Tag Archives: visions

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.

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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. 

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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.

Hearing from God Through Dreams (Part 3)

God doesn’t always give us an immediate interpretation of our dreams, and this is another reason it is good to keep a journal.  As we reread our dreams, sometimes He drops understanding into us months down the road from when we first had the dream.  Why?  Perhaps events had to unfold in our lives before the dream could become relevant to us.  It could be a matter of maturity in our understanding.

Early in my experience with this type of revelation, I had a dream that explained specifics of what my primary function in the Body of Christ was to be.  There were many details, and the Lord explained most of them to me immediately.  Some details seemed important, but were held from my understanding for another two years.  I read through that dream often, and continued to ask about the unexplained details, and eventually the interpretations were given.

Dreams with recurring themes are particularly important to pay attention to, even if they seem a little silly.  Over a two month period, I dreamed four times about turtles in various situations.  God did not tell me right away what the turtles symbolized, and dream books and people I knew who were familiar with dream interpretation were not able to help me with this one.  I like turtles, so for me, turtles are connected with happy things.  I pondered the turtle dreams before the Lord many times, asking into them, and eventually understood that they represented blessings and God-promises in my life.  The Lord then showed me what He had been speaking about my promises in each of those dreams.

Dreams can be either panoramic, full-blown stories or snapshot pictures of one simple scene.  I sometimes doze off while praying, and when I do, I’m likely to have snapshot dreams from the Lord.  Even the snapshots can be full of important details.  Here is an example:

I had been praying for favor for my husband and myself – God’s favor and also a particular person’s favor.  In a snapshot dream, I saw a man in brown uniform running up to our front porch.  I just saw him from the back as he got to the porch.  I immediately awoke, startled.  I understood from the brown uniform that he was a UPS driver, and then had this conversation with the Lord:

“Lord, what was that?”
“He’s bringing you a package.”
“What is it, Lord?”
“Favor.”
“Is it God’s favor or So-and-so’s favor?”
“It’s both.”
“God, You know that first and foremost I want Your favor!”
“I know that, and that’s why you can have the other one, too.”

Some of the details of this dream continued to nag at my mind over the next couple of days, so I asked more questions, and got more revelation:

The UPS man was running to show haste. God said we would get this favor quickly.  The package was left at our door – which meant I needed to actively receive it, to take it in.

I asked, “Lord, why was the package left at the front door?  They usually leave it at the back door.”
“It is front-door favor, not back-door favor.  It will not be done in secret.”

A week after the dream, we were given great favor by the person I had prayed about, and it definitely happened in a public manner.  It was also something we could have rejected, but chose to accept.

If you haven’t yet explored hearing from the Lord through dreams, I encourage you to get started now.  Ask Him to speak to you through this avenue, and be serious about recording your dreams and asking into their interpretations.  Those of you who have difficulty hearing from God in other ways may even find that dreams are the key that unlocks the door of revelation for you.  You will want to expand into other ways of hearing from Him, but dreams are a great place to start.

Previous: Hearing from God Through Dreams (Part 2) 

New Dream Interpretation Series (2013)

Christian dream interpretation workshop

 

Hearing God Through Your Dreams (CD set or mp3). by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! (CD Set or mp3),
by Lee Ann Rubsam

Hearing from God Through Dreams (Part 1)

Dreams.  We all have them, but most of us don’t pay too much attention, other than to tell the more bizarre ones to our friends.  Yet, dreams are an important vehicle which God uses to speak to us, and if we are not paying attention, we could be missing out on valuable revelation.

Not every dream is from God, and therefore not all of them need to be heeded.  Some dreams are merely out-workings of our emotions and imaginations and may be a way our minds process things we have gone through.  Some of them are actually demonic in nature.  We need to learn the difference.

It is possible to have demonic dreams (usually nightmares).  These tend to cause fear of supposed future traumatic events, fill us with horror, or portray a situation in an untrue light.  It is possible for any of us to be harassed by such dreams on rare occasions, but when our lives are in order with the Lord, demonic dreams should be very infrequent.  Christians who are tormented by them generally have some kind of open door in their lives that needs to be shut — through renouncing sin (even long-past sin), through cleansing the home of objects that could hold a demonic presence (such as idols or artwork from countries where witchcraft and pagan worship are a way of life), through applying the blood of Jesus to themselves and their homes, or even through deliverance ministry, if necessary.

There are dreams that just don’t mean anything —  the “too much pizza before bed” kind.  They are generally one confused scene merging into another.  Possibly, they are a way that our minds naturally clean house and relax.

Dreams from the Lord distinguish themselves by being purposeful and striking enough to stay with us.  They are not confused, although they may seem bizarre, and are often less complicated than dreams which are imagination-induced.  God-inspired dreams are usually very symbolic in nature.  What you see in them is not the whole story of what they mean.

Dreams are one of my favorite ways of hearing from the Lord.  The neat thing about this form of revelation is that we can’t help what we dream, so we don’t need to be concerned, “What if I’m just making this up because I want to?” as we could with a vision or word.  Since we don’t have control over what happens in them, there is no reason to feel guilty if negative elements appear.  Interpretation of a dream can be manipulated, but the dream itself cannot be.  We should keep in mind that although a dream cannot be controlled, it may not present absolute truth either, because some dreams are only the out-working of our emotions and internal issues.  That’s why it becomes important to discern whether the dream is from the Lord or not.

God often uses dreams to say things that He can’t get through to us in our conscious hours, perhaps because we get busy and don’t listen, or even because we don’t want to hear something He wishes to speak to us.

Even those of us who think we never dream can be hearing from the Lord during our sleeping hours.  Sleep labs have shown that everyone dreams, but sound sleepers often do not remember their dreams.  God does speak, even in the unremembered dreams.  This is why we sometimes experience going to bed with an unsolved problem on our mind, and when morning arrives, we know exactly what to do.  God has been giving understanding during the night hours.  It is probably why people with major decisions to make often choose to “sleep on it” before making a final move.  God in His great mercy helps even nonbelievers with their decisions in this way, because He is concerned about their destinies.

Next time, I’d like to talk about how to maximize hearing from the Lord through dreams.

Next: Hearing from God Through Dreams (Part 2)

Christian dream interpretation workshop

 

Hearing God Through Your Dreams (CD set or mp3). by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! (CD Set or mp3),
by Lee Ann Rubsam

Just for Intercessors: Bearing the Stones (Part 12)

In Exodus 28:9-21 we read God’s instructions to Moses about two parts of the high priest’s apparel.  He was to bear two stones upon his shoulders, one on each side.  The names of six of the tribes of Israel were inscribed on one stone, and six on the other.  In addition, he was to wear a breastplate with twelve more stones attached, this time each stone inscribed with the name of one tribe.  As the high priest carried out his duties in the tabernacle, in a symbolic way he bore the people of Israel with him before the Lord.  Verse 12 says, “… Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.”  It was a symbolic type of what intercessors do when they carry others before the throne.

I had never thought about this until, one day, the Lord brought it to my attention.  My pastor and his wife were very much on my mind, even though I needed to pray about some other things right then.  I said, “Lord, You know that even when I am not specifically praying for them, I carry Pastor _______ and ________ into the throne room with me.  They’re always with me, and I want to constantly remind You of them.”  Immediately, the high priest bearing the stones with the engraved names upon his shoulders came to mind.  I then remembered that in my early days as an intercessor, a prophet had prayed for me that I would have strong shoulders to bear the weight of the intercessions I would someday carry.  For quite a few days after, whenever I went to prayer, I “saw” myself coming before the throne with the high priest’s stones upon my shoulders, and I understood how important my intercessions really are.

It was sometime down the road from that revelation that God spoke to me about the stones on the high priest’s breastplate, and that not only did I bear my pastor and his wife upon my shoulders, but upon my heart as well.  Having the priestly calling to bear those we are interceding for upon our hearts is the reason why we love the ones we pray for so dearly.

As an added thought on an entirely different line, I have an idea that the reason that Jesus said, “Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44), was because He knew that we can’t help but love those we pray for.

This wraps up the Just for Intercessors series.  I hope that you have found something here that will be useful to you or that will confirm what you have already personally learned from the Lord.  If you have any questions, comments, or additional insights, I’d love to hear from you.

Previous: The Pastor Specialty (Part 11) 

NewIntMan100

Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

 

 

Prophecy (Part 4): Discretion — Keeping it to Ourselves

One of the reasons that prophecy leaves a bad taste in some people’s mouths is the lack of discretion in proclaiming prophetic words.  We must be careful to deliver a pure word, clearly differentiating between what God actually said, and what we interpret from what He said.  We must also discern between what God is speaking literally, and what is symbolic – and when we are not certain which is which, we should wait on God for greater understanding.

When we receive words for our local church which go beyond encouragement and comfort, they should never be prophesied directly into the congregation.  Words which address the direction or vision of the Body should be brought to church leadership for discernment.  While they are being discerned by leadership, we must treat them as top secret, and wait for the go-ahead to share them.  This means we shouldn’t talk about them with other intercessors or prophetic people, or share them over coffee with our best friend, either.

We can save leadership a lot of time, and save ourselves a lot of grief as well, by making absolutely certain we are hearing from God, and that it is His intent for us to share it, before releasing our word to them.  Again, we must be careful to clearly state what was actually seen or heard, and what is merely our interpretation of what was seen or heard.

Did you know that not every prophetic word is meant to be shouted from the housetops?  Some prophetic words are for prayer purposes only, especially when the words are of a negative nature.  If you think God is communicating to you that something bad is going to happen to someone, please do not immediately go tell the person!  If what you are receiving is from the Lord, 99% of the time it is given so that you can pray that the bad thing won’t happen.  It never needs to be released to anyone.  God’s intent is not to fulfill such a word, but to avert it.  And if you pray that God would avert it, and the prophetic word is then never fulfilled, you did not hear God inaccurately; you did your job, and God’s purpose was accomplished.  Amos 7:1-6 tells of two incidents where the prophet Amos received visions of destruction for the sole purpose of averting those disasters through intercession.

A few years ago, a prophetic person in our area had a vision that within two weeks’ time there would be severe illnesses, calamities, and even deaths among several pastors of our community, and that this was a judgment from God.  The vision was shared with a few intercessors, some of whom confirmed that they were hearing similar things.  I was quite alarmed when I was told of this vision, and expressed that, if it truly was a word from the Lord, God’s will was to pray mercy and a staving off of judgment for those pastors.  A few of us prayed diligently for protection for them over the next two weeks, and at the end of the two weeks and beyond, we did not hear of a single pastor in our community having had calamity come upon them.

Several things were wrong about how the vision just mentioned was handled.  Very likely, it was never from the Lord in the first place.  The intercessors who “confirmed” the word were closely tied together and had similar unhealthy issues with the person who released the word.  Secondly, such a word should never have been circulated among other intercessors.  If released at all, it should have been taken to the prophetic person’s pastor and left up to him whether to pass it to a select group of discreet people for discernment.  Instead, it became a matter of gossip and eager anticipation of its fulfillment.  Thank God the prophecy never came to pass!

When we receive a prophetic word, especially one that concerns our local church or our community, we need to wait on God and ask questions such as, “What do You want me to do with this word?”  “Is there more You want to tell me?”  “Should I keep it to myself and pray about it, or should I release it to my pastor?”  “When do You want me to release it?  Give me Your wisdom on timing, Lord.”

Sometimes prophetic people receive, or think they receive, a negative word as a warning for someone else: “If you do not repent, then such-and-such will happen.”  Although this can legitimately happen, it is rare and is usually reserved for the mature prophet.  God will not often give such a word to someone who is not already in relationship with the person being warned.  Such words must be weighed very carefully before releasing them, and the prophet must make sure his or her own heart is clean from all personal ill-feelings toward the person they are prophesying to.  It’s amazing how many times “words from God” are really only our own issues coming to the forefront.  Repeat: legitimate prophetic warnings for others are rare.

Using discretion in holding onto or releasing our prophetic words will save us from much grief and embarrassment.  Discretion will protect the body of believers from confusion, offense, fear, and disillusionment (from a word not being fulfilled).

Next time, we will talk about misuse of the prophetic.

Previous —  Prophecy (Part 3): Discerning Between the Literal and Symbolic
Next — Prophecy (Part 5): Misuse and Abuse

The Intercessor Manual

Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

Out of the Fire Ministries