Category Archives: intercessory prayer

Discerning the Political Spirit

political protestIf you have not yet noticed, it’s time to pay attention. A political spirit is having a field day in America. It is stirring up strife and anger to levels we have not seen in many decades.

Sadly, Christians are not immune to its influence. Many in the Church are listening to the political spirit, all the while thinking it is the Holy Spirit. As a result, we see much bickering back and forth, even within Christ’s Body, as we mistakenly try to fight battles in the flesh which can only be fought adequately in the spirit.

Let’s start by identifying some signs the political spirit is affecting us:

  1. If it’s my political party’s stance, it’s right, do or die.
  2. Being a Christian and being a patriot are synonymous to me. (Patriotism is usually honorable, but since we are citizens of two kingdoms, an earthly one and a heavenly one, the time may come when we will have to choose between the two.)
  3. If my guy is in office, everything he does is right. He’s God-appointed and God-anointed, so he never takes a wrong turn.
  4. If it’s not my guy in office, he is open game. Start blasting.
  5. Key words trigger a dig-my-heels-in-the-ground stance, so that I cannot see any middle territory. I cannot hear a different viewpoint or see a perspective in between.
  6. If my favorite news outlet says it is so, it is. If I am a conservative, I cannot believe anything from a liberal source could be accurate. (If I am a liberal, I cannot receive anything from a conservative viewpoint.)
  7. I feel and exhibit anger and pride over where I stand. I argue with anyone of a different perspective until I win my point (or until they quit responding).
  8. I am afraid of any truth which conflicts with what I want to believe.
  9. I have an “us vs. them” mentality.

The political spirit can lead us into idolizing a particular government figure. It deceives us into replacing Jesus with human saviors. Once we have entered into this idolatry, anytime anyone voices a concern that the one we idolize may be wrong in a specific area, we get defensive and perhaps abusive in our rebuttal. We may twist the Bible to justify or minimize wrong — because the person we have on a pedestal must be viewed as always right in order for us to feel comfortable with our idolization of him or her.

On the other hand, the political spirit can also lead us into hating a particular government figure. We spend our time criticizing his or her every move. When anyone suggests we pray for that person instead of criticizing him, we make excuses or get defensive.

How do we become influenced by the political spirit? It gains our agreement by pandering to our soul. It manipulates our fears and selfish desires, so that life becomes all about making sure our comfort comes first.

It uses us by taking hold of principles we deeply ascribe to and twisting them for its own purposes. We bring those deeply held principles into how we pray, firmly convinced that we are on God’s side – when in actuality our understanding of the principles may be flawed. We may be misusing them for our own soulish desires or opinions.

Other spirits work in partnership with this spirit, but the Holy Spirit never does. We cannot follow the political spirit and the Holy Spirit at the same time.

The political spirit is nothing new. It was at work in Bible times with those who wanted to make Jesus a king so He would overthrow the oppressive Roman government. The Jewish religious leaders who were opposed to Jesus also exhibited it when they said to Pilate, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). It is not only at work in secular government, but also in church government. Wherever power can be wielded over people, it will try to work.

Combating the political spirit’s influence:

The most effective way to deal with this spirit is through prayer. We must always remember, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). If we don’t stay aware of the real source of the problem, we end up in futile contention with people who are merely tools of the enemy.

That does not mean we never engage in discussion or other activism. If we don’t speak up when the Lord is prompting us to, we allow evil to gain ground, but we must know the appropriate time and place. We can only know these things by the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Find out which battles the Holy Spirit is calling you to, and leave the rest alone.

Our battle must first be engaged by searching out God’s perspective through inquiring of Him in prayer. I might start by gathering information from news sources. (Keep in mind that both left- and right-leaning media distort or withhold information for their own purposes.) But then I ask, “Lord, what do You say about this?”

While we wait to hear from Him, we can begin to wage war by praying in tongues, which keeps us from praying fleshly prayers stemming from our own reasoning.

We can petition the Lord to break the political spirit’s influence off of our nation. This may involve asking Him to expose its influence over ourselves first, followed by repentance for our personal cooperation with it.

Discerning when the political spirit is at work in our own lives and in those around us is a first step in dealing with it. We can be set free, and through prayer, we can help to weaken this spirit’s hold on our nation as well.

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The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

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Your Intercession Questions Answered,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Recent Things God Has Shared with Me

prophecies for CaliforniaGod has big plans for the senior generation:

In a recent dream, I was reading Tales of the Kingdom, a book by David and Karen Mains. (It was a favorite in our family while our children were growing up.)

I noticed there were many silver objects appearing in the book, as well as a lot of references to silver. Then, an old man (silver-haired) hobbled toward me. He pointed his finger with classic prophetic emphasis, as he announced that the silver was appearing in the story because older people are going to play an important role in God’s kingdom in the days ahead.

It is common for the younger generations to be spoken of as having great potential (which they do). But the not-so-subtle implication has often been communicated that those of us who are older have had our chance, and it is now to time to hand over the baton, shuffle out to pasture, and let the younger people do marvelous exploits for the Lord. Many of us who are older have gradually resigned ourselves to never seeing the dreams which God planted in our hearts fulfilled, because our bodies’ clocks are winding down.

God does not see us that way, however. He is mindful of us and still has plans held in reserve for us. How He uses us could take many forms. One of the ways He will do it involves drawing on the wisdom He has imparted to us through the years. He will use this older generation to restore sound biblical foundations to the younger people who have not been well discipled. We are to be repairers of the foundations and walls of God’s kingdom, which have been neglected for a few decades.

While the seeker-sensitive movement and the motivational message, “You can be successful!” have become the centerpieces of our churches, the foundations have fallen into disrepair. Sound doctrine is sadly lacking. But in the wings, God has long been preparing people who are about to change all that – if we are willing to take up our mantle.

If you are older and you are well-grounded in the Bible, look for opportunities to be a spiritual father or mother to younger, less-grounded people. Maybe you can teach them about God’s character and principles, or maybe your gift is to show them how to know His voice. Perhaps you can help them discover their spiritual gifts and how to mature in them. Maybe you are an encourager – one who knows how to inspire people to press on when the going is tough and to be the best they can be for Jesus. Whatever it is, it’s your time. All you have to do is make yourself available to the Lord by saying, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.”

______________

For those who pray for Israel:

The Lord led me into prayer for Tel Aviv, which some would view as the “sin city” of Israel. He showed me that Tel Aviv would become a “hot spot” of awakening for the Jewish people. The seeds which have been sown into this city by evangelists and worshipers through several decades will germinate and spring up into sturdy plants of salvation.

______________

California:

I have been praying into California here and there for several years now. While many prophesy judgment and destruction over this state, God is not finished with her.

Recently I heard the Lord say, “God has an appointment with California.” I sensed that this was an appointment with awakening and a radical shift into seeing things God’s way.

The rumblings of God are taking place in California – spiritual rumblings of a good nature. I have felt more than once the prompting to pray for the homeless camps to become seedbeds of awakening.

California is the Lord’s, and it is truly a “promised land.” We will see it shift from being a place of great liberalism to being a place where righteousness is the order of the day for a majority.

“Can anyone hold back California? No!” says the Lord. “This land is Mine, and I will heal it. The sighs and cries going up from there have been heard.”

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Knowing When to Quit

prayer, intercessionOne of the things we must learn in our prayer journey is when we’ve finished the task and when we have not. The answer might seem obvious: when we get the answer we’re done, and if we haven’t seen the answer yet, we keep praying … right?

Not necessarily. There is often a time gap between when the answers are obtained in the spiritual realm and when we tangibly see and hold them in our natural realm. This can be confusing.

There was a time when I was praying into a very serious situation, and eventually the Lord spoke to me that the prayer task was completed. Yet, because I did not see a change in the natural circumstances, I thought I wasn’t hearing God correctly — because obviously everything was as bad as, or worse than, when I commenced praying! So, I kept praying, ignoring what I thought had been the voice of the Spirit. I figured I was just hearing goofy things.

The Lord was patient, however, understanding my human weakness and immaturity. He continued to assure me that I really was done, although I couldn’t see the desired results. I finally saw the answer show up in the material world a few months later.

At other times, I have erred by ending prayer too soon, because I thought I saw the natural circumstances changing. I thought, “Aha! That obstructing mountain has crumbled!” But then, the seeming breakthrough closed up again. The situation reverted to what it had been, and I had to go back over the ground I had already covered in prayer, even having to retake some of it from the enemy.

In both cases the mistake was the same — believing what my natural senses were telling me, rather than what the Spirit of God was either revealing or being silent about.

It’s a hard lesson for us to learn. Our natural senses are working hard for us at all times. We are keenly attuned to the material world. Our spiritual senses, however, are more subtle and require us to pay better attention. We have to practice using them and thereby build our spiritual muscle, just like it says in Hebrews 5:14: “But strong meat belongs to those who are of full age [spiritually mature], even those who by reason of use have their [spiritual] senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Maybe you are new at praying by following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The good news is, you don’t have to wait until you reach some mysterious future level of spiritual maturity in order to be effective in receiving answers. Even those who have been prayer warriors for years have to keep growing and learning. Experienced intercessors still make mistakes (at least I do!).

Just begin to be aware now of the time-lapse principle between the spiritual realm and the earthly realm. First, we obtain our desired answer in the heavenlies; second, we receive it here on earth. When you feel the Holy Spirit is letting you know that you have prayed enough, don’t second-guess it. Trust that sense or voice. You probably are hearing Him correctly. And when you are not quite sure if you have gotten your full answer, keep praying until you know it is firmly settled.

 Here’s a hint of how that works:

  1. When there seems to be no impetus to pray, and you try to keep praying anyway, but it all seems flat, that is a good indicator that you have completed the mission.
  2. If you still feel a nagging uncertainty about whether all is well, even though it looks great outwardly, keep on praying.

Do you have a story of how this worked for you, or do you have questions? Please share those in a comment!

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 4) — Prayer

spiritual discernment, prophetic prayerFor the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.  — Hebrews 4:12, 13

We can pray from our intellect (soul), or by listening to the Spirit and then praying what He prompts us to say. Many intercessors never get past their natural understanding — but we can learn, if we want to.

Most of us experience stressful times when we launch into prayer based on our own understanding — especially when we have distressing needs. As we continue to pray and cry out to the Lord earnestly from our hearts, He faithfully adjusts our prayers, causing anxieties to lessen and our faith to arise. These personal SOS signals we send heavenward are a normal part of prayer life. But they are not what I wish to address today.

Let’s talk, though, about learning to intercede from the spirit, rather than the soul, when the concerns  are not quite as pressing, whether we are solo-praying or with a group. Our goal, as I have shared in my book, The Intercessor Manual, should be to pray like sharpshooters aiming for the bullseye, rather than randomly spraying buckshot all over the county, hoping to hit something in the process. The key is shifting into prayer led by the Spirit of God.

A first step is identifying what Spirit-led prayer feels and sounds like, compared to how prayers coming merely from the intellect sound. This takes practice, but we can become more adept as we keep at it.

Let’s look at some telltale signs that we are praying from a soulish perspective:

1.) Our prayers exhibit fear. When we carry on in an anxious, “Oh, I hope You can do something about THIS, Lord” vein, we are neither discerning His power, nor His willingness to answer us. We end up majoring on a lot of what-ifs.

2.) Our prayers sound like we’re parroting news commentators and political analysts. These prayers are usually coupled with fear — because spreading fear through sensationalism is what the news media does best.

Fairly frequently, I get e-mails from prayer warriors who have worked themselves into a tizzy about reports coming in from news services and watchdog organizations. They plead with us to pray very, very hard to keep the latest evil plot from happening.

It’s easy to climb on their hand-wringing bandwagon, but if we take time to ask the Lord, He may tell us that we can rest easy on the issue everyone else is hyperventilating about. It is already a non-issue with Him, and we can invest prayer energy elsewhere. Just because a news commentator or watchdog group tells us something is serious does not mean it is. Remember, a lot of these “experts” are not Christians, and of those who are, many of them are operating from a soulish perspective.

What we put into ourselves is what will come out in our prayers, so if we make a conscious choice to severely limit the clamor of these voices, and invest our time in absorbing the Bible instead, we starve soulish praying.

3.) Our prayers are very general. These petitions sound much like one of the lines in Away in a Manger: “Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care….” Or, as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol said, “God bless us, every one!” I don’t mind either the song or Tiny Tim, but as a way to pray, this is not effective.

General prayers are easy to speak, because they carry no risk. They also have no teeth. With such all-inclusive, vague praying, we are bound to nick a few targets, even if we miss most entirely. But there is no way to measure whether we have received any answers. You won’t ever see a news headline screaming “PRAYER ANSWERED! GOD BLESSED EVERYONE IN OUR CITY TODAY!

4.) Our prayers exude unbelief. The prayer group is asked to petition for a desperate need, and just how dire it is gets explained down to the last detail. By the time the explanation is finished, what little faith anyone might have had has flown the coop.  From there, the whole tone of prayer becomes, “God, we’re asking because it’s the right thing to do, but we’re pretty sure already that You’re not going to intervene anyway, so Thy will be done.” It’s depressing — and it comes entirely out of a natural-minded mentality.

In Mark 9:14-29, Jesus told the father of a boy with an unclean spirit, “All things are possible to him who believes.” If we don’t have faith that He will answer, like that father, we should admit our unbelief and ask Him to fix us. We need to take steps to align our spirit with the Holy Spirit and then make our request.

5.) Our prayers are against people or people groups. If our prayers carry an attitude of hatred, or are asking for harm against someone, they extend beyond being soulish to being devilish. This should be obvious, but apparently it is not, as I have heard them prayed from time to time in gatherings I have attended. There is often a tone of anger accompanying such prayer. Pastors are criticized brutally. Minorities or people of different political, moral, or religious persuasions are prayed against and referred to as “those people.” Ahem!

If there are evil people holding political power, pray for God to deal with them His way. Ask Him to soften their hearts. Often it is best to pray for the removal or restraint of the specific evil itself, rather than going after the person(s) perpetrating it. Remember, our warfare is not against people, but unseen spiritual powers (Ephesians 6:12). Whenever we forget that, our praying goes awry.

We can also ask the Lord to remove those who need removing and raise up better people in their place. But don’t curse anyone or pray harm upon them. Let God deal with the when and how. We should take a lesson from the story in Luke 9:51-56, where James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven on a Samaritan village. Jesus rebuked them, saying, “You don’t know what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of man has not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

These are five identifiers of soulish praying. No doubt there are more. If you can think of any, would you please share them in a comment?

Next time, we will talk about how to identify and shift into prayer coming from a Spirit-led perspective.

Previous: Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 3) — Prophecy
Next: Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 5) — Prayer

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The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

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Personal Spiritual Warfare — Intro

We who are intercessors often tend to think of spiritual warfare as an external thing, where we achieve prayer victories for others. We war on behalf of individuals, cities, states, people groups, our nation, and even international situations. But what we often fail to understand or deal with is personal spiritual warfare.

The enemy initiates frequent (even daily) assaults against us in his attempt to render us incapable of carrying out our James 5:16 mandate, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Most of these attacks do not announce themselves with drumroll and trumpet fanfare. They are subtle, meant to distract us or steal our peace and joy. And if we aren’t paying attention, we can easily miss what is really going on.

The greatest spiritual warfare any of us will ever encounter is what rages within our own minds and emotions. We must learn to overcome in this personal arena, for, if we neglect to fight our battles there, we will eventually be rendered ineffective in intercessory prayer as well. The good news is, once we are conscious of the war within and are actively committed to engaging in it, we are already on the road toward winning it.

Perhaps a good place to start is by making sure we’re ready to go to battle. Soldiers go through extensive training and preparation before entering the battlefield. Doing a spiritual health checklist can be part of our preparation. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I invest time in simply being with Jesus, or does all my prayer life revolve around intercession?
  • Do I absorb and meditate on portions of the Bible daily?
  • How is my thought life? How much does it look like Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true … honest … just … pure … lovely … of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things”?
  • Am I holding offense and bitterness in my heart toward anyone?
  • How do my thoughts and words line up with 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (the “love chapter”) on a regular basis?
  • Do I carefully monitor what I allow into my inner being through my eye- and ear-gates?

In the coming series, we will examine our personal spiritual warfare task in detail, using Scripture as our anchor. I will also share some practical tips I have discovered through the years for how to gain the victory. As we learn to effectively deal with our own inner battles, we become stronger and more able to take ground for the kingdom of God.

Next: Part 2 — Where Did That Thought Come From? 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

Praying into Current Events

“Preach with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.” It was a popular saying years ago, which eventually morphed into, “Pray with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” among intercessors. Pray the news is one of the methods intercessors are still frequently encouraged to use. It has its place. We should be aware of what is going on in the world around us.

However, intercessors can wear out fast, praying about every current event (or supposed current event) that they see in the news and on social media. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Fox, etc. all thrive on the next big story, and if they can’t find one happening on its own, they manufacture something sensational out of what little material they have. The enemy of our souls uses these things to distract prayer warriors into engaging in lots of anxious prayer scattered in a bazillion directions … for things which are really nonissues from God’s perspective.

We’ve probably all heard that it’s important to choose our battles. If we fight on too many fronts, we lose. So, when there are apparent causes for concern, our first question should be, “What do You say about this, Lord?” He may tell us, even in the face of something which looks like a big deal, not to trouble ourselves about it at all — that He’s already taken care of it. If we ask Him first, and wait for His answer, it will save us a lot of useless care and wasted energy.

Part of the enemy’s spiritual warfare strategy is a smoke and mirrors deception. “Smoke and mirrors” is an idiom derived from the magic tricks illusionists pull off, where things seem to appear or disappear through the clever use of mirrors and sudden puffs of smoke intended to distract the audience. The expression has come to mean that reality is hidden, blurred, or blown out of proportion through half-truths or irrelevant information.

That’s exactly what Satan does. He uses partial, inaccurate, or overblown information, often dispersed through news and social media, to divert intercessors from the truly vital conflicts. He presents numerous false battlefronts to our eyes, attempting to convince us of their urgency. That way, he keeps us from mobilizing where our prayers are genuinely needed. He’s been pretty effective in using this tactic, too! Because we are constantly running in this, that, and the other direction, putting out fires, we are exhausted before we even get to the real deal!

God does not want us to be in a distracted tizzy all the time. It’s easy to go there, based on the mountains of natural information available all around us, but we must resist the urge to pray mainly by what our natural senses are presented with. Instead, the Lord wants us to calm down and listen for His marching orders. If we do that, we’ll be ready and available for the strategic prayer locations where we are actually needed. We’ll do the damage and gain the major victories we’re supposed to have.