Tag Archives: prophetic intercessor

Thanksgiving: Gateway to Answered Prayer (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago, I shared in my post, Thanking My Way to Gladness, what I have been learning personally about the benefits of having a thankful heart.  Today, I’d like to go a little deeper into that topic, based on what I am continuing to learn.

There are many Bible verses that talk about thanksgiving.  We all know that we are supposed to thank God  for Who He is and for all that He does for us.  Sometimes we might feel a little guilty, knowing we don’t always remember to thank Him as we should.  Thanksgiving brings glory to Him: “…  that the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15).

But God has been showing me another dimension of thanksgiving, beyond it being our proper response to God’s goodness:

It is a gateway to answered prayer.

Scripture clearly links thankfulness with prayer, as we shall see.  I’m not talking about thanking Him once the desired answer shows up on our doorstep.  Of course we should do that.  I’m talking about thanking Him before the answer arrives.  There is a reason this makes sense.

Philippians 4:6, 7 tells us, “Do not be care-filled about anything; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

This verse is not only referring to thanking God for past answers or in a general way for His goodness.  Some people do that as a sort of ritual, to butter God up so that He will answer their current prayer.  That’s not sincere, and I have an idea that it grieves Father’s heart.  (How would you feel if your children cozied up to you and gushed all over you, just so they could get something out of you?)  Now, when I am petitioning God for things, I do thank Him for all His past faithfulness and for His goodness — but it is out of true gratefulness, not to hoodwink Him into giving me the next item that I want or need.  And it builds my faith to remind myself of past answered prayer, too.

Philippians 4:6 is actually talking about thanking Him for the current thing we are requesting.  Why would we do that, if we haven’t gotten it yet?  1 John 5:14, 15 gives us a clue: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”   We thank Him because the answer is already ours the very moment we ask — even though it may take a little time to evidence itself in our natural realm.  We have confidence that He has heard and has answered, because He promised that if we would ask anything in His name, He would do it for us (John 14: 13, 14).  We thank Him because our answer is already a reality.

Apostle Paul clearly linked prayer and thanksgiving together, in Colossians 4:2: “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” 

And when teaching on speaking in tongues, he had this to say: … When you bless with the spirit, how shall he who is unlearned say ‘Amen’ to your giving of thanks, seeing he does not understand what you are saying?  For you truly give thanks well, but the other is not edified” (1 Corinthians 14:16, 17).

When we speak in tongues, whether publicly or in private prayer, thanksgiving is at least part of what we are speaking.  When we use our prayer language as part of our petitioning, the Holy Spirit is releasing perfect prayers through us (see Romans 8:26, 27  and also my series, The Power of Your Prayer Language).  Much of what He is praying through us is thanksgiving, and although we cannot say for sure, it is highly possible that the thanksgiving we are thus sending heavenward is in connection with our current petition. 

Next time, I’d like to share with you a story in the Bible that further illustrates thanksgiving as a gateway to answered prayer.  It was something I had never seen before, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Next: Part 2

Intercession/Prophecy Questions and Answers

If you have questions about intercession, prophecy, or hearing God speak (not negative or mocking things about prophetic people, now — keep it positive), just post them as a comment.  Please keep it to one of these three topics.  I’ll review the comments, and then answer.  October 2015 note: This is an active post which I keep adding to, so keep the questions coming.

If I don’t answer immediately, it’s not because I want to ignore anybody.  I might need a bit of time to think or find the answer.  Other people can answer a posted comment, too.

Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated, so anything that is yucky will never make it to the public eye.

*********************************

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann RubsamLee Ann’s newest book:
Your Intercession Questions Answered

The ministry of intercession is often not well understood in the modern-day Church. Consequently, we have people who pray well and hear valuable information from the Lord, but have nowhere to turn when questions about their prayer experiences arise. This handbook explains intercessor terminology and tackles the issues which intercessors tend to encounter. It’s a valuable resource for pastors, too. 

*********************************

I’ve had a few questions come in that haven’t been posted as comments.  They are good questions, so I’d like to answer them here, too:

1.)  What is a “prayer language”? — It is simply another term for speaking in tongues during personal prayer.  There is the public gift of tongues, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10, and there is the personal use of it for prayer.  For more on this subject, please see my article, The Power of Your Prayer Language (Part 1).

2.)  How do I receive my prayer language?  — The clearest answer I have read on this comes from Kenneth E. Hagin’s book, Bible Faith Study CourseI really recommend this book for establishing and increasing your faith for whatever you need.  Here is an excerpt (condensed a bit) on how to receive your prayer language:

      The Holy Spirit comes in to live and dwell in you, and then you must learn to respond to Him.  And when you receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, He will give you utterance, but you are to respond to Him by doing the speaking.  Many people fail here, because they base their faith on physical evidence.  In other words, they’re not going to believe they have received the Holy Ghost until they speak with tongues.  That’s wrong.  They must believe they have received the Holy Spirit, then He will grant the utterance.

      …You believe and receive the Holy Ghost first, then you speak with tongues as a result of having received.  Some don’t understand that, and that’s the very thing that hinders many from receiving….

      That’s the very area where many folks stumble and miss it.  They think they’re going to speak in tongues and then believe they have the Holy Ghost.  But, you’ve got to believe it first.  You receive Him first. [Kenneth E. Hagin, Bible Faith Study Course  (Tulsa, OK: Faith Library Publications, 1991)   p. 41.]

So, we ask the Lord to baptize us in the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, we believe in faith that He does what we have just asked, and then we yield our tongues to Him and begin speaking in tongues in faith.  As soon as we start to speak, He takes over.   But we have to act on our faith.

If you would like further help, I have written a post to walk you through the simple steps to receiving your prayer language.  Go here.

3.)  Can my prayer language change? — Sure!  You may find that your prayer language shifts back and forth between several languages.  During special times of intercession, I often notice that my prayer language is different.  I have a friend who has separate prayer languages for personal use and speaking in tongues in the public setting.   God can do it however He wants.   All we have to do is be yielded and leave the details up to Him.

4.)  How do I know my prayer language is from God and not the devil? — Are you a born again Christian?  Did you ask the Lord to baptize you in the Holy Spirit?  Then He did, and you have to trust Him.  He doesn’t give us a scorpion when we ask for an egg.  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him?”  (Luke 11:12, 13).

5.)  I’m worried because my prayer language sounds funny.  — This is a very common concern.  You might never have thought of it this way, but English sounds funny to many people around the world.  We need to stop obsessing about how it sounds and just use it.  Do you have only one or two syllables?  It’s OK.  There are tribal languages made up entirely of one or two syllables.  Those languages depend more on pitch and voice inflection than on different syllables.   Is your prayer language made up of clicking sounds in your throat?  It’s OK.  This is also a verifiable tribal language.  I have prayed on occasion in this prayer language.  Trust God.  How weird it sounds to you is just more confirmation that the Spirit is praying through you.  You could never think this up in your own head!

6.)  What is the difference between a prayer warrior and an intercessor? The simple answer is — nothing.   We used to call ourselves prayer warriors, but intercessor is the current cool term.  The important thing isn’t what we call ourselves, but what we do — stand in the gap on someone else’s behalf and pull down the needed answers from heaven.  I use the terms interchangeably. 

7.)  What is a prophetic intercessor? — There are probably several definitions to choose from.  Mine would be “an intercessor who taps into the flow of Holy Spirit and prays according to what He reveals.”  This is as opposed to simply praying a prayer list that comes out of one’s own agenda and one’s own understanding of what is needed.  We all sometimes pray from our own understanding, because we are not yet perfect, but the goal is to pray His counsel and thereby receive answers that give Him glory and delight.

8.)  What is an apostolic intercessor?See my post by this title.

9.)  Are visions from God literal?  — They can be either literal or symbolic.  Sometimes it is obvious which is which, and sometimes not.  When we are not sure, we can ask God for wisdom, and He will liberally give to us (James 1:5).  For a more detailed answer, please see my post, Discerning Between the Literal and Symbolic.

10.)  Does God use nightmares to speak to us?  — He can and does.  Pharaoh’s dream about the cattle swallowing up other cattle (Genesis 41) was a disturbing dream, and it was from God.  Nebuchadnezzar had several dreams that were terrifying for him (book of Daniel), and these were also God-dreams.  I note that these kings were unbelievers who were being warned and/or given direction by God.   There are many other examples in the Bible, both OT and NT,  of God-dreams and visions that terrified.   They are meant to give us warning and guide us, so that the bad things do not happen.  If we listen to the directional adjustment in these dreams, they do not have to come to pass.  They are not meant to be fulfilled.

However, I do believe we should be able to tell the difference between a warning nightmare from the Lord and nightmares that scare us, but do nothing for us besides making us fearful.  Nightmares of that nature are demonic, and if they happen frequently, usually indicate that we have a door of entrance for the enemy into our lives — disobedience to God, occult activity in our past that has never been renounced (see my post, What Well Are You Dipping From?), pagan artwork in the home, etc.  We must ask the Lord where the door of entrance is (if we do not already know), and close that door.  Christians do not need to put up with demonic nightmares.