I began to listen to these prayer testimonies, I knew they would inspire faith and increase prayer momentum. Surprisingly, recounting their prayer journeys ignited something deep and fresh within themselves before their words ever hit a page in my files.
Who but God would have known these multiple hours and dozens of voices would accumulate to over 400,000 words of intensely vulnerable and honestly raw prayer testimony. Their experiences reached from Mongolia to Jamaica, Chile to Great Britain, Nigeria to North America. Their ages spanned from nine to ninety years. Each held a piece — a unique story — of a prayer tapestry.
Together their voices impacted my own prayer life and spiritual perception.
“I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly.”
Now came the task of honoring God and honoring their testimonies. As I mapped and charted their stories, I discovered distinct patterns within three main themes: the misconceptions that keep people from believing their prayers could be effective, the strategies necessary to defeat the enemy and praying with authority, and the miraculous interventions of God.
Prepare for Triplets
It was then that I realized, I was birthing not just one but three book babies:
Unmasking the Myths; Is This Prayer?
Unlocking the Legacy; Taking Territory
Unstoppable; Moving in the Miraculous
It’s a good thing God didn’t forewarn me of the magnitude of the project. I would have found the fastest way out of town and hid somewhere in the hills. However, these testimonies produced such a powerful impact on my life, I couldn’t wait to share their stories with others like you.
It’s incredible to me that Jesus would say that we are the light of the world. Of course, in and of ourselves, we are the opposite. Because of His Presence within us, we have become light and He desires that light to shine brightly.
“You are the light of the world.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Dozens of people willingly opened their lives within the pages of these prayer books so that others will clearly see the power of prayer and give God glory. Only a handful are in full-time ministry. The vast majority are farmers, housewives, doctors, teachers, laborers, truckers, students . . . They are normal people we brush shoulders with everyday, people trusting in the grace and goodness of God to hear and answer prayer.
But through them, God is glorified. Prepare for triplets!
Born with Teeth
Even though these soon to be published testimonies remain hidden in files, sifted through by beta readers, polished by editors, and formatted by designers, they already have teeth and speak in full sentences.
Two years ago, I didn’t realize God was setting me on the ramparts of the desperate situation of prayerlessness, not just in our nation, but in our churches and homes. Such a void exists mainly because of the impotence many people feel in the context of prayer. John professes,
“They triumphed . . . by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony . . .”
The blood has already been shed, but the words of testimony still speak. Every testimony vibrates with faith in Jesus Christ. Their testimonies expose the reality that God still saves the lost, heals the sick, casts out demons, and raises the dead. Neither God nor prayer has suddenly become powerless.
As I prepare to deliver the triplets, these three books on prayer, I no longer sense trepidation and fear. Rather, I anticipate the impact these shared voices, spoken so simply, yet boldly, will have on those ready to listen. With my part of writing and making it plain almost complete, the time to run ticks closer and closer.
“And for what purpose?” you might ask.
“For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.”
If you’re like me a “Don’t worry; be happy!” admonition isn’t exactly effective. The battle for peace of mind can’t be minimized. The struggle many people at times face is significant and life altering, causing emotions to sway like a skyscraper during an earthquake.
Sometimes even temporary issues can send one into extreme frustration or anxiety, whether the pivot point is a serious health problem, financial crisis, relational issues, or any number of other life events large and small. Paul challenged the Corinthians to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.”(2 Cor:10:5)
That sounds like attempting to have a dozen toddlers sit still for a photo. Toddlers don’t stay still and neither do my thoughts or over-active imagination.
Nonetheless, God places on us the full responsibility for the thoughts we choose to dwell on. So how can we and do we win this battle for a mind at peace? Fortunately, God doesn’t leave us groping for our own solutions to this immense problem.
When hope seems lost and expectation for improvements buried and gone, the command to rejoice sounds cruel at best. Unless of course, the one giving the instruction was himself familiar with facing life and death situations.
“I am in chains for Christ . . .
and will continue to rejoice . . .
I eagerly expect and hope that
I will in no way be ashamed,
but will have sufficient courage
so that now as always Christ
will be exalted in my body,
whether by life or by death.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Maybe that is sufficient evidence to heed the advice of Paul whose struggle, pain and loss far exceed our own. When the chips are down and all natural support is stripped away, he concludes that everything apart from Christ is “garbage.” (3:8) In essence, he reminds us all that life is short and eternity is long.
Paul sets the context for his encouragement just before reminding us all that the “Lord is near!” When we sense that deliverance is close at hand, we have the capacity to endure much more than we previously thought possible.
“Rejoice in the Lord always
[delight, gladden yourselves in Him];
again I say, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Don’t Worry; Be Happy
Paul, through personal example, demonstrates the possibility of maintaining joy in difficult situations. Then he adds to his clear command to rejoice, another, “Don’t worry!” During less intense problems it’s perhaps easier to find something to be grateful for and happy about, but when you’re facing foreclosure, your marriage is heading to divorce court, or the illness is diagnosed as terminal, “Don’t worry; be happy” sounds empty and unrealistic.
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance and in everything,
by prayer and petition (definite requests),
continue to make your wants known to God.” Philippians 4:6
Gradually, I’m beginning to understand Paul’s admonition. Prayer changes everything, starting with me and my perspective.Thankfulness perhaps improves the nature of our thoughts and emotions more than any other quality. Jesus encouraged his listeners that God knows and loves each of us so much that He even knows how many hairs we have on our heads. (Luke 7) Apparently, that’s about 150,000 hairs per person. Then He says,
“Don’t be afraid; you are worth more. . .”
When you consider there are about 1 billion trillion stars in the known universe and God has each one not just numbered but named, we understand how great God is and how much He really does care. (Ps 147:4) Suddenly, I view God and my life from a new context.
It is only as I fully know my need, that I come to know the goodness and greatness of my God. Maybe, “Don’t worry; be happy” isn’t such a far stretch after all.
Peace in the Storm
As I take those things that rob me of joy and shadow me with fear, placing them in prayer before God, peace becomes possible.
“And God’s peace [shall be yours,
that tranquil state of a soul assured
of the salvation through Christ,
and so fearing nothing from God
and being content with its earthly lot
of whatever sort that is, that peace]
which transcends all understanding shall garrison
and mount guard over your
hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
I’m beginning to see the strategy for winning this battle over depression and anxiety. I’m not sure about anyone else, but for me, the decades long struggle with mental illness proved to be largely a spiritual issue. I can say, at least in part, that I’ve been transformed by the renewing of my mind, aligning it to who God is and what He declares. (Rom 12:2)
Though once impossible, now “Don’t worry; be happy!” is completely attainable.
For a brain like mine that was once deeply rutted with “stinking-thinking,” rerouting thought patterns has taken persistence and time. That’s why Paul continues his exhortation,
“. . . whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence
and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable,
whatever is kind and winsome and gracious,
if there is any virtue and excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think on and weigh and take account of
these things [fix your minds on them].”
My thoughts are becoming increasingly a more accurate reflection of this description. At times, however, it is downright scary how ragged, selfish, and putrid any random thought rolling through my head might be. But just imagine! Imagine how different life would be if every thought was taken captive and aligned with Christ through this short, albeit challenging, list.
If I stop reading here, however, I will miss the mark. “Don’t worry; be happy!” will remain an elusive impossibility. To embed these truths deeply in my life, they must be practiced.
“Practice what you have learned
and received and heard and seen in me, model your way of living on it,
and the God of peace
(of untroubled, undisturbed well-being)
will be yours.”
Reading our Bibles and knowing the truth begins the process but will leave us lacking if we settle for knowledge alone. Winning the battle for the mind takes effort — a praying and petitioning God kind of effort, plus diligently censoring our thought life kind of effort. When we willingly practice and model what we have learned, that process continues until radical mind-renewing, mind-healing transformation occurs.
Jehovah Shalom, the God of Peace, remains untroubled and undisturbed. He grants us His perfect peace that supernaturally garrisons and guards our hearts and minds. Then, through Christ, “Don’t worry; be happy!” becomes a daily reality and peace truly does win.
Only a few biblical personalities are said to possess wholehearted devotion to God. What qualifies such a description? How can one develop this attribute? Who were these individuals?
All were exceptional yet ordinary people. They are people God continues to look for and calls us to emulate.
“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
The list of those who possessed wholeheartedly committed to God reads like a who’s who in the spiritual hall of fame:
Noah was called “righteous and perfect in his generations” and built a means of salvation for all who would listen. (Gen 6:9)
Mary Magdalene followed Christ with wholehearted devotion in her worship, attentiveness to his teaching, faithfulness at His crucifixion and stalwart declaration of His resurrection to His unbelieving followers.
Job was declared to be a “perfect and upright man, one that fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8)
Because of Hannah’s unwavering commitment and sacrificial devotion her nation was turned to God in a single generation (1 Sam 1 & 2)
Hezekiah’s self assessment reads, “I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion” (Is 38:3)
What about Abram and his wife Sara, Esther and Mordecai, or many New Testament forerunners, world changers, fearless defenders and promoters of the faith? The Bible says of Jehoshaphat,
The Hebrew words often translated as “devotion” have the sense of “being complete or full, whole and wholesome, innocent, and having integrity.” It also stands for “truth, virtue and uprightness.”
The person the Bible describes as having wholehearted devotion above all others is, beyond a doubt, King David. Every succeeding king and ruler would be measured by the devotion found in this godly man.
David was a young shepherd tending “a few sheep” — out of sight, unnoticed, and insignificant by all earthly perspective. In obscurity, however, David’s heart became a God-shaped container of radical devotion to the one and only true God!
Even David’s son Solomon, the wisest of all men, was unable to emulate his father’s example,
“…his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” 1 Kings 11:4
I appreciate the honesty with which David judges his own heart, however. He, as much as any other man, knew the pitfalls of walking wholly committed to God while living with human passions, desires and weaknesses.
“I’m trying my best to walk in the way of integrity, especially in my own home. But I need your help! I’m wondering, Lord, when will you appear? I despise what is evil and anything that moves my heart away from you. I will not let evil hold me in its grip. Every perverse and crooked way I have put away from my heart, for I will have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness.” Psalm 101:2-4 TPT
A Committed Path
Do you ever feel like David? “I’m trying, Lord, but I could use some help!” I sure do!
Wholehearted devotion requires a commitment, a predetermined resolve to allow nothing and no one to separate us from our allegiance to God. But how exactly did David foster and protect such an attitude?
David makes no excuses for himself. A quick glance at Psalm 51 reveals his all-to-real struggle with human weakness.
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me…” Psalm 51:3
Four key elements are evident in David’s life: a soft heart, value for God’s Word, persistence in prayer, and unrestrained worship. All are essential to obtaining wholehearted devotion.
David’s hope and anchor rested in his personal relationship with his Heavenly Father. A soft heart, quick to repent, always leads to wholeness and restoration.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:10-11
Humility, a quickness to forgive, concern for the oppressed, and genuine love stood as witness to the softness of David’s heart.
Value God’s Word
David wisely established godly disciplines to live above reproach. The Hebrew word for “fully devoted” also means “truth, virtue, uprightness and righteousness.” It is impossible to possess these attributes without saturating ourselves in the oil of divine truth, the Word of God.
David attributed many defining benefits to God’s Word.
“… perfect, refreshing the soul… trustworthy, making wise the simple… giving joy to the heart… radiant, giving light to the eyes… pure, enduring forever… firm, and all of them are righteous… more precious than gold… sweeter than … honey from the honeycomb.” Psalm 19: 7-10
Persistence in Prayer
Maintaining an undivided heart toward God also requires transparency and vulnerability. David recognized God’s law as a perfect light shining upon his heart, revealing what would otherwise remain hidden even from Himself. He prayed,
“But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgressions.” Psalm 19:12,13
Because hidden faults and willful sins are common to us all, Jesus told us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” God lovingly reveals our hidden faults when we ask — either speaking through the Holy Spirit or mentors and trusted supporters He has positioned in our lives.
The Hebrew word for “steadfast” also means “get ready or be prepared.” The attitude of prayer turns the key to wholehearted devotion, while the practice of worship opens the door, preparing us for godliness.
The psalms ring with David’s anthems of adoration and worship. Communion with God in prayer, combined with worship, prepares the hard ground of our hearts, tenderizing and mellowing it into fallow soil, yielded to God.
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1-3
Wholehearted devotion recognizes God as the sufficient Source of all we need.
Let’s finish where we began,
“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
God is looking, scanning the nations, browsing the streets of our cities, searching through our homes, peering into pulpits and pews, desiring to find someone, anyone, he can “strongly support”! His eyes are watching for those He can strengthen, fill with unwavering courage, and give power to overcome all opposition, because that is what strongly support truly means.
Oddly enough, this same word for “strongly support” defines David’s “triumph, prevail, and defeat” over Goliath (1 Sam 17:50). When God found a boy whose heart was fully devoted to Him, He moved with strong support to help the lad. The shepherd’s stone hit the mark with supernatural accuracy and force. The giant fell never to rise again!
As God gazes upon our generation, may He find many, young and old, men and women, with wholehearted devotion to Him above all else.
Praying for others is an amazing privilege. Though I don’t know each of you personally, I’m praying for you. I humbly ask that you pray for me as well. This kind of praying network, connecting one with another, releases anointing, provision, protection, and power for Christians.
For many years, I thought that praying for myself or asking for prayer was selfish. I’m not even sure how I got such a distorted idea, but I’m glad it finally shook loose. It was when I began to ask people to pray for me that I experienced serious breakthrough. Whether it was for a major project, a decision, or another specific need, I immediately noticed the difference when others were praying.
There is perhaps no higher honor than being able to take the requests of others before God. It amazes me every time! Yet, I continue to struggle to ask for prayer for myself.
Jesus Prayed for Himself
The Bible passage that awakened me to truth came through the Gospel of John. Jesus wasn’t ashamed to ask for His Father’s help, how much more should I be willing to ask!
“…Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorifyyou. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
Ultimately Jesus prayed that God would be glorified, that others would receive life, that He would finish well, and would receive His reward in heaven. Sounds like everything we would also like to accomplish.
God has given each one of us a work to complete. He desires that our lives would bring love, life and hope to the people around us. We cannot do that in the fullness that Jesus did, but we certainly can in part. Ultimately, we want our lives to reflect Jesus and bring as much glory to God as possible.
So in many ways, Jesus’ prayer for Himself, is one that we can continue to pray for ourselves as well. Jesus taught by example, “Pray for me!”
Pray for Ourselves
In the darkest moments of Jesus’ life, while in heavy travail in Gethsemane, Jesus commanded his disciples to
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:42
Even His three closest companions couldn’t keep awake to pray, failing the test. Even though Jesus was in great duress, His concern was more for those He loved than Himself. Prayer would give them the support and help they needed to triumph during the next hours and days. Jesus wanted them empowered and enabled to withstand the upcoming events.
It is interesting that this is the last directive Jesus gave to His followers before His death. His words question my heart as He surely as He questioned them,
Prayer cooperates “with” Jesus. What is on His heart? Am I willing to “keep watch with” Him? My willingness to join with Him will help me to overcome the weakness of my own flesh. “Pray for me?” Jesus asked.
Pray for Others
I have partnered with others in prayer and reaped undeservedrewards. Together we have seen miraculous births (naturally and spiritually), supernatural healings, financial breakthroughs, miracles of provision and dire events turn around to become overwhelmingly good. That’s not all but it’s a beginning! Praying together unleashes God’s power.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions
with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and
always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
Paul instructs the believers to “be alert and always keep on praying.” The word “alert”means to stay awake or sleepless. Sounds like the same thing Jesus asked of His disciples to do, doesn’t it?
Just yesterday, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, my husband and I stretched out for an afternoon nap. Neither of us could sleep, however. Thoughts about one young couple were continually stirring in our hearts. Though we had just seen them a few hours earlier and appeared to be doing well, we sensed God calling us to pray for them. Immediately, we got up, shook off our sleepiness and prayed. It really doesn’t matter if we ever know what the need was. God knows their need. This was one time we were alert; but unfortunately, we’re not always that responsive.
Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night to pray for someone? Good for you, if you did! I’m so thankful for those who are alert and willing to pray even before I ask.
Pray for Me
Paul goes on to express his personal need to the Ephesian church,
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak,
words may be given me so that
I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel
for which I am an ambassador in chains.
Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
“Pray for me,” Paul asked. He knew that prayer is the work! There is nothing done for the Lord of any value apart from prayer.
Prayer prepares speakers, writers and artists to declare fully and freely the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It removesfear replacing it with boldness and tenacity to share God’s message succinctly and boldly. Prayer also prepares the hearts of listeners, stirring the seed bed for the word of truth to land and grow.
Let’s all try to be alert, praying for those who carry the weight of sharing the Gospel locally, nationally and internationally. Heaven will reveal the difference that our prayers will made.
“What difference does the prayer of one person make?
You will never know until you pray.
– Anne Graham Lotz
Your prayer might very well be theprayer that tips the scales releasing God’s intention to those around you.
I’m Praying for You
Perhaps the response to my writing that inspires and excites me the most is when someone leaves a request for prayer. I never allow these personal requests to be seen by the public, but I certainly make them known, loud and clear, in the heavenly realm.
What an honor it is to pray for you? That occurs mostly in a general sense. My daily clicks and likes are very small on my website, but I consider it an awesome responsibility to pray for those individuals and nations that check in.
May it be an encouragement to know that someone is praying for you. What joy when we will one day be eternally united in heaven! Thank you for trusting me to be praying on your behalf. I know that many of you pray for me too. I send a sincere thank you!
“Is this prayer?” is a question frequenting my thoughts lately. Moses’ powerful public prayer was birthed in intimate face-to-face encounters with God. His life demonstrates the qualities and benefits of this deep relationship. Though I enjoy a personal relationship with God, He has been challenging many of my paradigms of prayer.
Moses, unlike any other person, experienced God in unprecedented ways. He heard God’s audible voice. He received detailed instructions on how to bring unity to a nation not yet nation, as well as how to build and organize a worship center for over a million people. His dependence upon God was evident,
“Then Moses said to Him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, then do not send us up from here.'” Exodus 33:15
Perhaps, nothing forces us into the Presence of God quite like difficultcircumstances. Moses faced more than his fair share of struggle. A posse of grumblers confronted him and his leadership. Dathan, Abiram and On were their self-appointed leaders. They boldly aired their grievances unaware of their own pride and disrespect!
“(They) became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.” Numbers 16:1-2
Such descension came not from a renegade group of has-beens or back-benchers, but from “well-known community leaders.” These men were “appointed members” of council!
Envision the scene for a moment. Two hundred and fifty strong, angry, powerful recognized leaders shouting their demands!
“They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?'” Numbers 16:3
What would you do? What would I do? Would the first instinct be to fight, flight or fall? Moses prayed. Although the word “prayer” might not fit our preconceived notion of what prayer looks like.
Have you been in a situation so volatile, uncertain, and beyond reason that words won’t come? Any utterance falls insignificantly short. After prostrated silence, Moses would speak, but not now. Now was the time of waiting on the Most High, being still in His Presence, and listening for His voice. Hearing always precedes speaking for the wise of heart.
Is silence prayer? Can prayer be wordless and still be prayer?
The conversation Moses had with God was raw, audacious and vulnerable.
“Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, ‘Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them.'” Numbers 16:15
The sting of injustice and angry retaliation oozed through Moses honest interchange with God. Is that Allowed? Is emotional venting prayer?
She sat across from me confused, disappointed and unable to understand the situation that seemed to threaten her. Raised in a Christian home, she had attempted to honour God at every stage of her life. Purity was high on her expectation list both for herself and her spouse.
Past sins and secrets were recently disclosed by the man she loved. She fully submitted her marriage to God. Yet the sense of betrayal remained — not only by her husband but by God.
She was stuck in the dilemma of nicety. “How do you tell God your angry?” Such transparency seemed risky.
Slowly, she began to articulate her grief, pain and the depth of loss she felt. Gradually words started to break from the inner dam of disbelief and mistrust.
Afterward, she sensed God acknowledge and even thank her for her authenticity and courage to admit and honestly voice the pain of her heart. Perplexed she wondered why God welcomed the exchange. Slowly she began to realize God’s love covered her unconditionally. He desired genuine relationship with her.
Many people might ask, “Is this prayer?”
Standing in the Gap
Perhaps, Moses’ next exchange with God pictures more clearly our perception of prayer.
“But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, ‘O God, the God who gives breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?'” Numbers 16:22
This is intercession at its finest. God stands ready to vindicate Moses and Aaron once and for all. Instead of saying, “Yeah! It’s about time! Do it God!” They stand in the gap by falling on their faces. Instead of applauding God’s justice, they plead for His mercy.
Only a few verses before, Moses laid silently face down in the dust. Again, He falls to the ground. This time with deep wails that would not be silenced.
“What difference does the prayer of one person make? You will never know until you pray.” – Anne Graham Lotz
Which one is prayer?
Can action be prayer?
The grumbling in the camp rose in unceasing waves. No sooner had God dealt with one group of complainers and mutants, than another pushed their way to the forefront.
God’s patience ran low! His love would not restrain correction any longer. When Moses and Aaron saw the sudden appearance of “the cloud” covering the tent of meeting and “the glory of the LORD,” they knew time was running out.
“‘Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.’ And they fell facedown.” Numbers 16:45
Falling facedown in prayer almost seems synonymous for Moses. But this time, face to the ground prayer led to a completely different response. Quickly, via Moses’ instruction, Aaron “ran into the midst of the assembly” with a censer and burning incense.
“He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.” Numbers 16:48
Is running and standing prayer?
It may feel outside our traditional prayer paradigm when God spurs us to obedient action. The results will speak for themselves.
More than one prayer warrior I have talked to has sensed God instruct them to stomp their feet or aggressively dance in warlike fashion as a declaration of freedom and breakthrough for others. Each of them testified to a distinct shift that enabled a restoration of relationship with a prodigal son or daughter. Their prayer acts somehow created a “gap” between the dead destructive choices while opening “paths” for the life of Christ to flow.
The bound were set free, the lost found their way home, the plague of sin and shame broke.
Obedient actions when directed by God carry the sweet incense, the aroma of prayer, to the throne room of heaven.
Is this prayer?
Is This Prayer?
Yes, beyond a doubt, as Moses demonstrated, it is prayer. Prayer at its deepest level — sometimes silent, often raw, gap creating, active involvement initiating prayer. Prayer beyond words.
This is the prayer that releases God’s authority and His mercy. Prayer that enables true and ever-deepening authentic relationship between God and man, Father and child, Redeemer and redeemed.
It is the kind of prayer that refuses to abandon, pleads for mercy and seeks another way. Prayer reaching to the perishing. Prayer staying the hand of justice and soliciting mercy. Life being ministered to the lost and broken through the partnering of God and man.
There appears to be a distinct difference between a “nominal” Christian and a true God seeker — the one who pursues God with all his or her heart! This passionate pursuit of God’s heart and His Presence forms an umbilical cord powerfully nurturing life to those who seek Him with diligence.
Becoming a God seeker requires tenacity. We can effectively do any number of Christian activities without major disturbance. Begin to prayerfully seek God and life turns into a battle ground!
First, there is an unexpected knock at the door. Then the phone rings, random thoughts flash rapidly through your mind, the kids fight, the dog needs to be let out, the smoke detector beeps, hunger pangs grip, and on it goes.
Have you been there? It can feel like a game of “Hide-and-Seek”, except God isn’t hiding and few people are seriously seeking.
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 29:12-14
It can be fun playing Hide-and-Seek with young children. One can’t miss the blanket hump that giggles, the plump statue-like body behind the pole lamp, or curled bundle under the table.
Does God “hide” from us in similar fashion? Whispering our name, He invites us to find him while He “hides” in plain sight. Yet, complacency quickly turns wasted days into years of neither“seeking” nor“finding” the One who begs to be found by us.
God’s promise remains! If we seek Him “with all (our) heart, (He) will be found!”
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6
But why is seeking so important?
Suzanna Wesley is a remarkable example of a God seeker. She was the mother of 19 children, although ten died in early childhood. She was largely unsupported by her husband.
Suzanna took every responsibility seriously! Homeschooling her children included far more history and mathematics. She laid a biblical foundation in the lives of each of her children. In her spare time, Suzanna gave leadership to a small congregation of about 200 others.
How did Suzanna carry such a heavy load? She consistently pushed aside every distraction, spending a minimum of two hours daily in prayer. On a chair into the middle of her kitchen she sat with apron over her head. No one dared interrupt! Momma Wesley talked with God. God spoke to Momma Wesley!
Susanna, a true God seeker, is recognized as the mother of the Methodist Movement, with four of her sons becoming pastors.
In Suzanna’s dedicated time with God, her spiritual senses were awakened, giving her divine insight, biblical understanding, and practical strategies to equip her children and hundreds of others to live victorious, godly lives.
“Seek the LORD, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly.” Zephaniah 2:3
Such God focused seeking prayer comes with promise! Not only does God guarantee He will “be found”,
“and (I) willbring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, and willbring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:14-15
God welcomes back His wayward sons and daughters — prodigalswhose disobedience had drawn them far from Him. They were refugees — slaves held captive in a far off land!
Such bondage may not be as literal in our lives, but real nonetheless! Without God, we are all wanderers gone astray in a lost world.
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Proverbs 8:17
Our cry is never too far from His hearing. The choice is ours! Will we turn back to the God who loves us?
Time with God is never wasted! Here we gain wisdom and understanding, see our own waywardness and rebellion and discover the path of grace to find our way home.
Love and Goodness
God’s promises are all inclusive! When we choose to seek His face, we will find Him. He will “gather” us and “bring” us “home”. Back to His Presence! Back to the place of love! God is ready to welcome us, restoring us to freedom, security and purpose.
“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.'” Acts 17:27-28
Unfortunately, God’s desire for relationship with us is much more intense that our craving to connect with Him. Our seeking ranks lethargic! His pursuing intentional!
“He is not far from any one of us!”
Let the reality of those words sink in! “He is not far!“
God has not moved! Each step we take toward Him reveals another attribute of His character and awe of His being. It is in those quiet times of His Presence that we find a greater sense of His love and goodness. His promises await those who choose to seek.
Scripture tells us that David was a “man after God’s own heart”. His psalms reveal his seeking heart:
“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
David desired one thing — God’s Presence! What about me? What one thing would I long for? Am I like David or am I distracted by lesser things
“One thing above all else,” David declared, “the one thing I desire is You, Lord!” God met David in his seeking.
David hungered for a divine intimacy found only with God. No other relationship compared! In the seeking and finding, bearing himself in raw transparency before Holy God, David developed a deep childlike trust, an unquestionable knowing that he was welcome and accepted.
The door of intimacy remains open for each of us, too.
God seekers are “one thing” people!
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.” Psalm 63:1-2
There is power in the Presence of the All-Powerful One. However, displays of power never satisfy a God seeker. Miracles, signs and wonders reveal God’s glory, but are cheap substitutes for one moment with Him.
God continuously provided for David’s needs, fulfilled every promise spoken, and brought him supernatural victories in battle. Yet, nothing compared to time with God.
Like David, Suzanna and generations of others, it is essential to purposely set aside time, ignore distractions, and seek after God. It will require a heart fully devoted to “finding” Him!
Indescribable unlimited benefits abound!
“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you…” Psalm 70:4
Seek and Find
I am no better at “hiding” from God, than my grandchildren are at hiding from me. Even when I see them clearly. I keep “searching”, waiting for them to make noise or movement to draw me close. Patiently, I allow them to hide as long as they want.
The game with my grandchildren always ends with giggles and exuberant cheers! The “lost” is found! My “little ones” have ceased from hiding!
God’s welcoming embrace awaits those who delight in both seeking Him and being found by Him. In the seeking and finding, man with God in prayer, God with man in whispered invitation, is reciprocated joy! Here alone dwells abiding peace and security!
I am writing “The Prodigal” for three reasons. First, to draw attention to the amazing grace of our Heavenly Father. Second, to honor my Christian parents and recognize their investment in my life and their prayers for Pat and I. Thirdly, to encourage parents, grandparents, family and friends to keep on praying for your loved one, no matter how hopeless things may look.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
I was a normal kid living on a farm with honest and God following parents. Our church was a small Full Gospel work in Radville, Saskatchewan. There was nothing to inspire young people.
Two negative things marked the wonderful innocent years growing up on the farm. One was sexual molestation, another was a violation of my sexual innocence by materials that were never in our home. These are not an excuse for my behavior in my early teens but they were an introduction of evil into my mind and heart.
A Prodigal’s Rebellion
I determined to experience the things my parents had warned me about: girls, rock music, alcohol, fighting, driving too fast, dancing and movies. It sounds old fashioned, like the innocent pursuits of a teenager, but I was out of control.
I defied my parents and broke all the rules. Outwardly looking like a typical kid growing up in the 60’s, inside I was filled with conflict, self-doubt and fear. I was afraid of God, afraid of being left to perish if the Rapture occurred and ashamed of what I was doing.
As the years went by, I failed at school and was soon a high school dropout. I remember being on the verge of a sexual sin with a local girl and suddenly coming under a terrible conviction. We stopped doing what was about to happen and drove to my parents farm. They led the young woman to Christ.
However, I could not surrender. So a wild, out of control season took a dark turn into a drunken fog. After drinking all day in Westby, Montana I wrecked my car and ended up in jail in Weyburn. I was so toxic on alcohol the police took me from the cell to the hospital. My parents came in the wee hours of the morning to get me.
Mother told me years later that she asked me that night why I was running away from God. My reply was, “If I stop running I will have to be a preacher.” I do not remember!
The assistant manager at Northgate Mall Safeway, where I worked, was a godly Christian man who attended Hillsdale Alliance. God showed him I was from a Christian background. He would plead with me to give my life to Christ. I just couldn’t!
Years later while attending Bible School in Eston, I connected with Bob Kinnie my boss at the Safeway. He wept with sheer joy when he heard what God had done. He told me he prayed for me all the time.
“If you see a Christian brother or sister
sinning in a way… you should pray,
and God will give that person life.” I John 5:16
About 1967-68 I was engaged to Pat, my one and only wife. However, I drank so much everything about me was crumbling. A girl from the past came along as a distraction. In a foolish state I walked away from everything: Pat, job, and car.
I hitchhiked to Calgary to “find myself“. The prodigal didn’t find anything but a drug and alcohol mess. I hitchhiked back to Regina for Pat. She was heartbroken and angry at my behavior. She had gone to live with her grandparents in Hazenmore to find her balance. I arrived looking like the lost soul I was. She slowly let me back into her life.
While walking around Hazenmore we found a closed Anglican church. The door was unlocked so we went in. Walking up to the pulpit, I stood there gazing down at a large dusty Bible. Feeling a sudden homesick melancholy, I went and sat in a pew and quietly wept. Pat came and sat down, asking what was wrong. God was tugging at my heart. The prodigal pushed it away!
A Prodigal’s Breakdown
Shortly after, Pat and I “ran away together” beginning a new life in Calgary. There we lived in a common law relationship.
All the while, my parents prayed and prayed. From time to time they would send books, Bibles or encouragement to go to a church. But we pursued a life of drinking, partying and drugs.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Pat and I were married back in Regina at a United Church. I remember my parents trying hard to smile at the wedding but all the while being haunted by our dangerous lifestyle.
In 1972, Pat and I were home for Christmas on our farm near Radville . We had drugs with us, using them all the time, even while flying on the plane. Mom told me later, she felt a real “darkness” around us.
Early in 1973 a number of events and experiences shattered my prodigal world. We had put some money together with others to send someone to Beruit to buy hashish, a strong drug you smoke. The person was arrested and put in prison in Lebanon.
Our marriage began to fracture with all the drugs and the parties. I was working as an assistant manager in Loblaws. Unknown to me, I was on probation. The leadership knew I was stoned everyday at work.
We began to hang out with a motorcycle gang called the Grim Reapers. Things reached a climax with Pat back in Regina, both to escape the stress between us and to visit her folks.
I partied all night with the Grim Reapers arriving back in our apartment in the early hours of morning. I was high on “speed”. Everything in my mind and body was racing. The prodigal felt invincible!
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise,
as some people think.
No, he is being patient for your sake.
He does not want anyone to be destroyed,
but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9
A Prodigal’s Breakhrough
In the empty apartment, filled with drugs I felt a strange homesickmelancholy (sound familiar). A loving voice said, “If you continue this way you will soon die.”
Suddenly sober, scared and desperate, in anguish I said “God, please help me”.
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 17:6
A deep peace came over me. Even though you never sleep on speed, I went into our kitchen, laid down on our bed and fell sound asleep. A motorcycle was in our bedroom. Don’t ask!
When I woke, there was that homesick melancholy. That evening, Sunday, Pat flew home from Regina. My sad demeanor, which I couldn’t understand, was misconstrued by Pat. She thought I had met another woman.
For about two weeks without drugs, drinking, or listening to Rock n Roll, I just sat quietly. A series of events began to happen!
I phoned my parents, “ A friend of mine is having some struggles you should pray for him.”
Mom called everyone she knew, “Please pray! Dave and Pat are getting close.”
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Out of the blue, a heroin addict (who claimed to be an atheist) dropped some Hal Lindsey books off. After two weeks, I came home from work for supper with Pat. I told her I knew what I had to do.
She expected me to leave her. Instead, I got down on my knees giving my life to Christ. She did the same days later. The rest is history! God has blessed our lives from March of 1973 until this very day.
Keep praying! Don’t give up! The prodigals will come home!
Pastor of Pastors
Pastor Dave Wicks not only became a pastor but is now a pastor of many pastors as the Regional Director of ACOP South Saskatchewan Region. Through his gentle, quiet, joyful nature and steadfastness, He is an inspiration to many people across denominational and generational lines.
Though I have know Pastor Dave and his beautiful wife Pat for only a short time, I come away from every meeting motivated by the great love and grace that lavishly flows from their lives.
Prayer plays a strategic role in the life of every believer; intercession is only one dimension of that prayer. It is a critical tool in the spiritual arsenal available for us. Yet, it is perhaps the least understood!
“I urge, then, first of all,
that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for all people…” I Timothy 2:1
Paul urges Timothy to utilize four distinct types of prayer because
“This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,
who wants all people to be saved
and to come to an knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:4
Perhaps one of the best books written on the subject is “Intercessory Prayer” by Dutch Sheets. It is worth both a read and a study. I’ll just scratch the surface and leave the deep theological stuff to the pros.
The word Paul uses here for intercession is (1783 Strongs) énteuksis. It means intervention or more literally “to strike, hit the mark or the bulls-eye“.
1783 /énteuksis (“Spirit-directed intervention“) refers to the petitions (intercessions)
of believers as they “fall in linewith” God’s will –
revealing how the one intervening should get involvedafter drawing near to God
and agreeing with His revealed will. True intercession
(1783 /énteuksis) seeks to act only as the Lord directs,
i.e. following His will to act as His hand extended (cf. 1 Jn 4:17).
Intercession is the faith prayer joining God’s will in heaven and His perfect desire on earth. The mystery is He chooses to use His people as the conduit through which His power flows.
Therefore, the first posture of the intercessor is on our kneeswaiting to hear and to know what God’s perfect will is in a situation.
In the midst of a fast paced culture where identity often rests on results, this can be a difficult position to assume. First, it requires the laying down of our own desires and longings. Then it demands perfect trust in knowing we can hear the voice of the Shepherd clearly.
“My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10: 27
God’s voice will always line up perfectly with His Word. His word reflects His heart and character. Just as in any relationship, the only way to truly know His heart is by spending copious amounts of time with Him.
Jesus led by example when confronted by the chief of adversaries. To every attack He used the word of God as His only weapon! It is obvious that the devil also knows the word of God and from the beginning has used it in a variety of twisted and distorted forms.
¹²For we have the living Word of God which is full of energy,
and it pierces more sharply than a soldier’s sword…” Hebrews 4:12 (Passion Translation)
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
The sword is part of the armour to be employed daily. It is interesting to note the word of God is our only offensive weapon. Intercession, more than any other type of prayer, is a precise instrument for offensive attack on the enemy’s onslaughts.
To know the word, here meaning the written word (logos), of God is imperative to our ability to wield the sword hitting the mark.
Sometimes impossibilities become possible simply through spoken praise, adoration and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of my absolute favourite passages of scripture is 2 Chronicles 20. The enemy was fierce! King Jehoshaphat goes to the temple, the place of divine strategy, and lays out the situation before God. At the Lord’s command they
“Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow.” (vs 17)
That sounds familiar! But what is surprising is that he appoints singers to lead!
“to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.’ As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Moab and they were defeated.” (vs 21, 22)
How many volunteers would we get for that choir today? The strong guys with weapons were in the rear! Now that is faith in motion!
Under the Cross
As an intercessor, one simultaneously and interchangeably assumes all three roles: waiting on the Lord, warring on His behalf, and worshipping and adoring Him alone. Positioned under the finished work of the cross of Christ, the intercessor stands in the chasm between heaven and earth releasing the will of the Father towards the children of man.
Though God can work independently of humans, He has chosen to limit Himself to work through us by Holy Spirit. We have no ability to set captives free, but wecall upon the One who has paid the ransom for freedom for all. We have no power to heal, but we seek the Healer to move bringing alignment of afflicted bodies into heaven’s order. We stand on Christ the Rock and in the authority of His Name expect
the release of the demoniac,
soundness of mind to the tormented,
restoration to the oppressed,
chains of bondage broken over captives,
eyes once spiritual blind to see the Light of Life.
Soldiers take your positions! Strike the mark!
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