Effective Personal Intercession
Be sure to watch the corresponding video at the end.
This is a chapter from My Book: Fanning the Flames of Intercession.
Please check out the book here.
In this time we are living in, we desperately need effective people of prayer. These are people who refuse to be distracted, sidelined or derailed. Sometimes it can seem as if prayer was designed for a much simpler, quieter time. In our 21st century fast-paced lives, having a daily time of prayer not only seems impractical, but often times seems impossible. Many people today get up in the morning, hit the ground running and don’t stop until they fall into bed at night. When we get caught up in this way of living, prayer can seem like just an added burden to an already heavy schedule. Then, if we do manage to fit in some time for prayer, we often get to where we are only praying for our own needs and the things of our own lives. As believers we truly need to come to the place where we can be effective in intercession on a daily basis.
When it comes to times of personal intercession, many of us have a “hit and miss” experience in our times with the Lord. Sometimes our prayer times are simply amazing as we are caught up in God’s presence and the flow of His Spirit. Other times it seems like a struggle and we wonder if it is doing any good at all. In my own life, I have had the same experience. I have learned that there are some practical keys to entering into intercession that make it not only effective, but extremely enjoyable. Most of us are not going to continue in something long-term that we do not receive enjoyment from. Let’s look at some thoughts and ideas that I call “effectiveness principles” in personal intercession.
Principle #1 – Be Prophetic – Hearing His Voice
When we talk about being prophetic, we are not just talking about the ability to give a prophetic word. One of the meanings of the word prophesy is the Hebrew word “Naba” which is to speak with inspiration. I found the Webster’s dictionary definition of the word inspiration to be quite interesting. The first definition refers to breathing; the act of drawing air into the lungs; the inhaling of air. As we come into God’s presence, we can, in a sense, breathe Him in and be brought into a place of closeness with the Lord where we can you hear His heart.
The next definition sounds as if it came from a Bible commentary, but it is directly from the dictionary; The infusion of ideas into the mind by the Holy Spirit; the conveying into the minds of men ideas, notices or monitions by extraordinary or supernatural influence; or the communication of the divine will to the understanding by suggestions or impressions on the mind, which leave no room to doubt the reality of their supernatural origin.
So we see that being prophetic really is about inspiration and inspiration is about the Holy Spirit communicating to our hearts and minds that which God would have us know. It is simply getting in touch with God’s heart for people and situations. Prophetic insight is not just for “special” people, but for every believer at some level. The key to hearing God’s heart is getting in touch with His voice. It is the privilege of every Christ follower to hear the voice of God resounding deep in their heart. Jesus said in John 10:4, “When he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”
Being prophetic also means tapping into the endless stream of thoughts that God has for us. In Psalm 40:5 we read, “Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.” It is hard to imagine that there are countless number of thoughts that God has for us at any given moment. Not just thoughts, but good thoughts. A big part of intercession is just tapping into that countless number of thoughts, feelings and emotions that God has for people.
Principle #2 – Carry His Burdens
In personal intercession we must learn what it means to carry the burdens God has for each of us individually. The burdens we carry may not be the same as what someone else carries. If we get under a wrong burden, it could get us off-track and blur our focus. Make sure it is the Holy Spirit, the one who places burdens, that is asking you to come under a specific burden. I believe this is one of the primary ways that we become co-laborers and fellow workers with Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
To illustrate this, I would like to tell you the story of a prophetic journey that led me to one of the strongest burdens of intercession I have carried to date. This burden was given to me by the Holy Spirit through a series of dreams and prophetic experiences.
The Burden for College Students
The first dream: My friend, Randall Martin, and I were at a university campus. I wasn’t sure which university it was at the time, but later realized it was the University of Oregon. We were standing under a breezeway because it was threatening to rain. To our right, and slightly downhill, were about a hundred students gathered in a campus square. They were approximately 50 yards away. Instantly, there came a torrential downpour and a heavy wind. Most of the students ran for cover; however, a group of 20 or 30 raised large umbrellas as if they thought it would be fun to ride out the storm. Suddenly a strong wind picked them up into the air, and many of them dropped to their deaths from 50 or 60 feet. Some were caught up and never came down. As we observed this, we fell on our faces in grief and travail. The next scene was several hours later. The campus was covered with national and international news media. There were many people being interviewed about what they saw happen. It seemed that the nation was being shaken by this event.
In response to the catastrophe, a major student revival had broken out on the campus and Randall and I were a part of it. We weren’t leading the revival; we were just facilitating and watching over it. The students were leading the revival. The students were praying for one another with full-blown signs, wonders, miracles, healings and salvation’s happening.
Now we are going to jump forward about three weeks. We were at our home in Glasgow, Scotland when, in the middle of the night, my wife and I were awakened to a noise in our room. It was the sound of the walls and floor and furniture creaking, as if the air in the room was expanding. Soon after, I noticed the music on our laptop had stopped. We have a list of worship songs on iTunes that we play through the night, but it was not playing. I wondered if the power had gone out. A few seconds after I had this thought, the music came back on in the middle of a song from the band Delirious called, Did You Feel Mountains Tremble. This song was written in 1994 by Martin Smith and Matt Redman. When the song came back on, this was the verse that was being played:
And here we see that God You’re moving
A time of Jubilee is coming
When young and old return to Jesus
Fling wide you heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord
I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “This is what I want you to hear.” It seemed the line “when young and old return to Jesus” was being highlighted by the Holy Spirit.
About a week later I had another dream about university aged young people. This one was much more disturbing:
I was at Bob Jones’ house in South Carolina. I was standing with he and Bobby Conner, and we were watching a newscast on the television. It was a report on a large group of young people gathering on what seemed to be the top of a high dam, like Hoover Dam in Nevada. It seemed like a spring break party-type atmosphere. Then all of a sudden, I was not watching on television anymore, but I was there. I was standing on a high cliff overlooking the scene. On the left side of the dam there was a chute of water steeply running down. Somebody shouted that they should slide down this chute. The chute was directly beneath where I stood and I could hear the screams as young men and women fell hundreds of feet to their deaths. They had no idea that this chute ended with a straight drop off.
I awoke extremely shaken by what I had seen in the dream. As I spent time in prayer that morning I noted the date, August 30th. I then thought I would look in my journal to see what the date of the first dream was, and it was July 30th. Thirty is the number of the age of maturity in ministry. Jesus, Joseph and David were all 30 years old when they entered the fullness of their calling. I knew that I was on to something.
Then the Lord reminded me about the story of Martin Smith and his near fatal car crash in 1995. This is the Wikipedia account of the crash:
“On August 30th 1995, Martin Smith was driving back from a gig at the Grapevine
Festival in Lincolnshire when, in the early hours of the morning and only around the corner from home, he was involved in a serious car accident. (The song “August 30th” on the ‘King of Fools’ album was written about this event.) The crash turned out to be an important moment in Smith’s life and the life of the band.”
I then remembered what happened in our bedroom and the Delirious song. God was beginning to put it all together for me. First, the band Delirious was called by God to awaken a generation. The song, Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble was just one of their songs God used to speak to a generation of young people, calling them to arise. Then I remembered Bob Jones talking about the “Billion Youth Revival” that is coming. How there is going to be countless millions of young people brought in to the kingdom before the return of Christ.
The primary message of the two dreams was that the enemy wants to bring a preemptive strike against this young generation because he sees them as a great threat to the kingdom of darkness. Just as in the life of Moses and Jesus, there was a decree to destroy the deliverer before he reached the age of maturity.
Bob Jones and Bobby Conner are prophets, but they are also fathers in the body of Christ. This generation desperately needs fathers and mothers to pray for them and speak into their lives. The phrase, “The young and old return to Jesus” speaks of the multigenerational anointing that God is releasing. And finally, God is about to pour out His Spirit on university campuses around the world.
Most of the day, after the second dream, I was very moved and shaken by what I had experienced. It was all I could do that day to hold back the tears. I was able to share this burden later that evening, August 30th, with the leaders at Glasgow Prophetic Centre. I told them that this was something really on God’s heart and asked if we could spend a few minutes in corporate intercession for this generation. The intercession was focused and powerful, many praying with passion for this young adult generation around the world.
Forward to March 2011
When I awoke on March 22, 2011, I was thinking about spring break and the experience that I had relating to it the past summer. I went on a prayer hike at a park near our home in Scotland. As I was driving to the park I decided to focus my prayer time on college age young adults. I prayed for the various spring break gatherings, especially in America. At one point in my walk through the woods, during a time when I was praying that God would defeat the spirit of lawlessness at these events, I had a vision:
The Spring Break Gathering Vision
In the vision, I was standing on a stage at a spring break concert. I immediately began to pray for those at the event and then I declared a proclamation with force. I took my walking stick and, with both hands raised vertically, hit the stage four or five times. I said, “I declare an end to the spirit of lawlessness and I release the spirit of purity, holiness, integrity and righteousness. Then I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to preach to this crowd of what I knew to be 3000 young adults. As I began to preach, the place was struck by an earthquake.
It was so dramatic that I felt it physically as I was standing on the trail. I had to open my eyes and take a step back to keep from losing my balance. Once I regained my balance, I closed my eyes and immediately reentered the vision. I looked out and saw that the back one third of the outdoor venue was sinking into the earth, along with all the young adults that were in that area. As this happened, the rest of the crowd began to press towards the stage. I saw those hanging over the precipice being pulled up and saved. Once again, I began to pray for the crowd that they would have a revelation of Jesus. I ask the Holy Spirit how many remained. He firmly said, “You have 2000 remaining before you, NOW PREACH.” I preached the gospel to them and they all responded. I could see angels coming to minister over them as they received salvation. That was the end of the vision.
After the vision I went back to my car and wrote out what happened in my journal. As I put away the journal, I heard the Spirit say to me “Do you remember what day this is?” Then it hit me. March 22 is my spiritual birthday. On this day, 36 years ago, at the age of 17, I gave my life to Jesus.
Will you join me in continuing to pray for this generation, that the enemy will not prevail in destroying these deliverers before they step into the full maturity of all they are called to; and that God would move powerfully on university campuses all over the world?
Sometimes the burdens that God gives us are ongoing assignments. The burden for young adults is like that for me. Other times the burdens are for a shorter time and season, but they are still important. We must come to the place where we can receive, carry and steward the burdens the Lord gives us.
Principle #3 – Take Joy Very Seriously
As we carry burdens in intercession, it must be from a foundation of joy in our lives. It is vitally important that we maintain a lifestyle of joy and not let the burden bearing, and sometimes heavy and hard struggles in prayer, cause us to be heavy, overly serious, negative and critical. Nehemiah 8:10 says “for the joy of the LORD is your strength” and we will need that strength in intercession. There is a strong connection between joy and praise, so let your intercession times always include times of praise. (Psalm 100:4)
A foundational verse on joy is this. “The ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with ever-lasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10) It seems in general that there is an increased amount of reasons to be downcast, disheartened, discouraged and depressed. I believe more than ever we are going to need the joy that is talked about in this verse. This joy and gladness is not only to strengthen us, but it is given by the Lord to counteract and destroy sorrow and sighing. The sadness has been in response to many hard things, but now the Lord is bringing a flood of joy that is directly related to the release of His presence. (Psalm 16:11) This joy is available to us so that we begin to live from the inside. We need to let the joy of heaven within us completely overwhelm and defuse the negative and hard pressures that surround us.
When Corrie Ten Boom was asked how she dealt with the horrors of the Nazi concentration camp that she and her family were in, she responded simply, “Joy runs deeper than despair.” We need to see joy as, not just a supernatural remedy for the hard things we face, but as part of our divine inheritance as believers. The thing about joy is that it is not connected directly to circumstances. Unlike happiness that is connected to a happening, joy is something else altogether. It is a heavenly spiritual gift, as well as a fruit of the Spirit. The word happy is mentioned six times in the New Testament, but the word joy is mentioned 60 times; ten times as much. I think the emphasis of Scripture is on joy. Here on earth, we were never designed to handle life’s low points within our own strength. We are designed to be receivers of God’s joy in tough times in order to receive the strength to see us through.
This is something that God is very passionate about. You might say that God is very serious about joy and gladness. He is so serious that He is not offering this to us as an option, but a mandate. This serious tone is reflected in Deuteronomy 28:47-48. “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies…” The rest of these verses give a strong indication that our refusing to serve the Lord with joy will open the door for unbelief that leads to a poverty spirit operating in our lives. Some would say, “But those are Old Testament verses.” Then how about New Testament ones like, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). Or “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) CS Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
Our Father in heaven loves us immensely and does not want us to live in a continual state of sadness, negativity, unbelief and a critical spirit. We were created for so much more than this. I also believe that serving with the absence of joy cripples us in our effectiveness to minister to and reach others. What drew me to Christ was the fact that I was around believers with genuine joy that caused me to know that they had something I did not have. What is it that people see when they look at us? Do they see the negativity or do they see joy. We must rise up again and return to the joy of the Lord. I remember about a five-year season in my life that I lived devoid of the joy of the Lord. It wasn’t something that happened overnight, but gradually joy left my life. I then heard a message about the Joy of the Lord and it hit me. I repented and asked God to refill me with His joy and determined that from that day I would not lose it again. We must choose joy.
When we talk about choosing joy, does that mean that we will never experience grieving, sorrow, disappointment and discouragement again? No, not likely. Does it mean that we are in some kind of denial to reality and are not facing things truthfully? Not if we have real joy. It does mean that the life of God living inside of us will bring a joy that will carry us through. David said in Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” God doesn’t always remove us from the circumstances, but He promises His presence, manifested through joy, will see us through.
Some may say, “Yeah but you don’t know what I’m going through or what I’m facing. It is not going to be fixed by just deciding to choose joy.” Yes, but it could be a starting point to begin to align yourself with God and believe that He is good. So today why don’t we take the first step and choose joy.
Principle #4 – Guard Your Sensitivity
As people of prayer, we are wired by God to be sensitive. Therefore, we are easily moved spiritually and emotionally, and sometimes even physically. We must guard our sensitivity because we have a tendency to be easily offended, hurt and overwhelmed by people and situations. We must learn to be strengthened inwardly and let the Lord shore us up in these areas. We must learn to cast our cares upon Him because he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
*The Forgiveness Factor
This brings us to an area of obedience to God’s Word that will bring much freedom, release, victory and breakthrough, not only in our intercession but our lives as well. However, if we do not attend to this area, we will be opening ourselves to bondage, defeat, frustration and stagnation. The area I am referring to is forgiveness. Dealing with offenses and hurts is vital to our unhindered flow in intercession. Lack of forgiveness builds a wall across our path and stops us cold in our effectiveness.
Firstly, we need to deal with that which brings a rift between us and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus said, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23, 24) Then also, we must forgive those who don’t know the Lord who have offended us.
One of the things we need to get past before we can forgive is the idea that if I forgive someone, especially someone who has purposefully and maliciously hurt me, then they will be getting away with it. We must understand that in the long run, nobody gets away with anything. The heavenly security cameras are running 24/7 and ultimately every person will stand before God and give account. Paul said it this way, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10) Our job is to not worry so much about others, but to allow the Holy Spirit to pinpoint any instances where we haven’t forgiven.
A few years ago, I was spending some time praying about some provision for our ministry. I was asking the Lord about a dream that I had. In the dream I was talking to a person that previously had offended me. While I was talking to them another person walked up to me and handed me a $5,000 check. During the prayer time, I was asking God about the check I had seen in the dream. I was surprised at what He said to me. He said, “I’m not going to release that provision until you get it right with that person.” Now this left me a bit frustrated. I thought I had work through forgiveness. I talked to the person, sent e-mails, prayed out forgiveness and tried to not speak against them.
One of the ways we can tell that we are not quite there and still working through forgiveness is that, when a certain person’s name is mentioned, we have a negative reaction.
We find ourselves being tempted to say, “Well let me tell you about so and so.” I had remembered just such a time when this person’s name was mentioned and I had a reaction.
So I agreed with the Lord that I had not completely forgiven this person. I said, “Okay, what should I do? How can I work through forgiveness with this person?” He replied, “What did I tell you to do with your enemies?” I then remembered Matthew 5:43-45. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” In these verses there are four positives: loving, blessing, doing good and praying for. These are to be our positive responses to the four negatives that are coming against us by our human enemies: hatred, cursing, spitefully using and persecuting. If this is the standard for how we treat our enemies, how much higher is the standard for how we should treat our brothers and sisters in Christ?
I then surrendered and asked the Lord if there was anything specifically, I should do in light of these verses. I felt the Lord prompt me to send the person a Facebook message (yes God does use Facebook) that had all four of those positives included in it. So, I wrote a message in such a way that a person wouldn’t recognize that it was from Matthew 5. I felt like the Lord was pleased. When it comes to areas of offence, if we are quick to forgive, we will find it harder to be offended the next time.
Principle #5 – Be Consistent
To grow in personal intercession, consistent daily time with the Lord is very important. It is always good to commit to a longer time daily than you think you can handle. There is a friend of mine who had made a commitment to daily prayer. He told me of a time where the Lord had been testing him. For a period of 30 days, he went to prayer each morning with no sense of the presence of God. He decided that, no matter what, he would continue to pray each day. Towards the end of the 30 days, it became a struggle but he continued. Then on the 31st day, as he walked into his study, he was overwhelmed by the glory of the Lord. For the next 30 days God met him in a powerful way each day. His consistency paid off.
It is easy to be consistent in something if you love what you are doing. Once again, it is not about performing, achieving or adopting a religious duty. It is about wanting to spend time with Him. If we got a message from a famous person that we admired telling us that they wanted to spend some time with us, we would be excited, thrilled and overjoyed. We would be telling all of our friends about the great opportunity we had. Then if that person told us that they wanted to meet with us on a regular basis, we wouldn’t be overwhelmed. How much greater is the invitation we have received to spend time daily with the king of the universe, the one whom no man can be compared to.
Principle #6 Operate from a Basis of Rest
As people of prayer, one of the most valuable lessons we can learn is the truth of receiving and walking in the rest of God. The rest of God, as well as the peace of God, allows us to deal with the tremendous external pressures of life and not be overcome by them. One of the lessons that science teaches us is that there is 15 pounds per square inch of pressure on the human body at all times. The reason that we do not feel this pressure is that there is an equal amount of outward pressure coming from within our bodies simultaneously. The rest of God and the peace of God is that which gives us the inner strength to deal with whatever outward pressures we face in life.
Chapters 3 and 4 of Hebrews speak to us about entering into God’s rest. One of the most important things to be learned from these chapters is the principle of hearing God’s voice and heeding it. It says three times in these two chapters, “Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Having a heart relationship with God is key to receiving His rest. These chapters also speak of several things that will be roadblocks for us to entering the rest. The first is testing God by trying to see how much can be gotten away with. “Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.” (Hebrews 3:9) The next is unbelief by not taking Him at His word. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12) And there is deceitfulness of sin or being deceived into thinking sin is okay. “But exhort one another daily, while it is called TODAY, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13) Then finally we have disobedience to His voice by refusing to do what He says. “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?” (Hebrews 3:18)
On the other hand, there are pro-active actions we can take to enter the rest of God. The first is to cease from your own works by not living life in your own strength. “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:10) The next is holding fast to your relationship with God. “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” (Hebrews 3:14) Then you should let the Word of God work deeply in your life. “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Finally, you should let God give you grace for all that you need. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15)
As we surrender completely to Jesus, we can be assured that no matter what happens we can trust the rest and peace of God, which will not only see us through but will allow tremendous victories to be won. Even when intercession and warfare can get intense, we still need to operate from a place of being established and grounded in the rest of God.
Principle #7 – Maintain a Lifestyle of Faith
To illustrate the idea of a lifestyle of faith, I have included an article that my wife, Darla, wrote for one of our newsletters during the time we were living in Scotland:
*Living By IN Faith by Darla Bachelder
I have been going back and forth with the Lord about writing this article for several days now… “But I am not a writer, Lord. Mike is the writer. Can’t you just ask him to write it?” “But I am speaking to you. This is a story for you to tell.” “Please, Lord, not me!!!!” … and so on and so forth. After two hours of trying to ignore the Lord while lying in bed early this morning, I finally gave in. This story is mine to tell.
In September of 2006, after reading the book “Reece Howells Intercessor” the Lord led Mike to lay down his successful painting business and give his life to full-time ministry, with a focus on intercession. Mike agreed with the Lord that He would step out of a wage-earning job and the Lord agreed that he would be our keeper and provider for the rest of our days. (Psalm 121) You can probably imagine that when Mike came home that morning from one of his many prayer hikes and told me this story, I was at first shocked and even doubtful. Mike was ever the provider. While raising five kids, he worked harder than any man I have ever known in order to ensure we all had a good life. If extra money was needed for something, he just picked up an extra house to paint and worked on the weekends and evenings to bring in what was needed. How would we make it with that option removed? Yet, as Mike shared with me the story of his encounter with the Lord, I knew without a doubt that it was truly God calling us into a lifestyle of faith and complete dependency on Him.
It has been an interesting journey as we have endeavored to live by faith. I continued in my position as an office administrator for our church until the Lord released us as missionaries in September of 2008. So even in those first two years of transition, we had a bit of a cushion with my income, as well as a small monthly gift that Mike received from the church. But since heading for Scotland in 2008, we have solely been living by the provision of God, through gifts from those who have been prompted by His spirit to support us, or by random financial blessings from random sources. There are a few gifts that have been steady and we can generally count on receiving each month, but most of the time we never really know how the provision will be manifested. It has been challenging at time, but mostly exciting to watch and see how the Lord will provide.
I was thinking about the idea of living BY faith one day and I felt the Lord challenge me to begin to live IN faith. There is a definite difference! I have been living BY faith for many years… stirring up faith when necessary to believe God to provide for a need. And He has always been faithful. But I am now also learning to live IN faith… in a state of constant knowing that, “my God will supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ
Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) and “He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20) It is a daily knowing that we will have what we need. When the food supply gets low and we use the last of the milk or eggs or bread, I can have confidence that before we need it again, the Lord will supply it… and He does. When we were in need of a car for the ministry here in Scotland, the Lord made amazing provision for us. The other day, just after Mike and I prayed together for a need that we were aware of, I turned on the computer and immediately saw a PayPal contribution come in through someone that the Lord had prompted to give. As we are away from our children, we have faith that God loves our kids and grandkids even more than we do, and He will take care of them for us… and He does!
Now, not everyone is called to leave their jobs for the sake of ministry. God’s provision comes in so many ways. Some are blessed with amazing jobs or businesses that God has provided, and are able to use their resources to help further the kingdom by giving and sowing into ministries. We are so blessed by people who have committed to support us as we continue this journey.
Mike says, “The Lord wants to meet us, not necessarily at the point of our need, but at the point of our faith.” This is why I am choosing not to just live BY faith, but to also live IN faith. It is a lot easier to trust Him constantly to meet our needs, not just work up the faith as needed. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews. 11:1) I believe it is by living IN faith that the things we hope for and the things we cannot see become our manifested provision.
So there… I’ve been obedient and shared from my heart. I’m still arguing with the Lord a bit about this one… but in the end, I know He wins!
Principle #8 – Get in a Flow with the Holy Spirit
In prayer, as you get into a flow of the Holy Spirit, it will be as if time loses its effect. Literally hours can seem like minutes. To get in the flow, I find it helpful to get my body into it. I usually walk, move my arms and even act out what I am praying about. As you start, the Holy Spirit will take over and you will find yourself flowing in intercession. Another helpful thing to do is to take the Scriptures and turn them into prayers. There is always an anointing on the Word when it is prayed out.
In Romans 8:26-27, the Holy Spirit is known as the “Spirit of intercession.” The enablement for intercession only comes from Him. Jesus said in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” The word for “heart” in this verse is Koilia which means “abdomen” or “matrix.” A matrix is: the place where anything is formed or produced.
Intercession should never be about striving and struggling in the flesh. It’s about letting the river flow and allowing ourselves to be carried on that river. Mental focus and determination is not the source of this flow. It is by the Holy Spirit, as He draws us into effortless prayers, in that the words we are actually praying originate in our spirit and not in our mind. If you tend towards an intellectual, analytical approach, this could be a struggle for you. Ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to be primarily Spirit led and motivated, allowing your mind to follow.
A very effective means by which the Holy Spirit can bring us into a flow is by praying in the Spirit. One of the things I am most thankful for in my life is the tremendous honor and privilege of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As we pray in our prayer language our spirit is built up, strengthened and tuned in to the Holy Spirit. I find it helpful to start my intercession time praying in the Spirit. It allows me to step into the flow for that time.
Another aspect of flowing in the Holy Spirit during our prayer time is incorporating worship music. You may want to pick something to play in the background, but make sure that the words in the music are not going to be a distraction to you. There are times that you will want to just worship, but when you move into intercession, let the music support the prayer.
Principle #9 – Pray with Passion
When we talk about praying with passion, we are not just referring to volume or even someone with a loud, boisterous personality. We are talking about praying with the passion and compassion of Jesus. In James 5:16 we read that, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” The words “effectual fervent” are from the Greek word energeo which means “to be mighty in”. (Strong’s) The words “avails much” carries the idea of “making much power available.” This is how the Amplified Bible says it:
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”
As we pray fervently, with passion, the power of the Holy Spirit is released. In other types of prayer, it is perfectly fine to pray in subdued tones. But in intercession, there must be passion. It is possible to pray passionately and quietly at the same time. It is not volume, but intensity, that makes the difference. In Jeremiah 29:12-13, having your heart in it seems to count. “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
As we grasp the importance and value of intercession, we will be positioning ourselves to step into cooperation with the Holy Spirit to bring God’s will into a living reality. One of the most important things we can learn about personal intercession is that you actually learn more by doing it than you do by just learning about it. We are all in the school of the Holy Spirit in our daily times with the Lord. As we are faithful and consistent, we will build a life of prayer that truly will be effective and make a difference.