Category Archives: Encouragement

We Will See What the King Will Do

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“My Wonderful Tiara Again!” by Taku, via Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Many years ago, while in the midst of praying into a serious situation, a distinct snapshot picture came to my mind. It was a vision, but I didn’t know it then, not yet having been taught how seeing in the Spirit works.

In the picture, a king was seated on his throne. Next to him sat a beautiful, black-haired young woman, with a simple tiara circling her head. Her hand rested on the king’s arm, and her gaze was fastened on his face. It was a picture of quiet trust and confidence in him.

And I heard the words, “We will see what the King will do.”

The vision, of course, was a picture of King Jesus and His bride. It was also a picture of my relationship with Him. It was a great comfort to me, and it helped me to put the problem I was praying into in a better perspective. Through the days and weeks after that, I repeatedly thought, “I will see what the King will do about this.” Eventually the trial was over. Everybody came out of it OK. Jesus made a way where there was none.

Through the years since then, this vision has continued to live and breathe its truth deep in my spirit. Many times, as I have prayed with others about their desperate situations, I have told them the vision and have encouraged them, “Let’s see what the King will do.” Many of them have also come through their fiery test. The King has acted on their behalf, too.

We live in difficult times, and many in the Body of Christ are experiencing very distressing circumstances. I am praying with several loved ones right now who need the Lord’s miraculous intervention. There is no way out for them, other than His supernatural provision and direction. The ability to fix things through human logic and practical maneuvers has come to an end for them. And after praying with them, I have once again said, “Now we will see what the King will do in this.”

The messes we need help with are not always our own fault. Other people’s actions can create a lot of trouble for us. But even when we have no one to blame but ourselves, the King is still eager to fix our problems for us. He is in the salvage and restoration business.

Some of us have damaged our relationships, our churches, and our personal destinies because we have tried too hard to fix impossible circumstances ourselves, rather than bringing them to the King, Who can fix all things. We’ve been unwilling to wait for Him to work, and have made foolish mistakes from a position of panic, when rest in Him was what He was really after.

The Lord often deliberately takes us to the end of our abilities so that we will lean on Him, much as the young woman leaned on her king’s arm in my vision. He lets us wear ourselves out and do all the screaming, kicking, and crying that we tend to do in our flesh. Then, when there is no more fight left in us, He leads us to the place where we give it all to Him, broken and beat up though it may be.

Isaiah 30 talks about the place God wants to get us to: “Their strength is to sit still” (v. 7), and, “In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (v. 15).

If you’re fighting one of those no-way-out, beating-my-head-against-a-wall types of battles, the King wants you to come to Him. Sit down next to Him as His Beloved. Put your hand confidingly on His arm, and fasten your gaze on Him. Remind yourself, “I will see what the King will do for me in this impossible situation.” He will refresh you and give you new expectation for better things to come. He may open your eyes to a solution you had not thought of before, or He may put things in motion to clear up the problem without you having to do a thing. However He chooses to do it, He will certainly act on your behalf, for nothing is too hard for the King.

Angels in Charge

Today, I’d like to share a story which illustrates God’s supernatural intervention on behalf of ordinary people who belong to Him.

My family and I were on our way to an eagerly anticipated revival service at our church. We stopped at a busy intersection with a particularly blind corner — a light pole on one side and a fence on the other. In order to see the traffic coming from both directions, it was necessary to pull a few feet past the stop sign.

As we waited our turn to cross the intersection, to my sudden alarm, a driver turning left onto the street where we were stopped cut his turn way too sharply. He had not noticed until it was too late that he was turning directly into the path of another vehicle, and he was making a last-second, desperate (but futile) attempt to avoid a collision. Of course, there was no time for us to back up and get out of his way. We just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The oncoming car did not have time to stop, and smacked the left-turner broadside, spinning him around. As they crashed and spun, I tensed and shut my eyes, fully expecting that we would be caught up in the accident as well.

It took a few seconds to realize that the impact never came. We had heard the squeal of the tires and the screech of tearing metal, and thought we were part of the collision. When I opened my eyes, one of the cars was resting just a few inches from our front bumper. My husband got out and walked about, looking for damage to our vehicle. We were completely untouched.

It was then that I noticed our position. Before the accident, our car had been nosed out in front of the stop sign. Now we were resting about fifteen or twenty feet behind it. We gazed at each other in amazement, realizing that we had just experienced God’s supernatural protection. If our car had remained where it had been, the driver’s side of our vehicle would have been struck with violent force, and we could have been hurt badly.

We realized that there was no logical explanation for our deliverance other than that God’s angels had moved in, picked us up, and put us down just far enough back to keep us out of harm’s way. Truly, we had experienced firsthand the promise in Psalm 91:11, 12: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, so that you do not dash your foot against a stone.”

Do you have a story of God’s miraculous intervention in your life? Why not build the faith of others by sharing it as a comment?

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer — Obtaining and Letting Go (Part 2)

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. — Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6

four-seasonsLast time, I said that God may require us to let go of our cherished desire in the process of obtaining it. Or, He may allow us to briefly obtain, and then ask us to give it back to Him, as a test of whether He has our whole heart. The letting-go process requires great trust in the Lord. 

God is not in the business of giving us things just so that He can cruelly snatch them away from us again. When He gives a promise, He means it, and He keeps His word. When the test is complete, He rescues, restores, or resurrects the promise He has given us. The test itself serves to build our character, strengthen our faith, and build our love relationship with the Lord even more, so it is entirely for our good. 

I believe prayer is intended to bring forth answers in our earthly life. I believe in supernatural healings, and I’ve seen many. Both of those are the norm, not the exception. But some of you have experienced the loss of a loved one for whom you diligently prayed for healing. Or your spouse left, and you prayed for the marriage to be restored, but he or she married someone else. You believed and prayed diligently, and then you faithfully gave it up to the Lord, but the answer did not come. That’s been on my mind throughout writing about the obtaining and letting go season. 

You may have been told you didn’t obtain a desired end because you or your loved one sinned, you did something wrong in prayer, didn’t pray enough, or didn’t have enough faith — which is a lot like what Job’s friends said to him, and in his case, they weren’t correct.

Ideally, healing comes, or the marriage is restored, or whatever else the need is gets resolved, as we pray it through. Diligent prayer, trust, and relinquishment obtain the desired deliverance within our natural world. But even the greatest men and women of faith, seasoned in prayer and in wielding the promises of Scripture, have not always seen it work out “right,” so to speak. Among those who suffered personal family tragedy in spite of prayer were intercessor E. M. Bounds and healers John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, and Derek Prince. 

There are things that happen for which we do not have answers — yet. Eternity will provide a better ending to the story. I don’t have a pat answer. Those who think they do usually end up adding to the wounds. But, in praying this article through, I think the Lord showed me a perspective which I hope will help bring relief to some of you who are suffering under deep disappointment. 

We tend to see our breakthroughs, restorations, and resurrections as being confined to our present earthly age. There is a dividing veil in our minds between the time spent in our mortal bodies and the eternal life to come. But that veil does not exist in God’s perspective. He sees our life now, and He sees our future, immortal life. He sees our time on earth, our time in heaven, our time during the coming millennial reign of Christ on earth, our time in the future new heaven and new earth age. As we pass through these various stages, it is all one continuous timeline for Him. But because we know so very little about anything beyond our current life on earth, we don’t see it the way He does. 

When we pass through into eternity, that dividing veil of the mind will no longer hinder our understanding. We will discover that our breakthroughs, restorations, and resurrections were a reality all along. We will find that all which seemed lost has been reserved and stored up, completely intact, for us. Our loved ones in the Lord are not really lost to us; they are waiting for us, alive and well, and our separation from them, although it seems so very long now, is a brief moment on our entire timeline. 

In the meantime, the Lord cares deeply about every question and disappointment we suffer through. He understands that although the end is perfectly clear to Him, it is not to our earth-bound minds. And He is most compassionate toward our pain. 

He’s got a resurrection awaiting — not only physical resurrection of the dead, but also resurrection of those promised things which didn’t happen here in this life. He has not really failed you. It’s all there, and you will receive it — even with accrued interest — on the other side.

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer Intro  
Previous: Obtaining and Letting Go (Part 1) 
Next: The Season of Faith 

 

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer — Obtaining and Letting Go

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. — Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6

four-seasonsOne of the mysteries of prayer is that obtaining sometimes only comes by completely letting go. God is loving and good at all times, but we often don’t like to remember that He is also exacting. He requires that we withhold nothing from Him. 

God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. After waiting, believing, and probably investing much prayer into the promise for twenty-five years, Abraham received the beginning fulfillment. Isaac was born. Abraham obtained his son through phenomenal endurance, and he loved Isaac dearly … and then the Lord asked Abraham to give Isaac back to Him (Genesis 22). I don’t like that story very much. I understand the typology. It is a picture of Father giving His only Son for us. But I still don’t like it. 

Every one of us will go through times of testing when God will put His finger on a promise, a desire of the heart, and say, “Will you give that to Me?” It may be something we have already obtained through precious prayer, or it may involve something not yet obtained, for which we have labored long and in which we have invested much love. 

To understand why God does this, we must be aware that His perfect nature is many-faceted. Although He is our most loving Father, He is also the supreme Potentate of the universe, and as such, He demands complete allegiance. Relinquishing all is a test of our fear of the Lord. He already knows whether we will pass the test before He gives it to us, and He equips us with the ability to succeed before He tests us, but the test is still presented. 

Letting go involves submitting everything to Him, knowing that He is perfectly capable of rescuing us or our cherished object, perfectly capable of resurrecting whatever dream we entrust to Him, and yet realizing we face the risk that He will not intervene to rescue or resurrect. It is a defining moment of saying, “Lord, You promised me this, and yet I give it freely to You, to do with as You like — even if You don’t restore it to me.” That takes great trust, but it is a trust that He will honor, here on earth, and eventually in eternity. 

We see Job giving God this kind of yieldedness, when he said, “Though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood absolute relinquishment as well. When faced with the fiery furnace, they were aware of God’s promises in the Word to rescue His faithful ones. But look what they said: “Our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if He does not … we will not serve your gods” (Daniel 3:17, 18). They were committed to putting their very lives completely at the Lord’s disposal, and whether He helped them, or whether He let them fall, they were totally His. Now, He did help them, just as He rescued Abraham from actually sacrificing his beloved Isaac, but it was a real risk of trusting in the face of the unknown for each of them, just the same. 

Perhaps you are in a time of desperately needing an answer from the Lord. You’ve fought hard and done all that you could to obtain. You have believed and declared all the right Scriptures. Like-minded, committed prayer warriors have been solidly agreeing with you. You have prayed it through in the Spirit. Your faith grew along the way to a point of feeling unshakable. And yet you are at a real crisis point. 

Sometimes letting go removes the last barrier to obtaining the answer. You might need to say from the depths of your heart, “Lord, I’ve done all I could, to the best of my ability. Now it’s up to You. Whether I live or die, and whether what I’ve been praying for lives or dies, I will trust You.”

Relinquishment is a key to breakthrough. You may see immediate results. Or, there may be a death of your promise or petition that requires a resurrection, for which you must patiently wait and trust. God does it both ways. 

Now, I know some of you have experienced a devastating loss. You did not receive the rescue or restoration which you had hoped for, and your faith is pretty well shattered. I’d like to share a few more thoughts with you in the next post.

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer Intro  
Previous: Breaking Down and Building Up Seasons 
Next: Obtaining and Letting Go (Part 2)

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer — Breaking Down and Building Up

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to break down, and a time to build up. — Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

four-seasonsBreaking down and building up seasons are common to all of us, and they can affect many areas of life. We may enjoy a long period of building and flourishing in a particular environment, with ministry or vocational assignments and relationships which are satisfying. But the time comes when work or ministry doesn’t seem to be thriving anymore. We feel like we’re stuck, with no wind in our sails, and the joy and enthusiasm for what we’ve always loved doing or being a part of is gone. The tendency at such a time is to wonder what we’re doing wrong. Or, we might start finding fault with others around us, because things just don’t seem to be humming along smoothly like they once did.

If you are doing your best to walk in Christ-like integrity, but life has shifted into feeling frustrating and stagnant, you may have entered a season of plucking up and breaking down which has been orchestrated by the Lord. God is intentionally loosening ties with that which is familiar, in order to catapult you into something new that He has for you. This is usually an uncomfortable season, to put it mildly! It is often referred to as a season of transition.

If you are an intercessor, you will probably encounter plucking up / breaking down seasons not only in a general sense, but in your prayer life as well. What you once loved to pray into becomes hard to trudge through. The interest simply isn’t there as it was in the past. The tendency at such times is to blame ourselves and to feel guilty: “Why can’t I concentrate on interceding about ______ like I used to? I should be praying about it!” “I’m not being very effective in prayer. What is the matter with me?” It could be that nothing is the matter with you. Most likely your job in that area is done, and God has a new prayer calling on the horizon for you.

The good news is, a breaking down season will always be followed by a building up season. It may take time to see it unfold, but God never leaves us empty-handed. He is not a God of destruction. Rather, He “redeems your life from destruction,” according to Psalm 103:4. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Breaking down and building up is a principle way in which God works, in our personal lives and right up into what happens at an international level. If we understand this, we will be much more effective in partnering with Him in intercession.

A couple of years ago, while praying for America, I had a vision of an ax chopping away at a huge tree root. I then saw a broom sweeping foundational pavement stones clean. But the foundation itself was solid, and was not broken up. Right now, many things in our nation seem to either be broken or on the verge of breaking. It is a temptation to pray out of reaction to the troubling symptoms which we see with our natural eyes. However, if we listen to the Lord to find out what He is doing (in this case, He is in the process of sweeping the foundations of our nation clean of deterioration and corruption, so that He can rebuild what He had originally planned) we will pray differently, and much more effectively.

As well, the entire world is breaking down. But the Bible tells us  this is part of God’s plan, so that He can establish a new heaven and a new earth under His perfect, righteous Lordship. If we have the right focus, we will not be perplexed in the midst of these things. We will be confident in the Lord, rather than wringing our hands in anxiety.

Many of us are desperately trying to hang onto an old order and pray for it to be fixed, whether in our personal lives or on a larger scale. We must learn to understand the times in which we live and pray accordingly with wisdom — discerning whether it is a time to repair what is broken, or whether it’s time to anticipate and pray into the “new” which God is desiring to put into place.

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer — Intro
Previous: The Listening Season 
Next: Obtaining and Letting Go

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer — The Listening Season

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. — Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 

four-seasonsThe Lord may take us into a season of spending the majority of our prayer time simply sitting with Him, enjoying His Presence, and listening for His voice. This is a season where we petition less and give Him the opportunity to talk more, if He chooses to. 

At the beginning of this year, the Lord spoke to me about entering a focused time of dwelling in the secret place of His Presence. This was to be a time of listening at His feet, of ministering to Jesus alone by abiding in Him. He said that being still and listening for Him is a high form of worship. And He added that even if He didn’t speak during these extended times of quiet with Him, it was still going to be important, because ministering to Him is enough. Spending the bulk of my prayer life sitting with Him in listening mode was going to mean far less time spent in intercession — but out of that time would come more effective intercession in fewer words. There is good basis for this in the Word, for Jesus told us in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” Pinpoint-accurate, effective intercession comes out of the abiding place.

You may find your listening season to be a delightful time of ease in prayer. But, particularly if you have a strong drive toward intercession, you may find it difficult to follow through with staying quiet. You may be tempted to flee the quiet place in favor of shouldering burdens and laboring hard in prayer, just as you have done in the past.

Quite honestly, it proved to be a hard season for me. I am used to being a prayer laborer, and I have always had a hard time not spending the bulk of prayer in interceding — until now. Even though I knew this was to be a time of listening and just sitting with the Lord, I wanted so much to pray at length for a number of pressing needs. But the Holy Spirit wasn’t giving the impetus for it. I continued to faithfully fulfill prayer commitments — the prayer group my husband and I lead, prayer at specific times when our pastor was engaged in ministry — but when I engaged in personal prayer, the joy and enthusiasm for most intercession was gone.

During this time, I experienced occasional guilt feelings about not interceding a lot: “Lord, the country is in such a mess. I should be praying for the nation!” But the Spirit wasn’t in it, and I couldn’t do it, although I tried. There were other concerns as well, for which normally I would have prayed at great length. But most of the time, all I could do was throw a few sentences upward about those needs, and then I was done. I had to realize that God had other intercessors who were not in the same season I was, and He was capable of using them to pray. The world was not going to rise or fall on whether I interceded.

I had identity questions: “Lord, have I lost my calling as an intercessor?” “Why can’t I pray like I used to?” “Will I have anything to write for intercessors if I am not spending all that much time interceding right now? “Why am I on the shelf like this?” “Will I ever get off the shelf?” And although it was a listening time, I had not been receiving huge amounts of revelation, either. Even though the Lord had told me ahead of time that it would be like this, it was still an uncomfortable season for me.

Your listening season may not be like mine. You may receive abundant revelation during it, and your connection with the Lord may be thrilling. Whether you feel its fruitfulness in the midst of it or not, God will bring good things out of it. I noticed that He used this time to bring strongholds in my thinking to my attention, so that I could overcome them. My hunger for the Lord seemed to increase, and my faith in His integrity deepened, although I didn’t have tangible explanations for why that was happening.

Whatever results come forth from the listening season, it is primarily not about what we get out of it, but about ministering to the Lord’s heart. Because He is so generous, He will see to it that we benefit from this time in some way. Yet, if there were no advantages coming forth to us, it would still be enough to lavish ourselves on Him.

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer — Intro
Previous: The Contending vs. Resting Season (Part 2)  
Next: The Breaking Down and Building Up Season 

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer — A Time to Contend, a Time to Rest (Part 2)

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time of war, and a time of peace. — Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7, 8

four-seasonsIn the last post, I stated that there is a time to contend for answers to prayer, but that there is also a time to rest. If we never rest from contending, especially when the wait is long, we end up wearing ourselves out, our hope and faith become depleted, and the desired fulfillment becomes our god.

By nature, I fall entirely into the contender camp. I take hold of things in prayer like a bulldog. So, I speak from personal experience about what happens when we don’t rest. I’ve learned a few things about contending and resting in the process of making a multitude of mistakes.

I mentioned in the last post that when God has newly revealed something to us or has begun to form a new desire in our hearts, with that there is initially a great urge to pray into what He has shown us. This is not merely our own natural enthusiasm fueling prayer, although that is part of the picture. The Holy Spirit is assisting us in jump-starting the whole prayer process which will ultimately bring to completion whatever goal God has planted within us. As we pray, especially in our prayer language, the Spirit builds our faith toward the desired end, and He continues to reveal details of what is to come and how to pray into them. Our intercession removes obstacles which stand in the way of fulfillment and partners with God to put the pieces in place. Along the way, the Holy Spirit encourages us and reassures us that the Father will surely do for us exactly what He has spoken.

But as time wears on, we can get tired of waiting, tired of the battle. If you notice that you are fretting and fearing, and the resistant circumstances are looming larger than what the Lord has said, one of two things must happen: either you must press through the doubt, or else it’s time to take a break — maybe a long break, a season of rest.

How do we know when to power on through and when to rest? There are a few indicators we should pay attention to. You may have a feeling inside that you’ve prayed all that can be prayed. The Holy Spirit does not seem to be fueling prayer on that subject anymore, even though you don’t yet sense that your breakthrough has come. You may have more of a desire to worship than to intercede, or God might shift your attention to something else He wants you to pray about for a while. Don’t fight those senses. The Holy Spirit is trying to tell you something. If He wants you to power on through and keep praying, He will let you know. He will keep on bringing you back to prayer about it and He will fuel it.

Those who know you best may notice that you are striving, not according to the Spirit, but according to your own flesh. They may see that you are careworn and losing your joy, and may caution you that it’s time to rest. Please listen to them. They love you and can see objectively, while you cannot.

You may feel that emotionally you cannot carry on. Then don’t. It is wisdom to know your limits. When it doesn’t feel healthy to carry on, just don’t. Release it to the Lord. If you’ve gotten to the point of emotional exhaustion, releasing it is usually what He wants you to do anyway.

There comes a time when you have done all you can do. All the prayer that can be prayed has been invested. The situation may look entirely hopeless, and yet it is not. The prayers already prayed are secretly working on your behalf. Most importantly, God has not forgotten. He is still working under the surface. He Who keeps you is ever mindful of you and does not sleep on the job (Psalm 115:12; Psalm 121:3,4).

This is the time of Ephesians 6:13, 14: “… Having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having your waist girded with truth ….” It is also the time of Hebrews 4:3, 9, 10: “For we who have believed do enter into rest …. There remains, therefore, a rest to the people of God. For he who has entered into His rest has himself also ceased from his own works ….”

How do you enter that season of rest? By simply saying, “Lord, I can do no more. It is up to You now. I release it to You, and I believe that You will still do what You said. I’m going to rest in You and let You ‘perform all things for me,’ according to Psalm 57:2.” When you do that, something supernatural takes place. The Lord Himself graces you with faith-filled rest. You gradually become filled with a confidence in Him which is unshakable.

During that period of rest, the Lord will at times shift you back into contending, as it is needed, and then take you back into rest again. Whenever we have a weighty  promise or prayer emphasis, the process is usually lengthy, and God will often swing us back and forth between the contending and resting seasons before we reach the fulfillment. Flowing with the Spirit and letting Him direct which season we are in is part of coming into our maturity as intercessors. He will be faithful to get you there.

Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer Intro
Previous: A Time to Contend, a Time to Rest (Part 1)
Next: The Listening Season  

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam