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Ophelia? Really?

Who comes up with these names?

There is still a lot of warm water that could aid in Ophelia’s development. So add this storm to your prayer list. We are in the latter part of the season, but that doesn’t mean that we can get off the hurricane prayer wall, especially during this busy season.

Thanks to everyone who has prayed and used the keys Jesus granted his church to reduce the impact this season could have had. Please keep up the good work.


We aren’t fooled by the name change. Katia is Katrina’s new alias. When a storm does significant damage, a government can issue a request that its name be retired. Because of the damage Katrina did to the Gulf Coast in 2005, that request was made and its name was retired. Now we have Katia (No offense to anyone with the name Katia, but how do you get Kaht-Cha from that spelling?). Katia is Katrina’s latest incarnation.

I only have two real comments on Katia. The first is that Katrina hit on August 29th, 2005. We are only a few days beyond that date, which reminds us that we are experiencing a very active hurricane season. In 1999, Hurricane Irene did not hit until October 15.

The second comment is really a prayer focus. While we do not know Katia’s real direction yet (the computer models vary widely), I have a prophetic direction based upon something Bob Jones told me. Bob Jones, a prophet whom the Lord has given much information about hurricanes in the past years, told us earlier in the year that the Jacksonville area was under threat this year. So as we have held our hurricane prayer meetings this year, we have added prayers for Jacksonville’s protection. While Katia may not threaten Jacksonville, it is worth praying for it by name because of Bob’s warning. Of course, we can also extend our prayers to the entire coast line. I’m sure the good folks along the coastlines north and south of Jacksonville would appreciate the extra coverage.


Update: It is now Monday morning (Labor Day) and it appears that Katia is going to bend out to sea. Many folks have prayed that this would happen, and it appears that this is exactly what will happen—according to the National Hurricane Center’s five day forecast. Notice in the graphic below that all the computer models now show the bend out to sea (the black line is the extrapolated direction based upon the motion for the last twelve hours, it is not really a computer model). This storm is still worth watching and praying over, but it does not appear to be a real threat to the United States coastline.

Hurricane Irene: In Which We Leave the Cone Behind

Since I last posted on Irene on Sunday evening, the track of the storm has moved steadily to the east. Yesterday evening South Florida was barely still in the Cone of Uncertainty. Today, South Florida is out of the cone.

There is a sense of relief when a storm’s path shifts away from your region, especially when that storm has intensified so quickly and viciously. There is also a sense of thankfulness that God has given the keys of Kingdom authority to his people so that we can bring protection to our areas of influence.

The Lord recently spoke to us about watchtowers. He showed us watchtowers throughout our land, and that many of them were not manned very well. Those watchtowers not only provide insight, but intercessory protection for an area. When they do not have enough personnel manning them, an area or region is much more vulnerable to the effects of negative events such as Irene.

I mention this because Hurricane Irene is a major threat to the Bahamas and other parts of the United States east coast—And even though South Florida is out of the impact cone, we remember the Irene of 1999 and how it hit by surprise. So we still continue to use our authority to push this storm away from us. But as it passes our watchtower, the primary responsibility for this storm shifts to the geographical area under threat. We certainly join our prayers and our authority to any region under threat, but we are no longer primarily responsible. The watchtowers of that region become primarily responsible.

I once spoke to a prophetic mentor about this spiritual dynamic. My question was simple. If we successfully push a hurricane away from our area, doesn’t that automatically target it somewhere else? If we look at the current situation, Irene was originally targeted for South Florida. Its energy and destructive force would have been spent on us, sparing points further north. Now that Irene has shifted to the east, many more areas are under threat of a major hurricane. You can see why I had the conversation with seasoned veteran of intercessory prayer. His response to me was simple and direct. He said, “I guess they had better learn to pray, too.”

In essence, he was saying that they needed to man their watchtower. So, while storms like this certainly are a threat, they are also a training mission. They are an opportunity to grow in intercessory authority and confidence. God’s purpose is to grow his Church into an intercessory army. That army is tasked to protect geographical areas from things such as hurricanes (or volcanoes, or earthquakes, or tsunamis, or diseases, etc.). If all of the watchtowers up the east coast of the United States are functioning efficiently, then we could expect to see Irene turn out to sea. Every watchtower, every region’s Church, is responsible to build an intercessory hedge around their geographical region.

Can we turn every threat? I believe we can turn every threat unless it is God’s purpose to release a cleansing judgment of some type. But I would never assume that a threat is intended as a cleansing judgment. I would want a clear word from the Lord on that (like we received through Rick Joyner about the 2005 hurricane season), and then I would still pray, trusting in God’s mercy and grace to avert or greatly diminish the judgment anyway.

Irene is a major hurricane threat. While South Florida must continue to pray, other regions now bear more direct responsibility. We will join with them, holding up their arms and cheering as the storm continues to shift out to sea. Our goal must be that this storm churn harmlessly out to sea. And I haven’t forgotten the Bahamas. They are in immediate danger. We must pray that the Irene’s development is delayed until it is past them, also.

We are still in the opening days of the busy part of the hurricane season. We may have much more opportunity to flex our intercessory muscle. We must never weary of this task. Manning a watchtower is not easy, but it is definitely necessary. If Irene hits anywhere as a major hurricane, we will be reminded why.

Tropical Storm Irene

I don’t know about you, but storms by the name of Irene are beginning to bug me. Just when you think your done with the thing, six years have passed, and here it comes again.

Our first bout with Irene was in 1999. The Lord used Irene to teach us about authority over negative weather patterns. The name showed up again in 2005, this time attached to a hurricane that never came very close to the United States. Now, another six year cycle later, South Florida is in the cone of another storm named Irene.

If you take a look at the graphic, you will note that the National Hurricane Center has plotted the center line of Irene’s path directly over Fort Lauderdale and up through central Florida. The good news, of course, is that South Florida could see some much needed rain. We have been asking the Lord to send a non-hurricane tropical system over Lake Okeechobee to fill it a bit more. The negative is simply that South Florida is under a hurricane threat as a result of Irene. Whenever we show up in the cone, you begin to feel tension rise. That tension will only increase in the days ahead. News and weather services will begin their drumbeat of hype until it drives folks to distraction. Storms are great for ratings.

We took some time to pray about this Irene in our worship service this morning. We actually prayed at several different points because it is so much a part of our calling. When God gives you authority, you need to take the time to exercise it. If Irene actually becomes a threat to South Florida, we will have another prayer meeting. Some people might think that it is already a threat, but the truth is that it is much a threat to North Carolina as it is to us. We may be in the Cone of Uncertainty, but it is called that for a reason. The storm’s actual track is supposed to be somewhere in that cone, unless the cone changes tomorrow, which the cones usually do.

Here is the current computer model run for possible storm tracks:

I don’t want to put anyone too at ease, but does anyone else notice that only one of the computer models even touches Florida? Hmm. Don’t stop praying, but also stay firmly planted in reality. We have authority over storms—and just because they put South Florida in the cone doesn’t really mean anything at this point. We will see in the days ahead.

Tropical Storm Emily (Updated Sunday)

I have purposely not posted much this summer in order to give my keyboard a break. However, we are now far enough into the hurricane season for me to dust off the keys of my word processor and industriously type a few words about a tropical system named Emily.

This past Sunday, July 31, we invited Emily to come to South Florida. It didn’t have a name then, but the National Hurricane Center was reporting that the tropical disturbance that would become Emily, was developing (Emily was only a tropical depression at the time, shown by the blue markers on the graphic). So we decided that it would be nice if a tropical system that was not a hurricane would come to South Florida.

As I write this, Emily is a tropical storm (indicated by the green markers on the graphic), and is located just south of Haiti. She is now forecast to visit us by the weekend (her projected path is marked by the lines).

Florida needs tropical systems to drop copious amounts of rain on us over the summer. Our dry season starts in November. Lake Okeechobee, our wells, and the Biscayne Aquifer all need to be full before that season starts. If we don’t get enough rain over the summer, there are all sorts of negative consequences. So while we pray against hurricanes, we occasionally invite, even command, tropical storms to come and drop their moisture on us.

We did that back in 2008 with Tropical Storm Fay. When Fay was still southeast of Cuba, our congregation prayed that it would come around the west side of Florida, cross over to Lake Okeechobee, and sit on its watershed. Fay did exactly what we had prayed, and sat over Lake Okeechobee and Florida for days. Here was Fay’s track:

Notice how bunched up the tracking dots become once Fay began to impact Lake Okeechobee (the lake is under the red dot in the graphic). Fay sat on top of Lake Okeechobee’s watershed and replenished it, breaking a drought that had hurt South Florida.

We have learned a little since then. Fay caused flooding in the city of Melbourne, and so when we prayed that Emily would bring her rains, we also prayed against flooding. We are continuing to pray that Emily will not strengthen beyond a tropical storm, and that she bring her rains to Lake Okeechobee’s watershed.

Please join us in asking the Lord to use this system for South Florida’s benefit.


If you live in South Florida, you know that Emily came to visit on Saturday. Emily herself did not stumble over Florida. But she remained just far enough off shore that we got her bands of rain. The rain she brought yesterday and today has been a needed blessing, and it is still raining a lot even as I type this. Thanks for joining in the prayer to get some rain to South Florida. Emily had actually dissipated on Thursday. It looked like it would bring no rain. But amazingly, on Saturday, it reformed and dropped a lot of moisture. It’s fun to watch our prayers work.