Category Archives: Prayer

Getting Our Eyes in the Right Place

Higher perspectiveThis is a time when possessing spiritual understanding is a key factor for effective intercession and maintaining our inner peace. What is really happening around us, and what does God want to do about it?

A few days ago, I dozed off during prayer and had a split-second dream. It was very simple, and most of the revelation I gained was by looking into it further and inquiring of the Lord. Here’s how it went:

I saw a handful of pebbles being tossed into a mud puddle.

Not much to go on there! But I know that when I doze off in prayer, the quickie dreams I have are usually from the Lord, so I thought upon the dream and asked Him for understanding. Pretty soon, I was seeing more:

I could tell I was on a downward incline, looking toward the mud puddle. I now realized the pebbles had been tossed from behind me, but I didn’t see the person who tossed them. 

As I asked the Lord for the interpretation, He said, “I’m trying to get your attention. I’m back here. I’m behind you.” I then remembered that before I dozed off I had been praying about some very serious national events taking place, as well as troubling personal concerns. As I continued to ponder the dream, I realized that the mud puddle represented all those cares I had been bringing before the Lord. I had been looking downward, into the muck, instead of having my eyes fastened on Jesus, Who was above me on the slope. He was letting me know that He was there with me, behind the scenes, and that I needed to get my attention back on Him.

By throwing the pebbles into the mud puddle, He was also indicating that He was tossing His input into the mess I was praying about. Now, that’s a lot of revelation to get out of what started with, “I saw a handful of pebbles being tossed into a mud puddle.” The key was peering into what I had seen and patiently inquiring of the Lord what it all meant. He supplied the rest.

I have drawn on that dream in the days which have followed, reminding myself to look up toward the Lord, rather than focusing on the current muck we’re dealing with.

There are many voices harping insistently at us to focus on the circumstances, but we must put our hands over our ears and quit listening to them. Some of those bombarding voices are from the news media. Personally, I do not waste much time watching or reading editorial news. Most of it is not in sync with the Spirit of God, so why bother?

There are also certain prophets who have a tendency to release fear, doubt, and outright panic into God’s people — and that bothers me. The basic message goes like this:

“All this terrible stuff that is happening is the work of the devil.” [Yep! So far, so good.] “PRAY, saints, PRAY! Because if you don’t pray hard enough and long enough, the devil is going to WIN and we will LOSE!” [Translate that, God will lose.]

The message is not one of victory, but of fear. It dishonors the Lord by implying that God and the enemy are equally capable of winning the conflict. It also places all the burden — and blame — upon intercessors’ shoulders. Sadly, we’re buying into it. But the truth still remains: the battle is the Lord’s. We must not forget that. Ever.

Yes, pray. But don’t pray out of the panic these misguided prophets or your favorite news commentator are trying to create in you. Ask the Lord to give you His counsel, and pray what He says. We all need to calm down a bit so that we can hear Him.

Also remember that no matter what the current crisis is, the Lord is throwing His input into it, just like He was casting the pebbles into the mud puddle in my dream. Don’t look down the slope at the problems. Look up, behind you, where the Lord is standing, unruffled by what we see in the natural. Why? Because He knows what He is going to do about it.

Yes, the devil is unleashing havoc, but the Lord of Hosts is pulling the strings behind the scenes. He strategically uses what the enemy intends for evil to bring about righteous changes. This is God’s pattern, and we can look to Him with confidence that He will accomplish His purposes as we pray.

Do pray diligently. Just do it from the place of knowing Father’s heart, asking for His clarity of discernment. And do it without fear, knowing He is in control, and there are many of us out here praying along with you.

He will have His way.

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intercessor handbook

 

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

intercessor questions

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

The Invitation

The Name of GodI have been on a journey the last few months — a journey into the deeps of knowing the Lord. You may ask, “How is that unusual or new? Haven’t you talked about this a lot already? Weren’t you doing this before?” Yes, but it seems He thinks I haven’t yet scratched the surface, and I know He’s right. There’s more.

It started with Him saying, I want you to know My name.” In my obtuseness, I inquired, “Which one do you mean? There are so many!” I don’t think He was necessarily speaking of a particular name in the Bible, so much as knowing what His many names hold — the revelation of His nature.

He is I AM, and that encompasses volumes. Years ago, while I read about the first time He revealed Himself as I AM, in Exodus 3:14, He whispered, “I AM whatever you need.” That has stayed with me through the decades. I have drawn on it often.

But this time, it is not so much about knowing Him in multitudes of ways as my provider. It is about seeing into the core of Who He is. He wants to reveal His innermost nature, part of which involves His commitment to meeting our needs, but that’s only a portion. And it’s not just for me, but for all of His children who desire to know Him more deeply. We operate on such a low level of relationship with Him, don’t we?

Somewhere along the journey, He brought Jeremiah 9:23, 24 to my attention, and I can’t get away from it:

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom; neither let the mighty man glory in his might. Let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD Who exercises loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight,” says the LORD.

Think about this for a moment with me. The One Who humbles Himself to even look upon the things which are in heaven and earth (Psalm 113:6) actually invites us to understand and know Him. This is what we are to glory in — the privilege of sharing in the deepest, most intimate friendship with Him! The sovereign Lord of the universe says, “I want to reveal My innermost Person to you.”

As I’ve been meditating on this and telling the Lord over and over, “I want to understand how You tick; I want to know You like I’ve not known You up until now,” He continues to beckon and encourage, “I want you to know Who I am.”

Where will that go? Where will it take the one who responds? I haven’t a clue. I only know that He wants to reveal Himself to greater depths than we have yet experienced. It is the yearning of His heart. Ultimately, we will enjoy complete, unbroken fellowship with Him. Paul said, “Then I shall know [Him] even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). John said, “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). But we don’t have to passively wait. We can begin now. There is no possibility of exhausting the levels we can go to in knowing the Lord.

I invite you to pursue understanding and knowing the Lord more deeply than you have up until now. Even better, He invites you. Will you take up His invitation? He is waiting with His heart open wide.

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Names of God

 

 

The Names of God,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

God's nature

 

 

Before Whom We Stand:
The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God
,

by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

 

Praying from a Place of Weakness

Do you ever come before the Lord feeling like the puniest pray-er on the face of the earth? Sometimes we get the impression from prayer teachers that it is a shameful thing not to be a muscle-bound intercessor — because we’re prayer warriors, right?

Additionally, we’re frequently taught that we should never pray “up” from the place of earth toward the Lord, because He’s already delegated His authority to us. We are seated together with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), so we’re supposed to use our authority to legislate down into the earth from that position. Always decree downward, never plead upward, right?

Yet, I think if we’re honest, most of us experience times of frailty, when we don’t know where to begin, much less how to carry our prayer to a successful outcome. We’re not feelin’ our warrior status, and we’re certainly not sensing that throne solidly beneath us, are we!

It’s OK. You don’t have to give yourself an “F” in Prayer 101. There are many facets of prayer. Legislating downward from your heavenly throne place is one. Praying from earth upward is another. Both are biblical. In fact, until we’ve learned to pray upward, we’ll never be much good at legislating downward. Let me explain.

God does not scorn our weakness, “for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). Weak or strong, He answers us, for it’s about His goodness and our relationship with Him, not our ability. He sometimes deliberately puts us in a place of acutely knowing our frailty to help us recognize our deep need for Him. This is why He said, “God … gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7).

When we come before the Lord confessing our weakness and inability, reaching upward in our helpless state to Him, that is powerful prayer, because it fixes our attention in the right place — on the Lord. Indeed, it is the message of Psalm 121:1, 2: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, where my help comes from. My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”

God uses these times of weakness to bring us into yieldedness, where we submit to His limitless sovereignty and trust Him there. He teaches us to know Him as “He with Whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13) and “He Who ought to be feared” (Psalm 76:11).

The Lord doesn’t leave us in the place of weakness, though. As we pray through our doubts, fears, confusion, and need for Him, inch by inch we gain His strength and eternal perspective. He takes us into “building up ourselves on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20), which is, I believe, about using our prayer language. We get to the place where we see our situation as He sees it, so that we can, in the right moment, speak into it from our position of being seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Don’t beat yourself up when you feel your prayers are weak. Use your weak times to lean into the Lord for His strength. For His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and He receives glory.

________________________________

intercessor handbook

 

 

The Intercessor Manual

 

 

 

Bible verses for prayer

 

 

The Intercessor’s Companion

 

 

 

intercession questions

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

 

 

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.

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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