I haven't been writing for quite a while, but I do have a lot to say! Unfortunately life got in the way as it often does, and the PCInq suffered. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to get back to it! Here are some topics to look forward to in the next few blogs:
1. Holidays and Congratulations - A blog almost completely unrelated to the community at large!
2. ICV Growth and upcoming news
-- also watch out for my newly translated video about blasphemy in Pakistan from the experts views to be uploaded soon!
So let's get started with this blogs topic!
Some people may have seen via my Facebook stream, that in the beginning of this year I posted a lot about Aaron's breastplate and intercessory prayer... I’ve finally gotten the time to explain what I was talking about and here it is!
In November 2011 @ The Call Detroit, I learnt so many unforgettable lessons. I saw North American nations come together in an act of faith, to pray specifically for Detroit – it’s impact on the greater United States – their relationship with Canada – and in turn their broader effect on the world. That's a mouthful no doubt! But I think it’s important to understand how each distinguishing point is connected to the next, and how these larger concepts are in turn connected to the individual. When Jesus was crucified; when He died; when He rose and granted salvation to humanity: we have been blessed with that salvation through relationship. I.e. We MUST have a relationship with Christ in order to receive our salvation – as must everyone else who chooses it.
ABC’s of Christianity, I know.
Now when we pray for our homes – cities – nations – or even the world: we should remember that we are praying for individuals, each and every person. Without individual change – without individuals turning to God and seeking Him, the kind of change that our nations/cities/homes require is not possible.
*SIDE STORY!* It applies to the blog so I thought I'd share this...
When I was younger (quite like the news on TV these days), I would hear on CNN and the like, how the US was "going down" in one way or another (financially, socially, economically, politically) – but my mother, the sound voice of reason in our house would always say that “a nation with so many praying people will never truly fall”. Okayyyyyyy. So it may not be a biblical fact that the US is shatterproof – and like my younger self I am sure many will grimace and mutter things like:
"WHAT praying people?" OR "the US is FAR too immoral to be saved"
-- And I hear you, believe me. But what I know is that after a great many lessons I realized that the problem was not that "Christians” were not there: the problem was that my mind was not allowing me to see them. I attracted the crowds that flowed with my own thoughts. When I finally gave myself up and got to know Jesus, I asked the Lord to show me what He saw; to be led where He would have me. He led me right back to the body, and the body is strong.
“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You - Who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.” – Isaiah 64:4
If none but one person in this world would have it, God's love so indescribable, would remain ever steadfast for that one. That is the awesome nature of God’s love – and the sacrifice Jesus gave for us. Why we always say: "He died for ME". Thankfully though, there are many more than just one who believe this. So getting back to that conference; I want to tell you about how I learned to be an intercessor and pray for the individual.
Intercessor:- Mediator, a negotiator who acts as a link between parties.
Intercession:- the action of intervening on behalf of another; -- in our case saying a prayer on behalf of another.
In the wee hours of the morning, a Detroit area pastor took to the stage to lead us in an exercise – one for which it's important to truly understand the value and importance of acting in faith and on the word. (Probably later on I will further expand on this topic but for now I'll attempt to give a succinct reference in three points.)
- The first is just to say that Jesus prayed. Not pretend prayers. He never applied the vastly used theory that "God knows my thoughts so why bother”. Jesus took part in literal specific and real conversation with God the Father; showing His own relationship with the Father, as well as the important nature of fellowship regardless of circumstance (in His case that would be that He is the SON OF GOD). Not only did Jesus pray, but He prayed for us, He interceded on our behalf when we could not reach the Father; this is why we pray in Jesus name, because we are led by Him. So before anyone rolls their eyes remember: no one is above the act of prayer.
- “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” – James 2:26
- Thirdly, if you open up the bible it is FILLED with people doing literal things by faith. Think about Moses reaching out his staff to part the sea.. Did he actually part the sea? No GOD DID the work, but Moses acted in faith. Think about Elijah’s servant who ran seven times to find only a cloud the size of a hand; even for such a small sign they rejoiced. God blessed their faithful actions.
So this pastor came to the stage… and he taught us a lesson that began with his daughter. His daughter would often pray on her knees, talking to God about everything and everyone, specifically her friends and those she encountered in school. Many times people say that witnessing is more our actions than anything that we could say to an unbeliever; it’s by our fruits that we should be known. This daughter would live that, and she would come home and pray about it. She would step in the gap for the people around her, who did not have that relationship with Jesus; being unable to do so themselves she became their intercessor. Slowly but surely this girl saw the difference that those prayers made.
This may not always be the case though; God ALWAYS hears our prayers, and we may or may not see the fruit of those prayers, but He answers in the way that we need. When we pray for others, we lift them up to God and we may not see how that prayer works out for them, but it DOES work. A few months ago at our church a video was played... well I’ll just let the video speak for itself but its right alongside this topic:
So now that we know what we should do let’s dig into the bible and come up with a way to do it! The pastor from Detroit did just that and came across the story of the High Priest.
“Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord.” - Exodus 28:29
Aaron and his descendants were made high priest because man was unable to come into the presence of God. Still living in sin, and before the coming of Christ, a high priest was needed so that the Jews could go to God and pray, and ask forgiveness for their sins through sacrifice. Aaron wore the “names” of the 12 tribes of Israel over his breastplate in the form of their representative gems. You can read more about it in Exodus, but the key here is that he was able to God for those that could not. He was an intercessor, as Jesus became for us.
Now you know what I’m getting at here, to intercede – and why you, the salt of the earth should act as intercessors as part of the great commission; but the lesson on that day in November came with an exercise. The pastor taught us all a simple way of using what the bible taught to life people, specific individuals up to God, 12 at a time. It’s not necessary to do it this way but it definitely helped me to keep myself organized and remind myself to keep praying:
Split the 12 in this way; choosing 12 people that you know need God in their lives:
- 3 Family members
- 3 Friends
- 3 Coworkers, or if you don’t have coworkers then peers at school or neighbors
- And lastly 3 “Strangers” or people we aren’t personally acquainted with but feel the need to pray for.
Take a moment to think of these names and write them down immediately and keep them with you (the pastor kept his 12 in his wallet, I keep mine in my agenda) so that you can remind yourself and pray over them each day. The pastor talked about the way that his list had changed over the time that he started doing this and seeing the change in the people he prayed for, and it was a wonderful testimony to the blessings that God brings in not only our lives but those that we affect through our relationship with Jesus. If each one of us could but pray for 12, think of how much change that would bring!