An Invitation to Intimacy
This is a chapter from My Book: Fanning the Flames of Intercession.
Please check out the book here.
Or if you like, you can watch the corresponding video that contains the audio teaching session at the end.
Does He Really Love Me?
As individuals, the enemy attacks us most often in the area of our belief in God’s love for us. We know it intellectually, and have read all the verses, but somehow the enemy still tries to talk us out of believing the fact that God loves us. It seems easy to believe that God loves other people, but when it comes to our personal lives there seems to be a nagging question mark. We find ourselves laboring under a performance mentality that is based on perfecting ourselves in order to be accepted. It starts when seeking acceptance by people, but somehow we end up thinking we need to do the same to find acceptance by God. I love what Philip Yancey said, “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.”
Many people, especially intercessors, struggle with what we call an orphan mindset. The orphan mindset is a pattern of thinking that often goes back to childhood. It has to do with thoughts, as well as emotions. If we continue in this mindset, it becomes a stronghold. This is a fortified citadel in our soul where the enemy dominates our thinking, emotions and self-perceptions.
The Oxford dictionary defines, “mind-set” as, “A habitual way of thinking,” and “stronghold” as, “A place that has been fortified against attack.” “…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Some of the strongholds people deal with are: fear, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, apathy, unbelief, depression, anxiety, lust, anger, pride and greed. Many of these can open the door to addiction.
The orphan mindset (often referred to as the orphan spirit) can cause utter destruction in someone’s life. The orphan mindset has brought more defeat, crippled more believers, ruined more relationships and derailed more destinies than just about anything the enemy can throw at an individual. It works with spirits of rejection, inferiority, fear, poverty and self-pity. It is one of the primary ways the enemy attempts to shut down intercession in someone’s life. It is very difficult to stop and pray for someone else when you are battling this mindset.
“The orphan spirit is not something you can cast out because it is ungodly beliefs and/or attitudes of our flesh that has been developing over a lifetime. It has become part of our personality and character.” (Jack Frost)
My Own Story of Victory
The orphan mindset is something I personally struggled with for many years. In my life it manifested primarily through inferiority and rejection. I’ve often said jokingly that, “I was going to write a book on rejection, but I was afraid nobody would read it.” Now through a combination of powerful Sozo inner healing ministry and declaring the Word of God over my life, I am free from the chains of an orphan mindset. Sometimes the enemy tries to entangle my thinking and emotions in those chains again. However, what previously wrecked me for days or weeks, I now overcome in just a few minutes. It is so great to be free. Trust me, if I can walk free from this scourge, anyone can.
Jesus said, “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
The definition of the word orphan is, “A child whose parents are dead” (Oxford). Our heavenly father definitely isn’t dead, and He loves us very much. Do you know that God loves you, yes you, so much that He comes into your room at night and stands by your bed, strokes your hair, sings songs over you and adores you? Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Many of us could not imagine such a thing to be so, but it is.
I remember once I was standing by a lake on a dock just as the sun was going down. As I looked into the sky I beheld a breathtaking sunset. I don’t know if you have figured this out yet, but God is the most amazing artist in the universe. I began to talk to the Lord, and I told him that I thought that the sunset was amazing. He said something to me that I did not expect. He said, “I’m glad you like the sunset because I made that one just for you.” I said,” But Lord, there has to be other people that are seeing the sunset. He said, “Yes, there is. But I made this one just for you.” I was so overwhelmed with His love for me at that moment that I began to weep. It is a profound thought that the God of the universe would make an incredible sunset just for one of His.
Fruits of an Orphans Mindset
If we do not allow the Lord to bring us into freedom, the orphan mindset could bring some very harmful, rotten fruit into our lives. This way of thinking often opens the door to the fruit of having a poverty mentality. Because we think we’re undeserving, we never ask for anything for ourselves. When many of us grew up, we were trained not to ask for things. We would go spend the night at our friend’s house and we were told; “Now I don’t go asking for a bunch of stuff.” Rightly so, in case we got the idea to start rifling through our friend’s refrigerator. But in God’s house, He wants you to feel right at home. He wants you to be so familiar with Him that you’re not afraid to ask him for something. How many times did Jesus tell us to ask? Many of us have an attitude like Oliver Twist. We go to God and say, “Please sir, can I have some more?” Scripture is clear that God loves us very much and wants us to have the freedom to ask Him to meet our needs.
Another fruit born out of the orphan mindset are vows of self-protection. It often becomes a defense mechanism to prevent further wounding. It causes us to look at people with suspicion, especially people who remind us of those who previously hurt us. The vows we make usually start with the words, “I’ll never….” These kinds of statements give the enemy legal right to keep binding us up.
The next fruit is that we end up living with this continual feeling of being in trouble. We live with a knot in our stomach for no apparent logical reason. We just feel like we’re not getting “it” right, even if we don’t know what “it” is. It is that feeling you get when you have done something wrong and you know you’re about to get severely corrected by an unloving authority such as a mean parent, boss or teacher. The problem is that you’re not in trouble, but you feel in trouble.
I have actually had times when I was going through my day and noticed that I had this anxious feeling in my stomach. I would then think really hard about what might be wrong. Then I would ask the Lord if He knew of anything. After that if I could not put my finger on it, I knew that it was from the enemy. I would then declare, “Whatever this is, I command you to leave now in Jesus’ name” and the feeling left. It is not our inheritance to go around with this sick feeling or overwhelming thought that I’m getting it wrong and I’m in trouble. Orphan thinking is all about performance and how I am not measuring up in someone’s eyes. God wants you to know that He loves you, is for you, and you are not in trouble. He will bring conviction, but never condemnation.
The next rotten fruit is twisted perceptions. When we’re dealing was something like rejection, it affects us deep in our emotions. Now there’s nothing wrong with emotions. Where it goes wrong is when the enemy brings a lie into our mind and we filter it through our emotions to make it seem more real. We have come to believe that if our emotions tell us something, it has to be real. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. Just because a thought goes through our emotions and we have an emotional response, it does not change the fact that what was communicated is still a lie. It goes through our orphan mindset filter and because we feel it, we are tempted to believe it.
This especially applies to entire areas of rejection. People will reject us for various reasons. The only problem is that when we have an orphan mindset, rejection on the level of a 3 or 4 is perceived as a 9 or 10. Our reaction to the rejection and our personal offence relating to it are much worse.
We can react to a perceived rejection that is not even real. How many of us, when someone has given us a strange look, we just knew they had something against us? When we got the courage to go and see what was wrong, they told us everything was fine, and there was nothing there. We got all wrecked inside for nothing. We need to let the Lord heal us from an orphan spirit; then we will be able to have proper perceptions of what is really going on, and go on to forgive those who reject us.
There are many other negative fruits that come from an orphan mindset; things such as the sense of feeling left out, the temptation to isolate and withdraw, loneliness, depression, suspicion and mistrust, just to name a few. We must come into healing and realize that Jesus took all this for us so that we don’t have to carry it ourselves.
“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:3-4)
Spirit of Adoption
The answer to an orphan spirit is the spirit of adoption. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
My wife Darla and I had the privilege of adopting three of our five children. I thought it very interesting that when we went to the lawyer’s office to finalize the adoption, we were presented with a new birth certificate for the child. This birth certificate legally rewrote their history. The word adoption is nowhere on the certificate. It states their new name and that they were born into our household on their birthday. When we are born again into God’s family, we are not seen as wanna-be children, but actual children. God wants us to be baptized in the spirit of adoption and confront every thought, every emotion, and every word that is not in agreement with His love for us.
The Invitation to Intimacy
Once we begin to gain victory over an orphan mindset, we will discover that there is a heavenly invitation being offered to us. It is the divine invitation to intimacy. The actual invitation transcends what we can even begin to imagine of God’s heart towards us. His desire is to know us and have us know Him. We are invited to go beyond surface-level acquaintance into intimacy.
You might say to yourself, “What does intimacy have to do with intercession?” The answer is everything. Of all the things we have discussed in this book about intercession, intimacy with the Lord is the most important of all of them. It is to be the basis and foundation of all prayer and intercession. If intimacy is not that which leads us into, carries us through and brings us to a place of breakthrough, we are missing the mark. Let’s look at this amazing invitation that we are being offered.
The reality of intimacy is rooted in the phrase, “To know.” The Hebrew word for “know” is yâda. This is an interesting word. It is the word used to describe physical intimacy between a man and wife in the book of Genesis. We often think of the marriage relationship as being the closest possible of all relationships. God wants to communicate that His desire for our relationship with Him is even deeper and closer than a marriage relationship.
“Teach me your ways so that I may know you and continue in your favor.” (Isaiah 43:10)
It is also interesting that the first mention of the word yâda is used to describe the moment when Adam and Eve knew they were naked. In that moment they knew that the intimacy of their relationship with God was replaced by shame. God even uses the word “know” in Proverbs 3:5-6. I especially like how the Young’s Literal Translation puts these verses, “Trust unto Jehovah with all thy heart, And unto thine own understanding lean not. In all thy ways know thou Him, And He doth make straight thy paths.” (YLT)
The connotation is that we should know Him intimately in every area of life. God doesn’t want to be just a slice on the pie chart of your life. He wants to be in and through, over and under, and surrounding you. He wants to be your first love as you pursue Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. This is why the first commandment is called the first commandment. There’s nothing more important than your loving relationship with God. Everything we do and everything we are for the duration of time is to spring forth from the intimacy of relationship with Him. This is the immeasurable love that God wants us to be rooted and grounded in. (Ephesians 3:17-19) The Greek word for “know” is “Ginōskō” which is “to know” (absolutely). “This is Eternal Life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Intimacy with the Three
“I bind unto myself the Name, the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three, of Whom all nature hath creation; Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.” St. Patrick’s
The invitation becomes more personal when we realize we are called to have relationship with each member of the Trinity. It is a deep fellowship with each member of the Godhead that we are invited into.
The sacrifice of Jesus opened the way for us to enter into a love relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This relationship is described in John14:19-26: “ ‘A little while longer and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.’ then Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’ “
The Father – Greatest Dad in the World
Our Heavenly Father is the perfect father in every way. Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. God was never referred to as Father until Jesus came. It is no accident that the first words used in the Lord’s Prayer are, “Our Father.” It was like he was saying, let me introduce you to our wonderful Father who so wants to have relationship with you. I believe Jesus is drawing from His own relationship with the Father from eternity past in communicating who the Father is to us. Jesus’ call to have us become like little children is so we can connect with Father God. I love the imagery of me, as a child, sitting on Daddy’s lap. There is no place more loving and safe in all human existence.
If we have what is commonly referred to as “father issues,” we need to come into healing in these areas so that our relationship with Father God can be unhindered. Let’s determine not to let our tarnished images of what a father is stop us from this relationship.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1)
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.” (1 John 3:1 Message)
Jesus – Wonderful Savior, Greatest of Friends
“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15)
Since Jesus was the one who brought us salvation by His death on the cross, He is the member of the Trinity that most of us were first introduced to. Just the fact that
He saved me from an eternity in hell makes me want to love Him. But he is so much more than that. He is the multi-faceted Savior in whom we will have eternity to fully discover. In the scripture there are over 100 different names and titles for this One we love. He is our savior, our captain, our king.
One of the ways we get to know Him is by the great privilege of immersing ourselves in the gospels. I remember someone saying that knowing about God is not the same as knowing Him. I agree with that to an extent. Knowing about him by reading the scriptures about His life, and hearing the things He said, is a great place to start getting to know Him.
“One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” (Psalms 27:4)
Holy Spirit – The Helper Who Comes To Fill and Live Within
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
God wants to be so close and intimate with us that He sent the Spirit, not to just come upon us, but to live within us.
“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9)
Developing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is very important. So often the soul becomes noisy and distracted. It is then that the still small voice of the Holy Spirit becomes difficult to tune into. We need to allow ourselves to become still and step away from distraction. We need to live every day with the revelation that He is right here with us. He is only a whisper away.
One of the things I’ve learned to do in my relationship with the Holy Spirit is to be quick to ask questions. We have at our disposal the wisdom and knowledge of the ages. The ancient library at Alexandria has got nothing on Him. All the vast knowledge acquired in universities around the world is a drop in the bucket compared to His vast knowledge, insight, and wisdom.
I often find myself trying to figure things out on my own and struggling to find my way. All along the Holy Spirit is right there to talk to me, encourage me, give me instruction and share His wisdom with me. Reliance and dependency on the Holy Spirit must be given priority. We must develop a deep love relationship with the Holy Spirit. Speak directly to Him and tell him that you love Him, worship Him, and adore Him. Thank Him for all that He does and for who He is to you.
Ways of Intimacy
When I was a young believer, I used to hear messages on how I should be as a Christian. But often the message came with no practical wisdom on how to walk that out. Even by reading this book, you have already entered into intimacy with the Lord to a certain extent. God desires to take you to the next level. Let’s look at some practical ways to answer the invitation to come into intimacy with God.
Know Him In His Goodness.
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalms 136:1)
We must know Him in his goodness because if we do not believe wholeheartedly that He is good, we will not want to pursue knowing Him. We must believe that he is100% good, 100% of the time. Our adherence to the goodness of God is often tested in the midst of contradictions of faith. No matter what difficulty or heartache, setback or devastation, grief or disappointment, we must never allow ourselves to be, even slightly, removed from the foundation of God’s goodness in our life.
It is this revelation of goodness that allowed Paul and Silas to be singing praises in prison. It is this revelation that allowed martyrs to be singing and rejoicing in the midst of their lives being taken. It is this revelation that will allow us to endure to the end, knowing Him who is from the beginning.
Knowing Him in Worship
God is looking for people who will be abandoned worshipers. The problem is the paradigm that many people have made the word “worship.” Worship is not just a time during the Sunday morning meeting to get us in the right frame of mind to hear good preaching. It can do that, but worship is of tremendous value and stands alone as such. Worship is an end all to itself.
Worship is at the heart of why we were created. Do you know it is our destiny and purpose to know Him and worship Him? You were created to love him for eternity. You were created to stand in his presence and love Him and adore him. Whether it is corporate worship or worship during our individual devotion time, we must know the Lord as we behold him in worship. Let’s ask God to give us a heart to be a passionate pursuer of Him in worship.
Knowing Him in Daily Prayer
“My voice you shall hear in the morning, o Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. (Psalms 5:3)
Of course, much has already been said about prayer. But let’s look at prayer as a means to knowing Him. Every day prayer is one of the main ways that we are continually brought back into relationship with Jesus. It keeps us in a place of praying without ceasing which is simply communing with the Lord throughout the day.
This is what Matthew Henry’s Commentary said about praying without ceasing:
“The way to rejoice evermore is to pray without ceasing. We should rejoice more if we prayed more. We should keep up stated times for prayer, and continue instant in prayer. We should pray always, and not faint: pray without weariness, and continue in prayer, till we come to that world where prayer shall be swallowed up in praise. The meaning is not that men should do nothing but pray, but that nothing else we do should hinder prayer in its proper season. Prayer will help forward and not hinder all other lawful business, and every good work.”
We must realize that prayer is one of the greatest things we can involve ourselves in. We have an invitation from the king of the universe to spend time with Him and get to know Him every day. The One who is spinning galaxies on His finger wants to have time with you. He wants you to get over the feelings of unworthiness and come into His presence and be with Him. He has made a place for you at his table. You have been invited to come into a place where you can talk about anything with Him.
Here are some great prayer quotes:
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” (Corrie Ten Boom)
“Those who know God the best are the richest and most powerful in prayer. Little acquaintance with God, and strangeness and coldness to him, make prayer a rare and feeble thing.” (E. M. Bounds)
“Pray, and let God worry.” (Martin Luther)
“Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude—an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God.” (Arthur W. Pink)
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.” (Oswald Chambers)
Know Him in the Word
Much of the conversation that you will be having with the Lord in prayer time will be around His Word. As the Holy Spirit unlocks the scriptures about Jesus, what He reveals will cause us to fall more deeply in love with Him (John 14:26). Of course, Jesus Himself is referred to as the Word. As we begin to know the Bible, we will know how He thinks, how He feels, and how He is. This is why meditating on scripture is so important. We need to saturate ourselves in, not just the whole Bible, but a few verses at a time, to be impacted by the depth of meaning as it goes from our head to our heart. Then truly the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him will be ours.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
Here are some great quotes on the subject of intimacy with the Lord:
“We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be. True, there are times when we would like to know a deeper intimacy, but when it comes to the point, we are not prepared to pay the price involved.” (J. Oswald Saunders)
“Those who know God the best are the richest and most powerful in prayer. Little acquaintance with God, and strangeness and coldness to Him, make prayer a rare and feeble thing.” (E. M. Bounds)
“To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; To seek Him, the greatest adventure; To find him, the greatest human achievement.” (Augustine)
“A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men.” (Leonard Ravenhill)
“The best cure for loneliness is developing an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.” (Anonymous)
The Vision of the Gates – Riding With Jesus
I would like to share with you one last story that illustrates what I believe God is really wanting to communicate relating to intimacy with Him.
Several years ago I was on the front row, during the Sunday morning meeting at our church in North Carolina. We had a guest speaker that morning. As he began to speak, I noticed something unusual on the floor next to the pulpit. He had a bottle of white wine and two wine glasses. I later found out that it was water instead of white wine. Towards the end of his message he picked up one of the glasses and the bottle and told us that he had a prophetic word for the church. He began to fill the wine glass as he said, “The Lord says that He is going to come, and He is going to keep coming and He is going to keep coming and He is going to keep coming… He kept pouring and the water began to overflow all over the front of the stage. At that moment a powerful wave of the Holy Spirit flowed over the congregation.
I was instantly swept into a vision that was life-changing. In the vision, I saw Jesus come up to me on the front row and start taking off my armor and setting it aside. Then He grabbed me by the hand and took me back through my life. We would stop at certain hurtful times in my life and the Lord would intervene in the situation. We went all the way back to where I was four or five years old, then we started back. When we arrived back on the front row, the Lord put back on my armor and said, “Come with me.” Waiting were two horses that we quickly mounted, and we were off. I looked over at the Lord and noticed that He was in full battle array and that he had a huge smile on his face. I could not believe that this was actually happening. I was right even with Jesus. The excitement was incredible.
We rode and laughed without a care until we came to these two massive gates, hundreds of feet high. He said, “Stop” so we dismounted and walked up to the gates. I noticed that each gate had a giant handle made of metal. Jesus said, “Grab that handle right there.” I instantly thought to myself, “I can’t open this gate.” But then I reasoned that if Jesus was the one asking, I might as well give it a go. As He pulled on the left and me on the right, the gates swung wide open. Then to my surprise, I watched as tens of thousands of captives stormed through the gates shouting for joy at their newfound freedom. The enemy was being defeated and the captives were being set free.
After the last captives had passed through the gates, Jesus said, “Let’s go.” We mounted the horses and began to ride again. We were laughing and crying, overwhelmed by the joy of being together. Then He said, “Wait. Stop.” I thought maybe we were going to do some more warfare or maybe there were more captives to be set free. But no. We climbed off the horses and He grabbed me up in this huge hug that seemed to last for at least five minutes. He kept saying over and over, “Isn’t it just great to be together? Isn’t it just great to be together? The end of the vision had Jesus and me hugging and crying, just so happy to be together. This was friendship at a level that I could only imagine.
You see, intercession and warfare is mostly about just being with Him. It’s about being enveloped in the truth and actuality of His words to us, “Isn’t is just great to be together?” Then, in the mist of loving Him, we take a little time, pray for release and breakthrough, defeat the enemy and set the captives free.
As believers, intimacy with God not only is a tremendous privilege, it is our inheritance. To know, love and glorify Him who is from the beginning will be our greatest joy for eternity. The invitation to intimacy is for us now, and it is to become a foundation for the rest of our lives.