Class Notes – weeks 1 through 18 uploaded

To access any of these notes, click on the page (above) Principles of Intercession Class Notes: Introduction, and a drop-down menu will appear.

These notes appear in the order in which they were presented and discussed in class. No subject titles are listed for individual weeks, and frequently our discussion of a particular topic took up several classes.

Class Notes 11: Summary will give you an idea of what information was being covered for weeks 1 through 10. A lengthy Expanded version of the Summary is also available.

Questions and/or comments are welcome.

Advertisements

Principles of Intercession: A new section added

Beginning in the Fall of 2016, I began teaching an adult Sunday School class, Principles of Intercessory Prayer (intercession).

I have begun uploading my notes from those classes to this blog.

If you decide to read or study using these notes, please take the time to read the many Bible passages that are mentioned. Topics covered in the study include:

  • Definitions of intercession and prayer; not the same thing
  • Why pray? Prayer is God’s idea, his command
  • Authority of the believer in prayer
  • Knowing and praying the will of God
  • God’s faith needed to pray in faith
  • Hindrances to answers: doubt, unbelief, sin
  • Power of your words, before, during and after prayer
  • Gifts and work of the Holy Spirit
  • Intercessors of the Bible
  • History of revival – Great Awakenings / Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

Over the last 40 plus years I have collected, read and studied many books on prayer and intercession. At some point I may try to list those as an addendum. Many of the thoughts, ideas and principles contained in my notes have been prayerfully assimilated over the years from quite a few of those authors. Thus they may seem familiar to you.

One book that I purchased in bulk and gave away to class members and others is “Authority in Prayer, Praying with Power and Purpose” by Dutch Sheets (published 2006). I highly recommend it to anyone serious about participating in intercessory prayer.

 

Intercession, one definition

Esther's Petition

This week as I was thinking about intercession and how it’s different from other types of prayer, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly and distinctly to me.

“Interceding is My interfering with the schemes of the enemy.”

It’s God’s method to scotch the devil’s activities on earth. Prevention, intervention, substitution, whatever is needed for the situation. God’s way of throwing monkey wrenches into the devil’s designs.

It is not just praying what God says to pray, although it includes that. It is speaking what God says to speak – to the enemy, to circumstances, to your own spirit / soul / body, to other people (their spirit / soul / body), to whatever.

It’s different from petitions, which may be our own desires and needs for ourselves, our family or friends. That’s certainly not prohibited, it’s encouraged. It’s just not all there is to prayer.

Relax, be watchful, be mindful, be…

View original post 16 more words

White House prayers

As I was praying about various things this morning, the Holy Spirit began to talk to me. Here’s what he said:

Many ordinary people work in the White House. They have ordinary concerns, interests, hobbies, fears, anxieties and worries. Some have financial problems, some have family conflicts, some have health issues. Some have feelings of frustration or anger.

Not all are military or law enforcement personnel, but of course some are. They have extra concerns that civilian employees don’t have: security of people and property, intelligence, keeping constant contact with higher-ups and each other, always with an eye out for any hint of danger.

And with all their extra training and duties, these people have the same kinds of life concerns as all the rest in the White House.

Think about all the normally behind-the-scenes people who work to maintain the White House complex. Those who mop and vacuum the floors, polish and rearrange the furniture. Designers and decorators. Those who select and care for the many floral arrangements. Those who wash the laundry, fix the plumbing or replace the light bulbs. Chefs, cooks and bottle washers. Helpers of many kinds in many departments.

Think about the inside and outside maintenance staff, like electricians, plumbers, painters, carpenters, brick masons. Gardeners and groundskeepers. Heavy lifters to carry and move whatever, whenever, wherever it’s needed. HVAC and other mechanics who see that every piece of machinery works how it’s supposed to. The White House is a pretty old building complex, after all.

Then there is the administrative staff, the secretaries, clerks, assistants, aides, the audio-visual and digital technicians, not to mention the various communications personnel. The social staff necessary to help with calendars and planning for necessary events, travel, meetings, invitations given and accepted for the First Family and their personal aides.

White House historians, photographers, and audiovisual experts are tasked with keeping detailed records of comings and going. For every staffer who is seen, there are many folks behind the scenes. How many might there be in all, throughout that complex?

Some of them are doing the best job they can, whether out of loyalty or in hopes of a promotion or raise. Some are doing the least they can, keeping out of sight and out of the way, hoping not to get fired.

And naturally, some in the middle are working dutifully, concerned more with the paycheck and providing for their family, less concerned with the politics of it all (national politics or job-site politics).

Some White House workers despise the current President, although they tend to keep their opinions to themselves. They disagree with his politics, dislike his personality, and if given the odd chance to throw monkey-wrenches into the works somewhere, they might consider it. In the meantime they keep a low profile.

But others genuinely like or admire the President and his family. They may not like his tweets or his occasionally colorful language, but overall they are glad he was elected and happy to be working where they are.

So, why bring all this to mind today, I asked?

Because every one of them needs prayer. Intercession. Petitions. They need the Gospel. God’s grace. Forgiveness. They need Jesus as Lord and Savior, they need his favor, his provision, his Word. They need the filling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit to do whatever job they have.

All those things you’ve been praying for the First Family over these last months? All these people also need those things. Don’t forget them, when you pray for the White House.

http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/

Are you called to be an Intercessor?

Several weeks ago I asked our Intercessory Prayer Sunday School class, How many of you feel called to be an Intercessor? Some raised their hands, some didn’t.

One member said, I don’t have that gift, and I said, It’s not a gift, it’s a calling. I didn’t expand on that statement then but I’d like to do it now, with another question:

How do you know if you’re called to be an Intercessor?

In the beginning of my adventures with Jesus (1972) and the Holy Spirit (1974) I didn’t start out to be an Intercessor, or even much of a pray-er. I started out to be just a student of the Bible. And then to be a teacher of the Bible. And then to be a better student, and a better teacher.

Along the way I began to make prayer lists. After all, I figured that was what every good Christian did. Occasionally I wrote those prayers down in notebooks, which I still have today.

Reading back through those lists it’s easy to see that some prayers were answered, some weren’t. Some answers were almost instant and some were gradual, but some never came. Why?

Discouragement began to plague my prayer time as I tried to understand – What had I done wrong? What had I prayed wrong? So I went back to being a student of the Bible, seeking answers to those questions.

After a while I realized that my interests were changing. I wasn’t interested in reading the same sort of books (murder mysteries and spy novels), or watching the same sort of television programs (cop shows) as I had been. Now, that wasn’t intentional, but gradually the use of my time shifted.

More and more of my time was being spent in seeking the Lord, studying the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom, understanding, and information – answers to those “What” questions.

And then I discovered I John 5:14-15… “This is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

Over a span of some years I discovered more and more of my time was being spent in praying for other people. Family, friends, and strangers. Believers yes, but many non-believers. Prayers for Mercy! My focus was shifting.

More time was being spent online reading reports of the Lord’s work around the globe. News from missionaries, revivalists, ordinary Christian people in Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Australia, Philippines, Russia, China, Japan – and many others.

Also news reports from mainline media, some Christian, some secular, in the United States and overseas. Reports of events, happenings, situations, chaos, conflicts, disasters, often accompanied by prayer requests from Christians and non-Christians. Many requests for prayer kept showing up in my emails and news feeds.

Pretty much automatically, I found myself praying and praying and praying as I read. Asking the Lord to inspire my prayers, to pray His will through my prayers!

Eventually it became evident that He had answered that particular prayer. He had implanted his desires right in the middle of my desires. Like, other drivers being annoying? Unsafe? “Pray mercy for them,” says the Holy Spirit. “You may be the only person on earth who will pray for them.”

Hitchhikers, bike riders, pedestrians along the road? “Pray they will encounter my presence, my compassion, my mercy,” says the Holy Spirit. Snarky people on Facebook? “Pray mercy for them,” says the Holy Spirit again. “They need Me, not a holier-than-thou attitude.”

A name suddenly pops into your mind? “Pray for them,” says the Holy Spirit. “They need a prayer right now.”

I began researching intercession and the authority of the believer in prayer, and what the scriptures have to say about all that. Wow. Prophetic intercession, prophetic worship, intercessory worship, there’s still a lot to learn! I’m still learning.

Well, being an Intercessor wasn’t what I started out to be. But it’s what the Lord started: an additional assignment. A calling.

Could I tell him No, I don’t want to do this? Certainly. I could refuse to spend my time this way, he wouldn’t send me to hell because of it. He might make me miserable… because my joy is to do what the Lord wants! To go where he wants, do what he wants, say what he wants, and pray what he wants.

See, some years ago I did say No to the Lord. In an unhappy state, I decided that if I just quit teaching the Bible things would get better. I would be happier. So I quit teaching and I quit reading my Bible and I quit praying.

Guess what happened? “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jer. 20:9) I was miserable!

Thankfully that phase didn’t last long and soon I returned to what I knew He wanted for me. Now this is what he wants for me.

How about you? Are you called to be an Intercessor? If you are, the Lord will show you. It may or may not be an instant revelation, but your focus will shift, your interests will change, and your use of time will be different.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Prayer and Intercession

Holy-Spirit fireReaders, please notice a new Page titled Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Prayer and Intercession.

This is a series of teachings given during a Sunday School class titled Principles of Prayer and Intercession.

You will need to click on the Page and its menu for individual posts, as they are not automatically distributed via email to subscribers.

I will do my best to update the Page as new material is addressed in class. Please let me know if you have questions about any of these posts, or if you would like to read notes from our previous classes on Prayer and Intercession.

 

God’s joy, my strength

FilledWithJoyWomanNoBirthdayMessageThe article below about Joy was originally posted on December 28, 2011.

2011 was a hard year for me. In January 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Most of that year was then spent undergoing chemotherapy, mastectomy, and radiation therapy.

I had serious side effects to all of those, including pretty bad radiation burns that cut short the number of those sessions. I published a personal diary of those adventures at the time, and some since then. (www.BettesJournal.wordpress.com)

The Lord told me clearly at the beginning of these adventures to “put the unbelievers out of the room.” He meant, for me not to talk about the diagnosis to everyone, only to Christians who truly believed God’s word – who truly  believed what Jesus said in John 10:10. I have an enemy out to kill me, who wants to steal my health and destroy my faith. But Jesus has come to give me life! Abundant life!

And so I didn’t tell many folks about the diagnosis or that blog, only several like-minded Christian friends who knew how to intercede according to the scriptures. No wishy-washy, 50-50 chance, fearful, doubtful, uncertain prayers were wanted. I got some of that kind nevertheless, but I also got many life-filled, love-filled, faith-confirming intercessory prayers too. Those were worth their weight in gold, believe me.

2011 was spent in a lot of Bible study, reading, and watching hundreds of miracle videos, preaching and teaching from evangelists, pastors, revivalists. It was spent filling my mind and soul and spirit with God. With his creative power, his life, his healing.

I didn’t publish many blog posts that year and ended the year with the post that follows: God’s joy, my strength. It was true then, it’s true now.

December 28, 2011

James 1:2 says “Consider it pure joy, my brethren, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (NIV)

That verse doesn’t say that whatever is going on will feel joyful. Trials don’t feel joyful but despite that, we should act as though they did. It will strengthen our faith (and will certainly drive the enemy crazy too!)

Well, I know by my own experience that that’s easier said than done. This lesson is for me.

John 14:1 – Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled.” If Jesus said for us to do it, then we can do it. It is our job to prevent our heart from worrying.

Here’s one way: consider whatever is troubling us in the light of his power. His power, not ours. With the Holy Spirit living in us we can do it. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

John 15:11 – Jesus said “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Can you imagine Jesus being joyful? Obviously he was. Luke 10:21 tells us that Jesus “rejoiced in the Spirit,” because he had sent out the seventy to minister in his name and they had returned successful.

What had he told the disciples? Here are some of those things:

  • John 15:7 – “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.”
  • John 16:24, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
  • John 16:23 – “My father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
  • John 8:31-32, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Set you free in the Greek means to ‘free you’, make you delivered, at liberty, free from bondage. Many people misquote those verses by leaving out the first sentence. But it’s a prerequisite for the second sentence — only if you are really a disciple of Jesus, holding to his teachings, will you know the truth and be made free.

Nehemiah 8:10 says “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Not your joy, God’s joy. They could be strong now because God was joyful over them. He wanted them to be joyful too!

The people had returned from years of captivity in Babylon. On this day they were assembled in Jerusalem to hear God’s word read for the first time in a long time, and as they heard and understood it they began to weep.

But Ezra and Nehemiah told them not to weep, not to mourn but to celebrate. This was a sacred day! They were being given back their lineage, their family tree and the temple itself. They were moving back into and living in the city of Jerusalem as their home. They could once again worship in God’s temple. God was joyful about that!

Zephaniah 3:19 says, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (KJV)

Some of these words have interesting definitions in the original language:

Save:  Deliver, defend, rescue, avenge; to be open, wide, free, safe.
Rejoice:  To be bright, cheerful, glad; make mirth.
Joy (noun):  Glee, mirth, pleasure, gladness.
Joy (verb):  To spin around, rejoice.
Rest: To keep silent (secrecy); to let alone. God’s love keeps our sins hidden. What a wonderful thought!
Love:  Affection.
Singing:  Shout, cry, a creaking or shrill sound, triumph. This isn’t a sweet harmonious melody, this is the shout of the warrior, the triumphant battle cry.

Can you imagine Father God being full of this kind of joy? Twirling around and shouting in triumph over his people? He did, and he still does.

In John 17:13, as Jesus faced his arrest and crucifixion, he prayed this for the disciples: “… that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus, “for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross.” That was some kind of joy!

Despite the ordeal facing him, that wasn’t a prayer born out of grief but triumph! God’s joy is triumphant, a mirth-filled celebration of victory no matter what the circumstances look like.

That’s God’s joy; Jesus’ joy!

I certainly need it. We all need it and we can have it — it’s one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!