Category Archives: intercessory prayer

Knowing God’s Heart in Troubling Times

Annie OakleyIn recent weeks, I have been seeking the Lord for greater sensitivity to Him. I’ve been asking for an opening up of my spiritual senses (especially my seeing capacity), so that I can understand His heavenly perspective and be able to better discern what is of the Lord and what is not. I’d like to share with you what He has been speaking to me as an outflow of that prayer.

“The seers will see and know how to pray.” It’s interesting to me that the Lord singled out the seers, since the hearing gift is more dominant  in my life. Those of us who are primarily hearers or feelers (those who perceive God’s direction more by a deep knowing inside than by either hearing or seeing) can also draw on the Spirit’s promptings for prayer direction. But I also know that when I see something, it nails it more concisely for me. I am more sure of what I am receiving. Seeing is not superior to the other spiritual senses, but I believe God does want all of us to see more than we do. We should not be content with only using some of our spiritual senses. Therefore, I will be pursuing Him for more seeing.

intercessor handbookThe Lord mentioned that we would know how to pray by what we see. Seeing, hearing, and other forms of receiving are not just so we can have something spectacular to talk about. They are given for specific purposes, and a big one is so that we can pray accurately and receive answers. This is why I used Annie Oakley’s picture on the front of my book, The Intercessor Manual. Annie was a sharpshooter, and that should be our goal in prayer as well — to hit our targets as quickly and cleanly as possible.

Probably all of us still have moments when we aren’t sure how to pray, when we take some stabs in the dark. Because He knows our frailties and our limited understanding, God still answers many of those petitions, but the more we gain sharpshooter intercession skills, the less time we spend needlessly wearing ourselves out as we try to find our way in prayer. Honing our skills comes through listening to the Lord, which brings me to the next point.

God wants us to watch His body language carefully and respond to His slightest gesture. By that I mean being acutely aware of His smallest whispers, nudgings, and promptings. Psalm 123:2 illustrates this for us: “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until He has mercy upon us.”

It takes a lot of practice for a servant to know his or her master’s body language well. He learns by watching, by studying, until he can almost get inside his master’s head, so to speak. He knows what that twitch of the eyebrow, a certain glance of the eye, or an ever-so-slight sigh means. With the Lord, we can only accomplish this intimate knowledge by investing time in being with Him — by carefully reading and meditating upon His Word, and by waiting quietly in prayer. There are no shortcuts, special techniques, or three-point methods to speed up the process. This is about  “dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). It is costly to our flesh!

At this time, the Lord is looking to see who will be faithful. For many of us, our faithfulness will be measured by how we use our time — especially during this coronavirus lock-down season. If we’re forced to be at home more, will we use our extra hours indulging in recreational pursuits to relieve boredom, or will we heed His wooing to come away into the secret place of quietly waiting on Him? Will we pursue knowing His heart?

Extra time on our hands is not everyone’s story. Perhaps you have family at home who are not usually there all day with you. For you, faithfulness to the Lord might be measured in your patient and loving service to your children or spouse. If that is where you are at, be wholeheartedly faithful in caring for them. This is priceless in the Lord’s eyes too!

Each of us has specific opportunities to either ignore or follow the Lord’s promptings moment by moment. May we make the right choices, thereby pleasing and honoring our Father.

_______________________________

Prayer — Let’s Not Complicate It!

prayerIf you have been following Out of the Fire for a while, you know I like to provide practical steps to effective prayer, hearing God, and the gifts of the Spirit. That’s because it’s how I personally like to learn. “Show me how! Give me the down-to-earth scoop on this!” My goal is to share principles from the Bible which make whatever aspect of the Christian life we’re talking about as easy to grasp as possible.

However, I don’t want these how-to steps to become some kind of methodology. They are guidelines, not rules. God is not about formulas. He wants us to develop ever-deepening relationship with Him — a growing hunger for the “more” He invites us into and an increasing awe of His infinitely beautiful nature.

In my last post, I talked about the self-help mentality which has invaded the Church. Since the fall into sin in the Garden of Eden, we’ve had a tendency to insist on doing things for ourselves, rather than depending on the Lord. The realm of prayer is not exempt from this error. We want a method which will give us answered prayer every time, where, if we input the right stuff, God will automatically spit out the desired response. We like having everything neatly boxed and wrapped, don’t we?

As a result, teachings keep arising which promise us that magic prayer bullet. We saw it with the extremes some Word of Faith people got into: “Say it, and it’s yours.” “If you speak the right Bible verses over your situation enough times and with unwavering faith, you’ll have what you need.” Many people slipped from having faith in Christ and His Word into trying to have faith in their own faith. When things didn’t happen as they had hoped, they either condemned themselves, became disillusioned with God, or walked away from believing He does miracles today. (This does not mean everything brought by the Word of Faith movement should be rejected. I am only speaking of extremes that some got off into.)

A rapidly spreading fad in charismatic circles is the “courts of heaven” teaching. It depends on formula, personal experiences, and shaky application of Scripture coming from an Old Covenant law mindset. The basic premise is that you must know how to present your case in a heavenly court room. The reason you haven’t been getting answers to prayer is because you weren’t aware of the legal court system in heaven, so you didn’t present your case correctly there. Therefore, the devil has a “legal right” to hinder your petitions. Buy the books, attend the conferences, and you will learn how to “navigate the courts” to receive answers. Voila! You have your magic prayer bullet.

Various teachings on how to get breakthroughs are nothing new. Trying to find the cure to unanswered prayer has probably been a concern since the Church’s inception. Over the decades, I’ve heard lots of teaching involving lists of multiple conditions we must fulfill and step-by-step formulas for how to attract God’s favor. At its core, it’s really all about works, isn’t it? We hasten to say we are saved by grace, not by works, but then we attempt to live out the Christian life (including prayer) in a totally works-based fashion.

Here’s a simple hint: When your prayers become about you doing/saying everything exactly right, rather than about Jesus’ unlimited ability and eagerness to help, something is radically wrong. When you become fearful that you might not get your answer because you didn’t fulfill a list of qualifications, this is bondage.

So, how should we pray to get answers?

1. We listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading. That starts with a lifestyle of filling ourselves with His written Word. It is His primary way of speaking with us. Even when we listen for His voice in our hearts (the other thing we want to cultivate), much of what we hear will be drawn from the Bible. The Holy Spirit loves to bring Scripture and Scripture principles to our remembrance.

Maybe you’re thinking, “But I don’t know my Bible very well yet.” Just start reading it now. Trust the Lord to still help you, even if you are weak in this area. He will be your teacher, and He’ll make up for your inadequacies.

2. Lay aside your concerns that you might fail at praying rightly. You will make mistakes and have some false starts here and there. That’s just life on earth. Prayer is something we continually grow better at, especially as we come to know the Lord more intimately. But we will never do it all perfectly. We will always need to depend upon Him.

Your heavenly Father is compassionate toward your limited understanding, your emotions, and your fears about the outcome. Pour it out to Him. You might start out with prayers which are less than faith-filled, but as you continue to come to Him, He will get you there. Remember, this is not all about you. It’s about how big and completely able the Lord is.

3. Expect God’s course correction and move with Him. He will show you new angles on how to pray in any given situation as you persist in coming to Him. He will correct any wrong direction you start out in and get you headed on the right course, as long as you stay open to His leading and don’t stubbornly resist Him.

4. Ask Him for His input. “How do You see this? How should I pray? Please guide me.” What a wonderful opener! We don’t tell Him how it’s got to be; we ask Him how it’s supposed to be. This is part of staying yielded to Him.

5. Pray in your prayer language. The Holy Spirit knows exactly how to intercede according to the Father’s heart, so even if your inclination on how to pray isn’t exactly right-on, you will still end up praying correctly as you pray in tongues. It is direct communication between your spirit and the Holy Spirit, without the human mind getting in the way. It opens you to a greater understanding of the need and God’s desired conclusion to it, so that you become better equipped to pray correctly in your native language, too. Praying in tongues also builds faith, according to Jude 20: But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”

While we tend to complicate prayer, God does not. It is simply coming to Him, in all our inability, and asking Him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We bring Him our lack, our hope, and our trust. And we keep doing it. Psalm 62: 5, 8 says it best: My soul, wait only upon God, for my expectation is from Him. … Trust in Him at all times, you people. Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.”

If you would like to learn more about how to pray effectively, please take a look at the Article Series tab at the top of this site. You will find a wealth of info there. You might also find my books for intercessors (listed below) helpful.

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intercessor handbook

 

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

intercessory prayer

 

 

The Intercessor’s Companion,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

intercession, prayer

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Higher Ground

mesaIf you read at Out of the Fire on a regular basis, you know I often encourage intercessors to  wait on God for His perspective before launching into prayer.

A couple of weeks ago, we borrowed Higher Ground, a faith-based movie, from our library. We didn’t immediately watch it, but every time I passed that DVD case, those words, “higher ground,” caught my eye just a teeny bit. It didn’t really register, until I found myself humming the old Johnson Oatman, Jr. hymn by the same name. Finally the light dawned: “Aha! God is trying to speak to me!” (Side note: God often speaks to us in very small ways, but we miss His voice, because we’re just not paying attention.)

I hadn’t heard or sung Higher Ground in years, but once I understood God was drawing my attention to it, I looked up the words. They so aptly fit the concept of gaining God’s viewpoint. I have been meditating on the hymn since then, and I want to share it with you:

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Refrain:
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

(Refrain)

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

(Refrain)

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

(In case you’ve never heard this hymn, I’ve included a YouTube version of it at the end of this post.)

Higher Ground is the song of the overcomer. As the world around us becomes increasingly chaotic, we really must learn to live above it all. Ephesians 2:6 says God has “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

It’s also the song of the prophetic prayer warrior, concerning how we pray. We have a choice to make:

a.) Pray only from the natural realm perspective (as many habitually do), where “doubts arise and fears dismay,” praying from a position of fear, OR

b.) Go for the higher ground of God’s perspective, where we gain insight into what He wants to do in a given situation. Then, pray with confidence for His desired outcome.

Sometimes moving from the natural view to God’s view is a journey. We seek His face for what to think and how to pray, but getting His understanding doesn’t always happen rapidly. For me, it can be quite a lengthy process, but I keep inquiring, keep stepping forward in the little light I have. As I do that, more light shines.

During the period of time when I am still unsure how the Lord would have me tackle an issue, I pray a lot in tongues. As we pray in this way, the Holy Spirit releases wisdom about how to pray also with our understanding.

Like the song says, our aim is higher ground. We ascend the heights in incremental steps. But each time we ask Him for His perspective, we get a little more proficient in finding it. Over time, it becomes easier.

May I encourage you to go for the higher ground? It’s a powerful — and satisfying — place to pray from. When we do so, we are interceding in union with God, and that gets answers!

 

intercessor handbook

 

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

intercessor teaching

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Holiday Recovery Still in Progress

Portrait of My Dog, by C. J. Mulloy, courtesy of Morguefile.com

I hope you had a lovely Christmas! My husband Paul and I are still recovering. We stuffed an extra seven people, two of them rambunctious preschoolers, into our small, two-bedroom house for nearly a week. Whew! Not used to that. And try cooking for that army, when you’re used to dinner for two!

Add in all the extra flurry of the holidays, closing out our business books for the year, a year-end birthday thrown into the mix, and — well, you understand.

I hope to get back into more frequent writing mode soon, but in the meantime, I would like to share a few thoughts with you.

Reflecting on this past year:

I have been so very grateful to the Lord for three big breakthroughs we received this past year — all of which had been bathed in a lot of prayer for several years before that. Two were healing of relationships, while the third involved placing my dear 89-year-old mom in a nursing home, where she is now safe and happy.

The mom breakthrough was actually a series of little miracles falling into place very quickly. All my cares about various obstacles and what-ifs fell, one by one, to the wayside. We watched as the Lord met every need at exactly the right moment and in the best way possible. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say that things turned out TONS better than I ever could have imagined.

I want to encourage you, if you need a breakthrough (or multiple breakthroughs), keep taking it to the Lord. Don’t give up, even if it’s been a long, hard road. He’s mindful of your every concern, and He is working it out behind the scenes for you, even though you can’t see it yet and you’ve been waiting a long time already. At the right moment, your answers will appear — better than what you prayed for. Express your cares to Him, and pray into every detail on your mind, because none of them are too small to catch His notice.

“Ask, and it shall be given to you … for everyone who asks receives” (Matthew 7:7, 8) is real. But sometimes we also have to follow through on, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).

Oh, My Goodness!

“My Goodness” is one of God’s names (Psalm 144:2). It reveals His very nature. Lately, I’ve been focusing on Bible verses which talk about God’s goodness and His deep desire to bless us, because I want to get these concepts firmly rooted in my heart.

names of God, KJVWhile we would all theologically agree that God is good and that He wants to do good things for us, I suspect that most of us still struggle with being completely confident that He really will be good to us personally! The enemy loves to plant doubts in our minds about God’s excellent nature and His loving intent toward us. That deception has been going on since the Garden of Eden.

But the more we come to truly understand God’s nature — especially His goodness, mercy, and tender kindness toward us — the easier it becomes to trust Him through all things.

Here are the latest couple of verses I have been thinking on (but there are so many more to choose from):

Psalm 2:12“… Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

Psalm 3:7“… Your blessing is upon your people.”

Pursue knowing Him above all else:

Intercessory prayer is indeed important. Amazingly, God has invited us to partner with Him in bringing His purposes into the earth through intercession. We should take this commission seriously. But as urgent as this is, pursuing Him with the express goal of knowing Him intimately is even more important to Him.

We must never become “Marthas” more than “Marys” — even when it comes to prayer. It’s easy to get caught up in focusing only on interceding when we see the desperate needs all around us. But Mary found the “one thing needful,” and Jesus said it was not to be taken away from her (Luke 10:38-42). So, don’t let either the internal pressure you feel to intercede, or pressure coming from other prayer warriors, keep you from devoting time simply to the Lord’s Presence.

Pursuing Jesus together with you in this new year,
~ Lee Ann

intercessor handbook

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

pray the Bible

 

The Intercessor’s Companion,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Prophetic Intercession — Releasing Your Revelation

Hearing God speakIn our last post, we saw that God desires to share with us things yet to come. If you are an intercessor, the amount of time you spend with the Lord will most likely cause you to hear more about the future than believers who are not investing as much time in prayer. You are also more likely to hear about events which go beyond your personal life.

It has been said that, on average, intercessors hear two to three years ahead of schedule. Our advance notice can cause problems for us in the local church if we are not aware of this. Today, I’d like to help minimize those problems.

When we hear something from the Lord or experience a vision, it often feels like a “now” revelation because of its vivid intensity. The truth is, though, often it is not for the present. It is speaking of the future.

Typically, we excitedly contact our pastors with what we’ve heard or seen, especially if it’s to do with our local church. Meanwhile, pastors are often focused on the here and now: the day-to-day caring for their congregations, getting the next sermon together, short-term goals, and dealing with immediate problems. So, when we spring upon them an idea which doesn’t fit their current frame of reference, their response is, “That’s not God.” They may not tell us that, but it might be what they are thinking. The disparity between the “now” realm of our pastors and the “not yet” world of intercessors can create a tension-filled disconnect between the two groups. This is sad, because we have a lot to offer each other, if we could only learn to work together.

What can we intercessors do to help the situation? Here are some tips to make the road smoother:

Timing:

Wait on your word or vision for a few days before sharing it. Sometimes we release revelation too quickly, only to have God clarify and expand upon it, if we wait. Pray about whether this is the right time to share it. Proverbs 15:23 speaks to this: “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”  A word released at the right moment is so much more effective than a word shared either prematurely or tardily.

Right before or after a church service is not usually a good time. Beforehand, your pastor is focused on guiding the service and preaching. Afterwards, he’s tired and just wants to be done.

Your presentation skills matter:

How you preface your word or vision has a lot to do with whether you will be heard. “The Lord told me you need to do this,” and “God said the church’s direction needs to change” rarely go over well, even if you really did hear from God. Such approaches are not only annoying, but they sound arrogant.

A softer approach is more likely to be received: “Pastor, I think I heard something from the Lord. This might not be for right now, but I wanted to mention it, in case it will be useful to you down the road somewhere.”

When possible, share your revelation in writing. Pastors are almost guaranteed to forget what you said if you only tell them orally. They have too many other things on their minds. Keep a copy of what you share, and date it.

Ask for feedback from your pastor, but then let it rest. Give your word or vision time to play out. When it finally does, it probably won’t look exactly like you envisioned it, but that’s OK.

If you see your word being fulfilled at a later date, rather than having a smug “I saw that coming!” attitude, look for an opportunity to encourage and bring confirmation. Sometimes my pastor or someone else in the church had the same prophetic revelation as mine a year or more afterward. I approached that by saying, “Pastor, I was excited to hear what was spoken this morning. You may not remember, but last September, I shared with you that same thing! It was an encouragement to me that we’re both hearing this.”

This is one reason why it is important to write down what you hear and see, with the date, so you can retell it accurately. If you approach this with a heart attitude of wanting to serve, you will not sound like you are bragging, and your reiterated word will truly encourage your pastor that he is on the right track.

Make sure you know what sphere God is speaking about before you share:

Much of what you hear will be for you personally, especially if it is of a corrective nature. Don’t mistakenly project it onto others. While growing in hearing the Lord, we sometimes err by thinking we have a word for the church, because we haven’t yet learned to distinguish between personal words and words for others. Ask God to make clear to you which it is before sharing.

While learning this, several times I shared revelation which I thought was for our congregation, but it wasn’t taken seriously. In my discouragement over not having my words received, I became confused about whether I could even hear God accurately. I nearly gave up. But at the critical moment, the Lord brought some prophetic words my way from two well-known ministers. They matched almost exactly several things I had heard. I then realized that what I had thought I was getting for the local church had been about the American church as a whole. No wonder they hadn’t made sense to my pastors!

If you make mistakes, don’t give up. Keep on listening to the Lord. Ask Him to help you mature in releasing your revelation. If you maintain a heart attitude of humility and desiring to serve, over time, God will honor your efforts, give you favor, and make a way for your words to be heard.

intercessor manual, intercessor handbook

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

questions about intercession

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

As You Pray for America

hand with curled fingers

I am so encouraged by what God is doing across America within His Church. The intercessors are beginning to arise in greater numbers, and people are gathering together to pray with others for our nation. Finally, we are waking up out of our sleep!

As we see so much turbulence around us, this is not a time to fear, but to be confident in our God, Who is committed to answering the concerted prayers of His people.

In one of our prayer gatherings a few weeks ago, as we were entering into prayer for our nation, in my spirit I saw a hand, palm upward, with the fingers curled toward the center of the palm. And the Lord spoke that He holds victory in His hand. He said He would release that victory as we intercede together. He said we could pray with confidence in His willingness to pour out victory in response to our prayers. Our prayers uncurl His fingers to release His victory plans (which He has already decreed) into the earth.

Still, I found myself just a few days later feeling very low over what we were seeing in the news (during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings). But the Lord spoke to me again, “You must not let yourself get under the burdens. You must have confidence in your God.”

It is very easy to fear when we get our eyes and ears on what people are doing and saying. That’s not where we are called to be as prophetic intercessors. We are to stay focused on the Lord, eyes on Him, hearts set on His agenda. Sometimes there is a struggle in our minds to maintain that place, but we must keep coming back to it, if we falter.

We need to remember where the real battle is, too. It is easy to see people as the enemy we are battling, but never forget what Ephesians 6:12 says about this: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, … powers, … the rulers of the darkness of this world, … spiritual wickedness in high places.” While it’s a very familiar verse to many of us, we have to keep reminding ourselves of it, because it is easy to become angry with people, rather than understanding the underlying, root source. Yes, there are wicked people doing wicked things. But the evil spirits pulling their puppet strings are the real enemy.

With elections coming up soon and a vicious battle for a Supreme Court seat fresh in our minds, we must recognize that what looks like a political battle between Democrats and Republicans really is not. It is a spiritual battle for whether righteousness or evil holds this nation in its grip. It is about wicked spiritual beings wanting to have complete control over this nation. Please do not think I am saying one political party stands for righteousness and one for evil. It may sometimes look that way, but the war goes much deeper than that.

In our prayer gathering, we don’t pray against people or political parties. We pray for righteousness to be exalted in our land. While we don’t pray against particular people in government, we do pray that those who do not stand with Bible principles will be removed from office and have their influence broken, if they refuse to have a change of heart. We ask that people of integrity and righteous principles would be placed in government office and other places of authority. We plead for the people of our nation to come to Jesus, which is by far the most important result we look for.

How can we pray effectively in a way that releases God’s plans into our nation?

  • We can never go wrong by using Daniel 9:3-19 as our model. Daniel identified with his people in repentance, humility of heart, and fasting.
  • We pray according to what we see and hear by the Spirit of God, rather than only by what we see and hear in the news. This requires quieting ourselves and asking God for His counsel on how to pray.
  • We pray much in tongues. As we do, we grow in understanding what God intends to do and how to pray in agreement with Him. Romans 8:26 tells us, “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities [weaknesses and limitations]: for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us ….”
  • Use Scripture to contend for God to prevail. “It is written” is a powerful way to war.
  • Join together with others in prayer meetings. There is so much more power in the corporate gathering of intercessors agreeing together in our petitions. Jesus said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father Who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19, 20).

I encourage you to keep pressing in to the Lord until we receive the results He intends. God is eager to answer, as we place our confidence in Him and pray His purposes into our nation and the earth.

teaching on intercession

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Bible promises for intercessors

 

The Intercessor’s Companion,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

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.

intercessory prayer

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

intercession questions

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered,
by Lee Ann Rubsam