Tag Archives: hurricanes

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.

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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.

Extreme Weather Grace

If you follow what the prophets have been saying, you know about the extreme weather predictions. If you haven’t been following them, let me explain for you. The Lord has been showing them (and us) that we will see even more extreme weather patterns in the days ahead. Last week I was speaking to a prophetic friend, and he spoke of a particular prophecy that predicted there would be a hundred tornadoes on the ground at the same time as another, much worse, natural disaster occurs. Prophecies like that boggle my mind. Not only because I can’t imagine too many things worse than a hundred tornadoes on the ground at the same time, but also because I can’t imagine how weather patterns can continue to worsen.

And then events on the ground last weekend helped my imagination.

This is the headline on Dr. Jeff Master’s WunderBlog: Historic 3-Day Tornado Outbreak Kills At Least 40. Here is the first sentence of his article, “In a stunning display of violence, close to 200 tornadoes rampaged across the Midwestern and Southeast U.S. April 14 – 16 in one of the largest tornado outbreaks in history.” (You can read the whole thing HERE).

Just when my mind was getting boggled by prophetic implications, we had a weekend demonstration of the veracity of the words that predict increased extreme weather. This was an incredible display of weather out of control. The general grace that the world needs to limit extreme weather events is lifting. God gives grace to the humble (those who acknowledge their need of him). Since most of our world no longer acknowledges our need of him, the grace the world needs is no longer as available. As a result, we have opportunity to experience how the world does on its own. To put it mildly, it is not doing well.

So, what do we do about it? We learn to be intercessors who release grace in our areas of influence.

I live in Florida. That means that every year we experience a six month season known as the hurricane season. The Lord has trained us to recognize the authority he has entrusted his Church with, and to use that grace to tame our hurricane seasons. The entire church in the United States must now begin to walk in this same grace. As common grace lifts and the darkness comes, we must shine brighter with the specific grace he has entrusted to us.

In our years of praying specifically against hurricanes, we have learned a few things that can help others understand the benefits and challenges of rallying people to release specific grace in intercessory prayer.

This is an exciting topic because it always comes with specific stories of supernatural power, but let’s deal with an obvious challenge first. I have learned that it is easy to get people together to pray when a hurricane is threatening. We usually have plenty of time to call a prayer meeting as hurricanes make their leisurely way across the Atlantic, Caribbean, or the Gulf of Mexico. We also have focus and intensity because the threat is real and imminent. It is amazing what that type of focus does for an intercessory prayer meeting.

I have also learned that when I have a prayer meeting for the hurricane season when there is no specific threat, we will not have as many people show up for the prayer meeting. That is human nature. We are busy people with much to do. In addition to the fact of fewer people, I have also noticed that these meetings are also not nearly as focused or as intense because there is no imminent threat. But here is the good news, I have also learned that determined intercessors, who fight through the hindrances, arrive at our meetings with a lot of authority.

This is important for those who want to pray against other types of extreme weather. You have to call your prayer meetings before the severe weather is a threat. The very nature of storm fronts in other parts of the United States limits your ability to call people together because of the short notice. That means that you must pray before any threat of extreme weather materializes. That also means that you can expect that it will be difficult to call people together to pray about future possibilities when they are already caught up in their current liabilities. But if you do this, the pay-off can protect your community from devastation.

Every year New Dawn Community Church has special prayer meetings about the hurricane season. We have special meetings on the calendar for June even though the real threat usually doesn’t show up until late August. I know the importance of storing up intercessory snow on the mountain tops so that when the heat increases, the waters of grace are released in the land (see Job 38:22-23).

This past year (2010), did not offer many opportunities for South Floridians to engage the Lord in specific, focused prayer over any hurricane threats. We just didn’t have anything come that near us. Hear is a summary map of last year’s activity (courtesy of Stormpulse.com):

If you study the trends, you will note that nothing with any intensity got anywhere near South Florida. We did pray against one storm by name, though. Years ago the Lord spoke to us about a Hurricane Lisa, and so when that name shows up on the cycle of names, we usually give it special attention. If you look at last year’s summary map, you will note that every hurricane did the normal thing last year, but one. Hurricanes that form in the Atlantic head west across the ocean toward the United States. As they come across the Atlantic, they run into steering currents that move them around. We like it when they curve north and then back east as they hit northern latitudes and lose their intensity. All last year’s Atlantic hurricanes followed this normal pattern but Lisa. Here is Lisa’s track graphic:

The only hurricane we prayed against by name last year, and that prayer came even before it formed, was Lisa. Now some might think that the fact that it never moved west like a normal hurricane is just a coincidence. I don’t believe in such coincidences. I believe the Lord once again affirmed the grace that he has given his people to effect the course and intensity of weather phenomena. There is extreme grace available for extreme weather.

So, what should intercessors do about other types of extreme weather? If I lived in areas that were susceptible to tornadoes, I would schedule several intercessory prayer meetings before the Spring storm season begins each year, and then schedule other meetings as I felt appropriate. I would pray in a hedge of protection that no tornado could penetrate. I would pray that no tornado could pierce the roof of protection over my area of influence. I would pray in faith, and learn from every year’s successes and failures so that we become better intercessors. I would determine in my heart that my area of immediate influence must never be devastated by tornadoes, and I would impart that vision to other intercessors. And I would ask the Lord to give me and those who pray with me specific encouragement every year—like he did for us with Lisa last year—so that we know beyond any doubt that our intercession is accomplishing its goal, and so that our faith increases.

Extreme weather patterns are going to increase. That is a true prophetic word. But they don’t necessarily have to impact your area of influence. We have extreme grace for extreme weather. All we need to do is use it.

It’s a Wrap!

I’ll write more on this later, but I just wanted to note that the 2010 hurricane season has officially ended.

Thanks for all the prayers and intercession you prayed. It helped make this the fifth season in a row that a major hurricane has not visited the United States. Time to do a victory dance.

Where Did Paula Go?

I like it when hurricanes get shredded. Paula experienced such negative shearing that it dissipated incredibly quickly and is now only a remnant low. That is pretty good for a storm that had, at one time, a forecast a track that extended out until Sunday.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters, of the Weather Underground site (see HERE), wrote this about Paula, “Considering that most Category 2 hurricanes that pass through the Yucatan Channel end up getting their names retired, we got very fortunate with Paula.” What that means is that most Category 2 hurricanes that take Paula’s path in this part of the season become a major hurricane and cause much damage. That is the reason that their names are retired. Paula had great potential to become something really wicked. I believe it did not because the prayer walls held.

I called a prayer meeting on Wednesday evening because we had discovered that God had indeed given us something on Paula. In essence, we were told that Paula would try to gain access to our area of influence, but that we had authority to stop her. We wield our authority through prayer and intercession, so we had a meeting where we firmly locked the door in Paula’s face. We have been praying throughout this season that no hurricane force winds would breach our boundaries. Wednesday night’s prayer meeting was simply to plug any holes and strengthen that wall even more.

When I called the meeting for Wednesday night, South Florida was still in the Paula’s 5 day tracking cone. By the time we met the forecast track had shifted a bit more south, with only the Florida keys in that cone. Shortly after our prayer meeting the track shifted drastically south, contrary winds increased, and Paula was stopped in her tracks and ripped to shreds.

I would call that a successful prayer meeting.

You Know You’re Having a Bad Week When . . .

You know you’re having a bad week when the National Hurricane Center doesn’t quite know where a hurricane in your neighborhood is going, and your wife remembers she had a dream in July that someone named Paula tried to walk uninvited into our house.

Actually, that probably means you are having a good week, because the Lord brought the information forward while there is still plenty of time to have a prayer meeting or two.

Prayer meeting at New Dawn tonight (Wednesday night) at 7:30 PM.