Partnering with the Heartbeat of God
Early in my walk with the Lord, people began identifying me as an intercessor. When I asked what intercessors do, their answers were varied and so ominous, I said, ‘NO thank you, Lord!’ However, the more I was in God’s Word, the more I could see God’s plan for Intercession was quite different. In fact, it was quite exciting and adventurous! Each person seems to carry a unique piece of His heart when we intercede. It shows up in our passions, tears and sometimes righteous anger. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, ‘to each is given the expression of the Spirit for the common good.’ There is one body, but many parts. Jesus needs us to be who He made us to be! From Genesis to Revelation, God is inviting us all to partner with His heart for Creation through an intimate relationship with Him. In Genesis we clearly see our partnership with Father God. At the very end of Revelation, we see a picture of intercession when Jesus declares that He is coming soon. We come into agreement and declare, ‘Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.’
It’s true that our sin separated us from our loving father for a while, but it never changed God’s desire for a relationship with us. He had a plan to buy us back, and He executed it beautifully. When Jesus declared from the cross, ‘It is finished!’ and the curtain of separation was torn from top to bottom, He went to hell and took back the keys of hell, death and the grave, and satan, who doesn’t deserve a capital letter, was completely and utterly defeated!! I love to remind him of that fact as ‘ he prowls around looking for someone to devour.’
This week I had an up close and personal picture of that fact when I encountered two different coyotes. The first one I saw in my backyard as I looked out my kitchen window. His eyes were riveted on my beloved cat sunbathing at the screen door. I immediately ran after him, chasing him into the woods declaring, ”NO, YOU CAN’T HAVE MY CAT!”Just inside the tree line, he stopped and began to observe me, thinking I couldn’t see him ‘waiting for a more opportune time.’ The next night, the patio motion light was triggered. I just caught sight of a smaller female coyote running into the darkness as I yelled, ’Get out!’ These coyotes were obviously targeting my cat in the natural realm. It was also a warning picture in the spirit realm of the enemy going after my family. Holy Spirit was putting me on high alert to the spiritual warfare taking place.
The enemy has gotten bolder these days, but he still has been defeated. Our job, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is to remind him of that fact. He never takes a break from this war so neither can we. We take our orders in prayer from our Commander-in-chief and jump into our cockpits and hit our assigned targets. The angels are listening for our agreement with Heaven’s voice as we declare God’s words according to Psalm 103:20. They then can join us in the battle, bringing God’s perfect will to pass. We can be confident that the angels will also be protecting us as Psalm 91 so beautifully describes. ( We all have our angel stories.) John Piper says it simply, ‘You will never know what prayer is for until you know that life is war!’ Our great advantage is we know the war has already been won, but we must enforce our victory through intercession.
To me, the most fun of partnering with God in prayer is being sent on assignments. A while back, I was invited to take someone’s place at a Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. all expenses paid. When the man found he couldn't attend the event, he asked the Lord who should go in his place. He was given my name. The night before that trip, I received my assignment when I heard the Lord say, “I want you to bring the names of my people into my Presence.” When I discovered on the plane that I was sitting between two people with the same unusual first and maiden names, I knew the adventure had begun..On the return trip, I realized that the name of each person God connected me to began with the same letters of my own name, Jo. God’s fingerprints were all over this assignment.
After witnessing the signs, wonders and miracles of Jesus’ ministry, the disciples concluded they were a result of Jesus spending so much time with His Father in prayer. (hint ...He’s our role model, the Chief Intercessor!) When they pleaded with Jesus to teach them to pray in Matthew 6, He responded by revealing the pattern for prayer and intercession. He immediately established that it was founded on relationship with the Father, and that His father was their father. (I’m doing a happy dance right now!) Romans 8:15 tells us that ’we have received the Spirit of sonship, and by him we cry ‘ Abba, daddy!’ “Father, I pray for all your children who didn’t have a loving connection to their earthly father that You would pour in your oil of healing and release them from the chains of those memories. Reveal your Daddy’s heart of unconditional love for them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
If you want to know all God has for you in prayer, continue studying the prayer pattern Jesus gave us in Mt. 6. Don’t skip over the necessity of forgiveness if you want your prayers answered. Continue to John 17, and study His High Priestly Prayer where He calls for unity in His Church so the world would know His father sent him. Let’s continue to come into agreement with that prayer!
There are numerous other examples of intercessors in the Bible that demonstrate God’s desire to co-labor with Him. In 1 Kings we find Elijah partnering with God through persevering prayer to bring forth rain in a season of drought. Later James calls him a righteous man whose prayers are powerful and effective, and then says we are ‘just like him.’ (Okay, I have to do another happy dance!) We can’t forget Daniel who besides praying three times a day, when discovered that Israel’s time of captivity was up, gave himself to prayer and fasting, humbling himself on behalf of himself and Israel. The angel Gabriel appeared after twenty-one days of spiritual warfare in the heavenlies and told him that ‘ as soon as he prayed the answer was sent.’ One more powerful example of our importance in this prayer partnership with God Himself is Ezekiel 22:30. God’s justice required judgment for all the sin being done on the land, but His heart of mercy wanted to spare the people. God looked for someone to stand in the breach caused by the broken covenant. You can feel His deep longing to find just one person to come forward and intercede so He could relent. Instead, the heartbreaking words came, ‘HE FOUND NONE!’ Consequently, the land was destroyed! We must conclude that our prayers or prayerlessness matter in the affairs of the earth.
Though this is a very serious thought, the conclusion that I can be on team with the Creator of the universe through the power of the Holy Spirit is beyond exciting and overwhelming at the same time. It’s not our idea, it is His! Jack Hayford nails it when he says, “Intercession is essentially a partnership of the redeemed child of God working hand and hand with God towards the realization of His redemptive purposes on earth.” The invitation has been sent. Have you R.S.V.P?
“Father, I intercede for each person reading this blog. Bring a deeper revelation of your heart’s desire that we enter wholeheartedly into all your plans and purposes in the power of your Spirit. Help us to grow in our ‘priestly role’ as we represent others before you. (1Peter 2:5) LET YOUR HEAVENLY KINGDOM COME AND YOUR WILL BE DONE ON THE EARTH! In Jesus’ name. Amen!”
Thanks Jo for this encouraging word. Your faith and commitment to honoring and following God has been an inspiration to me over the years.
So good-so God's heart. We love you Lord, and we say yes with words and action! Thank You, God for this wonderful partnership with you.