We know that worry is sin. It is the opposite of trusting God. Philippians 4:6, 7 admonishes us, “Be anxious about nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you,” is a well-known verse for many of us.
Yet worry is one of the challenges we face when we need a big answer to prayer. Overcoming the temptation to worry is part of the process of receiving breakthroughs in intercession. The bigger the mountain of opposition we are tackling, the more pressure there is to worry and be afraid, both from our natural man inclinations and from hell.
Some of the current teaching about intercession says that we can pick up a prayer burden and lay it down at will and that we are to be carefree about the whole situation in-between-times. That’s nice, but not very realistic. I wonder if those who teach such things are at a much higher plane than I am (which is highly possible), or if they are talking about intercession for small things, not the in-your-face, desperate-need stuff. If intercession is supposed to be that light-hearted, I would like to come into living it that way sometime in the remaining decades of my life! (But it is not what I see Jesus, Paul, and Elijah experiencing in the Bible.)
I am not saying we should walk around looking dark and mopey, all the joy gone from our eyes, depositing gloom in our wake. But real intercession about weighty issues is not a cakewalk, either.
My personal experience is that when the need is large and is tremendously affecting those I love, I have a lot of overcoming to do to get to a place of faith and victory. But this is the important part: I get there.
How? How do we overcome anxiety over the problem? How do we get to the place of assurance that we are heard in heaven and that the answer is on the way? You’ve heard it before – “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We need to know the promises that God has given us about His will in situations and about answering our prayers, and we must apply them. Is there a financial problem? There are Bible promises that speak to that. Is healing needed? Deliverance? Salvation? All of those things are addressed in the Word. When we know what the Bible says, and that its promises are unshakable, we can develop our prayer confidence and win our battles.
I’ll tell you what I do. I read the promises aloud to myself and I pray them aloud to the Lord, because the Bible says faith comes by hearing. We can read them silently, and our faith will be built to a degree, but there is something about pouring the Word into our own ears. Both our eyes and our ears are entrances to our spirit-man.
I have a booklet that I use, because I can’t always remember where all the promises are found right when I need them. In it is a topical listing of Scriptures on subjects such as God’s Promises Shall Stand, The LORD Answers My Prayers, God Will Not Let Us Be Ashamed When We Have Hoped in Him, We Need Not Fear, Health and Healing, God Will Keep You Safe, etc. I compiled this booklet a few years ago while going through a horrendous three years of intercession for a desperate need. It has helped me and hundreds of other people to have the Scriptures we need easily accessible, so that we can obtain our victories. It’s called Encouragement from God’s Word, and you can purchase it at my website.
We can be sorely tempted and hard pressed to worry, but we don’t have to give in to it. Knowing that overcoming anxiety is part of the intercessory breakthrough process takes us a long way toward winning the battle. We don’t have to feel condemned for struggling with this. It’s normal.
So, what if I not only am tempted, but I actually give in to worry? Intercession has its ups and downs, moments when we feel like we are conquering the world and moments when we feel as impotent as wet noodles. Satan wars against us, attempting to weary our emotional staying power. There are phases to any battle, and sometimes it may look for a while like we’re losing ground. When we find that we have crossed the line from temptation into giving in to worry, we don’t need to throw in the towel and think all is lost. We simply repent of having momentarily failed to trust, and press back into the fray.
Next time we’ll talk more about building up our faith for breakthrough.
Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual