Recently I have been passing through the waters spiritually for many reasons. I grew up with a unique awareness of spiritual warfare. I spent years being tormented by evil. I was rescued from the devil’s house…I cannot portray how literally true that is for my life. But let me tell you, until recently I just didn’t grasp how necessary intercessory prayer is. We are in a place in our ministry where everything literally depends on prayer and on the movement of God’s hand. Without it, we are fried. I believe with all my heart that God has HUGE things in store, and there is a growing awareness in my heart that if I don’t answer the call of God to go deeper in prayer, I might miss being a part of it. There is a growing awareness in my spirit that if we are not covered daily by the prayers of others, the battle will be much more difficult. I think that I have often underestimated the power of the enemy, and I have not understood what it truly takes for salvation. I have been so lazy in my prayers for those in my life, but that just shows my selfishness and lack of love for others. Only recently as God has been growing in me a love for people, have I been willing to start to go the distance for them in prayer. The plans of the enemy are big for those God has called to have major roles in His Kingdom. It is not enough to be called…that is just where the fight begins. The devil has committed to go the distance to bring us down…we must be more willing to go the distance to grow closer and closer to God and to bring others before His throne. If we could see the intensity of all that is happening around us in the spiritual realm, we would be MUCH more serious about joining the fight. And do our prayers really matter? More than we could ever imagine. Does how we pray matter? More than we could ever imagine. God has given us so much authority, yet we walk in everything but that authority. We pray chicken prayers. We doubt. Say what? It’s true! It is rare to hear a prayer truly spoken in faith. However, now more than ever, we can’t afford to be weak in prayer. We can’t afford to be satisfied with “good enough.” Call me radical. Call me an extremist. I don’t care. I am a Jesus follower, a laid-down lover, and a radically driven disciple of Christ. I don’t want to be anything different.
There is hardly anything more frustrating than dealing with character flaws. I can say without hesitation that what I desire is to be a pure and holy woman who is everything she was created to be, who is driven by overflowing love and wholeness. I want to be a woman that is so close to God that anyone who encounters her knows they have just been in His presence. I want to be the ultimate encourager and the kindest person I know. However, I also want to be powerful. I want to be a world-changer. I want to make a difference.
But you know what? At the end of the day, forget the rest of the world; there is so much that still needs to change in me. I recognize a depth of pride that makes me ashamed to even admit I have. I’m going through a season where God is breaking that down in moments of forced humility. It’s painful. It’s angering, not just at the situations, but also at myself for struggling so much to let my selfishness go. In this struggle to grow in holiness, I think my attitude has grown worse. I am praying that is a sign that something is about to change inside my heart.
The refining fire is hard. There is nothing pleasant about it. However, what gives me hope is that I know the things that I am being shown are being revealed to me by God. I have learned the difference between Satan’s attack and God’s conviction. Satan attacks by bringing shame and hopelessness. God convicts by pointing out an area that needs improvement, but also by giving a plan and pouring out His love in the process. The thing that is interesting is that often God and Satan may be focusing in on the same character flaw – the difference is in how they do it. I saw both sides tonight. Satan is always so condemning. He is the accuser. Jesus is a Savior, a lifeline, a refuge. The thing about grace is that it finds us in our brokenness but refuses to leave us there.
I just want to have a pure heart before my God. I want to love Him with a sweet innocence. I want to be all that He has called me to be, and that desire will lead me down a road of brokenness before Him. How do I appear when I kneel in the presence of His holiness? I am a sinner in need of grace and compassion. I deserve judgment, but God does not desire to give me what my actions deserve. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
So God, here is my prayer: Forgive me for the things in my life that do not please You, whether it be actions, thoughts or habits. I don’t think there is a more applicable prayer than what King David prayed in Psalm 51:7-12: “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; You have broken me – now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You.”
There are some great moments in ministry. There are days when it is obvious how much it is totally worth every bit of effort and every bit of sacrifice.
Yesterday was not one of those days.
Yesterday was one of those days that breaks your heart; where you can’t even cry because you are just in shock. I think if anything, I haven’t realized how cunning and powerful the enemy of our souls can be. I haven’t prayed hard enough for my contacts. It’s the hardest thing in the world to watch someone come to Christ in a powerful way, to see God do so many incredible things in their lives, to live life with them in many ways and to give a part of your heart to them just to watch them walk away. I can’t explain the horrible emotions I experienced. I just wanted to throw up.
However, at the same moment that the emotions began to rile up within me, I was reminded of God’s unrelenting love and His irrevocable call. I was reminded that the battle is not over for this family; it is just beginning. I was reminded of the power of prayer and how the deep love I have for these people must set the hurt aside and pray powerfully against the enemy’s plan for them. I was reminded of how much I still believe in God’s dream for their lives and how I’m not going to be satisfied with what I saw yesterday. This is not the end of the story. I will not walk away dejected. I will walk straight to the throne room of God and wage war.
Is there someone you know that has chosen to walk away from the life God desires for them? Don’t stay in the place of sadness and defeat. The battle is just beginning! Commit to intercede for them like never before! If you truly believe that the light is stronger than the darkness, declare the light of Christ over his or her life. Allow the deep emotions you feel to propel you to a deeper level of intercession. This is war. You are Christ’s soldier. Now go fight.