Tag Archives: intercession

Sitting Under The Willow

Willow

The Lord gave us an important message for intercessors while I was preparing for a ministry trip to England and Wales. He showed us the picture of a weeping willow tree, and then explained that there are two sides to the tree. He told us that one side represents a very good thing. That very good thing is when intercessors tap into the heart of the Lord and begin weeping and interceding before him with groans that words cannot express (see Romans 8:26). He also let us know that the other side represents a very bad thing. That occurs when intercessors take their eyes off the promises and power of the Lord. At that point depression and despair are very real dangers. The Lord is calling intercessors to step away from depression and discouragement into his promises and purpose.

When we received this word, I knew it was for my ministry trip. I knew that I would have opportunity on two of my stops to deliver public words to those assembled. So, of course, I was asking the Lord if this word was for both of those ministry destinations.

At the first ministry stop at a congregation in southwestern Wales, right when I was about to get up and speak, I realized that I did not know if weeping willows were indigenous to the United Kingdom. I didn’t want to give a word picture if those gathered did not know the picture. Thankfully, the congregation had wireless internet, so I was able to check with a search engine. When I entered my query, the first result was about a pub in the UK called the Weeping Willow. I almost laughed out loud when I saw that the proprietors, a husband-wife team, had the same first names as one of the couples who were leaders in the congregation at which I was ministering. You can imagine that we had a fair amount of fun with that particular reference, and that the Lord greatly encouraged the congregation to step forward in the true “spirit” of intercession.

On my second stop, this time at a conference in England, I was once again asking the Lord if I should share the weeping willow word. While I was having coffee on the first full day of the event, I was visiting with the pastors of the Welsh congregation where I had shared the word first. They also were attending the conference. While I was visiting with them, one of them told me that they suspected that the weeping willow word was also for the conference. When I asked why they suspected this, they told me to look behind me. When I turned and looked out the window into the courtyard behind me, I saw that the central feature of the courtyard was a weeping willow (the actual willow is pictured above). When I saw that, I agreed that I needed to release the word at the conference.

While it was obvious that I was to share this word on my trip, I also know that it has application far beyond Britain’s shores. Sometimes we, as intercessors—wherever we live—can get so caught up in the strategies of the enemy, that we forget that we are on the victorious side. We can become like Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, in the Lord of the Rings. While he was able to accurately see into the counsel of his enemy, he was deceived into thinking that the enemy was unstoppable. As a result he became an impediment to victory.

We cannot afford to become impediments to victory. When the Lord shows us things over which we are to pray and intercede, he is showing us the path to victory, not defeat. We must see through the eyes of faith, not self-focus or despair.

How can you tell if you are partaking of the wrong side of the weeping willow? When you are on the correct side of the willow, you may become engulfed in amazing and intense bouts of  intercession, but when that intercession is done, the intensity should lift. An intercessor on the correct side of the tree should be able to get up and enjoy the rest of the day without having depression or anxiety trail after them. If those things do trail after you, it is time to evaluate what has happened to compromise your faith. It is vital that you make the necessary course corrections so that you do not make a shipwreck of your life or ministry (á la Denethor).

Our intercession is a powerful tool. Like most power tools, it must be used correctly. The Lord has taken the time to remind us of the operating instructions for our benefit. We need to be on the right side of the weeping willow. In that way we can accomplish his purposes.
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Turning Away Hurricanes

StoppingtheStormAfter speaking with a prophetic mentor today, I felt I needed to issue this warning about what he has seen about this hurricane season. As I wrote in an earlier post (see The 2013 Hurricane Season), Bob Jones had seen a threat to our South Florida area this year. In that post I wrote: “Bob told me that he had seen at least one [hurricane] that we would need to push away, but that he was confident that we would be able to do so.”

He reiterated that same thing to me today, but added some sobering things. He believes that the storm that he has seen is a powerful storm that would bring a lot of damage wherever it hits. The good news is that he is confident that our congregation, and those who are praying with us for our area of influence, will be able to turn the storm away. The bad news is that as we turn this storm away, it will turn toward other vulnerable areas where the intercessory coverage, and the understanding of intercessory authority, may not be as developed. He has asked me to get the word out to as many leaders as I can. He wants entire coastlines protected by churches who understand their authority in Jesus Christ.

Bob asked me to remind people that we have the keys of authority that Christ has won for us. When we ask the Lord to intervene in things over which he has given us authority, we ask amiss. We need to take authority over storm systems and command them not to come into our arenas of influence. Bob said that we have enough degrees in the body of Christ, now we need decrees. That doesn’t mean that education isn’t good, or that the pursuit of educational degrees is somehow bad, but we should seek to grow in Christ’s authority even as we aspire to further education. While degrees are optional, standing in Kingdom authority is not.

Jesus taught us clearly on this topic. He said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 NASB). He has given us the keys of authority, we must use them in accord with heaven. As the Head of the Church, the Lord issues decrees in heaven, then his Body binds or looses on the earth according to his decrees. Our authority derives from Christ’s finished work, and our direction comes through the Holy Spirit, but we are the ones exercising the authority he has given to us on this earth. If we choose not to use that authority on the earth, or do not understand our authority, we cannot blame heaven. We need look no further than the mirror. We have a job to do, and we must do it.

Please do what you can to stir up intercession during this hurricane season. We do not walk in fear. Peace is our mandate, and a major part of our protection. God will protect his people, but we also want to protect our regions as those who stand in the gap. The Lord is still looking for those, who like Abraham and Moses, intercede for those who deserve judgment. His heart is revealed in Ezekiel, “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30). His is still looking for those who will build the walls of protection, who will stand in the gap between grace and judgment, and release mercy to a region.
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Hurricane Warnings

FLLBeachLast week, the Lord indicated that Dawn and I were to visit and pray over three separate beaches in our county. This is the first time in our fifteen year history of praying against hurricanes that he has given us such a directive. My faith is normally modeled upon that of the Centurion who sought Jesus’ aid for his servant (see Matthew 8:5-13). When Jesus granted the Centurion’s request, the Centurion pointedly told Jesus that he did not need Jesus to come to his geographic location. The Centurion knew that Jesus could provide the aid by simply giving the orders. In the same way, I have realized that when a group of believers gathers together at their place of worship, they can release protection across their area of influence without necessarily going to every location personally. But this year, assuming we heard him correctly, he sent us to the beaches in person.

Why? I don’t know exactly, however, I can hazard some educated guesses. First of all, I think he wanted to remind us just how lost our beach culture is. Even though we live in the Fort Lauderdale area, we almost never get to the beaches. I suspect that the Lord wanted to show me what has happened in the years since Fort Lauderdale divested itself of Spring Break. While we are no longer an attraction for Spring Breakers, we certainly haven’t lost the sensual indulgence or the immodest apparel which were the hallmarks of that era. In fact, the apparel has become more immodest as the years have gone by. As we walked the beaches, we not only prayed against storms, we also prayed for the many spiritually needy souls whom we encountered along the way.

The second reason he may have called us to the beaches probably has to do with our increased need. We are holding our second prayer meeting of the season this evening, and events on the ground might have changed over the years so that personal involvement is more necessary. The Lord has taught us over the years that the more wickedness a region tolerates, the more susceptible to hurricanes (or other disasters) that region becomes. It’s as if our indulgence in sin pushes the protecting hand of the Father away from a region. Satan is looking for any gap that he can send disaster through in order to torment people. He is always seeking ways to kill, steal, and destroy (see John 8:44 and John 10:10). As the Father’s hand of protection is pushed away, intercessors must stand in the gap for their region. As that hand of protection is pushed even further away, they must increase their intercessory activity to match the gap between God’s protection and Satan’s hatred. While we did not have to walk the beaches in the past, it might now be a normal part of our activity, at least until revival and repentance are granted to our region (thus closing the gap again).

In any case, the Lord’s direction highlighted something I stated in my last post. We can expect some level of storm activity this season for the South Florida area (as well as other regions). If there were no specific threat, I doubt that the Lord would have sent us to the beaches.

I also have another specific word from the Lord about a strategy that Satan has released against our region this year. I’m not going to explain what that strategy is, simply because we will be dismantling it in tonight’s prayer meeting. However, the very fact that the Lord gave us a specific strategy indicates that we are countering some level of increased threat.

We are at a very early point in the hurricane season. The Lord is preparing his troops to bring protection to their areas of influence. I am grateful for every direction and strategy he releases to us. He does not delight in death and destruction (see Ezekiel 18:23). So he helps us stand in the gap for our regions of influence. Pay attention to the strategies he is giving you. They may make all the difference this season.
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More Storms Coming

14035415_sMy last post was about the power that intercessory prayer has released over weather systems this spring. At the time of the post, we had a year-long lull in tornado activity; a lull that was unprecedented since the record keeping started back in 1954. I was, and still am, excited that God’s people have stepped into intercessory authority. However, this is a war. We can never take the armor of God off, and we can never step off the walls, or the violent counter attacks that Satan is capable of unleashing may sweep us away.

In my last post I wrote (you may read the whole thing HERE):

I want to encourage all the intercessors to continue the good work. Even as I write this, severe storms are forecast for Oklahoma and Texas today. The prayers prayed in advance are having an impact, but we can also pray during the events and cut off Satan’s plans to kill, steal, and destroy. That is our job description, and our privilege.

Satan has truly been working to steal, kill, and destroy. Last Wednesday’s storms and tornadoes in Texas were awful. Six people died and dozens were injured. Yesterday’s tornado in Moore, Oklahoma was truly horrific. At least 24 people have died, many of them children at a local school. The grief and pain is unimaginable. My heart, my sympathies, and my prayers go out to all those who have suffered loss in these storms.

As intercessors, we may mourn with those who mourn, but we must also stay on the wall and do what we can to bring protection to our areas of influence. We may shed tears, and help in whatever way we can, but we must never forget our primary role, using the authority that God has given us so this does not happen again. We must intercede for our geographic areas. We must raise hedges of protection for the most vulnerable among us. And we must do it now, because more storms are coming.

The Lord has spoken to us about the tornado season this year. He didn’t give us a lot of details, but he did tell us that tornadoes were going to hit some towns. He then told us that we were to pay attention to the names of the towns that they struck. He said that their names would be signposts along the way.

Last week Wednesday tornadoes struck Granbury, Texas. As I explored the meaning of the town’s name, I told Dawn that I really hoped the name—Grand Bury— wasn’t pointing to a large death toll in the next tornado strike. Whether that was the intent of the “signpost” or not, yesterday’s strike certainly had a large and grievous death toll.

The reason I am writing this alert is found in the name of the town struck yesterday, Moore.

When I researched the meaning of the name, Granbury, I found that the town was named after a man named Granberry, but that he had changed the spelling of his name. In this instance, it wasn’t the historic meaning of the  name that mattered, it was the meaning of its current spelling that held prophetic import. In the same way, Moore can mean stately, or noble, that is its historic meaning, but it sounds like “more.” That is what I believe this prophetic signpost is warning us about. There are more devastating storms, like those that hit Granbury and Moore, coming.

If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes, it is time to call special prayer meetings to raise the hedges of protection. If you don’t have time for prayer meetings, get on the phone with two or three others and pray in agreement binding any storms from hurting your area of influence. We have authority, but we must use it.

More storms are coming. Satan’s agents want to use them to steal, kill, and destroy. We have the authority to take these tools of destruction out of their hands. We must disarm them, or we will see these storms close up and personal. We must disarm Satan so that the youngest and most vulnerable are no longer victimized by his vile schemes.
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Our Tornado Drought

NoTornadoZoneI don’t want to call everyone to celebration prematurely, but I think it is worth noting something that is more than a little encouraging. I have spent the last several years encouraging people to pray against severe weather before it comes. We have learned that this is an effective strategy when we face the hurricane season every year, and have encouraged people who live in tornado-prone areas to do the same thing.

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that the Lord has warned us about severe weather over the past several years. I have written a great deal about negative weather patterns during that time. However, when I write about extreme weather, I usually include a call for prayer warriors to stand in their authority (see Extreme Weather Grace for an example of this). The Lord has given us authority, but we will not see the benefit of that authority unless we use it.

I haven’t written anything about extreme weather in 2013, because the Lord hasn’t shown me anything. That may be because intercessors are stepping into their authority. While the last couple of years have had major tornado outbreaks, this year has been quiet. In fact, weather folks are so amazed they are calling it a tornado drought.

This quote is from the Washington Post:

We are living through the most anemic one-year period for tornadoes in the modern record – a cause for celebration if you dislike human suffering and destruction. The present lull in these violent storms stands in sharp contrast to 2011, one of the most active years for twisters, with devastating consequences for life and property. (May 6, 2013)

This one is from Harold Brooks on the NOAA Severe Weather Blog:

The 12-month period from May 2012 to April 2013 was remarkable for the absence of tornado activity and tornado impacts in the United States . . .

From May 2012-April 2013, the estimate is that there were 197 tornadoes rated EF1 or stronger. Where does that stack up historically? Well, we have pretty good data back to 1954. During that time, the previous low for (E)F1 and stronger tornadoes in a 12 consecutive calendar month period was 247, from June 1991-May 1992 . . .  This apparent record was set less than two years after the record for most EF1+ tornadoes in a 12-month period was set, with 1050 from June 2010-May 2011 . . . (May 1, 2013)

On a a Wunderground post today, Dr. Jeff Masters highlights the fact that there were only three tornadoes during the first week of May. That is the third lowest since 1950. In his article, Harold Brooks also points out that tornadoes claimed the fewest number of lives this past year since 1899. This is worth celebrating. I believe our prayers for tamer weather, and our prayers for preservation of life, are having an effect. When we step into our authority, we can expect to see this type of effect. The Lord has given his people the keys to the Kingdom. When we use them, good things happen.

I want to encourage all the intercessors to continue the good work. Even as I write this, severe storms are forecast for Oklahoma and Texas today. The prayers prayed in advance are having an impact, but we can also pray during the events and cut off Satan’s plans to kill, steal, and destroy. That is our job description, and our privilege.
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