Tag Archives: intercession

Extreme Weather Grace On Display in St. Louis

Last week I wrote about the grace the Lord wants to give when extreme weather comes calling. We saw an example in St. Louis over the weekend. The most powerful tornado that St. Louis has had for 44 years made a mess of the city on Friday night. It had winds of up to 200 mph that wreaked havoc at the airport and destroyed entire subdivisions damaging thousands of homes.

And yet, no one was killed. That is extreme weather grace.

One local mayor understands how grace saved people’s lives. In an article (linked and shared at the end of this post), his belief is explained.

Bridgeton Mayor Conrad Bowers believes divine intervention also was at work. His own home had moderate damage, but several houses in his neighborhood were obliterated. In many of them, mercifully, no one was home when the twister hit. One family was out for dinner. Another was away playing cards. Another was visiting relatives in Dallas. “The grace of God,” Bowers said. “What else can I say?”

At our Friday night meeting we had prayed that the Lord would protect lives during the extreme weather events that have been shaking. Our prayers joined with the prayers of many other intercessors who understand the importance of praying for this grace, and I believe we saw the results of those prayers. This is where God’s people will begin to shine in this darkening world. We are going to see amazing things.

Of course, there will be more extreme weather. More prayer is needed so that more grace is released. But it is certainly worth the effort. Just ask the members of the Ferguson Christian Church. The tornado imploded their church building while they were gathered to watch The Passion of the Christ. While they needed to find a temporary location to have their Easter services, they were all able to gather together since they had no casualties. They recognized the need for grace.

“I don’t know why God decided to spare our lives but I’m thankful for it,” Joni Bellinger, children’s minister at hard-hit Ferguson Christian Church, said Sunday.

That’s a non-theological heartfelt response from a woman who saw God protect her family and friends. I can’t imagine what the members of that congregation thought as they huddled in the basement while the building was being destroyed over their heads. But I can imagine hearts just as thankful as Joni Bellinger’s as they realized they were all alive and well after it was over.

The Apostle Paul teaches us that when people receive grace from God, and understand that it is grace from God, their hearts overflow with thanks.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else (2 Corinthians 9:12-13).

While Paul was speaking about a special offering, he also stated that when we serve the Lord we will be made rich in every way. The ability to call in grace for protection during extreme weather is part of the true wealth that God entrusts to his people. We are seeing the thankfulness Paul described as men and women praise God for his grace.

We will have more opportunity to see this in the days ahead as we pray in advance for God’s gracious protection for those in harms way.

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Here part of the article about the tornado. You can currently read the whole article at the paper at this LINK.

No deaths in St. Louis tornado called a miracle

By Jim Salter – Associated Press Writer

BRIDGETON, Mo. – The St. Louis area’s most powerful tornado in 44 years rips into an airport and through a densely populated suburban area, destroying up to 100 homes, shattering hundreds of panes of glass at the main terminal and blowing a shuttle bus on top of a roof. Yet no one is killed, or even seriously hurt, and the airport reopens less than 24 hours later. How?

Early warnings, good timing and common sense all helped prevent a tragedy Friday night. But on Easter Sunday, many of those cleaning up the mess also thanked a higher power.

“I don’t know why God decided to spare our lives but I’m thankful for it,” Joni Bellinger, children’s minister at hard-hit Ferguson Christian Church, said Sunday . . .

Entire subdivisions were destroyed. Cars were tossed about like toys, roofs tossed hundreds of yards and 100-year-old trees sucked out by the roots.

County officials said during a news conference Sunday that 2,700 buildings were damaged. Gov. Jay Nixon said Saturday that up to 100 were uninhabitable. The damage clearly will cost millions of dollars to repair, but a more precise estimate was unavailable Sunday . . .

Bridgeton Mayor Conrad Bowers believes divine intervention also was at work. His own home had moderate damage, but several houses in his neighborhood were obliterated. In many of them, mercifully, no one was home when the twister hit. One family was out for dinner. Another was away playing cards. Another was visiting relatives in Dallas.

“The grace of God,” Bowers said. “What else can I say?”

At Ferguson Christian Church, nearly three dozen people were gathered on Good Friday to watch the movie “Passion of the Christ” when the sirens began to blare. Pastor Stacy Garner paused the movie and hurried everyone to the basement. They were out of harm’s way as the tornado imploded the sanctuary above them.

Like hundreds of residents in surrounding communities, church members have been back trying to salvage what they could. Their Easter Sunday services were at a college campus. They’ve had a lot of help from neighbors and friends.

“It’s not just our church, but people from all over the neighborhood have come to help and clean up the mess and pick up the pieces, and try to figure out what we’re going to do from now on,” said Bellinger, the children’s minister.

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.