Right now there is a clear call going out to the people of God to be active in prayer. Prayer is seeking God in the unseen world of the Spirit in order to accomplish things in the physical, seen world.
Christians have tremendous power through prayer when we are focused on what God wants done. For example, the most demonic activity areas of the world have been discovered to have their sources in what is known as the 10/40 Window countries. All the major false teachings have emanated out of there. It has been the most difficult area of the world to proclaim Christ and to establish Christian churches. Only small numbers of Christians (in comparison to the populations) exist in the countries of the 10/40 Window. BUT, as a result of concentrated prayer focus by millions of Christians worldwide, the 10/40 Window and its religions are being impacted. (In 1995 36,700,000 intercessors from 101 nations prayed for the 10/40 Window countries; more each year since then!) NOW there are continued reports of visitations of God, supernatural conversions, signs, wonders and healings taking place. Prayer is penetrating the spiritual forces of darkness that have kept the light of the Gospel out for centuries.
Prayer is changing things!
WE ARE LEARNING
We are learning the power of prayer. Prayer is getting our hearts, lives and spirits more in tune with God and allowing Him to lead us to pray for that which He desires rather than our begging Him for selfish ends. Prayer enables us to touch God’s heart, and His heart is full of "ideas" on how to get the job done of impacting our world for Jesus.
James 5:13-18 (The Message) tells us something of the ways (and how) we pray for various needs and then holds up Elijah the prophet as an example. It says he was a man just like us!
Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven - healed inside and out.
Make this your common practice. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t - not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again."
Elijah learned through prayer to control in the Spirit what happened in the natural. His prayers brought a nation to the verge of bankruptcy, exposed the evildoers of the day and released a nation-wide revival at "the showdown" with the false prophets of Baal (1 Kings 17 & 18).
God is wanting to restore power and authority to the Church - and it happens when His people discover how to rule through prayer (and fasting).
WHAT PRAYER DOES TO US:
Ted Haggard says, "It is the Spirit of God that makes the Bible meaningful, and it’s the Bible that makes the Spirit understandable."
Revelation is always confirmed by God’s Word.
IDENTIFYING WITH NEEDS, THROUGH PRAYER AND INTERCESSION:
Ezekiel 3:14-16 (AMP.):
"So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away [in the vision], and I went in bitterness of discouragement in the heat of my spirit; and the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. Then I came to them of the captivity of Telabib, who sat and dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there among them seven days, overwhelmed with astonishment, and silent. And at the end of seven days, the Word of the Lord came to me . . . "
God had called Ezekiel to be a watchman to hard-hearted, rebellious and stubborn Israel. He had to identify, to understand, to know how they felt, why they re-acted the way they did, etc.
"He sat where the people sat."
MOSES so identified with his people (Israel) that when God wanted to destroythem for their sinfulness, Moses pleaded on their behalf for forgiveness - and if God wouldn’t forgive them, then to blot his (Moses) name out too! (Exodus 32:30-35 ).
Intercession is God-given; it is not manufactured. Prayer helps us to touch God so He can release intercession to us. Intercession is "the act of interceding or offering petitionary prayer to God on behalf of others" (Collins English Dictionary).
In Isaiah 53 we see something of how Jesus became man - identified fully with us - in order to become our Saviour.
Verse 12 says: "He was numbered with the transgressors."
"Numbered" is the Hebrew word "manah" meaning:
Luke 22:37 actually says: "And He was reckoned among the transgressors" (KJV).
One Bible Commentary makes the statement about Jesus in Isaiah 53:12 -
"His intercession for sinners being the effect flowing from His having been numbered with them" (Commentary on The Whole Bible by Jamieson, Fausset & Brown).
Here is a very challenging question for Christians to consider:
When we are we will see prayer and intercession like we ought to be seeing it, because we will be genuinely pleading with God for their deliverance from sin.
We will identify more fully because we will feel their plight more keenly. Could we honestly pray what Moses prayed?
JESUS so identified with us in paying the price of redemption that He was "made sin" for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 records: "For He (God) has made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (KJV).
Our sin was put on His account!
He sat where we sat! (or still sit).
But without sin.
PRAYER helps us to do the same.
The sinners are not won to Christ because we accuse them of their sinfulness.
They are won when we can love them enough to identify with them - to feel where they are at, knowing they are unable to change themselves. We need to understand how bound up they are!
We humble ourselves to put ourselves in their shoes.
We take their burden upon us.
We see them as being us in their position or plight.
So we intercede to God to deliver them through us!
SOME AMAZING TESTIMONIES:
I heard the story of a man who began to pray and intercede for drug addicts.
He prayed to be able to identify with the things they went through. The Holy Spirit began to give him experiences (in the Spirit) of going through withdrawals, the cravings, etc., that made him cry out to God with great sobs.
He sat where they sit. In the Spirit he was numbered with them. As a result of that intercession he now sees scores of drug addicts saved and set free in his ministry.
Ted Haggard tells the story of Larry Jackson, a big black preacher in South Carolina, USA, who began to pray for homosexuals (out of concern for the way they were arrogantly promoting themselves). He began entering into intercession, when suddenly his hand went limp (like a homosexual) and his voice changed. Next thing he began to feel the cravings and the desires for other men - something totally foreign to him. In the Spirit he was identifying how they felt - and broke through in God. Something happened in the Spirit realm. From then on he began to see homosexuals filling the altars in his meetings - all coming to a powerful born-again experience in Jesus Christ.
Larry’s heart of love, mercy and compassion for them all changed once he experienced how they felt.
He had sat where they sit.
He could pray much more effectively because he identified with sinners . . .
"numbered with the transgressors"!
My wife Jean, at our first "GFM" "International Training School" in Auckland, New Zealand(1997), got a revelation on backsliders coming back to God. She saw how we - like the father in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15 ) - need to be looking, watching out for the prodigals to return. She wept under the power of it (still does) as she experienced carrying the burdens of a backslider, and now warns us to avoid being like the older son who was so self-righteous and self-justified that he was not even pleased to see his prodigal brother return. Like the father, we must keep looking, watching, expecting the backsliders to return. Many will not look anything like they did when they first left. They will be different (torn and damaged by the sins of the world, the flesh and the devil), but God will restore and even call many of them into powerful ministries for Him. Even ahead of some of us!
Guard against jealousy!
In the 1980’s I was thrust into a ministry of helping people in the underworld, drug world and Satanic covens to find answers to their problems in Jesus Christ. At the start of that time I had no idea of what kind of world they lived in or the lifestyle they lived. The more involved with them I became, the more I identified with their bondages, fears, miseries, etc. My attitudes toward them changed. I pitied, then learned to love them. Something changed within me as the love of God helped me to identify with them in their great needs. They were often dangerous times, with threats and even death contracts being issued against me because of the information I was being told. Some of the toughest carried huge desires to want to confess and get free of what they were carrying in their hearts. They knew I was for them as a person (but not for what they were doing). After several years of non-stop harassment by some of the underworld bosses, God gave us a wonderful victory against their efforts to kill me.
As a result of those times, it is strange but true, that I can be on the other side of the world and a total stranger will walk up to me and start confessing their struggles or involvement with the occult. I usually stop them and direct them toward the Pastor or Leader of the church or meeting. Their answer consistently is that they know they will not understand them, yet at the same time they know I will! In the Spirit has come an identification which they pick up and know they can feel "safe" talking to me.
There is something very powerful about the ministry of identification, identifying with another in what they are going through.
"Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?"
God’s house (collectively) is the Church of Jesus.
Through prayer, God wants us to discover the power and authority we have . . . to see the purposes of God done in the earth today.
Let us realize who we are and see that we have a wonderful privilege to PRAY and INTERCEDE and make the difference for the masses out there who desperately need the love of Jesus and His Salvation.
Dare we ask God, "PLEASE HELP ME TO KNOW WHAT IT IS TO SIT WHERE THE PEOPLE SIT"???
Only you can answer that question for you, and only I can answer it for me.
May this article challenge and then stir us all to seek to improve our prayer and intercession times before the throne of Almighty God. Amen.