The ARC (Association of Related Churches) Is Planting Churches, Looking for Flowers and Scoping Out Demons

"There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite." C. S. Lewis link


Summer Day

What is the Arc?

The ARC is one of the most ambitious and prolific church planting organizations in the United States. It is increasing in influence internationally. Each of the following points are covered in the links in this post.

  • They are not Reformed
  • They appear to somewhat charismatic.
  • They have a particular penchant for getting rid of demons. 
  • All member churches are ruled by a small group of *overseers.*
  • They seem to believe in swift in swift forgiveness and return to the pulpit for pastors who have affairs.

Here is a link to an overview of the ARC organization: Building the ARC – An Overview of this Church Planting Network.

The organization maintains an annual funding base of $2 million dollars with ARC churches giving over $8 million a year to missions. Today, over 400 churches strong, ARC has become not only a movement, but a collection of many “tribes” – all with a focus of planting those 2000 churches and impacting the world!"

Here is a link to the home page of the ARC.

Today, some of ARC’s church plants have become the largest and fastest-growing churches in the USA. Thousands of people make a decision to follow Christ and are baptized in ARC church plants every year. ARC church plants give over $15 million each year to missions. ARC’s global impact is growing rapidly, through hubs like ARC Ireland, ARC Australia, ARC Canada, ARC South Africa, ARC Netherlands, ARC Italy, ARC Asia, ARC Brazil and more being formed continually. Having planted over 600 churches, and with hundreds more partner churches, ARC has become not only a movement, but a collection of many “tribes” – all with a focus to see a life-giving church in every community in the world.

Who runs the ARC?

Here is a link to the leaders of the ARC called *The Team.*

Particularly influential members of The Team (or what we like to call the *A* Team:

Greg Surratt, Chris Hodges, Dino Rizzo, Scott Hornsby, Rick Bezett and Stovall Reems.

Another particularly influential pastor is Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Texas. More on him shortly. 

Here is a link to A Closer Look at Pastors in the ARC.

Chris Hodges and Church of the Highlands (COH) have some rather odd ideas on the influence of demons.

Here are a couple of posts we have written on this subject. 

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Demons, Tongues, and Healings at Chris Hodges’ Church of the Highlands (ARC)

Demons, tongues, Shirley McLaine and raising from the dead-all in a days work for Chris Hodges’ Church of the Highlands

The ARC’s Church of the Highlands Prayer Force Leader’s Guide and Analysis

The entire Prayer Force Manual Training Guide is at the end of this post and will stay up permanently. If it disappears due to intereference, we will still make it available if you send us an email. We received our copies from a number of former members of COH.

Robert Morris: Seeing demons everywhere

ARC’s Robert Morris: Paul Preached “Under the Influence”

ARC’s Robert Morris Recommends Books By Neil Anderson Who Says He Was Bitten By Satan

Pastorcentric: Looking at the ARC and Robert Morris Thru Chris Hodge’s Church of the Highlands

Dino Rizzos' fall and swift restoration

Dino Rizzo, Stovall Weems, and Steven Furtick: Banking on the ARC?

Other ARC related posts

Did You Hear the Weird Story About Pastor David Pursifull’s Resignation from the ARC’s Building Church?

Personal Experiences with ARC’s LifeWay Church of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Peter Wagner and Mt Everest’s Queen of Heaven: Towards Understanding Groups Like the ARC



Prayer Force Training Leader’s Guide

Table of Contents

Chapter

Page

Introduction

Week One – The Highland’s Vision

Section One – The Vertical

Week Two – The Presence of God

Week Three – Capacity for His Presence

Week Four – Worship

Week Five – The Lord’s Prayer

Week Six – Tabernacle Prayer

Section Two – The Horizontal

Week Seven – The Power of Agreement

Week Eight – Authority in Prayer

Week Nine – Spiritual Warfare

Week Ten – Healing and Fasting

Week Eleven – Ministry

Week Twelve – Commissioning

 

 

2

 

 

16

28

38

48

60

 

 

78

88

97

113

128

143

Highlands Vision

Week One

Purpose: to support Pastor Chris Hodges in the vision that God has given him for Church of the Highlands. 

Introduction

You’re an intercessor. What does that mean? Does it mean you attend a weekly prayer meeting with a handful of peaceful Christians and pray through prayer requests around a circle? Or is there more to it than that?

 In this small group study we’re going to delve into what it means to be an intercessor. We’re going to learn what it means to align ourselves with God’s vision for our church. We’ll spend some time focusing on and cultivating the most important asset we can acquire as intercessors:  the presence of God. We’re going to study prayer formats and outlines that will help us get started in a lifestyle of prayer.  We’re going to discover the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of the word, and the power of agreement. Then we’re going to decide what we want to do with our gifts – how we can serve our pastor and our church as intercessors. 

 In each section of the study, we’ll learn how to practically apply the teaching. Our goal is that we never become religious in our methods, but connect with the heart of God. 

Swayed By the Wind

We’ll begin our study with an overview of the vision of our church set forth by our pastor, Chris Hodges. Each church has a specific calling and vision.  As intercessors in the church we want to align ourselves with that particular vision.      

Write out John 3:8. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

 

 How do we know we are following the wind of the Spirit of God? There are great prayer resources and vibrant prayer ministries available to us that woo us in many directions. We can get involved in various noble causes such as praying for evangelism across the world, serving in healing ministries, honing our prophetic gifts by following great prophets, or confronting demonic strongholds in our city. We might be interested in heading up prayer walking in our community, joining with other parents to pray against ungodliness on our schools, or marching on Washington to war against injustice. Where do we begin?

     Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God (Psalm 92:13). We begin our role as intercessors by getting planted and rooted in the local church which God ordained as the primary source of ministry to the world. We will flourish and see souls added daily, miracles, healings, and deliverances if we take the time to go through seasons of planting, watering, pruning, and storms as the plantings of the Lord in His house.  We want to be deeply rooted so that we produce sweet fruit.   

 Intercessors are a part of the body of Christ, His church. Our pastors provide covering that will protect us. Intercessors are drawn to the fire of God wherever it is.  But when we’re a part of the body, we can do more than we can on our own.

 Under the covering you will have opportunities and support.  In the church are counseling and financial resources, credibility, influence, blessing, and anointing.

 John 3:8 says we are born of the Spirit. When we are born of the Spirit of God, we live by spiritual principles. Three of those principles are submission, faith, and humility.

1.  Submission:  We willingly submit to our pastor and desire to serve him.

Read Hebrews 13:17.  Why do we want to submit to our leaders?Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”                                                                                                    

2.  Faith:  We walk by faith and not by sight. It takes faith to follow and support our pastor because we don’t know where the wind of Spirit has come from or where it is going, but we are asked to follow a human being who is dependent on the Holy Spirit for direction and success.

Even many of those who followed Jesus as His disciples didn’t have faith to endure. “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." (John 6:63-64)

Read the verses that follow these words of Jesus in John 6:66-68.  How did Peter respond to Jesus’ question? “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’

Humility: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:1-3). Choose the lowest place as a servant in God’s house.  There is power in laying down our lives for Him and others.

Write out and meditate on Matthew 10:39.” Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

A Covering for Our Pastors

In submission, faith, and humility, we lay down our own agendas and become watchmen for our pastors and the ministries that they oversee.  

1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be self-controlled and alert because our enemy, satan, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. His main target will be our leaders because of the influence they have. We want to “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” as we are told in Colossians 4:2

Intercessors are the watchmen for our pastors and our church. Read Isaiah 21:6-8 and explain the role of an intercessor by drawing analogies from watchmen in a war.  “What the Lord says to me: ‘Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees. When he sees chariots with teams of horses, riders on donkeys or riders on camels, let him be alert, fully alert.’ And the lookout shouted, ‘Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post.’”

Our Great Commission

More than any other purpose for our church, we are called to be a Great Commission church that reaches the lost and equips believers to do the work of ministry. 

2000 years ago when Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He gave instructions to those who were watching.  Today we call those instructions the Great Commission

In Matthew 28:18-20 circle the action words from the commands that Jesus gave the church. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Jesus was saying that after having given His life for ours and conquering the devil and the power of sin, He now had the keys that gave Him all authority on the earth. He then told His church, including us, that He is giving that authority to all of His disciples.

Write out and meditate on John 14:12. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Jesus wanted our ministry to be even greater than His own ministry while He was on earth.  That’s why at the end of His time here, He willingly gave His authority to human beings and said, “Go!”  He wanted His disciples to change the world and reach people everywhere. He desired that people all over the world come together in local churches and be baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He wanted His disciples to teach others to observe what He had commanded them – to pass it on so that new believers would go and do it themselves.  Then Jesus said if His disciples would find this mission and live it out, He would be with them until the end of the age.   

 Church of the Highlands has as our mission those simple instructions from Jesus.  We have enjoyed His presence and life-giving anointing as we have purposefully done what He commissioned us to do. We will to do everything it takes to stay on mission. Why?  Because we will continue to depend on His presence in our church!  

 In Colossians 1:28-29, we see the Great Commission stated in another way:  “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”

As we enter the next season of Church of the Highlands, we  intercessors will be focused on the four elements of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20 and Colossians 1:28.  We’ll be learning how to pray more effectively by studying different prayer formats and topics that will enrich our prayer experience personally, but we will study with this goal in mind: to successfully intercede with all kinds of prayers so that He is proclaimed to everyone! Our church doesn’t exist for us. It is organized for one reason – to reach people at every level of spiritual growth.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we’re told that we are not our own, that we were bought with a price.  There is no glory in being an intercessor.  No one, except God, will ever know the time you spend in worship, on your face in tears, or off in a prayer closet. 

From Matthew 6:5-6, fill in the blanks. "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

 As intercessors if we follow Jesus’ example, we most likely won’t win the approval of the religious people because they didn’t approve of Him.  In fact, they thought He was an irreverent heretic. But by following in His steps, we will be used by Him to bring revival and renewal to thousands. Pastor Chris has said, “I just want to make sure that as we grow we never leave the simplicity of having a place where people can breathe, where the gospel is positive and life-giving, a place where the lost will say, ‘I don’t know if I believe what you believe, but you guys look happy.’ Why not have a place that is vibrant, exciting, real, and fun – a place where we can really find the Lord.”    

  In Prayer Force Training, the foundation and purpose of our study on prayer will be to support Pastor Chris in the vision that God has given him for Church of the Highlands. There are four words from Colossians 1:28 that outline this vision: proclaim, admonish, teach, and perfect.

1. Proclaim – dynamic weekend services

 In proclaiming the gospel message, the key is communicating the goodness and kindness of God.  Romans 2:4 tells us that it’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. There is a time in each believer’s life when God’s kindness and love covers over sin and He says, “Come to Me.  I want to give you a fresh start. I love you. I hold nothing against you – I forgive every one of your sins.” We pray for an environment in our Sunday services where everyone who doesn’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ will find His kindness and love in the valley of decision and choose life.  

Highlands should never become so seeker sensitive that we forget how to win the lost.  Because of the reality of heaven and hell, growth is not an option – our church must grow. There are 6.6 billion people on earth, 2.1 professing Christianity and 4.5 billion lost people – lost, destined to an eternity without God unless we as intercessors and believers do something.  When we hear statistics, sometimes it’s difficult to get our minds around the numbers.  To illustrate 4.5 billion people – the number of the lost in the world – we would have to line up every person front to back and circle the world 34.2 times! Nothing is closer to the heart of God than this.

 If we want to do ministry like Jesus did, we need to pray for sinners to be around us. People flocked to hear Jesus teach. Only the religious people were offended by Him.  As holy as He was – the lost enjoyed being in His presence. Pray that we create an environment where the lost will come. God is more concerned about the outsider than the insider; He is more concerned about the lost than the found. 

 As intercessors we don’t want to have misguided expectations of the weekend service – we just want to pray that they come back, and then they will begin the process of a lifetime of knowing God, serving Him, and loving Him. 

 In Ezekiel 47:1-12, God shows the prophet Ezekiel a river.  It’s the river of life. In that river everything has life – it is teaming with it. This river represents the Spirit of God and intimacy with Him. The river flows during worship in our auditorium from heaven, through our worship team, and out to the people with a life-giving anointing.  In the river of life, the lost are not condemned and every visitor feels welcome.  One first time visitor told Pastor Chris after a Sunday service, “Something was in that place!” That something is what we live for – the presence of the living God.

 At Highlands intercessors take positions around the auditorium and in prayer rooms to connect in the spirit realm to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.     

Admonish – relational small groups

Then, we as the church must admonish new believers.  This means we warn them of sin and the need to change. This happens best in the safety of a few people. The deep and confrontational part of Highlands where we learn to take up our cross and get the junk cleaned up out of our lives happens most effectively in a small group setting. It’s there that we get real and honest and get the accountability that we need.  Life Groups, in particular, are small groups designed to help people close the door on yesterday. The vision of Highlands is that every member be connected in a small group. 

There are four aspects of a person’s life:

  • The Arena – I know, and you know. This is our public self, the part that everyone sees.
  • The Mask – I know, but you don’t know. In small groups we take off our masks and become real with each other.
  • Blind spots – I don’t know, but you know. When we develop deep relationships with other believers, they help us remove the blinders so we can see our lives in an eternal perspective and begin to change. 
  • Potential – I don’t know, and you don’t know. This is where intercession for each other is so important.  We encourage each another with words from God, hope, and vision for the future. 

Read 2 Timothy 2:21-26.  Write out verse 25. Those who oppose Him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.”

Although we can’t be at each small group, we place a shield of intercession over every group asking the Spirit of God to move in each meeting so that people all over Birmingham will remove the masks, open their eyes to the blind spots, and move on to reach their potential.  

  1. Teach – clearly defined Growth Track

Next, we teach everyone to go to higher heights. We do this through the Growth Track, the Wednesday night Bible study, small group leaders’ training, missions trips, the 24/7 internship program, and church planter training seminars. Our vision is that all believers will make up their minds that they will grow.  Highlands has a unique and specific call to be a training center – a factory – to release many leaders, church planters, worship pastors, and youth pastors. Pastor Chris has a vision to train up the best and the brightest to do our part to fulfill the Great Commission. 

Following is Hebrews 5:11-13.  Write out verse 14.We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Many Christians have disqualified themselves from great potential to teach and to minister because of a list of qualifications that aren’t from God. If what most people think is true about what makes one worthy to lead, God never would have used the twelve disciples because they were uneducated. Moses never would have been chosen because he was a murderer. David certainly wouldn’t have been chosen because he was an adulterer. Paul was a slaughterer of Christians, but he became the greatest apostle. Paul said, “By this time you ought to be teachers.” Every day we’re one day closer to Jesus’ return, and we have no time to waste.  Pray for a release of spiritual gifts, talents, and passion in leaders.

4. Perfect – a winning Dream Team

Finally, we all want to be presented perfect as it says in Colossians 1:28. This word “perfect” means mature and complete in Christ. God’s ultimate goal for our lives is that we would not be in the constant pursuit of His will, but to be actively involved in His will.

Finish Ephesians 2:10.For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Pray that more will get on the Dream Team, go on missions trips, join one of the church plants, join the prayer force, and live their lives to fulfill the Great Commission. Throughout this study, pray for yourself that you find your place of ministry.  The goal of this study is for you to see yourself leading other intercessors and teaching them how to pray.

 God has brought an incredible team of servants to form the staff of our church. Their job is to equip the saints for ministry so that the job of presenting everyone perfect before the Lord is accomplished. We as Highlands intercessors will have Pastor Chris, each of the other pastors, and the church staff always on our agenda as targets for God’s blessing and favor. A list of the Church of the Highlands staff is included in this chapter so that you can pray individually for them.

In celebrating what God has done in our church, we can never forget that we are a Great Commission church.  We do what we do for one primary reason: we want Him to be with us even until the end of the age.  We don’t want to ever see a Church of the Highlands without the presence of God. But His presence is conditional – always pray that we stay on point to proclaim, admonish, teach, and perfect.

8 Qualities of Our Growing Church

In addition to praying for the vision of our church, we want to pray for our church to become more excellent in every way within each ministry.  There are eight qualities that have been identified in our church as having enabled us to become a powerful and influential presence in our city.  If our church is to continue to grow and be healthy, we must possess these qualities. These are the intangibles that are the heart of the vision. Each of the following qualities are prayer points for intercessors at Highlands.

1.  Empowering Leadership

Empowering leadership will pave the way for turning vision into reality.  Leaders of life-giving churches do not try to build up their own power to become all powerful. It’s exactly the opposite.  They consider it as one of their most important tasks to help Christians develop greater degrees of empowerment, which according to God’s plan already belongs to them. So at Highlands we do the following:

  • Encourage free-market thinking.  Creativity and passion is key!
  • Let leaders lead. 
  • Allow them to challenge the process (not the vision).
  • Create an atmosphere of encouragement. 

2.  Gift-oriented ministry

God determines which Christian should have which ministry.  At Highlands, we want every believer to identify their gifts – more than 80% of Christians do not know their spiritual gifts! No factor brings more joy than this one. The basis for this quality is the conviction that God has already determined which Christian should best assume which ministries in the church.  The role of church leadership is to help its members identify their gifts and integrate them into ministries that match their gifts. So at Highlands we do the following:

  • Do away with the “volunteerism” mentality.  Focus on passion!
  • Have a process where people can discover their gifts. 
  • Make equipping people the main function of the staff of the church.

3.  Passionate spirituality

     The degree of passion in the church separates growing churches from other churches.  The ministry must stay life-giving. As far as healthy churches are concerned, studies show that the important thing is not the way spirituality is expressed, but the fact that faith is actually lived out with commitment, fire, and enthusiasm. So at Highlands we do the following:

  • Focus on being a presence driven church.  We are Spirit-filled on purpose and we cultivate the anointing of God.
  • Create a culture of prayer and fasting
  • Develop a life-giving prayer ministry. That’s the reason for Prayer Force Training!

4.  Functional structures

     The structures should fulfill their purpose. Church structures are never an end in themselves but always only a means to an end.  The most important criterion for forms and structures in the church is if they fulfill their purpose or not.  Healthy churches change (or lay to rest!) whatever does not measure up to this requirement. So at Highlands we do the following:

  • Clarify a measurable “win”. We measure the effectiveness of the each ministry.
  • We want to be easy, obvious, and strategic in everything.
  • We plan the ministry calendar around purpose.
  • Eliminate events that don’t serve the purpose.

5.  Inspiring worship service

Our services aren’t based on a model. Pastor Chris wants every service to be inspiring so that coming to church is the “get to” rather than “the have to.” So at Highlands we do the following:

  • Laugh more.  Humor a great form of communication
  • Create comfort by focusing on excellence.
  • Embrace a spirit of generosity.

6.  Holistic small groups

Small groups provide the intimate community that Christians need. As we learned before, the vision of our church is for all believers be admonished and have intensive spiritual interaction.  Small groups become the essence of the true life of the church as they apply biblical insight to the everyday issues of the participants. So at Highlands we do the following:

  1. Broaden the ministry expressions to fit everyone’s need.  People are different.
  2. Focus the groups around a common purpose

     

    • Evangelism – connecting the disconnected
    • Pastoral Care – partnering with the staff
    • Mentoring – relational discipleship

7.  Need-oriented evangelism

 At Highlands we are not pushy or manipulative – we  simply meet the needs of non-Christians. Healthy churches share the gospel in a way that answers the questions of non-Christians.  Praying for the lost, giving to missions, and celebrating changed lives creates a culture that makes “others” the reason we exist.  Connecting the disconnected becomes the passion of the church. So at Highlands we do the following:

  • Keep the lost as the main focus of your attention.
  • Communicate your “Points of Passion.”
  • Understand why people don’t go to church. The sermons are boring, churches always ask for money, childcare is not excellent, the music puts them to sleep, there are too many hypocrites in church.  Pray for Highlands to continue to connect with the lost!

8.  Loving relationships

     Growing churches have a higher “love quotient.”   Unfeigned, practical love endows a church with a much greater magnetic power than all the marketing efforts of this world!   At Highlands we are in the people business.  Our success, fulfillment, and happiness depend upon our ability to relate effectively.  So at Highlands we do the following:

  • Pastors and leaders make themselves available to people.
  • Tell real life stories that people can relate to.
  • Model a relational lifestyle.

The purpose of this chapter has been to familiarize intercessors at Highlands with the specific vision, purpose, and qualities of Church of the Highlands.  As we journey into each teaching on prayer, keep these ideas always on your mind. We are called to this church at this time to be supportive of this particular ministry.  Although studying and practicing each area of prayer will be personally enriching, the goal is that we become a unified Prayer Force trained for our part to fulfill the overall purpose of our church.

Next we’ll focus on the most important gift at our church.  Without it we would have no influence, no love, and no life. In Chapter 2, we will study what the Bible teaches about the presence of God.  Moses said in Exodus 33:15, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”  God is calling us up to higher heights in Him, but we can’t go there without Him.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, give us a fresh commitment and passion for winning souls. May your kindness, Lord, lead us to repentance. God, please continually remind us that Church of the Highlands doesn’t exist for those already here, but for those who are not yet here. Draw them by your Spirit.  We cry out for souls in Birmingham! Bring in the lost.Father, I pray that Highlands continues to be “hassle free,” yet powerful without being eccentric or mystical.Lord, we pray for the river of life to flow in our services at Church of the Highlands. 

We pray that in our small groups the four aspects of each person’s life will be revealed so that our hearts will be teachable, and we will grow. We tear off all masks in the Spirit for every member in every small group and proclaim that all shame is gone! We pray that blind spots are revealed.  We slam the door on yesterday and declare that people are set free.

God, we so desire that our people know who they are in You, how You want to use their gifts, talents and personality to lead others, and what their specific purpose for being alive is. Show each person in our church their unique purpose.

Lord, we as a church want to have more love, more power, and more influence in the city of Birmingham. May we grow in our excellence in every area. We call forth the destiny of every believer in our church! 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Prayer assignment for Week One:

Familiarize yourself with the Church of the Highlands staff. Your small group leader will give you a current list. Pray for each one of them. Ask God to give you scriptures to pray for them, and write down anything He shows you.

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Section One

The Vertical

The next few lessons will give us instruction in developing our personal prayer life and intimacy with God – the vertical.  Cultivating His presence and anointing will transform us into intercessors who are conduits of blessing to others. 

The Presence of God

Week Two

Do not send us up from here without it.

Pastor Chris has said, “History belongs to the intercessors.” We are an army that works behind the scenes to intercede and battle for God’s will to be done in our church, city, nation, and world.  But unlike other armies, our main source of power is not guns and missiles, but the presence of our Commander in Chief.

2 Chronicles 20:21: “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever."

The next verse says that as they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set ambushes against their enemies.  God showed up for them because they bowed before Him and worshipped His name. Learning how to attract His presence will ensure victory.

One of the fruits of the presence of God is ease. When His presence is manifested there is no struggle, rather there is a flow of His grace and anointing. 

Exodus 33:12-18: Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.' If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."

     The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"

     And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

In Exodus 33:18, what did Moses say to God? “Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."

Our cry at Highlands is “Show me Your glory!” The word glory is the word “kabowd” in Hebrew.  It means weightiness or the full weight of God. It’s a tangible presence that you can at times even feel in your physical senses.  God wants to bring His glory into our lives so that we know He’s there – we won’t have to wonder about it.

God desires to manifest His glory.  Some believe that God only wants to show His glory among the spiritually elite or only in certain geographical places or special occasions in a seemingly random fashion. There is the belief that people have done something to usher in His presence.  The Bible says it is His desire that the knowledge and glory of God cover the earth. That is already His plan.  His plan isn’t to pick pockets for revivals and to shock people randomly with manifestations of His glory. He wants His glory every where!

The question isn’t so much, “How do we get it?” as it is, “What are we doing that’s keeping it from happening?”  Jesus said to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  One unique characteristics of heaven is that we’re in the presence of God forever. 

Read Isaiah 60:2. Where does God’s glory appear? “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you.”

Read 2 Corinthians 3:18. Who is in the process of being glorified?And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory….”

1 Corinthians 2:4: My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power.

The Lord always desires that we have deeper levels of the manifestation of His glory.  It’s not just for special occasions.  God didn’t just want to glorify Himself; 1 Corinthians 2:7 says that He wants to glorify us – that He has wisdom destined “for our glory.” In other words, He wants His goodness, power, and wisdom manifested in our lives. 

True worship paves the way for His glory. 

    In the Bible where ever there was true Spirit worship, the manifest presence of God came into that place.

2 Chronicles 5:13-14: The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; His love endures forever."  Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.

The word cloud is the word for the Shekinah glory of God.  This was the visible manifest presence of God in the form of a cloud or mist.  The priests could not even perform their service to the Lord – or even stand up – because of the weightiness of His presence.  Sometimes when people are confronted with the glory of God, they fall under its heaviness.

God’s presence must be welcomed and respected.  It has to be dear to us.  What could be more offensive to God than desiring to pour our His goodness on people and they say, “I don’t know if I really want this.” That grieves Him.  

Hosea 10:12: Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness on you.

He says, “Sow for yourselves….” We might think that we can throw the ball in God’s court and ask Him to move in our midst and visit us.  Remember – it’s already His plan and His desire.   We are to sow for ourselves righteousness, and we’ll reap the fruit of His unfailing love – His presence.  He is throwing the seed at us, but often it bounces off because of the hardness of our hearts.  It’s up to us to prepare the way for His presence.

One of our jobs as intercessors – the most important job – is to prepare the way for His glory in our church.  Because we are human and no more spiritual than those we’re interceding for, it’s crucial that we pave the way for the thousands attending our church by personally cultivating God’s presence in our own lives. The life of a true intercessor is not marked by attendance at prayer meetings or the number of people we have prayed for. Instead, the mark of an intercessor is the glory of God on us.     

How do we cultivate His glory in our own lives? There isn’t a huge secret to it.  It all comes down to two things that God really wants:  holiness and intimacy.  Holiness and intimacy are the two components of true worship. When we study intercession and prayer, we will often encounter those two words.  In every prayer format or prayer outline there will be a call to first being set apart from the world and then drawing near to God.   

Holiness  

Psalm 24:3-4: Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place?   He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

When He sees us in our imperfection, He’s not excluding us from fellowship with Him.  He’s not saying, “You need to get your act together before you can come see Me!” Remember, He already wants us in His presence.  He just sees some things in our lives that keep us from being able to come into His presence.  He’s not angry with us.  He is delighted with us and wants us to come to Him. Sin is like mud that a child gets into – it covers us and keeps us from coming inside the house. So the question becomes, how do we get holy?

Holiness doesn’t mean to be without sin and perfect.  “Hagios,” holiness in the Greek, means set apart. God wants His people to have a relationship with Him that is set apart, a relationship that is like none other.  We set our relationship apart to Him as holy. 

Write out and meditate on Hebrews 12:14. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

 Some of us wonder why we don’t experience God’s presence like others seem to. We think He doesn’t speak to us.  The problem is not with God. There are things in our lives that quench and grieve Him, and all He wants us to do is separate ourselves from those relationships and sins that keep us from being holy.  He isn’t telling us we need to get it all together at once. 

Fill in the blanks for 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

Using the analogy of the muddy child, what fellowship can mud have with the living room carpet or kitchen floors or your bed?   

Write out and meditate on 2 Corinthians 6:17. “’Therefore come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’"

The next verses give us a promise: “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (Corinthians 6:18 – 7:1)

What do we need to do to have a holy (set apart) relationship with God? There are three instructions we find in the Scriptures

Pathway to Holiness

1.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.

If you try to deal with your own mud, you won’t be able to completely clean yourself.  Moms know where to find dirt that children can’t find.  It’s the same way with the Holy Spirit.  He can pinpoint areas of sin where we’ve been deceived or blinded. We become desensitized by the immorality of our culture to things that grieve God’s Spirit.

Write out a prayer for yourself from Psalm 139:23-24.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”                 

2.  Assess your life.

Unhealthy friendships or activities.  The Bible says have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. (Ephesians 5:11)Disobedience to parents. The burden for this assessment is actually more on the parents than on the children. Are our homes places where there is the expectation of submission to authority? This must be our standard because without it homes are destroyed and we grieve the Holy Spirit. Dishonesty. We need to be meticulously honest. Err on the side of truthfulness for the sake of having His presence in your life.Course joking or speech.  We need to watch our words and what we listen to and laugh at.Allowing things in our homes that are demon inspired. This would include movies and music created by people who are immoral and serve the devil.Unforgiveness. Pride.

From Luke 18:9-14, what do we learn about the attitude we should we have as we approach God? "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Pathway to intimacy with God

God is inviting us to the place where we meet with Him face to face.  Worship is the doorway to God’s presence. Everything flows out of your relationship with God.

Read 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 again: The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; His love endures forever." Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.

The next verse, 6:1: “Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in a dark cloud. I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.”

David was the architect of the temple. His life’s dream was to see a house built for God. David’s son Solomon was the one to actually build the temple with the exact instructions that God had given David.  The final article that was brought into the new temple was the Ark of the Covenant. The first thing the priest did was to thank the Lord, worship Him, and sing praises to His name. God made His home there.  

2 Chronicles 6:41-42: "Now arise, O LORD God, and come to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might. May Your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may Your saints rejoice in Your goodness. O LORD God, do not reject Your anointed one.  Remember the great love promised to David your servant."

When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, "He is good; His love endures forever."

Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.  And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.

Solomon no longer did just what was required.  He took his sacrifice to the next level – 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. He made an exceptional sacrifice going way above and beyond because of his deep passion and desire to be with God. God met with Solomon personally face to face and spoke to him that night (2 Chronicles 7:11-22). No longer was it just a corporate anointing, but now Solomon himself met with God.

Psalm 50:7-15: "Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God, your God. I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before Me. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

What does the Lord require of us in Psalm 50:15? “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me."

In this Psalm God is speaking prophetically through David.  He told the people that they were following His instructions. They were meeting the regulations.  But then God goes on to say He doesn’t need all those slaughtered animals because He already owns them. The truth was that God didn’t ever really need all of those sacrifices, even though that is what He had commanded them to do. What He really wanted – the only thing He didn’t already have because He had given it up – was the people themselves.   What God desired was gratitude – an expression of their heart for Him – and a fulfillment of their vows to Him. God wanted to come to a deeper level of intimacy with His people, an uncommon closeness that would go beyond just a contract or an arrangement.  He wanted to be in a covenant love relationship with them. 

What is Intimacy?

1.  Affection – There are so many people who want intimacy with God, but church and religion have done them a disservice.  God doesn’t want your form; He doesn’t want your “bulls and goats.” He simply wants you!   The Spirit of God is asking, “Do you love Me?”

From Exodus 33:11, how did the Lord speak to Moses? “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.”

Moses had a special relationship with God.  He was the only one in the Old Testament who would speak to God face to face as one friend speaks to another. God is looking for a people who will say that church is not enough – even Church of the Highlands. The secret to intimacy with God is affection, showing your deep love for Him, and being who you are with Him.   

From John 14:15, what is the natural result of loving God? “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

 We think that verse says, “If you love Me, you’ll prove it to me by doing what I tell you to do.”  That’s not what this verse is saying!  It says, “If you love Me, you’ll keep My commands. They won’t be a burden for you.”  If we fall in love with Jesus, the Bible will be a lot easier than we think it is because everything will flow out of the love relationship. David was the best at living in the flow of God’s love.  While everyone else was performing the rituals, David was off in a field worshipping God with his whole heart.  He declared that he wanted to be the apple of God’s eye.  He had only one desire.

From Psalm 27:4, what was David’s one desire? “…that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in his temple.”

     David had true affection.     

Testimony of Pastor Chris:  “My little nephew, 3 years old, died of a horrible disease and it messed me up.  Three months went by and I was faithful to go pray.  I’ve learned through serving the Lord this long that you just do that whether it’s working or not because it always comes back around. For three months God said nothing to me.  I got zero out of the Bible. It was as religious and rote as it could possibly be, but I was there. 

“One day in my basement where I pray, I got so mad at God.  I expressed my frustration with Him about what happened to little Will and why He was being silent with me.  I just really complained. I let it all out. At that time I had been in there about an hour and suddenly I heard the pitter patter of Sara and Michael’s little feet. They were so cute at that stage. The kitchen floor was right above my office, and when I heard it I thought about it and I said to God, ‘You want to know the truth? I’d rather be holding those little kids than sitting here with You. God, they’re easy to love – You’re hard.’  Then God spoke to me clearly, ‘It’s because you don’t treat Me like you treat them.’ 

“That answer changed my life.  From that day, I’ve never been religious with God.  When I see the Lord in the morning, I just say, “Hey.  How was your night? How are you doing?” My relationship with God has grown out of it.”  

2.  Control. “God, I give you my life. I commit myself to You and to no other.”  For intimacy ,we must give Him full control of our lives. 

Read Ezekiel 47:1-12.

     In a vision the prophet Ezekiel saw a river coming from under the temple, and the Spirit of God led him down the stream, measuring as He went. At the point where the river was ankle-deep, God told Ezekiel to go across. Next, the Spirit of God measured off another distance and had Ezekiel go into the water where it was knee-deep. He stepped out into it. The current could be felt there, and Ezekiel got somewhat wet, but he was still in control. Then he was led further out where the water was waste-deep. Now he was really wet and fighting the current, but still in control. Then God instructed him to go all the way into the middle of the river. At this place the river took over. Ezekiel lost contact with the bottom and was swimming in the river.

The river in this vision symbolizes the presence of God. The bottom, or the ground, which includes the bank of the river, represents the world.

There are four levels of control in worship

Ankle-deep —We can enjoy refreshing in God’s presence, but we are in full command. We can splash and play, then choose to walk out of the river with no lasting effects on our lives.

Knee-deep—The current of God, His manifest presence, can be felt, but we maintain restraint. It’s still relatively easy to subdue the flow. In knee deep water, we have a good view of those who’ve ventured out to deeper waters, and we see that “in His presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11), but the riverbank is still our security.

Waste-deep—Here the stream of His presence is strong. We’ve walked out into the river into deep water, fighting the current and struggling to keep contact with the bottom, or the world. Often the fear of man or the fear of losing control will tempt us to go back to the river bank. It is at this place that we make a crucial decision: “Who will be my master, me or the Spirit of God?”

The middle of the river—This is where we are out of control! We give up control to Him and sever the influence of the world. We let go of our own will and desires. At this place we are going wherever He is! Have you experienced His presence? What did it feel like?How do you sense His presence in our services?What are the obstacles in your life to God’s glory…. How do you believe intercessors invite the glory of God?

Encourage participants to spend time with prayer leaders in our church and learn from them.

Prayer assignment for Week Two:

Assess yourself in the areas of holiness and intimacy. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and revelation into specific ways that you can make Him feel completely welcome to dwell with you in intimate friendship. Journal your thoughts here.   

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Capacity for His Presence

Week Three

 Do you believe that you have all that God has to give you?  Do you have a thirst and appetite more? God is so vast that we will never have all that He has to give us, but our God is a giver and He has so much more to give you! He wants you to have His glory – the full weight of who He is.

However, we have a dilemma:  if God dumped the full weight of who He is on a human being, the person would either explode or he wouldn’t get it at all. The full weight of a God who is so far beyond us cannot be contained in a human being.  We don’t have capacity for His glory. The frustration is this: God wants to give us spiritual things that we can’t handle. So what do we do? Well, God came up with a solution: the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-10.

God has secret wisdom to give us. There is knowledge and understanding of God that we don’t have yet. He destined this secret wisdom for our glory – our glory. He intended before the beginning of time that we would be able to receive His glory.

Fill in the blank from 1 Corinthians 2:9-10. “However, as it is written:   ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”  

God has things for you that your natural mind cannot embrace. We are triune beings.  We have a body and a soul, but there is a third part that no other creation has: a spirit.  Our spirit is the part that is made perfect when we are saved and is the part that will spend eternity in heaven. It’s the part of us that is like God because He is Spirit.  This is how He made us in His image. Our spirit, because it is like God, has all the capacity we need to receive the glory of God, the full weight of who He is.

The problem is that the spirit man in us is influenced by the natural parts of our being – the soul and the body. We crave things, think things, and do things that are outside of God. We have a war going on all the time between our natural man and our spirit man.  God made a way for His glory to get to our spirit and bypass our natural man.  If our natural mind could understand God’s solution for us to receive His glory, we would reject it.  We’d try to explain it away. God created a code language between His Spirit and our spirit. It is the single greatest gift that you can receive outside of salvation.  It comes through the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Peter walked with Jesus for three years and performed miracles – even briefly walked on water – but although he considered Jesus His best friend, he denied Jesus in His darkest hour to a young girl. (Matthew 26:69-71) Three years with Jesus really had done very little for Peter because although he had been with the Lord, he was still operating as a natural man. Peter needed power to overcome fear, persecution, and insecurity.  He needed strength in his spirit that would go beyond even the ability to perform miracles

Receiving the Holy Spirit and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

John 20:19: On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

This was in the time period after the resurrection, but before the ascension.  Jesus had lived His life, was killed, buried, resurrected three days later, and then spent 40 days on the earth after His resurrection. 

John 20:20-22: After he said this, He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus told them to “receive” the Holy Spirit.  The Bible says He breathed on them. This word breathe has the same meaning as the word used when the Bible says God breathed life into Adam. Also, it’s the same meaning as the word used in Ezekiel 37, when God put breath into the dry bones and made them come alive. When Jesus breathed on His disciples and they received the Holy Spirit, He was giving them life – at that moment the disciples were saved.  Their sins had been paid for. The disciples were the first ones to receive the new covenant.  Before that, the only way for sins to be forgiven was for the blood of animals to be shed as a sacrifice to make atonement for sin. Jesus came as the final blood sacrifice. Because He had died and been resurrected, people could now be born again under the new covenant. When a person becomes a Christian, his sins are forgiven, God breathes on him, and the person receives the Holy Spirit. Every person who is saved receives the Holy Spirit.

After His resurrection and 40 days of appearances, Jesus was ascended into heaven to return again one day at the end of this age. Ten days after He ascended, the day of Pentecost occurred. 

Acts 1:1-5: In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

Notice in verse 5 that Jesus told them that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit in a few days – future tense.  The word He used, “baptized,” is a different word than the word translated “receive” in John 20:22. To be baptized means to be fully submerged in something.  The difference between receiving the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation and being baptized in the Spirit could be illustrated by filling a glass with water or putting the glass in a swimming pool.

Fill in the blank from Acts 1:8.But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Jesus didn’t want the believers to do anything until they had received power.  He told them to wait until they were baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Then they would be His witnesses throughout the earth. God desires to take Christians – believers who are already going to heaven – and offer His power so that they can live a supernatural life. 

 Most of the time when a person receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit, he receives a heavenly prayer language, also called tongues, with the purpose of being able to communicate by the spirit with God and bypass the soul man. 

Finish Acts 2:4:All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

All of the new believers at Pentecost spoke in tongues.  Tongues are either the ability to communicate in a known human language that is unknown to you, or a spiritual language that no one but God understands.   If you pursue the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of praying in tongues, your brain will challenge it because your mind can’t understand it.  Your mind might say things like, “You’re making that up.”  Or, “That’s of the devil.” But unless we want to be weak like Peter was when a little girl asked him if he knew Jesus, we will have to reject those carnal thoughts.

One event gave Peter the power to stand up and preach to thousands about Jesus and to stand before men who beat him and imprisoned him because of it! That event was the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  Peter had the glory of God. 

God has plans for us that will not be possible unless we reflect more of His glory. Ask God for more of the Holy Spirit, more of His fruit, more of His love, more of His power, more of His gifts.  Don’t be satisfied with the level of joy you now have. Ask for more peace and kindness. Desire to reflect His goodness. Ask Him to pour out all of the gifts – more prophecy, more tongues, more interpretation of tongues. The Bible says to covet the gifts of the Spirit. Ask for more faith, the gift of miracles, words of knowledge, and the discerning of spirits.  You can find the lists of spiritual gifts in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, and Ephesians 4:11.

Ask for the seven attributes of the Spirit of God as listed in Isaiah 11:2:  the spirit of the LORD, the spirit of the fear of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and counsel, the spirit of might and knowledge and understanding.  We need a fresh baptism in the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts we have the record of the first time the Holy Spirit was poured out on the new church, but the Bible also teaches that there are many subsequent fillings of the Spirit.  The early believers were constantly being filled and refilled. “…ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18, Amplified)

The Holy Spirit should be the Lord of your prayer life.  The Bible tells us to “pray in the Spirit.”  The Holy Spirit wants to come and partner with you in your prayer experience.  Sometimes we need to put the prayer models and lists away and simply allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us.  There is certainly a place for the patterns and outlines, but there us a time for the Holy Spirit to partner with us with Spirit-filled prayer. 

Testimony of Pastor Chris: “When I got saved, I was gloriously saved.  For a few months I became the most radical Christian I knew.  I won many people to Christ those first few months.  I was so on fire for God.  I did prayer meetings around the flag at school.  I was witnessing boldly to people I had been intimidated by.  Almost all of my friends got saved during that time.  But I realized more than ever before, because of my deep love for God, how much of Him I did not have.

 “My appetite and hunger for the power I saw in other people’s lives grew. I would think, ‘I want that!’  Growing up I wasn’t exposed much to miracles, signs and wonders, and people who walked in the Holy Spirit.  When I began to get exposed to the power of God, I was starving for it.  I was never a skeptic even though I was raised in a church that didn’t believe in miracles. I was raised in a church that taught that miracles happened in the Bible, but not today.  After I was saved as a teenager, I never even thought about that teaching again. I knew I wanted to have God’s power.  I could see the fruit of it.  I could see the evidence of it, and I was starved for it. I had been in church since I was born – I was full of the word and could quote scriptures, but I never saw the verses in the Bible that are everywhere about the gifts of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s role in my life!  I had never seen the verses on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I read the Bible with fresh eyes and I was fired up.  I became immediately convinced that I wanted it. 

 “I have to say, though, that there was a part the ‘spirit-filled’ world  that I was turned off by.  I didn’t like anything that looked man-made. I could have read it wrong, but some of it looked artificial and excessively emotional. I wanted the experience described in the Bible.  All my life since then, I have been open to the fullness of the Spirit of God while at the same time truly honoring God and not glorifying man.

 “With that being said, I want to tell you what is the most significant part of my Christian life – outside of salvation – and that is Spirit-filled prayer.  About three months after I was saved, I started learning about this second experience described in the Bible. I asked the Lord to fill me with the Holy Spirit. At first because of my background and headiness, nothing really seemed to happen.  I knew that I was the problem, and I came to a place where I was so hungry and desperate for God! Soon after, I was at a small group and we were discussing the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I knew my brain had reached its capacity.  The hard drive was full, and I had all I could get in my natural man. I asked the people in the group to pray for me. I told them that I was struggling with it, but I really wanted it. I got down on my knees and the people laid hands on me and explained it to me. That night I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and my prayer language.  This was in March of 1979, during my sophomore year in high school.  Every day I pray in the Spirit – every day of my life.  Every day that is a meaningful time for me.”

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit and prayer

I Corinthians 14:1-2: Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.

God has a realm that is a mystery to us.  Most of what God wants to give us our brains cannot contain.  He wants to take us to a realm that is above the natural.  Desire all the spiritual gifts including tongues and prophesy.

I Corinthians 14:5: I would like every one of you to speak in tongues…

I Corinthians 14:39: Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.

Benefits of Spirit-filled prayer 

1.  It will allow you to tap into His power.

Praying in the Spirit (in tongues) is a way for your spirit and God’s Spirit to communicate through a private language that bypasses our minds. God made it intentionally strange so that we would not be able to figure it out and decode it.   God teaches us how to pray with our minds in our understanding, but there is a level of prayer that is above the level of our brains.  Praying in the Spirit enables us to tap into God’s supernatural (beyond natural) power.

In 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 Paul said his preaching was not with wise and persuasive words. What did he say characterized his preaching?  “A demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”

God wants our Christian experience – including our prayer life – to go above the intellectual level.  Spirit-filled prayer develops faith and confidence in us as we tap into God’s power.

2.  It will help you in your weakness. 

There are moments when you feel hopeless and desperate, even speechless.

In Romans 8:26 Paul says that the Spirit helps us in our weakness. When we do not know what we ought to pray for, how does He help us? “The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

In Romans 7 Paul describes how he tries to live like he desires to live, but he ends up doing the opposite. Then he begins Romans 8 by telling us that there is no condemnation for believers because the law of sin and death has been defeated. In Romans 8, Paul instructs us on how to live the Spirit-driven life. In verse 26, he gives us the great news that the Holy Spirit is here to help us.  When we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit Himself intercedes for us.  The word in the Greek for intercede here literally means He will grab the other end of the rope with you.

Romans 8:27: And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

 The Holy Spirit prays through us with groans that cannot be expressed with our natural words. When we pray the best that we know how, and then He steps in and “puts His hand on the rope,” your prayers become perfect prayers. Every one of us needs Holy Spirit assisted prayer.

3.  It will strengthen your inner man. 

The more we pray in the Spirit, the stronger we will become spiritually. It’s like a spiritual work-out.

Write out Jude 20. “ … build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”

I Corinthians 14:4: He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself…    When you’re drained and empty and spent, you are built up through praying in the Spirit.

4.  It will free you to worship. 

     Acts 2:11: “Both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans, and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" The people heard them in their own languages praising God and declaring His wonderful works. 

Fill in the blanks from 1 Corinthians 14:15: “So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.”

5.  It will assist you in spiritual warfare.

This is a very critical reason to pray Holy Spirit assisted prayer.  The devil desires to sift us like wheat and to destroy us.  Sometimes the battle against the devil’s power seems overwhelming.  

Ephesians 6:11: Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

From Ephesians 6:18, what is the final element of our spiritual armor? “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

The Holy Spirit partners with us as we pray in the Spirit to give us strength to overcome the enemy.

Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit

Luke 11:13: If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

 If you are starving for the Holy Spirit and desire to be immersed in His love and power, just ask God for it!  He will not deny anyone who comes to Him believing that He is a good Father.

To receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, you can have someone lays hands on you and pray for you, or you can be all by yourself and just ask God.  If you’re hungry for His Spirit and the full weight of His glory, seek Him with your whole heart.  Come before Him with humility laying all piety and religion aside.

From Jeremiah 29:13, what condition does God put on finding Him? “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” 

Come before Him with a pure heart. John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize us in the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11).  There were tongues of fire on the Christians when the Holy Spirit fell on them at Pentecost.  Fire is a symbol of refining.  God want to do a refining work in us.  Ask Him to purify you. 

As you come hungry, humble, and pure, be sure that you are in a receiving mode. The Spirit and the Bride say COME! God is looking for the thirsty to come and get the free gift of the water of life. 

Just start praising Him.  He will give you a heavenly prayer language.  He will meet you as you open your mouth and give all control to Him.  You do the speaking; He will give you the language. It won’t come from your mind

Finish John 7:38: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Prayer

God, I want Your glory, the full weight of who You are. Holy Spirit, I desire more love, more power, more grace.  When others see me, I want to reflect your beauty. I covet Your gifts – all of them.Jesus, You said that the Father would give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.  Father, I ask you now, in the name of the Lord Jesus, to fill me with the Holy Spirit.

Father, I ask that I could experience Your presence and Your power as I never have before.  Help me to win over my natural mind.  I lay down every barrier – unforgiveness and pride and sin. I want to be innocent and take You at Your word.  I trust You!  I want everything You have for me. I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit now, in Jesus name. It’s mine!

Immerse me in wisdom and counsel and might. I desire knowledge and understanding beyond my limited mind. I want a fresh baptism in You. I step into the fullness and power that are available to me.

I confess that I am a Spirit-filled Christian.  I yield my voice and tongue to you and expect to pray in the Spirit as You enable me. 

Praise the Lord! Amen 

Leaders Only:

At the end of meeting, pray for people to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Lay hands on them. If you are uncomfortable with this, bring them to the Saturday morning prayer meeting and ask Mark Hand or another pastor/ leader to join with you in praying for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit for your participants.

Prayer Assignment for Week Three

 If you desire to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, have a leader pray for you.  Wait on the Lord and eagerly desire spiritual gifts.  In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul tells the church, “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.” (Verse 5) He also told them, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.”  (Verse 18)  If you pray in tongues, pray often this week in your prayer language.  Make notes on how praying in the Spirit has benefited you in any of the five areas discussed in this section: tapping into His power, helping you in your weakness, strengthening your inner man, freeing you to worship, and assisting you in spiritual warfare.

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Worship 

Week Four

Worship

 Psalm 27:4: One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.

There is a song we sing at Highlands that goes like this, “Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down…” Have you ever thought, “Well, here I am to worship and pray – I’ve got my prayer outlines and guides – but how do I really do this?”

There are two main aspects of worship.  One is our love and adoration of Him – the inward; the other is our expression of love through submission – the outward. Although we think of songs and words and other expressions as worship, worship can never be separated from obedience and submission.  In fact, the first time the word “worship” is used in the Bible is in the context of Abraham’s obedience in putting Isaac on the alter.  But for this chapter, we want to focus on the first aspect: learning what it is and how to worship God from the inside out.  The outward will reflect the inward.  Jesus said “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.” (John 14:15)  He also said, “My commandments are not burdensome.” (I John 5:3) When we love Him from the inside out, there will be the fruit of obedience.   

 An inward craving

Every one of us was created with an inward craving. The Bible says that all creation groans (Romans 8:22). Even the lost people in this world – those who are drunk in bars, committing adultery, murderers, those who are full of anger, bitterness, and hatred – have an inward intense craving to connect with God. That was God’s desire from the very beginning.  Jesus, our example, paved the way to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

Matthew 11:29: Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” 

He also prayed in John 17:21, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us.” Our Father God desires that we be one with Him, just as Jesus is one with Him.

Read the following verses and learn from Jesus about His connection with His Father. Write down a key phrase from each that shows us how Jesus models unity with the Father.

John 5:19: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

John 5:30: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent Me.”

John 12:49: “For I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it.”

John 14:10: “Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to You are not just My own. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work.”

1 Peter 2:21: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.”

Two Hindrances to Communion with God: our flesh and our “place mentality”

1.  Our natural man

God is a Spirit; He’s not a theology teacher, and He wants to connect with us in spirit. He wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look up and write out I Corinthians 6:17: “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.”

Our minds cannot connect with God; only our regenerated spirit man can. Union with God’s Spirit is the missing link in the life of every carnal and earthly minded person. To satisfy the latent hunger for union with our Creator, there are steps we must take that are unnatural for us. One reason for this is that our natural man is constantly battling our spirit man.

Our natural man, also called our soul, is comprised of our mind, our will, and our emotions. Our natural man demands to understand God. Many Christians believe that simply reading the Bible and studying it will satisfy their desire for relationship with God. It is true that we are to worship in spirit and in truth, but reading the Bible by itself without experiencing Him is not enough.  You can get insight, but there is a communion with the Lord that He desperately wants that can only be achieved when there is a mixing of the spirit and the word. In worship, the Lord prompts us with scripture; He uses His word to speak deep things to us.

Look up and read 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3.  List everything that profits us nothing if we don’t have love.If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

You can have power, preach, do miracles, and have all the Bible knowledge that a human can possess – BUT the fellowship of the Holy Spirit – a love relationship with Him – is another dimension we must have before we can truly represent Jesus here on earth.   A wonder of God is that as we see Him we become more like Him.  Our spirit man starts to swell and grow and burn.  The Refiner’s fire purifies our soul, and we begin to be transformed into His likeness. 

Malachi 3:2But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.

2 Corinthians 3:18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Read John 1:1-4.

John tells us that Jesus is the Word and that He’s our source of life. Later in the book of John we’re actually told to eat Jesus’ flesh. This makes sense in the spirit if we see Him as our source, our food, our sustenance. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit pours out on us, we receive more of Him. The more of God inside of you, the more of your soul and spirit that is occupied with Him, then the more attraction and union there is.

John 6:35-40, 50-51: Then Jesus declared, "I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that Me has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

“But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

We’re to consume Him, and then He will consume us!  He’s a consuming fire. 

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

He’s jealous for us! When we’re anointed with God’s presence and glory, there is an attraction.  He is attracted to us, and we’re attracted to Him. The carnal man – bored, tapping his toe while others are experiencing the river of life – has nothing for the Holy Spirit to attach Himself to.  While another person has hands raised, weeping, he is looking at his watch.  God wants to occupy this man! The Lord wants bodies to occupy. The more the Lord occupies, the more presence and the more revelation He can pour out. The devil occupies Hollywood, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, and evil rulers around the world.  The Lord wants an army of billions – an army of bodies that choose Him feely.

2.  The “Place Mentality” – an incomplete perspective

Another possible reason for the difficulty we have in connecting with God’s Spirit is that most of us have a mindset that heaven is a place where God is, and we are here on earth.  Our “place mentality” is three dimensional and limited to our understanding.  We are to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) What is His will; what’s going on in heaven right now? The Bible says Heaven is a pure celebration of Him.

From Revelation 4:10-11, what are the Elder’s (faithful overcomers) doing? How often do they do it? What are they saying? “The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created  and have their being.’"

The elders never grow tired of worshipping Him. How can we experience heaven on earth?  If the elders are worshipping 24/7, aren’t we to do that? If God wants the same thing happening here as in heaven, doesn’t He want us to be near Him at His throne looking at His beauty and splendor and experiencing communion with Him?

The Garden and Heaven – a complete perspective

Two ways to break from our natural, tangible, visible, 3-dimensional perception is to look into the experience of the only humans (besides Jesus) who had complete union with God – Adam and Eve, and secondly, to begin to see heaven as more than a place. 

The Garden Experience

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had 24-hour God-consciousness.  God was with them all the time.  Adam and Eve didn’t go in and out of the presence of God – they were always in it.  They would not have known what we experience when we cry out, “Oh, I can’t get a breakthrough!  I need to get back into the presence of God.” They were always in His presence.  They had complete union and oneness with God’s presence. The atmosphere of the Garden was the presence of God. The air they breathed was His glory.  The Holy Spirit hovered there.

Adam and Eve ate freely from the Tree of Life.  What does it mean to eat freely from it?  The Tree of Life is experiential knowledge.  It is revelation. It is to experience the life of God. As hungry as they were for God, they could freely eat from the Tree of Life and taste and see that the Lord is good.  God told them, “Have as much as you want of who I am.”  In this fruit He gave the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. They experienced His presence through the fruit of the Tree of Life.

We think of the Garden of Eden as a place – a paradise.  We think that if we could physically go there, we could have the experience that Adam and Eve had – the fellowship and communion they had with God.  What must that have been like?! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to eat freely from the Tree of Life! 

 But the Garden of Eden was more than just a place – it was an experience. And God tells us that we can also eat from the Tree of Life and have experiential knowledge of Him (Revelation 22:14).

Heaven

We also think of Heaven as just a place. We say things like, “I can’t wait to get to Heaven,” and “Oh, to be absent from my body and present with the Lord,” or “One day God has a mansion prepared for me in Heaven, and we often proclaim,   “In Heaven there’ll be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more bills, no more problems.” 

We have the mentality that the Garden of Eden and Heaven are simply places.  Both are places, but because we have the “place mentality”, we don’t experience what God has for us now.

When Jesus talked about the “kingdom of Heaven,” often He was not referring to the place that we’re going one day in the future.

Read the following verses and underline where the Kingdom of Heaven is:

Matthew 4:17: From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

Luke 17:21: “Nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

If we have the “place” mentality, we can’t lay hold of the experience of the Holy Spirit and have intimacy with God.  God wants to awaken God-consciousness in our spirit.  Jesus shed his blood for the remission of our sins, and through his death and resurrection God opened the veil that gives us access to experience as much of God as we want to. 

From Hebrews 10:19-22, what can we do in unqualified assurance and in absolute trust? “ …we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

God says He has opened up a way for us to come and eat freely of the Tree of Life. Freely – as much as you want of Him. As hungry as we are, we can eat of His glory, presence, and power. We can walk in the manifestation of 24-hour God-consciousness.

Out of the Garden

In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve were taken out of the Garden (the place), but they were also taken out of a degree of the glory and intimacy of God that they had enjoyed. When He took them out, the first thing He did was place angels at the entrance so they couldn’t get back in and have access to the Tree of Life.  He took away His manifest presence.  But complete relationship with Him was not cut off.  In Gen. 4:26, it says that “men called on the name of the Lord.” Enoch walked with God and then was no more (Gen. 5:24).  There was a degree of God’s presence even though God had taken away the Tree of Life.  Back then, Jesus had not come to make a way for them to come boldly before the throne of grace and mercy, into the Holy of Holies.  But through His mercy, God had relationship with His people outside of the Garden.

 In the church today, many have an “out of the Garden” experience. We do not relate to God on the level that He’s made available.  We settle for the life we have – for whatever level we think God wants us to have, and we don’t stir ourselves to reach for higher levels.

 But we can have a Garden of Eden/ kingdom of Heaven experience! Jesus demonstrated the kingdom of heaven.  The kingdom of heaven is within you and you have the ability to tap into every spiritual blessing with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). We have the potential to understand our inheritance – the limitless anointing purchased by Jesus.  The blood of the Lamb has made a way for us to be restored to what Adam and Eve had in the Garden. 

An open heaven

Many have seen by the Spirit an open heaven over Church of the Highlands. The open heaven comes from the ministry of Holy Spirit who manifests Himself in response to our worship. He is a gentleman and only comes when invited.  When welcomed, He will flow though our meetings and our souls and fill the place with His glory.  No evil can stand in His presence.  In fact, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is more powerful than direct confrontation with the devil. It is an act of warfare to make a deep connection with the Lord. It is more powerful than taking authority over demons – demons bow their knee to someone who has been with God. Worship cleanses us and puts us in a place where the devil has nothing on us.

John 14:30 – “… the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.”

God is enthroned by our praises far above every ruler and authority that satan can send our way (Psalm 22:3).  Our high praises are like a sword against the enemy (Psalm 149:6-6).

The River of Life flows at our church because of the worship of intercessors like you. Press in for more love and deeper revelation. God cannot be fooled by a fake relationship. He is omnipotent, and He is looking for honesty and humility and the fear of the Lord. As worshippers we bow our knee to Him, and He reveals the truth that He is Lord. We fall in love with Him and ask Him, “Lord, What can I do for You?!”  If you love Him, you’ll obey His commandments.   

Some practical ideas 

So how do we get there?  How to we lose ourselves in worship? Use anything that will put your total focus on Him – reading the Bible, listening to sermons on CD, and filling the atmosphere with anointed music. Cultivate a desire to see Him more clearly. 

 We have many opportunities for corporate worship at Church of the Highlands.  Prayer and worship are the foundation of our church. In our meetings God is drawn and we come face to face with Him.  The word builds our faith and the anointed music touches our soul and gets us in alignment with God.  But the flow of the Spirit of God in our meetings will be the cumulative affect of the depth of the individual connection with God that we each have.  Therefore, get alone with Him – not just to pray through your outlines, but to see Him face to face. Find a quiet place to meet with Him. Many worshippers like the car as a meeting place with God because they can sing or scream or cry, and no one else will hear!   

     Acquire a collection of songs that stir your spirit. What songs do you love to sing at church?  Has God ever given you a song in the morning when you wake up? There are songs that build our faith.  Songs that we sang as children – perhaps hymns filled with rich lyrics. If you hear a song that touches you, ask about it.  Begin to compile a list. The Lord has an incredible array of music available to us. There is a door in the spirit through music tailor-made for each of us. 

     The list of songs that stir us may evolve over time.  There are stages of higher and higher revelation that we acquire through worship.  At first we may love songs of praise, joy, and dancing because of the great salvation God has given us.  Then we may move to songs that cut through our soul and cleanse us.  We weep and ask God to cleanse us. He is so pure and we become so aware of Him and our own weakness.  Then we may go back to the songs of joy because of our thankfulness. We’ll have seasons of awe and wonder where we crave songs of deep intimacy.  We become broken and willing to even be martyrs because He has taken us over.  We cry out, “More of Him, less of me.”  That’s God’s ultimate goal.  

     In our technological world there are many ways to get music to our ears. CD players, computers, and MP3 players (such as the Ipod) are wonderful tools for worship. Be willing to make worship through music a priority.  It will have a financial cost, but it will be worth it.

     One way to buy songs without having to purchase a whole CD is to use I-tunes which is accessed through the internet.  Songs can be downloaded for $0.99 a piece and put on your own CD or MP3 player.  If you’ve never done this, don’t be overwhelmed!  It really isn’t difficult and others can help you. 

     Your small group leader will provide a current list of songs that we presently sing at Highlands.  It’s not an exhaustive list and new songs are being added constantly.  Choose some that you love and worship!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Assignment for Week Four

 

     Spend time resting in God’s presence this week. Compile a list of songs that assist you in connecting with Him. If you already have music you love, add some new songs.

     You may want to join other worshippers at a corporate prayer meeting.  Two choices at Highlands are Saturday, 9:00-10:00 am, and Wednesday, 5:30-7:00 am.  Both meetings are led by Mark Hand, prayer Coordinator of Church of the Highlands.    

     Focus on the Lord and cultivate 24-hour God-consciousness. Journal your conversations with God.

 

 
 

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The Lord’s Prayer

Week Five

 

 

     One of the goals of the Prayer Force Training is to give you as an intercessor tools that will help enrich your personal prayer life.  We’ll talk about corporate prayer and the power of agreement in prayer for the salvation of the lost and the needs of others in later lessons.  But for the next two lessons we’ll look at two prayer models that are designed to enable us to pray thoroughly in our private time with the Lord and grow our friendship with the Lord as we invest extended periods of time with Him.

     We’ll begin with the Lord’s Prayer model.

 

Luke 11:1: One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

 

     Most of the disciples were not strangers to prayer.  Anyone who was a Hebrew was very familiar with prayer. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray not because they had never prayed before, but because He was praying in a way they had never seen. He wasn’t just saying words – He was actually talking to God. They wanted Him to teach them how to connect with God. Then Jesus gave them the Lord’s prayer. Luke’s version of this prayer is recorded in Luke 11:2-4.The Lord’s Prayer is also found in Matthew 6:9-13. 

     Just before Jesus gave the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, He gave them some other instructions on how to pray.

 

Matthew 6:5-6: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

 

     That was particularly applicable to His disciples in that day because almost all the prayer of their day was public prayer.

 

Matthew 6:7-8: “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

 

     They thought that the longer they prayed, the more holy and righteous they would be.  Jesus wanted to teach them that it wasn’t the length of the prayer or the form of the prayer, but the connection they would make with the Father that is the goal in prayer. Recited prayer is dangerous if there is no connection between your heart and God’s heart.

     Jesus is our example in everything and as we study how He prayed, we’ll find four aspects of His prayer life that we can follow.

 

Four aspects of Jesus’ prayer life:

 

< >Jesus prayed regularly. Luke 5:16: Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

What were the instructions on prayer in 1 Chronicles 23:30? “They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening.”  

 

     A good principle to use in prayer is the principle of tithing:  give God the first of your day. Make sure you give Him a portion of the day to establish what is important to you.

 

< >Jesus prayed privately.  Matthew 14:23: After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.Jesus prayed sincerely. John 17 is a beautiful prayer that Jesus prayed for us. Stop and read it. As you read notice how much He loves us and wants us to be connected with the Father like He is.

Look up and write out Ephesians 6:10. “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” 

 

     Whatever we do, we don’t want to babble redundantly using meaningless repetition just so men will be impressed.  God just wants your heart!

 

< >Jesus prayed specifically.  Luke 22:31-32. "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

What is the confidence that we have in approaching God according to 1 John 5:14? “… if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

 

     God is saying to us, “Just come!  Ask Me!”  Jesus prayed, “Hallowed be Thy name.” We need to be transformed/ changed in His presence. According to Ephesians 2:6 we are seated with Christ in heavenly places.  The way to take our position with Him is to hallow His name. We move from earth to heaven spiritually when we worship.  Many of us are frustrated when we pray because we feel that earth is talking so loudly and we are disconnected from God.  “Hallowed be Thy name” literally means holy is Your name. It’s a true worship experience when we worship His names.  Worship His eight covenant names because He is who He said He is!  

 

The 8 covenant names of God

 

< >Jehovah Tsidkenu, our RighteousnessJehovah M’Kaddesh, Who sanctifiesJehovah Rapha, our HealerJehovah Nissi,  our Banner of victoryJehovah Raah, my ShepherdJehovah Shalom, my PeaceJehovah Shammah, the One who is thereJehovah Jireh, my Provider

 

 

     It is God’s will that you be filled with joy and peace in this life.  In heaven there are no tears or pain. God wants us to pray in a partnership with Him that the messed up affairs of our planet and its fallen nature be brought back to God’s intended order.

 

Look up and write out Matthew 10:7. “As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'”

 

     We are to go around and proclaim that the Kingdom of heaven is near.  If you are sick, the kingdom of heaven is near. If you’re depressed, the kingdom of heaven is near.

 

As disciples of Jesus, what four things from Matthew 10:8 are we to do to manifest the Kingdom of God? “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” 

 

     This is what the kingdom of heaven looks like!  Get the kingdom of God operating in your own life and then give it to others.  The church has been in error offering platitudes like, “I’m so sorry that you’re in trouble.  If it be God’s will, He’ll help you out.”  Our job is to preach that the kingdom of God is near, and to heal the sick, cleanse the leper, and drive out demons because freely we have received and freely we are to give.  We aren’t to be passive.  We are to proclaim that we know what God’s will is – for earth look like heaven. 

 

Luke 12:32: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Your Father in heaven is pleased for the kingdom of heaven to be given to you! Jesus said if you want it, you can pray for it and you can have it today here on earth! 

 

3.  Offer our petitions. Give us this day our daily bread” When we say “give us…”, we recognized the fact that He has it. Your help does not come from the government, or from your boss, or your spouse, or doctors – He alone is our source.

 

Look up and write out Psalm 121:2. “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

 

     God is the ultimate Giver! Depend on Him for everything, not just what you need, but everything.

     We are in a dangerous place in America because we don’t think we need to pray for God to give our daily bread. We are well fed and have plenty. But this phrase means so much more.

     Go through every part of your life and tell God that you are totally dependent on Him. Even in the areas where you feel very self-sufficient and blessed.  Go through your schedule and tell God that you can’t do any part without Him.  Daily depend on God for refreshment and a word from Him. 

 

Proverbs 3:5-6:  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

  

4. Receive and give grace.  “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

     Some translations say “trespasses” instead of debtors.  A trespass is when we go too far, a debt is something that we owe or we didn’t go far enough.  These words are opposites.  We don’t have an English word that really describes what Jesus was saying, but the Greek word used here encompasses both thoughts.   It means “Forgive us for the things we should have done and the things we didn’t do.” These are the sins of commission and omission.  In this part of our prayer, we get our heart right before God.  We ask God to forgive us for our sin.

     And then we forgive others for what the have done to us.  Just as we have received grace we extend it to others. Everyday we need to go through the list and forgive – never let an offense fester; it will grow and destroy our lives.  We receive God’s forgiveness, and decide to do what may be very difficult for us – we let others off the hook.  The Bible says we are forgiven to the degree that we forgive others.  It is not optional that we forgive as we have been forgiven. 

 

Mark 11:22-26:  "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

 

     Unforgiveness of others is a condition that will trap us in anger and bitterness. We must totally release all who have harmed, offended, or hurt us. We must get our hearts right for prayer to work.

 

Look up and write out Matthew 5:44. “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” 

                              

5.  Be victorious.  “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Translated more accurately this verse should say, “Do not allow us to be led into temptation.” The devil is faithful in what he does, and he will come after us today.  His job description is to lie, kill, steal, and destroy us.  We need to become comfortable engaging in spiritual warfare.  Satan seeks to stop you. 

 

1 Thessalonians 2:18: For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us.  

 

     The Greek word translated “stop” here means diversion, or literally “to cut a ditch in the road.”  Satan wants to cut a ditch in the road to keep you from being successful.  How do you resist the devil?  It’s by daily making decisions to walk in obedience to God.

    Make your decisions before the temptations come.  For example:  “Lord, today I covenant with my eyes and my mind not to look at or think lustfully about anyone or anything.”  Train yourself to say no to the devil and yes to God.  This is spiritual warfare. 

     Whether we want to believe it or not, there is a devil who is making plans and schemes right now to destroy our lives.  If we decide we don’t want to deal with him, we’re in trouble because he won’t bail out.  Prayer is not only communing with God, it’s confronting strongholds.  If we don’t learn how to confront the devil, we will become victims. 

 

Look up and write out James 4:7. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

 

6.  Release faith.  “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”  If you want to have effective prayer you must have faith that is released.  The greatest expression of faith is to go ahead and thank God in advance for something you’re believing for.  If you can genuinely praise God before the victory, you have a faith that will work for you.

 

Read 2 Chronicles 20:6-25.

 

     God’s people won the battle through the powerful principle of praising God by faith before the victory!

 

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

According to  Hebrews 11:1, what is faith? “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”    

 

     Following is a prayer guide composed from the Lord’s Prayer scriptures and a prayer crafted from each truth. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LORD’S PRAYER GUIDE

Matthew 6:9-13

 

I. OUR FATHER WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME

A. Picture Calvary and thank God you can call Him Father by virtue of the blood of Jesus.

B. Worship the Name of God, corresponding with the benefits in the new covenant, and make your faith declarations:

 

Name                                       Meaning                                  Benefit

Jehovah Tsidkenu                    Our righteousness        I am forgiven of all sin

Jehovah M’Kaddesh                Who sanctifies              I am set apart for inistry

Jehovah Rapha                                    Our Healer                  I have health & healing

Jehovah Nissi                           Our banner of victory    I am secure & victorious

Jehovah Raah                         My shepherd                I am led by the Holy Spirit

Jehovah Shalom                      My peace                     I have peace & sanctuary

Jehovah Shammah                  Who is there                 I have God’s presence & power

Jehovah Jireh                          Our provider                 I have success & provision

 

 

II. THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE

      Pray for God’s will in these areas:

A. Nation, State, County and City

            B. Church

                        1. Pastors

                        2. Group Leaders

                        3. Members of Church of the Highlands

                        4. Vision of Church of the Highlands

            C. Your Family

            D. Yourself

 

III. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD

            A. Offer your requests to God.

            B. Ask God to bless every area of your life.

 

IV. FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS

            A. Ask God to forgive you.

            B. Forgive and release others.

            C. Set your will to forgive those who sin against you.

 

V. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

            A. Put on the whole armor of God.

                        1. Helmet of Salvation

                        2. Breastplate of Righteousness

                        3. Belt of Truth

                        4. Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

                        5. Shield of Faith

                        6. Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God

            B. Pray for God’s protection in all areas of your life

 

VI. FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY

            A. Make your faith declarations

            B. Return to praise and worship

 

 

Prayer

 

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”

“God I worship You for who You are.  You’re everything to me. I’m so thankful You are my Righteousness because I wasn’t good enough today. All of my attempts to do right fell short. I’m only righteous because You allowed me to be. I love You for that. I don’t deserve it.  I thank you that you are my Sanctifier.  Of all the people you could have picked, why did you pick me?  How did You see something in me?  I am so grateful that You’ve set me apart. I’m also so grateful that You’re always there for me by Your Spirit. No matter where I go, You’re there.  How is that possible?  I’m in awe of You.  You even go ahead of me. You’re my Banner of victory over the devil.  Before I face any trouble, You’ve already won for me.  You lead me in triumphal procession.  I thank You that You’re my Peace.  When life gets stressful and a lot is going on, You give me peace.  I praise You because You heal me from every disease and sickness.  You’re my Provider – you give me everything I need.”     

 

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

“Lord, You must increase, I must decrease. I don’t deserve to take a step towards You. But by the blood of Jesus I don’t deserve to come near You. I lay my life down at Your later now. I give You every part of me. 

 

“Lord, I pray for the lost people in Birmingham because I know they are on Your heart.  Bless families, Lord, and marriages.  I lift up our government officials and leaders. Your will be done in Birmingham as it is in heaven.

 

“Lord, will you take this tangled mess called life and send a slice of heaven to earth? 

 

“Father, let the heavens be open over our city and families and over everyone who has experienced pain and divorce and sickness and depression and poverty.  We pray that the kingdom of heaven come upon them, in Jesus name! 

 

“Give us today our daily bread.”

“Lord, I can’t live without You.  I need you to make my marriage wonderful.  I need you to help me be a good parent.  I need you to help me do my job.  I need you in every area of my life! Protect me while I’m driving and traveling. I’m dependent on your safety and your angels to surround me.  You provide the meals for my family… 

 

“I’m not the reason my life is working. God, I am dependent on You.

 

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

“Father, I come again to Your throne of grace asking You to forgive me.  Forgive me for not only the sins that I committed, but for those things You told me to so that I didn’t do.  Thank You, Lord.

 

“Lord, I release all who have hurt me in any way.  I’m asking also that you would forgive them. Whether they intended to harm me or not, forgive them because they really didn’t know what they were doing. I pray for Your grace and blessing to be poured out on their lives!

 

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

“God, I know today I’m going to face warfare. When that happens, give me the power to overcome. In every area of weakness I desire to be more than an conqueror in You.  With Your help I will overcome lust, greed, control, and everything else the devil throws at me.”  

 

“Lord, should I come face to face with temptation, I want to come out on the other side victorious and strong.  God, according to 1 Corinthians 10:13, You always provide a way of escape. Come along beside me and help me to be successful.”  

 

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever!”

“I’m not worried about anything anymore.  I completely trust you, God, not only for the answers, but for the timing of the answers.  I even trust You, Lord, for the way and manner that You will answer.  It’s Your kingdom, Your power, and Your glory!  It’s all You.”

 

Prayer Assignment for Week Five

  

Pray through the Lord’s Prayer model for several days.  Keep of journal of the fresh revelation that God gives you. After you have used the outline a few times, make notes of any ways that it has enriched your prayer time.

 

 
 

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Tabernacle Prayer

Week Six

 

 

Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all you heart.”

 

     God wants to be found by us! The question is – will we seek Him with all our hearts?  The following, Tabernacle Prayer, will not only give us an outline to help us “keep watch with Him for an hour,” but will give us a map to seeking Him and finding Him.

     Pastor Chris has said that the Tabernacle Prayer outline is the greatest teaching to help him in his personal prayer life. It unlocked prayer for him.

     This teaching will help you enjoy your prayer time. For most people, praying for an hour is a challenge.  Even if they accomplish an extended time in prayer, they may only get a few good minutes that they really connect with God. Why is that the case for so many of us?  It’s because we just don’t know what to do! 

 

 

Tarry with Him

 

     Before Jesus was arrested and taken before the authorities to be condemned, He spent time praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He was getting ready to die. He took Peter, James, and John with Him and asked them to go over to a certain spot and pray while He went off by Himself.

 

Matthew 26:38: Then He said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me."

 

     The word watch means, “work with Me, be with Me in this thing. I’ve been with you all this time, and now I need you.”  So Jesus went off to pray, and He was under so much pressure that He literally sweated blood. Then He returned to check on His friends and found that they were asleep. 

 

Matthew 26:40: "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?"

 

     Have you ever read that verse and thought, “But Lord, praying for an hour isn’t as easy as it sounds.  I’d really like to be able to do that, but it’s difficult to stay focused for that long”?  Sometimes when we pray, we have good intentions to pray for a while, but we run out of things to say after about ten minutes. We start repeating ourselves, then we might start singing for while, then we open our Bibles and read for a while, then finally give up.

 

According to Matthew 26:41 why might it be hard to pray? "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

   

     Most of us would love a powerful hour of prayer because our spirit is willing – but our flesh is weak.  Sometimes our flesh is weak because we have cravings that we desire more than prayer – like TV, food, friends, or even work. Or sometimes our flesh is weak because we haven’t trained our natural man and our minds how to pray.

     Following are steps to the presence of God through the Tabernacle that will assist us in training ourselves to become strong in our personal prayer life with an ultimate goal of finding Him – drawing near to His presence.

 

From Psalm 16:11, what will we discover and enjoy in His presence? “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”

 

     Another benefit of using the steps of the Tabernacle in prayer is getting ourselves in position to approach the throne of God for others. On the heart of every intercessor is closing the gap between the needs of others and the provision that God graciously offers.

 

Look up and write out Hebrews 4:16. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 

 

The Tabernacle

 

     In the Old Testament there was a protocol established by God to entering His presence. A protocol is a certain way of doing something, a formality, that is proper for approaching and being with a person of great importance. For example, if you were to go to the White House for a meeting – even if it were just to shake the President’s hand – you would have to meet with a minister of protocol who would tell you things like, “Don’t say anything to him unless he says something to you.  Don’t reach out to shake his hand unless he reaches out to shake your hand.”  The minister of protocol will go over the proper way to address a man of that stature and that importance.

     When Moses received the law, God established a protocol for the Israelites to be able to have fellowship with Him. So when He gave the law, He gave instructions on how to build the Tabernacle which would provide the way for His people to be able to enter His presence. Moses came down from the mountain with these instructions for building this “portable church.” If you would like to read about the Tabernacle in the scriptures, you will find a very detailed description in Exodus 25-31 and 35–40. For our purposes, we will briefly describe the parts of the Tabernacle as they apply to prayer. 

     The Tabernacle was the portable church used by Moses and the Israelites while they lived in the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land, Canaan. God led the Israelites with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Sometimes He would stop and settle for a long time; sometimes He would make a brief stop and then the cloud or fire would move on.   At each stop the Tabernacle would have to be reconstructed. God’s people did this for forty years!  Finally, they crossed over the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land, and years later Solomon built the permanent temple.

     There were three areas of the Tabernacle:  the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.  The Tabernacle was a rectangular shaped tent that had high walls with no covering. There was a small entrance to the rectangle that we call the “gate.”  Inside the rectangle was another smaller rectangle, or tent. The area between the two tents was called the “Outer Court.” The inside smaller rectangle was cut in half making two areas: the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.  This smaller tent was covered with a curtain, but the Outer Court was uncovered. The priests from the tribe of Levi would minister regularly in the Outer Court and the Holy Place.  Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. The Outer Court was the only place that people other than the priests could go.

     In the Holy of Holies lived the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was a gold box with two cherubim made from hammered gold on top of it. The cherubim faced each other and look down on the box. In the box were the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod (Aaron was Moses’ brother and the high priest), and some manna.  The Ark of the Covenant carried the presence of God.  Every part of the Tabernacle, from the Gate to the Holy of Holies, was constructed for the purpose of the high priest being able to approach the presence of God to intercede for the people and do what God  had commanded so that His glory would continue to be with them.

     On the next page are illustrations of the articles in the Tabernacle and an outline describing what each piece represents.

 

 

Step One: The Gate

 

Psalm 100:4: Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.

 

     Thanksgiving was established by God as the first step for the Israelites to enter His presence.

     For us today, we begin the process of entering His presence the same way – thanking Him and praising Him.  Think of a fresh reason to be thankful every day. A good discipline might be to thank Him each day for something you’ve never thanked Him for before.  It will keep prayer alive for us.

     The church should be a praising church.  If God is really alive and He really does save us from sins that would cause us eternal death, then we ought to be excited about it. Heaven will be loud with praise.  Our church services should be getting us ready for heaven! The Bible says there will be a sound like mighty rushing waters with tens of thousands of angels singing their praises.  It will be loud!

 

According to Psalm 95:2-3, how should we approach  the Lord? “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.”

 

     Thanksgiving is a challenge when we’re in the middle of a trial and hell is bearing down on us. The devil will do every thing he can to stop us right at the Gate – the first step in the process to entering God’s presence. If he can keep us from God’s glory, he will be able to strip us of any power to overcome in this life.  Anyone who is weary, down-trodden, even depressed must press through and thank God – it’s a sacrifice of praise.

 

Psalm 141:2: May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

 

Look up and write out Psalm 116:17. “I will sacrifice a thank offering to You and call on the name of the LORD.”

 

 

Step Two: The Brazen Altar

 

     In each part of the tabernacle was furniture, called articles.  There were six articles placed in an order, each with instructions for its use.  The first article was the Brazen Altar.

     The second step to entering His presence is acknowledging that we are forgiven. At the Brazen Altar blood sacrifices were made.  Animals, such as birds or cows, were killed and the blood from these animals was poured on the Brazen Altar to atone for (pay for) sin. The Brazen Altar represents the cross of Jesus. The cross provides many benefits for us.

     Psalm 103 lists five redemptive blessings we receive through the cross. At this step to entering God’s presence we want to acknowledge what He has done for us and praise His name. 

 

5 Redemptive Blessings Provided through the Cross

 

1.  Salvation.  Psalm 103:1-3a: Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits- who forgives all your sins.

                                                                                                        

     Praying like this doesn’t mean you are getting saved each day; it just means you are thankful for His salvation.  We appropriate the benefit of salvation each day.  It is good to acknowledge to God that without Him, we are nothing. We come to Him empty. There is nothing that we have done that makes us worthy of having an audience with Him.  We can’t take even a step towards Him outside of His blood.

 

Look up and write out Romans 3:23. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

 

Look up and write out Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

 

2.  Healing.  Psalm 103:3b: …and heals all your diseases.

 

     The second benefit of the cross is healing: physical and emotional.  We thank God at this step for healing all our diseases.  It’s a good idea to name them, especially any disease that brings us fear – like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism…

     Remind yourself everyday that Jesus is your healer!

 

Read Exodus 15:26 and write down who God said He is.  “.. for  I am the LORD, who heals you.”

 

3.  Redemption from the curse. Psalm 103:4a: …who redeems your life from the pit

    

     The third benefit of the cross is redemption from the curse of the devil.  Ephesians 6 tells us that we must make our stand against the devil.  We have principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness coming against us. We proclaim that by the blood of Jesus we are protected.  

 

Read Ephesians 6:13-18.

 

What happened to the debt we owed because of our sin according to Colossians 2:13-14? “…. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

 

4.  The Holy Spirit.  Psalm 103:4b:and crowns you with love and compassion.

 

     The fourth benefit of the cross is the Holy Spirit. He “crowns us with love and compassion”; these are the traits of the Holy Spirit. Through the cross we receive the nature of God. 

 

Look up and write out Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” 

 

     We begin to take on his nature and abilities and all that He is.

 

5.  Provision.  Psalms 103:5a: …who satisfies your desires with good things.

 

     The fifth benefit of the cross is provision.  He gives us everything we need.

 

What promise do we find in Philippians 4:19. “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

 

 

Step Three: The Laver

 

     Now we can take another step towards His presence.  We can come boldly into His presence through the cross and the blood of Jesus. 

     The next article in the tabernacle was the laver. The laver was a large bowl made out of mirrors and full of water.  When a person looked in it, he would see himself.  The people would wash at the laver and be cleansed. For us as we take this step in prayer, we allow the Lord to work on our character. 

Four actions to take at the laver:

 

1.  Repent. Here we confess known sin such as attitudes, ways that we’ve treated people, any thoughts that weren’t pure. Ask the Lord to cleanse you of these things. We also want to ask the Lord to reveal to us any unknown sin.

 

Psalm 51:10: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 

Read 1 John 1:7-10.

 

Write out 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

 

2.  Offer your body to the Lord. 

 

Romans 12:1: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. It is worship to God when you offer you body to Him.  Consecrate your whole body to the Lord.  Start at the top and work your way down.

 

3.  Offer Him your mind. The mind is the place that we get into the most trouble.

 

Romans 12:2: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

 

Philippians 4:7-8: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

What are we to do with our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5)? “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

 

4.  Ask the Lord to replace every part of our sinful nature with the fruit of the Spirit.

 

Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 

 

     If you do these four things, you have had a successful stop at the laver. You have been cleansed and changed.

 

 

Step Four: The Candlestick

 

Once you are forgiven and cleansed, you can come in as a priest to the Holy Place.  In the front part of the Holy Place were three articles. To the left side of the Holy Place was the candlestick with seven candles.  The candlestick represents the Holy Spirit and the  seven candles represent the seven-fold nature of the Spirit of God that is described in Isaiah 11:2: The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

 

The fear of the Lord will help us in making decisions because we will make them in light of the fact that we know that God is watching. The Lord has entrusted us with many wonderful gifts, and we must manage them and make choices through the fear of to Lord. 

 

Proverbs 1:7 says “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” 

 

Revelation 4:5. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.

 

Next we pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us to “eagerly desire (covet) spiritual gifts.”  We want to ask for more of what we have and gifts that we don’t yet have.  Ask for them all! Name the gifts and abilities that you have and ask Him to fan each of them into flame so that they will remain red hot and on fire. Just ask him and He’ll give them to you. 

 

Read Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, and Ephesians 4:11.

 

 

Step Five:  The Table of Shewbread

 

     Then, across the room in the Holy Place was the shewbread on a table. There were twelve loaves of bread, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Bread in scripture also always represents God’s word.  The twelve loaves at the table were replaced every day.  The bread was never left there for more than a day.  This teaches us a very important truth:  God wants to continually reveal His Word to us.  We need fresh bread, fresh revelation from Him each day.

     At this step, open your Bible and read until you receive a fresh word from the Lord. He will give you a scripture for the day, something to chew on all day long. God will give you opportunities to share this fresh bread with others. 

     Claim God’s promises at this step.  In the New Testament in the book of Acts, scripture was quoted when the Christians prayed.  We can take God’s word and put scriptures in first person.

 

Write  Luke 10:19 in  first person. “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

 

Matthew 4:4. Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

 

 

Step Six: The Altar of Incense

 

     The next article in the Tabernacle was at the entrance to the Holy of Holies near the multi-layered curtain.  This article was the altar of incense, and it burned continuously. Incense represents the worship, praise, and prayer of the saints.  Kneel before the Lord and worship Him during this step.  Tell Him how much you love Him!  This will be a very intimate and affectionate time.  Tell Him how much you adore Him and appreciate Him. Sing a love song to the Lord.  If you play an instrument, play for Him.  You may want to have worship music playing throughout your prayer time.  Connect with God in worship.

 

Look up and write out Proverbs 18:10. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” 

 

At this step pray the names of God.

 

1.  My Righteousness, “Jehovah Tsidkenu.”

Jeremiah 23:6: In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.

 

2. The Sanctifier, “Jehovah M-kaddesh.”

Leviticus 20:7-8: “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy.”     

 

3.  My Healer, “Jehovah Rapha.”

Exodus 15:26: He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."

 

4.  My Provider, “Jehovah Jireh.”

Genesis 22:14: So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.    Because the Lord is your provider, go ahead and tell Him what your needs are and ask Him to provide for you.

 

5.  My Banner of victory, “Jehovah Nissi.”

Exodus 17:15: Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.   When in battle, the banner was carried by the person at the front of the army. The banner said, “We win!”  The Lord goes before into every battle.  He leads us in a triumphal procession.  Our enemies lose, we win. 

 

6.  My Peace, “Jehovah Shalom.”

Judges 6:23-24:  But the LORD said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die." So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace.

 

7.  My Shepherd, “Jehovah Raah.”

Psalm 23:1: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.   

 

8.  The Lord who is there, “Jehovah Shammah.”

Ezekiel 48:35: The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on will be: “ The LORD is There."   

 

 

Step Seven:  The Holy of Holies

 

     With worship on your lips, you walk into the Holy of Holies.  This is where you will be face to face with God. 

     In the Holy of Holies there was no candle – it was lit by the presence of God.  Only one time a year did the high priest go into the Holy of Holies.  Anyone who attempted to enter the Holy of Holies that was not the high priest would die. If the high priest did not closely follow the protocol set by the Lord for entering His presence, even he would die. Bells and a rope were tied around the ankle of the high priest in case he died while in the Holy of Holies so that he could be dragged out. The protocol had to be followed before the high priest could have an audience with God.

     The Holy of Holies was separated by several layers of curtains called the “veil.” Behind the veil was the Ark of the Covenant where the presence of God was. When Jesus was crucified, an earthquake took place and the veil was torn from top to bottom by God. It was ripped in two because God was saying to all of us, “Now you can come and have a face-to-face with Me. Now you can come and be in My presence and have communion with Me.” After Jesus gave His life for us, there no longer remained a barrier between us and God; we no longer need a priest to go in to the Holy of Holies for us.  Jesus is our High Priest and He, through His blood, has torn the barrier once for all time!  

     In the Tabernacle, it was in the Holy of Holies that the High Priest prayed to God with an agenda: to intercede for everyone else.  It is here that we make intercession for people.  We’ve had our wonderful time with God at each of the other five pieces of furniture, and it may be tempting to stop there – but people are depending on our prayers to God for them. 

     Intercession means you are standing between a person who needs mercy and the only One who can give it to them.  True intercession  says “Lord, please give them one more chance!”  Intercede for your family, your pastor, your friends, your neighbors, and your co-workers.  Pray for missionaries and un-reached people, including your lost friends and family.  Intercede for government officials. The Bible tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Have a list ready and pray through everyone on it.  Stand in the gap on their behalf. 

 

What does the Lord say about our needs in Matthew 6:33? “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

 

     As you end your prayer time with the Lord, end as you began:  with thanksgiving. 

 

Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 

     Thanksgiving is the ultimate expression of your faith.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer

 

     As you pray the “Tabernacle Prayer,” your prayer life will become richer and God will give you fresh revelation.  You will grow in your friendship with Him and find that you can easily “keep watch with Him for an hour.”                                 

 

Thanksgiving

“God, I thank You that Your blessings are chasing me down and overtaking me!  You are an awesome God.  I thank You for my family, for my church, my friends, my work, and my country.  I am overwhelmed with Your goodness to me.”

 

The Brazen Altar

“Lord, I come to the foot of the cross, and I want to thank You today that You saved me from all my sin.  Once again, I want to confess my sin, and I want to receive the forgiveness. Thank You that You have delivered me from the power of darkness.  Thank you for choosing me before I was even born!”  

 

“God, I thank you that You have healed me of every disease in my body and my mind. There is no disease that You are not willing and able to heal. You are my Healer. You heal cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism… I praise Your name, Jehovah Rafah!” 

 

“I thank You, God that every attack of the devil and anything he would want to do to me is broken, in Jesus name. Every curse, every generational curse, every negative word spoken against me is broken!”

 

“Thank you, Lord, that You give me love and joy, and You crown me with compassion. You make me like You through the Holy Spirit.  Thank You for Your Spirit.”  

 

“God, thank You for being My Provider. Thank You for the influence that I have through Your provision.  I ask You to enlarge my territory. My most important commodity is Your presence. If You go with me and Your hand is on me, I will succeed. You are the source of everything I need, Jehovah Jireh.”

 

 

 

The Laver

“Father God, form in me a pure and clean heart.  Show me my sin.  I denounce all sin and repent of everything that has grieved You. Forgive me for turning my back on You. Cleanse me.”

 

“Lord, let my body be worship to you. Let all my efforts, all my work, be pleasing in your sight. I offer my eyes to you today that they might not look lustfully on anyone or anything.  I make a covenant with my eyes to behold Your beauty. I want to see You and the needs of others. I give you my ears today that I might not listen to gossip and junk, but that I might be sensitive to  Your voice.  Lord, I give you my mouth that I might speak good and not evil.  Keep my tongue free from evil.  Protect my words. use my mouth to edify others, not tear them down.  Let my hands minister to others and do good. I commit to You never to take what is not mine.  Let my feet go where ever you want them to go.  Give me divine appointment. I give you my to-do list. I want to be in step with what the Spirit is doing and saying. I want to walk in Your ways. Set a guard over my eyes, ears, tongue, hands, and feet so that I will be faithful to do Your will.” 

 

“Lord, take my mind today so that I might not think bad things, but good things. Renew my mind so that I think on the things that are excellent and praiseworthy. I take captive every thought now to make it obedient to Your word. I cast down every imagination, and I demolish every worldly and demonic perspective.”

 

“Lord, I desire to have Your fruit manifested in my life.  Pour love through me, and peace, and everything that You are.”

 

The Candlestick

“Lord, I need your Spirit to operate in me. Lord, give me counsel, might, knowledge, power, and understanding.  Please give me the fear of the Lord.” 

“Father, let the fire of Your seven spirits fall on me!”

 

“Fan the flame of the gifts that You have given me. Lord, I covet tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy.  I covet words of knowledge, words of wisdom, and the discerning of spirits. I covet today workings of miracles, workings of faith, and the gifts of healing. I want to teach, prophesy, exhort, lead, serve, give, and show mercy. Enable me by Your Spirit. I’ll be whatever You call me to be! I covet Your gifts.  Pour them on me! I’ll take all You’ll give me.”

 

The Table of Shewbread

“God, I ask You for a fresh word today – a Rhema word.  I pray for the Bible to come alive.  Reveal Your ways, Your character, and Your wisdom to me.  I stand on every Word You have spoken and every promise You have made.  I pray for opportunities today to share fresh spiritual bread with others.”

 

The Altar of Incense

“Lord, it is an honor to even know You. I adore You and love You with all my heart! You created everything I see and the heavens above me.  You made me and crowned me with glory.  You are the God of might and strength. You nourish me and protect me. God, You never change!  You are all-powerful, all-knowing, and Your glory fills the earth. Let everything that has breath praise You and worship You!”   

 

“Lord, thank you for saving me and making me righteous and whole. Thank You for becoming sin for me that I might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”

 

“Lord, thank You for making me holy, set apart, and special. Thank you that You looked beyond my faults and saw some potential in me.”

 

“Thank You that You heal all my diseases. By Your stripes I am healed. You sent Your word and You healed me!”

 

“Lord, I don’t need anyone but You to be my provider. I rest in the fact that You will meet all my needs. I acknowledge that You and You alone are my provider. No one cares for me like You.”

 

“Lord, thank you that you give me power over the enemy. You are my Banner of Victory!”

 

“Thank you, Lord, that I have peace through You – nothing is broken, nothing is missing. You give me the peace that goes beyond my human understanding.”

 

“Lord, you guide me. You protect me.  You speak to me, comfort me, and discipline me. You’re a Father who guards me and shepherds me. Thank you for taking care of me.”

 

“Lord, you are always by my side. You are my advocate, Holy Spirit. I take comfort and am encouraged because I can boldly say that You are my Helper.  I will not fear or dread anything.  What can man do to me?”

 

The Holy of Holies

“Lord, I know Birmingham doesn’t deserve it, and our nation has made some poor decisions – but please Lord have mercy on our city and nation.  Have mercy on our church.  We want You come back soon, but please give us more time to reach the people in the 10/40 window and other places where there are lost and dying people.”

 

“Father God, I lift up my family and friends to You.  How I want them to know Jesus Christ and Your word intimately! I pray that You would keep them from the world, from falling away, from satan, and from false teaching. Lord, may my family and friends be holy in their thoughts, in their actions, and in their character.  I pray they would know their purpose and lead others to You. I pray that they would constantly possess the full joy of knowing Jesus and live in Your love and presence.”

 

“Bless the pastors and staff at church.  Bless them spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. Thank you for giving me such wonderful leaders”.

 

“I pray for the gospel to reach the ends of the earth.  Use me and my church in the final harvest.  We want to be laborers for You.  May Your hand of blessing be on the Mayor, the Governor our Senators, Representatives, and on our President.  God bless our nation and forgive us for turning away from You!”

 

“God, I know You already know everything I need.  You’ve promised me that you would take care of me daily if I make Your kingdom my primary concern.  I am so incredibly thankful for all You have done for me.  My cup overflows!  I ask You to continually bless me so that I can be a blessing for You and for others. I love You.”

 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

     

Prayer Assignment for Week Six

  

     Pray through the Tabernacle Prayer model for several days.  Keep of journal of the fresh revelation that God gives you. After you have used the outline a few times, make notes of any ways that it has enriched your prayer time. 

 

 

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Section Two

The Horizontal

 

The last few lessons have given us instruction in developing our personal prayer life and intimacy with God – the vertical. We’ll now turn our attention to the release of the love and compassion of God that we have as a result of our connection with Him.  For the rest of the study, we will focus on our practical ministry as intercessors – the horizontal. We’ll lay a foundation of two fundamental truths: there is power in the agreement of believers and Christians have spiritual authority in prayer. We’ll then look in to what the Bible says about our role in healing and spiritual warfare.      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Agreement

Week Seven

 

 

     As we move from the vertical to the horizontal in prayer, we keep our eyes focused on the Lord while at the same time locking arms in unity with other believers. God did not make people to be independent; He has made us to be inter-dependent. Although high values in our culture, rugged individualism, self-reliance, and self-centered personal ambition are not a biblical principles.  In a successful prayer force there is no place for these values. Why?  Because nothing eternal can be accomplished without personal sacrifice.

 

The early church under the leadership of the apostle Peter experienced the greatest level of the manifestation of God’s miraculous power that has been seen since that time.  After reading Acts 2:41-47 and Acts 4:32-33, why you think that might be the case?  “… They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostle. .All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”(Acts 41-47)  “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:32-33)

 

     The power of agreement in prayer is a biblical principle. Jesus said these words:  "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:19-20)

     Notice the word “anything.” Did He really say that?  “Anything” could be something wonderful, or it could be something terrible.  He said anything. He also said, “if two of you agree.” If we believe what He said, it only take two and it will be done. Do you see the incredible power in that truth?!

     But how can two agree unless their vision and requests are identical?  Agreement will often require one to serve the other. Paul said the following words to the Philippians believers:  “make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:2-3)

Three areas of agreement

 

     Following are three areas of agreement, that if achieved by our prayer force, will create a mighty army of intercessors.  Nothing will be impossible if we can reach agreement at this level!

 

 

1. Agreement with our pastor

 

     We began this study with the vision that our pastor has for our church. The reason for this is that we as a prayer force exist for one purpose – to serve our pastor and the vision the Lord has given him.  This chapter is entitled the “Power of Agreement,” but might be more appropriately entitled, “Submission and Humility.” How do we jump from power to submission and humility?  In God’s reality, there’s no leap at all – power is born out of brokenness and servanthood.  An intercessor must be willing to lay down his will, his agenda, and even his dreams.  Like Jesus we must say, “Not my will, but your will be done.”   God will reward that kind of humility!

     Not many of us will be pioneers in ministry, and even those who are pioneers will spend many years in submission to someone over them. Intercessors have vision and are often prophetic, seeing in the spirit the things God is doing and will do in the future.  The temptation is to run with what we see – often running ahead of our leaders and those we’ve been called to serve.  We make the mistake of trying to be pioneers when God has called us to pull the wagons, build the campfires, and watch for the wolves.  

 

2 Corinthians 2:9For this was my purpose in writing you, to test your attitude and see if you would stand the test, whether you are obedient and altogether agreeable [to following my orders] in everything.

 

     The apostle Paul actually gave specific orders to the Corinthian church to see whether they would submit to his authority! God may test you from time to time to purify your motives and your heart.

 

Write out Hebrews 13:17.Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

 

     An attitude of willing submission is necessary if we are to see God’s promises fulfilled

 

Isaiah 1:19-20 – If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.

 

     God has good in store for us if we take on the nature of a humble servant. Not only will we see miracles for others, but we will eat the good of the land ourselves. 

 

Matthew 6:33 – Your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs and will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.    

 

     God’s ways are totally contrary to human nature. He wants to give us great authority, to make us the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13). But this NEVER happens in God’s kingdom or economy except through becoming the “tail” first.

 

Write out Mark 9:35. "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

 

     Follow the lead of our pastor with reverence, honor, and respect. Even when you disagree, trust the Lord and obey!  Be faithful and you will receive this promise, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!” (Matthew 25:23) 

     Our pastor and other leaders need us to cover them and immerse them in prayer. Being bond-servants to them should be our privilege considering that they  keep watch over our souls and carry the weight of responsibility for our salvation and growth. In return they face resistance spiritually.  They and their families personally bear the brunt of satan’s attacks.

     Sometimes we will be called to stake ourselves to a leader.  God will give them an assignment that He never intended for them to carry through on their own.  They will need our agreement and full support.

 

Read Exodus 17:8-15.  Write out verse 12. “When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” 

 

     What a wonderful picture of the victory that can only be accomplished when a leader is supported and held up by others. 

 

 

2.  Agreement with each other

 

     Intercessors, primed through personal worship and intimacy and immersed in love for people, come together to create a powerful force.  The first step in releasing the love of God through our corporate intercession is establishing unity through agreement.

     God says if we agree, He’ll agree with us and jump into the circle.  Where there is agreement, there is power. This principle works in all areas of life, not just prayer. It works in football – where there is agreement, a team will win.  A great team learns that the sum is greater than the individuals.  Team members will supersede their own individual ability because of the power of agreement. This principle works in every area of life. Deuteronomy 32:30 tells us that one man can chase a thousand enemies, but two can put ten thousand enemies to flight.  All of a sudden because of agreement, exponential power is released!

     Think about this:  the devil is very logical. If you’re the devil, and you know that if two intercessors pray together, exponential power is released, then wouldn’t you make it your sole purpose to stir up trouble and disunity?  He wants disagreement and division. Division means two visions.  The number one strategy of the devil is to keep us apart because then he will accomplish the goal of stripping us of power and making our intercession ineffective.

     Therefore, shouldn’t our ambition as intercessors be to find a way to agree in every situation?  What would it take for us to become partners and see eye to eye?  It takes allot! Why? Because each one of us is different.  Every person has a unique view of God, a one-of-a-kind personality, and different perspective on life.

 

Ephesians 4:1-3: As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

 

Write out 1 Corinthians 1:10. “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

 

     Occasionally you may encounter “super-spiritual” people who will come with persuasive words designed to draw us away from the purity and simplicity of our devotion to the Lord, our pastor, and each other.  They may seem very religious, but will not depend on the Holy Spirit or submit to our pastor and other leaders.  

 

Read Romans 16:17-18. What are we told to watch for and  what are we told to do about it? I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”

 

     When intercessors can achieve and protect unity with each other, anointing will be released. 

 

Write out Ecclesiastes 4:12. “And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”   

 

From Ecclesiastes 4:9, Why are two better than one?  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.”

 

 

2 Chronicles 5:13-14The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang:  "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.

 

     We want God’s glory to fill the temple of our hearts and our church! It will happen when we join together in unity.

 

 

< >Agreement with God

Look up and write out Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

 

     Settle the issue that the Bible is the inspired, complete, perfect, finished, alive word of God.

 

< >Inspired means that it’s not just a collection of writings that man put together, but that it was authored by God and penned by the Holy Spirit Himself through the instrument of human beings.  Complete means it’s not missing anything. Perfect means it’s 100% right.  Finished means we don’t need to add anything to it. Alive means the Bible is not just words. John 1:1 tells us that the word is Jesus.  There is no more power in Jesus than in your Bible because they are one and the same. 

What does Hebrews 4:12 say about the word of God? “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

 

     At Church of the Highlands we believe in the closed cannon of scripture.  This means that there are not, nor ever will be, any books, verses, or ideas added to the Bible or placed beside it as equal in authority or revelation.  We also believe that all preaching, teaching, prophesying, and any other communication being declared in the name of Lord is to be subject to the measurement of the word of God. Pastor Chris even says of himself, “If I ever say anything that doesn’t line up with Bible, don’t listen to me.” 

     Accepting the authority of the Bible will keep Highlands safe, alive, innocent, and highly favored.  The secret to the word of God coming alive in us is accepting the Bible as God speaking to us and revelation coming as a result. 

 

Paul rejoiced in the Thessalonians view of God’s word.  In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, what did he say about how they received the Word of God? “…you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God….”

 

     In receiving the word of God in purity and simplicity, we must be careful not to allow our views to be shaped by unreliable authorities.

 

Unreliable authorities on the Bible include the following:

 

< >Culture  – the media will lie to us and tell us that what we believe is insane.Tradition – even the church will lie to us and say that the word doesn’t work today.Reason – we will lie to ourselves. Proverbs 14:12 says there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death. We may read a passage of scripture and tell ourselves that there’s no way that it really could have happened that way. We are human.  If there was a way that we could cause a miracle, we wouldn’t need God.    Personal feelings – we should never rely on our feelings, they will always lie to us.  There will come a day in our life when we aren’t going to be a Christian and be faithful to our promises.  We’re going to want to cuss and kick the dog. This is why we need the standard of the word of God.  We don’t get a vote; we’re not in a democracy.  Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!     

What does  Isaiah 55:8-9 tell us about God’s thoughts and ways? "’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD.  ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”

 

     We can’t contain God in our minds.  This is why we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Baptism in the Holy Sprit gives us the capacity we need to experience the glory of God and pray with power and authority with God’s perspective.  

                                           

What instruction are we given in Deuteronomy 6:7? “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

 

     God wants His word in every part of our lives.  We can’t come to church to intercede with great faith for miracles if the word is not active in our home life or our work place as well. Immerse yourself in God’s word. Plan to spend time in the word daily. Memorize key scriptures and claim His promises. 

     Imagine our prayer team, after individually being transformed by God’s living and active word, coming together to pray over a sick person or intercede for a service or walk the streets of Birmingham crying out for the lost. All things are possible for him who believes! (Mark 9:23)

 

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven.”(Matthew 18:19)

 

 

A taste of the His promises

 

What promises of God are found in the following scriptures?

 

Philippians 4:19. “And my God will meet all your needs.”

 

Psalm 1:1-3. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked……Whatever he does prospers.”

 

1 John 4:4. “…the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

 

Luke 10:19. “I have given you authority to…. overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

 

Romans 8:37. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

 

Psalm 27:1. “The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

 

Romans 8:31. “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

 

Psalm 103:3.  “… and forget not all His benefits – Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”

 

2 Corinthians 3:6. “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant…”.

 

Psalm 121:8.  “The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

 

     There is scripture for every area of prayer. Use the word constantly!  Isaiah 55:11: “So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

 

 

 

Prayer

 

Lord, I am confident that you hear me whenever I ask for anything that pleases You.  And since I know that You  hear me when I make my requests, I also know that You’ll give me what I ask for!

 

Father, I am so thankful for the pastors and leaders you have placed in my life to cover me and watch over my soul. I want to serve them in every possible way! I willingly submit to their leadership and desire to follow them.  Please put the same vision in my heart that you have put in theirs so that I might be in complete agreement with them.

 

God, I pray for grace to live in harmony with the people You’ve put in my life. I pray that in everything I do there will be no divisions and no strife. I desire to be of one mind, perfectly united in thought and purpose with my family, my co-workers, friends, other intercessors, and my pastor.

 

I want the power of agreement working in my life.  I know that if I agree with anyone about anything that I ask for, it will be done for me by You, Father God.

 

Help me, Holy Spirit, to always be humble and gentle, to be patient with everyone, making allowance for the faults of others.   I commit to making every effort to keep myself united with other believers in the Spirit, binding myself to them.

 

I come into agreement with every word You have written.  I love the Bible and stand on every promise.  I will not waver in my allegiance to Your living word.

 

Jesus, I want the perfect unity that You have with our Father. I want to be in your inner circle and be one as You are one! I want the world to know that He sent You and that You love them as much as Father God loves You. 

Father, may Your kingdom come soon.  May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.      In Jesus’ name, Amen
 

Prayer Assignment for Week Seven

  

     Find five promises from the scriptures to claim for a situation you have been praying for.  List the scriptures below and pray them out loud daily over the situation.  Come into agreement with God’s word! 

 

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Authority in Prayer

Week Eight


 

     As intercessors – as people – we were created with a nature to rule, to govern, and to exercise authority.  Before we get into specific areas of intercession, we need to establish in our hearts a very important truth:  God has given us authority in prayer.  

 

Genesis 1:26-28: Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

 

     God’s original plan was to give Adam and Eve and their descendant’s dominion (rule) over the entire earth and all creation.

 

Read Psalm 8:3-8.

 

     God didn’t give away ownership of the earth, but He did assign the responsibility of governing it to humanity.

 

Psalm 115:16: The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth He has given to man.

 

     Adam, the first man, was put here as God’s representative on earth.

 

From Psalm 8:5, circle the phrase that indicates our position with God.  “Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty.”

 

     God crowned man with glory! We’ve discussed the glory of God as being His presence, His goodness in the widest possible sense.  But glory is also the weight of God – linked to the concept of authority. Have you ever heard the statement, “He carries a lot of weight around here”?   It means he has a lot of authority.  We are crowned with the authority of God. The Hebrew word for glory, “kabowd,”  means not only authority, but it’s authority based on the splendor, abundance, and honor of God.

     So complete was the dominion that God gave to Adam that if the earth remained a paradise, it would be because of man.  If the earth became a mess, it would be because of man.  If satan gained control, it would be because man gave it up.

     Why did God give man this responsibility?  Because He wanted a family – sons and daughters who could personally relate to Him, and vice versa.  So He made our original parents similar to Himself. He put His very life and Spirit into them, gave them a beautiful home with lots of pets, sat down and said, “This is good.”  Daily He communed with them, walked with them, taught them about Himself and their home. He said, “Give me some grandsons and granddaughters.”  God was thrilled with His family.

     Again, so complete and final was Adam’s authority that he had the ability to give it away – and he did!  He gave it to satan when he sinned in the Garden of Eden.

     In Luke 4:6-7, satan tempted Jesus in the desert while He was fasting and praying and said, “I will give You all this domain and its glory, for it has been handed over to me, and I will give it to whomever I wish.”  Satan is called the ruler of this world three times in the Bible.

 

From the following verses, what is said of satan?  John 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11. John 12:31 – he will be cast out. John 14:30 – he has nothing in Jesus. John 16:11 – he has been judged.  

 

     Also, so complete and final was Adam’s authority that it took Jesus becoming a man and dying on the cross to take it back!  Without question, humans were forever to be God’s link to authority and activity on earth. 

     Can you see now why the earth is in such a mess?  Man has not taken his responsibility! God chose, from the beginning of creation, to run the earth through humans, not independent of them.  He did this even at the cost of becoming a human Himself.  Although God is all powerful and completely sovereign, He Himself chose to limit Himself by working through human beings.

     He works through our prayers. God told us to:

< >Ask for His will to be done (Matthew 6:10).  Why would He tell us to do that if He was going to perform His will anyway?Ask for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).  Doesn’t He already know our needs before we ask?Ask for laborers to be sent into the harvest (Matthew 9:38).  Wouldn’t you think that God wants the lost saved more than we do?Ask for the word of the Lord to spread rapidly and be glorified (2 Thessalonians 3:1). Why does He need us to ask?

 

Read James 5:17, 18.

 

Elijah prayed for rain after three years of draught, and the rain came. We can read about this account of Elijah in 1 Kings 18.  In verse 1, it says, “After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: ‘Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.’"

 

Read 1 Kings 18:41-45.                                  

 

     At the end of the chapter, after several other events have occurred, Elijah prays seven times and finally the rain comes. According to verse one – whose idea was it to send the rain? God’s. Whose will was it? God’s. Whose initiation was it? God’s, not Elijah’s!

     Why, if it was God’s will, God’s idea, and God’s timing, did it take Elijah (a human being) to “birth” the rain? The Bible says that he prayed seven times. Why did Elijah have to pray seven times? Maybe because seven is the Biblical number of completion, so perhaps God was trying to teach us that we must pray until the task is completed.

     It was not a coincidence that Elijah prayed and the rain came – God has chosen to work through people! God needs our prayers: 

 

Read Ezekiel 22:30-31. According to this passage, what kind of person is God looking for? “…. a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none….”

 

     That is a scary passage, but proves the point that God is looking for intercessors to pray so that He can work.

     The word intercession means representing one party for another.  When we intercede, we are the go-between.  Jesus is the ultimate intercessor – the ultimate go-between. But Christ’s intercession was a work, not a prayer. It was an act of mediation that purchased our right and qualified us to intercede for others.  He isn’t praying for us; He’s interceding for us so we can pray.  That’s what is means to pray “in His name.”

     When we pray in intercession, we are an extension of His work of intercession.  This means that we are actually distributors of all that was paid for at the cross. Intercessor’s bring men before God and God’s word to men. This includes provision, healing, deliverance, peace, victory, and justice.

 

 

Using our authority

 

     The authority that God gave to humankind was an authority based in His splendor, goodness, and love – His fullness. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive His fullness.  His fullness is the immeasurable source of abundance and life.    

 

 

What it means to be filled with the fullness of God.

 

     In Ephesians 3:18 Paul prayed that the believers would “be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height of the love of God.” He also prayed in Ephesians 3:19 that they would “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” 

     What God is saying through this scripture is that we don’t have the ability to understand or comprehend the revelation and experience of His love in the natural mind that He gave us.  It “passes knowledge.” But He desires that we comprehend what it means to be filled with the fullness of Him.  He wants to supernaturally enable us to experience Him and use the authority that He gave us.

     Paul was speaking to people who were Christians and baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Even to those people, Paul was saying, “you are not relating to God on the level that you can.”  He wanted them to know how much of Jesus they could possess in their physical bodies – the capacity to contain, receive, and manifest God.  He prayed that they would be filled with the fullness. 

 

Look up and write out Colossians 2:9.For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” 

 

According to  John 1:16, what have received from the fullness of His grace?   “One blessing after another.”

 

     In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for them that they would be able to walk in the fullness – limitless anointing.  Jesus had the Spirit without measure, and this is available to us.

 

Acts 10:38: “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.

 

     Because Jesus is our example, we can put our names in this verse and do what He did!

 

What do the following passages  tell us about the  early church  leaders?  Acts 19:11-12 and Acts 5:14-16. Acts 19:11-12 –“ God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” Acts 5:14-16 – “more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.”

 

 

Having a revelation of His incomparably great power for us who believe

 

Eph. 1:17-19: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength.”   

 

     Paul says he wants them to grasp something that can only be grasped if the eyes of their hearts are opened.  They needed the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they could comprehend what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards those who believe.

     Romans 8:11: “The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you” That power of the resurrection is in us and available to us as believers.  One reason we don’t walk in power and authority is because we don’t have the revelation of the exceeding greatness of His power towards us.  Christ is in you! This exceeding power is towards all who believe – not just apostles and evangelists and “great” Christians.

 

What promise do we have from Jesus in John 14:12? “… anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

 

     We as the church are His body.  Ephesians 1:22-23 says, And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church,  which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”

     The church is the fullness of Him – it’s not denominations or groups of people coming together for meetings.  The church is to be an expression of the body of Jesus.  Everything that Jesus did and taught while in His body is the church.  The church should look like what Jesus did 2000 years ago.

 

From Matthew 10:8, what four things are believers commanded to do?Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

 

     The church today doesn’t look like His body.  His body fed 5000 and did miracles – showing the exceeding greatness of His power.  The church has the ability to walk in the fullness of everything Jesus was when He walked the earth.  We have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead in us.

 

 

Do you know what you have?  Do you know how to give it away?

 

     If you don’t know what you have, you can’t give it away.

 

Read Acts 3:1-10.

 

     In verse 4, Peter said, “Look at us!”  How could he say this with such boldness? What if we did that?  What if we said that to everyone who came to us needing a miracle? Why did Peter tell the man to look at them? It’s because he knew what he had, and he knew how to give it away. 

 

Write out Acts 3:6.Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’"  

 

     Do you know what you have?  You cannot have the boldness and authority that Peter had to do miracles (filled with faith and power) unless you have a revelation of Christ in you. 

     Do you ever think, “Don’t look at me – I don’t have anything – look at Jesus.” Of course, we want to look at Jesus, but Peter said “look at us” because “it is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me.”  What he was saying was, “look at Christ in me, the hope of glory. I know what I have, and it is the exceeding greatness of His power which is given to those who believe.  That power is resurrection power – so look at us!

     A religious spirit in us says things like, “You do know who did that miracle?” As if we don’t know that Jesus did the miracle.  We think it’s prideful to say, “Look at us.”  But Peter was not operating in the flesh – but in who God had made him to be. He was walking in the truth of Ephesians 1:3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” He knew that he was not his own, but that he belonged to Christ who lived in him.

     We may think only the “gifted” people should pray for others. “I’m just a mom, or a shoe salesman, or a student.”  The body of Christ must overcome that defeated “God can’t do anything with me” attitude!  We must develop a conquering attitude that says, “I know what I have and I know it by revelation because I’ve been having an intimate walk with God. I can say, ‘look at me, silver and gold have I none, but what to do have, I give to you!’”

 

 

What we have in Christ

 

     What we have is in Acts 1:8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” That power is the Greek word dunamis which means virtuous, miracle working power; a power that makes the impossible possible.  It’s the word used in Luke 5:17: “And the power of the Lord was present for Him to heal the sick.” When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you receive dunamis.  What you have is the exceeding greatness of His power! 

 

Look up the following verses and list what we have in Christ:  Romans 8:11, Romans 8:37, Philippians 4:13, and 1 John 4:4. Romans 8:11 – life in our mortal bodies. Romans 8:37 – we are more than conquerors. Philippians 4:13 – we can do everything because He gives us strength. John 4:4 – He who lives in us is greater than he who lives in the world.

 

     Proclaim who you are in Christ daily! We are a prayer force with unlimited power and resources in Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer

 

Lord, You have given me authority to overcome all the power of satan. You gave the earth to man, but we have not used the authority you gave us to subdue evil in the world.  Forgive us!

 

I receive the crown of glory and choose to walk in the authority that You purchased through Your blood, Jesus.  Hallelujah!  You have in Your possession the keys of the kingdom.  I operate confidently and with boldness in Your name to distribute your grace and mercy throughout this world.  

 

Father, I know you are looking for those who will stand in the gap to intercede for the lost, the sick, those in need, and those in bondage.  Here I am!  Send me!

 

Help me, Holy Spirit to comprehend what it means to be filled with the fullness of God.  Give me revelation of the incomparably great power I have as a believer.

 

I desire to go about doing good and healing all who are oppressed.  Baptize me in fire so I can say with all confidence, “Look at me!”  Give me opportunities to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I bless You, Lord, and thank You!  Freely I have received and freely I want to give. 

 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assignment for Chapter Eight

 

     Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is near and that it is within us. Walking in authority means we use the keys of the kingdom of God that were regained when Jesus ascended to Hell to unlock gates and doors that were previously under the control of the prince of the earth, satan.  Do a word search in a concordance or on Biblegateway.com of the phrases “kingdom of heaven” and kingdom of God”.  Make a list of verses and notes on what the Bible teaches about this subject. 

 

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Spiritual Warfare

Week Nine

 

 

Ephesians 6:10-12:  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

     God intended for the church to be powerful. He said to be strong in His mighty power. Today the church is not the most powerful force on the earth, although it should be.  Ephesians 6:11 tells us that satan has schemes. The devil is at the drawing board trying to come up with another way to get to you. 

     We are in a conflict whether we believe it or not.  Some think, “If I leave the devil alone, he’ll leave me alone.” Being in denial or ignorance does not take away the fact that there is a very real war going on.  This war involves rulers, authorities, powers, and spiritual forces of evil.

 

Luke 10:17-19: The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name." He replied, "I saw satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

    

In the following verses, underline the reference to satan:

 

2 Corinthians 4:4: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

 

Ephesians 2:1-2: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”

 

 

 

 

 

Continue to underline references to satan:

 

John 12:31: “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.”

 

I John 5:19: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

 

     Before creation, Jesus saw satan fall from heaven.  Satan desired to be God, and therefore a conflict arose that lasted as long as a lightening strike – in other words, there is no comparison between God and the devil.  They are not two equal super powers. Satan is a created being, and the creator is always greater than the creation.  God is not in the business of scaring us.  The devil will try to scare us out of the power that God has given us.  Resolve today that that you will no longer cower down to satan whether you are being attacked personally or praying for someone else under satan’s attack. At the same time, though, satan cannot be taken lightly.

     We are speaking about someone who has authority and power. The devil has schemes and strategies to execute his battle plans. There are three basic levels of spiritual warfare.

 

 

Three areas of spiritual warfare:

 

1.  Ground level – casting out demons. 

 

Matthew 10:1: He called his twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

 

     God intends for His disciples to carry His name and cast out demons.  A very small percentage of the body of Christ is comfortable confronting demons or demonic strongholds. Jesus described demons as being like snakes and scorpions. Memorize Luke 10:19. Quote it in first person often. “Father, I thank you that You have given me authority over snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. Thank you that nothing shall by any means harm me.”  

 

2.  Occult level – warfare against the spiritual forces behind satanists, fortune tellers, and witches.

 

Deuteronomy 18:10-12: Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.

 

     There are people right now casting spells – especially against Christians.  They pray and fast for Christian leaders to fall.  Certain areas of the country are more saturated with the occult, but it is everywhere.  God has given the church power to overcome the occult, and we do not need to be afraid if it.  The only answer for the occult is the church because we carry the only name that is above all other names – the name of Jesus.  At the name of Jesus every demon must bow!

 

3.  Strategic level intercession – dealing with strongholds through prayer.  This is the type described in Ephesians 6.

 

Ephesians 2:1-2: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

 

     The god of this world has blinded the eyes of unbelievers.  Different parts of the world have high level spiritual rulers of darkness that strategically work to keep the gospel from breaking through to people.

 

Read Daniel 10:10-13 and 10:20.  Daniel received an angelic visitation and a message from God.  What two rulers of darkness are mentioned in these passages? The prince of Persia and the prince of Greece. 

 

Prayer is not just conversation with God – it is also confrontation with the devil. God designed prayer to be strategic and to have a purpose. God wants our prayers to have objective.  Spiritual warfare prayer is purposeful and exciting.  The ultimate goal of spiritual warfare is for souls to be saved and the glory of the Lord to fill the earth.  Intercessors around the world join in agreement daily to battle forces in the heavenly realm. Every form of media – internet, magazines, cell phones – is used to communicate battle plans for those who pray against the strongholds that control nations.  

 

 

Jesus confronted satan

 

     Before Jesus began His ministry, He was baptized.  The very next thing He faced was a confrontation with the devil.  He modeled for us how we are to confront satan.  First, He was connected with the Father through fasting, prayer, and worship. Then, He used the word to combat the devil. He knew the word, and we also need to know the word of God well enough to fight the devil. 

 

Read Luke 4:1-21 and Matthew 4:1-11.

 

     To understand how to fight the devil, we need to be aware of what he’s up to. Jesus was ready to combat every scheme that satan attempted because He knew his enemy.

     Satan was kicked out of heaven for trying to take God’s glory. What does it look like when God is glorified?  Two things will happen:  people will get saved, and people will get out of misery.  You will notice something consistent about the devil – everywhere that he has free reign and his activity is rampant, you will see massive numbers of lost people, and you will see misery.  Right now the center of satan’s influence is in an area of the world called the 10/40 Window, which is essentially the Middle East and the areas to the east and west of that region. In those nations there is poverty, mistreatment of women, unattractive architecture, no flowers, and misery. God wants people to have the opposite!  He desires that people will have abundant life, both eternally and in this life.  You’ll know when God’s glory is covering the earth because people will be saved and misery will be gone.  SATAN HAS POOR TASTE    Dubai!!!!!

 

Read 2 Corinthians 4:4 again.  What strategy has satan used to keep the lost from being saved? He has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.

 

     So how do we confront the devil? The foundation for successful spiritual warfare is authority. Satan isn’t impressed with how many people show up for the prayer meeting or how loudly we scream at him; he is impressed with only one thing:  authority. The same authority that gives us the ability to walk in the fullness of God and see miracles enables us to overcome satan and all his demons.  God has given three mighty weapons of warfare to equip us.

 

 

Three mighty weapons of authority:

 

< >The name of Jesus.

What does Philippians 2:9-10 tell us about the name of Jesus?  “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

 

 

< >The blood of Jesus.

Read Colossians 2:13-15.  From verse 15, what did Jesus do when He shed His blood for us? “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” 

 

< >The word of God. 

What does Hebrews 4:12 teach us about the word of God? “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

 

     Our weapons aren’t only defensive in nature.  Ephesians 6: 17 says we have the “sword of the Spirit” which is the word of God.  We don’t use swords for blocking an attack. We fight offensively with a sword. We need to become comfortable with hand-to-hand combat with the enemy.   

     1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us that the devil stalks us, plotting to pounce on us. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” There is never a moment when we can take a nap in spiritual warfare – the devil and his host of demons never take a “time out.”            

 

 

Three areas of discipline for God’s army

 

     To become effective warriors in God’s kingdom, we must be trained in three areas of discipline that will make us strong and mighty in spirit.  Every army has warriors trained for battle, and it is the same with spiritual warfare.  Our weapons, training, and strategies are not like those of the world, though.  In fact, we must be disciplined in ways that are very unnatural for us.

     These areas of discipline are covered extensively throughout this study, but we need to be reminded of them over and over! Satan will do everything he can to keep you from becoming strong in spirit.

 

 

< >Lordship: submit to God.

What do the following verses say about submission to God? 1 John 2:3 and 5:3.  1 John 2:3 –  “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” 1 John 5:3 – “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.”

 

< >Drawing near to God: intimacy.  

 

John 5:19: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

 

     Jesus didn’t even need to think about what He would do.  He would just retire to a quiet place and connect with the Father and then do what He saw the Father doing.  

 

< >Cleanse our hands and purify our hearts.

Read Psalm 91 and list all of the ways that God protects us.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."  3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.  4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,  6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,  nor the plague that destroys at midday.  7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.  9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge-  10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.  11 For he will command his angels concerning you  to guard you in all your ways;  12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,  I will deliver him and honor him.

 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

 

The Armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-18

 

     Following is a breakdown of each piece of our spiritual armor.  God tells us in Ephesians 6:11 to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil. Read through this list and be strengthened in your faith and courage as you dress yourself in each piece.

 

 

Belt of Truth, verse 14

     The belt holds the other pieces together so that there is no loose or clanging armor. Putting on the Belt of Truth means that we

 

< >make no compromises with the truth.speak words of life.move in authority. live free of condemnation.approach the enemy under the covering of the blood of Jesus.move in confidence. 

 

 

Shoes of Peace, verse 15

     Shoes protect our feet on the battlefield.  Putting on the Shoes of Peace means that we

 

< >live in unity with the Holy Spirit and people.commit to God’s ways and purposes.confidently take what the enemy has stolen.proclaim the good news to all!

 

 

 

Shield of Faith, verse 16

     The shield covers the rest of the armor.  Putting on the Shield of Faith means that we

 

< >simply trust in God.consume all the fiery arrows of the enemy.train ourselves with the Word of God.  have received salvation, which includes eternal life, deliverance, and healing through the blood of Jesus.guard our minds from lies and confusion.have our consciences cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

 

 

Psalm 141:1, 8 – O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you. my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD … in you I take refuge.

 

Psalm 25:15 – My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.

 

Sword of the Spirit, verse 18

     The sword in this armor is a short double-edged sword used for hand-to-hand combat and for removing the arrows of the enemy.  The Sword of the Spirit is the word of God. Using the Sword of the Spirit means that we

 

< >have the Word of God in our hearts.meet every attack of the enemy with the God’s Word. use the Word of God to cleanse us from the wounds inflicted by the enemy.

 

 

General Confession and Prayer (Romans 10:10, James 5:16, I John 1:7-9, 3:8)

"Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the Son of God.  That you are the Messiah come in the flesh to destroy the works of the devil.  You died on the cross for my sins and rose again the third day from the dead.  I now confess all my sins and repent.  I ask you to forgive me and CLEANSE me now from all sin.  Thank you for redeeming me, cleansing me, justifying me and sanctifying me in your blood."

 

Forgiveness Prayer (Matthew 6:14, 15, Leviticus 19:18)

"Lord, I have a confession to make.  I have not loved, but have resented certain people and have unforgiveness in my heart.  I call upon you, Lord, to help me forgive them.  I do now forgive (name them, both living and dead).  I ask you to forgive them also, Lord.  I do now forgive and accept MYSELF in the name of Jesus Christ."

 

 

Occult Confession Prayer (Deuteronomy 18:10-13, Galatians 5:20)

"Lord, I now confess seeking from satan the help that should come from God.  I now confess as sin (name all occult sins) and also those sins I cannot remember.  Lord, I now repent and renounce those sins, and ask you to forgive me.  I rebuke satan.  I count all things of satan as my enemies.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I now close the door on all occult practices, and I command all such spirits to leave me in the name of Jesus Christ."

(Here is a very brief list of occult practices, channeling, astral projection, crystals, precognition or fortune telling, telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, ouija board, tarot cards, good luck charms, seances, involvement with Edgar Cayce, Jean Dixon, Shirley McLain, communication with the dead or any spirit of a human being, dead or alive (this is really communication with demons impersonating people) mind control, witchcraft, fourleaf clover, rabbit foot, wishbone, E.S.P., transcendental meditation, hypnosis, mind altering drugs, yoga, incense, dungeons and dragons, pendulum, palm reading, automatic handwriting, horoscopes, signs of zodiac, voodoo, magic, levitation, water witching, tealeaf reading, secret organizations like Freemasons, the worship of or praying to any other that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.)

 

Pride (Proverbs 11:2, 16:18. 26:12, I Timothy 3:6)

"Father, I come to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I know pride is an abomination to you.  I renounce anything that would cause me to have pride in my heart in dealing with other people.  I renounce these and turn away from them.  I humble myself before you and come to you as a little child."  (Study Proverbs 6:16-19.  Also, remember that fasting is a means by which a person humbles himself before the Lord).

 

Unbelief and Doubt (John 16 8,9, Romans 11 20, 21, Hebrews 3:7-19)

"Father, I renounce unbelief and doubt as sin, and ask you to forgive me from these.  I ask you, Father, to replace them with great confidence in your Word and great faith and trust in you."

 

Negative Spiritual and Emotional Ties (I Sam 18:1, I Corinthians 6:15, 16)

"Father, I break and renounce evil spiritual and emotional ties that I have had or may have and with (lodges, adulterers, close friends, husbands, wives, engagements, cults, and binding agreements between buddies).  I renounce these evil ties.  I break them, and wash them away with the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ."

 

Generational Bondage Prayer (Exodus 20:4-6, 34:7, Numbers 14:18)

"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I now renounce, break and loose myself from all psychic powers, bondages, or bonds of physical or mental illness upon me, my family or family line as the result of parents or any other ancestors.  I thank you, Lord, for setting me free."

 

Loosing of Curses, Spells, Etc. Prayer (Numbers 14:18, James 3:9)

"In the name of Jesus Christ, I now rebuke, break and loose myself and my children from any and all evil curses, charms, vexes, hexes, spells, jinxes, psychic powers, bewitchment, witchcraft, and sorcery that have been put upon me or my family line from any persons or from any occult or psychic sources, and I cancel all connected and related spirits and command them to leave me.  I break the power of any negative word that has ever been spoken against me or anyone in my family.  I thank you, Lord, for setting me free."

 

Loosing from Domination Prayer (Deuteronomy 23:2, 18:10-12, Galatians 5:20)

"In the name of Jesus Christ I now renounce, break and loose myself from all demonic subjection to my parents, grandparents, or any other human beings, living or dead, who have dominated me in any way.  I thank you, Lord, for setting me free."

 

Come to Jesus Delivery Prayer (Matthew 18:18, Isaiah 11:2, I Corinthians 4:4, 6:19, 20, I John 4:1)

"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command satan and all his demons to loose my mind.  I ask you Father to send angels to cut and sever all fetters, bands, ties, and bonds, whether they be by word or deed.  I now ask the Lord, to loose the Spirits of the Lord, listed in Isaiah 11:2, (the Spirit of the Lord, the Fear of the Lord, Counsel, Might, Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding) into me and my family. I come to you, Jesus, as my deliverer.  You know all my needs (name them).  I now loose myself from every dark spirit, from every evil influence, from every satanic bondage, from every spirit in me that is not the spirit of God, and I command all such spirits to leave me now in the name of Jesus Christ.  I confess that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed, and sanctified by the blood of Jesus.  Therefore, satan has no place in me, no power over me, because of the blood of Jesus."

 

Restoring the Soul Prayer (Psalms 23:3, Hebrews 4:12)

"Father, I thank you that as I am being set free by your power and learning to stand firm against the power of the devil, that my soul is being restored and returned to its proper place within me.  I rebuke the devil for trying to destroy my life, and I command all spirits that have attacked my soul to loose it and let it go.  I set my mind, will and emotions one hundred percent toward the service of the Lord Jesus Christ."

 

 

Blood of Jesus Prayer

Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil.  Through the blood of Jesus, all my sins are forgiven.  The blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, cleanses me continually from all sin.  Through the blood of Jesus, I am justified, made holy, set apart unto God.  My body is a temple for the Holy Spirit.  I am redeemed, cleansed, sanctified, totally set free from the bondage of the devil by the blood of Jesus.  Therefore, satan has no part in me, no power over me, through the blood of Jesus.  I renounce satan.  I loose myself from him and command him to leave me, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer assignment for Week Nine

 

     Pray daily through the warfare prayers above for yourself or someone you know who is in bondage. Journal breakthroughs and anything the Lord reveals to you.

 

 

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Commissioning

Week Twelve

 

List prayer opportunites at church and the styles under each one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing and Fasting

Week Ten

 

 

Healing

 

Isaiah 53:4-5 – Surely He took up our infirmities
       and carried our sorrows,
       yet we considered Him stricken by God,
       smitten by Him, and afflicted.

 

       But He was pierced for our transgressions,
       He was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
       and by His wounds we are healed.

 

     When Jesus gave up His life for us, the enemy of our souls was defeated. Colossians 2:13-14 tells us, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.” 

 

Look up and write out the next verse, Colossians 2:15. “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

 

     One of the ways that satan has wrecked havoc on people is through sickness and disease. After a person is sick, the devil’s greatest weapons are fear and discouragement. He has convinced the church that God makes people sick, or at least allows it, and that if God wanted people well, they wouldn’t be sick.  

     There have been many outstanding books written giving testimonies of healings and teaching on this subject.  For this study we will keep is very simple:  God wants people well. Jesus took stripes on His back, and “by His wounds we are healed.”

     For some the question is, “Do you think God can heal you?” For others who believe that God can certainly do anything, the question is “Do you believe God wants to heal you?”

     In Mark 9 is the story of a father who brought his son to Jesus to be set free from an evil spirit.  The man said, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus’ response was so simple: “'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

     In Luke 5 is another story of a man who had leprosy.  He fell on his face and implored Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Again, Jesus gave a simple response: “I am willing," He said. "Be clean!" 

     Please don’t allow satan to confuse you on the subject of healing.  He will always point you to those who weren’t healed or to those who have been praying in faith with no apparent success. Unbelief is rampant in our culture, and we must stand together for a breakthrough in the area of healing.  Jesus should get what He paid for!

     Paul warned the Corinthian church about satan’s schemes:

 

2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (NASB).

 

Look up Psalm 103:2-3.  What are two of the benefits that we have through Jesus?  “He forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”

 

     About two-thirds of Jesus’ ministry was healing the sick. It would seem to make sense that if He said we would do greater works than He did, (John 14:12) that our ministry should look like His ministry. One reason we don’t embrace healing like we should is because it’s elusive for us: we don’t understand how it happens.  American inquiring minds demand to know. No one has it figured out because it’s supernatural! Cancer just doesn’t leave on it’s own, and we have natural minds that demand reason. Christians love gimmicks and formulas, but if you study the healings that Jesus performed, you will not find formulas. You will only find one simple truth: “By your faith, you are healed.” It’s all about a person – JESUS.  You can grow in your knowledge of Him, but you will never figure Him out.   Believe in a God who is supernatural. The secret to receiving a healing from God is faith. Faith is a tangible intangible.  

 

Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.    
 

     Substance is a tangible.  What we’re hoping for is something we don’t already have.  Hope is an intangible.  Evidence is a tangible.  What we can’t see is an intangible.  To make the two meet, we just have to believe God.

     When you pray for the sick, refuse to theologize about healing while people are in need. Our job is not to try to figure it out; our job is to believe that God is able and willing.  If you believe that, you have childlike simple faith that can move mountains. 

     In the gospels many healings are recorded.  Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word. To build our faith as intercessors who pray for the sick, the best strategy is simply to read the word of God to find out the truth about healing.

 

 

A determined woman

 

Read Mark 5:24-34 and Luke 8:42-48.

 

     The woman in these passages knew that if she could just get close to Jesus and touch the hem of His clothes, she would be healed. When she reached out and touched His robe, Jesus freed her from her suffering! When we persevere until we get to the place where we can actually touch the Lord by faith, virtue will come from Him to heal. There is a part that we play – He is the healer, but we prevail in prayer through persistence until there is relief from suffering. God has paid an incredible price to relieve the world of suffering, but many suffer unnecessarily. 

     The woman in this story had heard that Jesus was a miracle worker, that He was claiming to be the Son of God, and that He was going from town to town healing people. She had been sick for twelve years.  She had spent all her money, and the doctors of her day had done all they could do.  She was at the end of her rope and made up her mind to press through the crowd to get to Jesus. Her action was such a powerful exercise of faith that Jesus physically felt the healing go out of His body to her. If you or someone you know is sick and the suffering has gone on long enough, begin believing God for healing. God wants to put an end to the suffering!     

     When we deal with sickness, we deal with what seems to be reality, but it’s not God’s reality.  It’s our reality because it’s what we see and hear on planet earth, but there is a higher reality! Faith will supersede our reality. Faith overrides facts. Learn how to press through the crowd and overcome the resistance of the enemy. Don’t ever give up; just keep pressing and healing will come.  Have shameless persistence!  Touch God and His virtue will be released.

 

Psalm 40:1-3 – I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock  and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

 

     God will put us on a rock, a solid place to stand, if we put our trust and faith in Him. 

 

 

Jesus walked on the water

 

Read Mark 6:45-52.  Write out verse 46. ‘After leaving them, He went up on a mountainside to pray.”

 

     Jesus lived the miraculous life, not only because He is Emanuel, God with us, but also because He spent time with God. He went to the mountain to pray.  Why would He have to go to the mountain to pray? Because in His finite human state, He had to get away to be alone with the Father. He actually had to become a human to become the perfect sacrifice for our sins. “There is one mediator between God and man, and it is the MAN Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) He can relate to us as a human, but He can also do something about our problems because He’s God.  If you want to have the God-touching faith, you must spend time with the Father. You have to get to know Him – know that it’s His nature to heal and experience His power. 

     There will be tribulations and trials, but we gain patience and perseverance that lifts our faith as we spend time with the Father. When all things look impossible, the only thing to do is get alone with the Father.  In that solitude, He makes Himself known to us.  We see how limited, small, and finite we really are as individuals contrasted with how awesome and how great our God is.  Even though the disease and suffering are too big for us, we begin to realize that nothing is too big for Him.  If we want to walk on water, we have to spend time with the Father. Sometimes as intercessors we think that our job is to pray for the sick and proclaim God’s promises over them and they will be healed. That’s only part of our job.  The majority of our job when it comes to praying in faith for the impossible is the part that no one sees or hears but the Father. Nothing is impossible for Him!

 

Hebrews 10:19-22: Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

 

     Because of what Jesus has done, He now gives us the full assurance of faith that first, all of our sins are forgiven, and second, our healing is paid for.  We can go in as priests without guilt or shame before the Holy God at His very throne and find grace when we need it!

 

 

The Syrophoenician woman

 

Read Mark 7:24-30.

 

     For faith that works miracles, all it takes is a crumb. The Syrophoenician woman was satisfied with the crumbs left for the dogs because she believed in a God who could and would help her – even though she was not e Jew, one of God’s people. The scripture says if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain be plucked up and cast into the sea, and it will obey you. A little faith is greater than all the Law put together.  It’s greater than all the ceremonial cleansing.  It’s greater than all the rituals and catechisms and theology.  When we need a miracle, we go for the crumbs because it doesn’t take much.  Come to Him in faith for relief of the suffering. 

     Healing isn’t always instant, but the process begins the moment that we come in faith.  His healing is always complete.  He has a way of taking the suffering that we go through and using it to turn our hearts toward Him. Whether you are praying for your own healing or interceding for someone else, press through the crowd and touch Him.

 

Look up and write out Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

 

     Diligent faith is faith that doesn’t give up and will not be denied. God will honor you.  Shameless persistence gets His attention. 

 

 

Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

 

Again, what 4 things does God command us to do in Matthew 10:8? “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

 

     God told us to preach the gospel.  We wouldn’t sit in a service and wait for God to bring the message.  A person gives the message. We wouldn’t stop and pray for God to start the preaching.  That would be ludicrous!  With healing we often talk ourselves out of praying for someone because of the mentality that Jesus will do all the work. We say, “I can’t get involved here because I can do nothing.” The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord is upon us to preach the good news. We don’t just wait for the sermon to come forward. In the same way we have the authoritative command to heal the sick…. Jesus is the healer, but He commanded us to heal the sick!

     It’s not because of how good you are – it’s what He made available through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Again, let Him get what He paid for! It’s rooted in grace – He gave it to you! Be a joint heir and take what you’ve been given to use for the glory of God!

     Jesus said whatever city or town you enter – heal the sick there!  Put your name again in Acts 10:38 – “You know of (your name here) of Birmingham, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The instruction to the church:  James 5:14-18

 

     James 5:14-18 is the instruction to the church for praying for the sick.  Study this scripture and hide it in your heart.  There are strong words from the Lord in this passage that need to be permanently etched in our hearts!

     “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer for healing

 

Father, in the name of Jesus, I come before you to ask you to heal ____. I know that the prayer of faith will make the sick person well.  Please raise him up!  Thank you for forgiving him of his sins.

 

My hope is in You, Lord, his Healer. I believe You are willing and able to do this.  Your name is Jehovah Rafah, and at Your name every knee will bow including _____ (name of disease).

 

Thank You, Jesus, for going to the cross so that we could be healed:

“Surely He took up our infirmities
       and carried our sorrows,
       yet we considered Him stricken by God,
       smitten by Him, and afflicted.

 But He was pierced for our transgressions,
       He was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
       and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

 

I bless You with all my soul and remember Your benefits – You forgive all of our sins and heal all our diseases. I pray that You satisfy ______ with good things and renew his youth like the eagle’s. Your plans for him are good; he has a wonderful future and great hope.

 

Thank You, Lord, that Your Spirit lives in him – the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in his mortal body! I stand in faith for my friend. Your word will accomplish what You sent it to do – it won’t return to You empty. 

 

Nothing is impossible with our mighty God! 

 

In the name of Jesus, Amen.

 

 

Fasting

 

     There are times when we deny ourselves in the natural in order to press in spiritually.  Fasting removes distractions and gives our spirit man strength so that we can make a purer connection with the Lord.   

      Jesus fasted before He began His public ministry.  The details of this fast are recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 1:1-13.

     Jesus’ disciples were criticized by the Pharisees because they didn’t fast.  In Luke 5:34-35, Jesus answered their criticism, "Can you make the guests of the Bridegroom fast while He is with them? But the time will come when the Bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” Jesus was predicting the time that He would be gone from His disciples after His death, resurrection, and ascension back into heaven.  He said after that time, His followers would fast.  Fasting is a part of the lifestyle of our staff and leadership of Church of the Highlands and encouraged for every member.  We follow the example that Jesus set for us. 

     In the Old Testament and the New Testament, fasting was a common practice.  It has not been until about the past 100 years that fasting has not been a part of the lifestyle of the church.  Most Christians have never heard or read a single teaching on fasting and will never do it in their life time. However, in order to be a New Testament Christian, fasting should be a part of our lifestyle just like prayer, reading our Bibles, and worship. Believers in the early church fasted as a normal part of their worship and prayer.

 

In Acts 13:2-3, what happened while the believers worshipped and fasted? “The Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.’”

 

 

4 Biblical times/ reasons to fast

 

1.  Fasting during transitions.

 

2 Samuel 1:12: They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 

 

     Saul, the king of Israel, and his son Jonathon had just died. David, the one called to be the next king of Israel, had long been anointed as king, but had not been installed as king, yet. It was time for him to take the throne.  David called a fast during his time of transition. He led the people in humbling themselves before God to help them through this time.  There were enemies rising up against them, and they need God’s protection. 

     The first of the year is a transition time and that is why at Highlands we fast for 21 days in January. The first part of the year will set the tone for the rest of the year.   This is an opportunity to tell God what is most important to us and establish the fact that He is first in our lives.   God loves for us to give Him the first of everything.         

 

 

2. Fasting in desperation.

 

Esther 4:16: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

 

     Esther was a Hebrew girl brought into the Babylonian king’s palace to be his queen during the time that God’s people were exiled to Babylon from Israel.   She found out that there was a plan by one of the king’s officials to annihilate her race. She knew that the only way to stop it was for her to go to the king.  To go and speak to the king without first being asked to come meant certain death.  No one was permitted to speak to the king unless they were invited to come into his presence.  She sent word out that she was going to go to the king.  She said “If I perish, I perish.”  She had a lot of courage.  Because she knew her life was on the line, she fasted.  She asked all of her people to fast because they all desperately needed the favor of the king.

     When you are in a desperate situation and you need favor, fast. When we fast, we declare that we can’t do what we have in our hearts to do unless God helps us.  We’re not capable.  It’s not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit…. Healings, deliverances from demonic forces, restoration of marriages can only happen if the Holy Spirit shows up in a situation. 

 

 

3.  Fasting for the future.

 

Nehemiah 1:3-4: They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

 

     The exiles were released after seventy years, just as had been prophesied. They were permitted to go back to Israel.  Their land was in ruins. Ezra, the scribe, and Nehemiah led them back home.  They began rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  Ezra’s job was to bring back spiritual life to God’s people. The people had completely forgotten God’s law and the scriptures. Ezra found the scrolls that contained God’s word and read it aloud.  The people were astounded at what was read to them. They tore heir robes in shame because they had not lived according to God’s expectations. Ezra proclaimed a fast and asked for God’s protection as they prepared for their future.  When you’re preparing for the future, fast and pray for God’s plan.

 

Read Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah’s 1:5-11.

 

What is God’s promise to us in John 10:4-5? “When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice.”

 

4.  Fasting in spiritual warfare.

 

     God’s people fasted when they needed to defeat the enemy who wanted to keep them from receiving the promises that God had for them.  When the devil has his way, there is disaster and calamity and every kind of evil.  But God says when we call on Him, He will answer us.  He said He would rescue us if we seek Him and call on His name.  We as believers can pray and fast and alter the course of the plans of the devil.  We call that spiritual warfare.  God has given us many promises that are conditional – He says, “If you…, then I…” The devil has dominion, and chaos will reign in the world unless God’s people pray and fast and humble themselves.  We can turn the course of history.  History belongs to those who fast and pray.

 

Read Daniel 10.

 

     Daniel was in a desperate situation.  In Daniel 9 is recorded his impassioned prayer of desperation to God. He fasted for twenty-one days.  He ate no pleasant food – he denied himself any food that brought his flesh pleasure. On the last day of the fast, Daniel had a vision of an angel (some believe this vision was actually of Jesus) who gave Daniel a message. He told Daniel that on the first day of the fast he had actually been on his way to answer Daniel’s prayer when he was confronted with the “Prince of Persia.”  The “Prince of Persia” was a demonic stronghold or principality over that area of the world. Throughout the scriptures demons and demonic strongholds are referred to as princes or principalities.

 

Ephesians 6:12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 

Ephesians 2:2: …in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience…

 

     The angel told Daniel that he had been fighting this principality for 21 days. There had been a struggle in the spirit realm.  Paul said we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities. When we fast and pray in spiritual warfare, we wrestle with the enemy.  Often it is a real struggle.  Prayer isn’t just communion with God – it’s also confrontation with the devil. 

 

 

A Lifestyle of prayer and fasting

 

Read Matthew 17:14-20.

 

     Most translations say in the next verse, Matthew 17:21, “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” The disciples couldn’t deliver the boy because they were not prepared spiritually.  Prayer with fasting – before we even know what we will encounter – prepares our spirit and soul.

     Prayer and fasting isn’t starving yourself until you get what you want from God.  It isn’t a hunger strike. Fasting is not a way to manipulate God into action. Prayer and fasting is more about aligning ourselves with God’s will and promises than having a prayer answered or a need met.

     Why does fasting work?  Because we are triune beings.  As we discussed in Week Three, we are made up of a spirit, a soul, and a body.  All other living beings, such as dogs and horses, have only two parts:  a body and a soul.  Human beings have one part that separates us from all other living beings – our spirit.  We are the only part of God’s creation made in His image. When we are saved, our spirit man is made alive and perfect.  Our spirit man is the part of us that lives forever.  When God looks at us, He’s sees us (our spirit) as perfect through the blood of Jesus.  However, our spirit is trapped inside the other two parts – our soul and our body.  The soul is our mind, will, and emotions. Our soul and our body are constantly at war with our spirit. 

 

What does Romans 7:23 tell us about this war?For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.”      

 

     The Bible refers to our carnal side, the soul and body, as our flesh. Our flesh wants to sin, but as Christians we are in a process called regeneration.  In regeneration, our soul and body come into alignment with our spirit man, and we are transformed into the image of Jesus.  Over time if we study the word, listen to anointed messages, have fellowship with other believers, and seek God through prayer and fasting, our body and soul will begin to look like our spirit man and more like Christ.

     The strongest part of our being will be whatever part we feed the most. The strongest part will rule.  If we feed the body pornography or any other appetite that it craves, it will overcome the other two parts of our being.   Even if the addiction makes us depressed, angry, or fearful in our soul or detached from God in our spirit, our body will call the shots. It wants things that enlarge it – it is willing to provide pain and pleasure to the soul as a means to “train” it to get what it wants.  Training (both good and bad) can be defeated – but transformation is divine in origin and not easily reversed.  Similarly, when the soul is the strongest, there is no concern for the body or spirit – so much so that the soul man could decide to literally kill the body.

     However, when the spirit man is in charge, it’s a glorious thing!  Fasting moves us more quickly to a spirit-led life because not only does it build up our spirit man, but it starves the other two at the same time. In fasting we weaken our flesh and strengthen our spirit. If we fast without praying, though, we are simply starving ourselves. There is no spiritual value in that. We want to be sure we are building up our spirit man.  Fasting does not have to be depriving oneself of just food. Fasting is not penance to get God to be impressed with us.  That is religion.  Fasting is simply denying our flesh so that our spirit man can feast on God.

 

 

How to Fast 

 

     If you are doing a food fast, during the time that you would normally eat, read the Bible – feast on God’s word.  Pray and listen to worship music.  Listen to a good teaching.    Your flesh won’t like this very much.  We are addicted to the news, movies, food, sugar….  Find the area where your flesh is most alive and fast in that area.  For most people the best connection to our fleshly man is food.  The first sin was committed by taking a bite of something.  Rather than obey God, we’d prefer to feed our appetite.  We fall into sin at a crossroad where our spirit man is saying, “Don’t do it!” but our craving at that moment wins the fight.

     When you go without food, after the first day you’re body will begin to cleanse itself and get rid of toxins. You may have body aches and pains. Many have said that the hardest days of fasting food are the third through the fifth days.  It’s a “hump” after which fasting should get easier. Pastor Chris believes that fasting is God’s system for staying healthy and ridding our bodies of toxins.

 

Types of fasts:

 

< >A supernatural fast. Because this fast requires going without food or water for more than three days, it is not recommended without extremely clear direction from God.  The only two people in the Bible who did this type of fast were Jesus (Luke 4:2) and Moses (Deuteronomy 9:18) who each fasted for 40 days.  This type of fast is physically impossible because we can’t live without water for more than a few days.  Actually, when we go on a food fast, we need to drink twice the amount of water than we normally drink do so that we avoid dehydration.A total fast. This is going without food and drinking only water.  A non-total fast. In this type of fast you would be fasting solid food and drinking primarily juices.   The Daniel fast. This fasting anything pleasant.  This fast is recommended for most people, especially those who have never fasted before.  A good plan might be to eat only the evening meal or perhaps fasting sweets.  www.billbright.com/howtofast.      

 

 

 

Five things to pray for when you fast

 

1.  Declare your dependence on God.  The key word is humility.  Fasting does not make us spiritually elite.  We’re not saying we’re better because we fast.  If fasting is done with a pure heart, the thought of fasting to prove our spirituality would be abhorrent.  We fast because we need God.

 

2.  Ask for forgiveness. Humility and brokenness are the keys to getting God’s attention. True humility says, “God, I’m in this situation, and I’m not even going to try to suggest an answer.  Whatever you say, I’ll accept.”  A broken and contrite spirit God will not despise. He is very attracted to anyone who cries out to Him for help.

 

3.  Cry out for the Great Commission to be completed.  This is what we live for.  We have a short life here on earth to put a dent in the devil’s kingdom and populate heaven.

 

4.  Cultivate God’s presence in your life.  Again, we can’t stress enough –the single most important commodity that we can have in life is His presence.  Ask for more anointing, more power, more love.

 

< >Bring needs before God. 

Read Isaiah 58:2-10.  Write out verses 8-9a as a prayer to ask God for healing, holiness, and help.Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: ‘Here am I.’”

 

Prayer for fasting

 

Father, I commit to fasting for the situation that I’ve been praying for.  I humble myself before You as I deny myself according the fast You have chosen for me. I ask for strength to be cheerful during this time and care for myself so that I don’t draw attention  as I fast.

 

I have such confidence in You, my Lord, as I approach You! I know that You’ll grant my requests as You lead me in Your will  and that You hear me. Thank You that as You hear me, You give me everything I ask for!

 

I delight in You, God. Thank You for giving me desires that are good. I commit to You everything and I know my plans will succeed because of that.

 

I pray that this fast will loose chains of injustice and untie cords of the yoke. Thank you that as I fast, the oppressed will be set free and every yoke will be broken!

 

Thank you that You sanctify me through and through as I deny myself for You will to be done. Keep me blameless – spirit, soul, and body – until Jesus comes back.

 

Your word stands forever, Lord. It will accomplish what You sent it out to do. I praise You!

 

In Jesus’ name, Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer assignment for Week Ten

 

     Fast this week for someone you know who is sick.  Let the Holy Spirit lead you in the type of fast.  Listen for the Lord’s voice as you fast, and journal what you hear. If the sick person is willing, anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, lay hands on him, and pray in faith for healing.      

 

 

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Commissioning

Week Twelve

 

List prayer opportunites at church and the styles under each one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ministry

Week Eleven

 

     This week we’ll cover a thorough teaching in personal one-on-one prayer ministry.  Personal prayer ministry can be very brief, such as praying for someone at an altar call, or it can take time, such as in-depth prayer sessions for someone suffering deep inner pain or demonic influences.   This will be the most practical chapter in this study.  The goal will be to train you so that you will become a confident, faith-filled conduit of God’s blessing for anyone who comes to you in need. Please don’t get bogged down in mechanics.  Many of the instructions you will read are designed to remove obstacles so that intercession can be offered with ease and the person in need can openly receive the provision that God has for him or her.   

     First, we’ll look at basic guidelines for praying for someone at an altar call.  These pointers can be modified for use in any situation where you are asked to pray for someone.  This type of ministry will be brief. There are times that we will be called on to go deep with people to uncover strongholds and minister healing and deliverance that will take more time, but more often our opportunities to minister to people will be constrained by time and circumstances.  We want to be prepared at all times – whether at  an altar call, at the grocery, at work, at home, or on the phone – to make the most of every divine appointment. 

 

 

How to Pray for Someone at an Altar Call

 

< >Greet the person warmly.  Ask for their name and use it as you talk to them and pray for them. Shake his hand if he is a man. Taking their hands, whether a man or woman, is a good way to put them at ease and encourage them to come into agreement with you as you pray. If you are a man, you can touch a woman’s shoulder or arm only if it is covered. Be aware of praying too close to someone of the opposite sex. In services where the music is loud, it may be difficult for the person to hear your prayer, but God can hear .Ask them how they would like for you to pray for them.  Let them talk for a minute, but don’t let them go on too long. The more they talk about their problem the bigger it gets, and there may be others waiting to be prayed for. Move to prayer for them as soon as it is appropriate.  Remember that you are not their solution.  It’s o.k. to say, “I don’t have the answer, but God does.” Don’t counsel; point them to God. As you pray, use scripture – it will build their faith.  God will bring scriptures to your mind that will be the living word for that person. Bring hope and faith to them through your prayers. Always be aware of the pastor and his leadership.  When he begins to wrap up the prayer time, this is your queue to end your prayer ministry. If you feel strongly that the person you are praying for needs further ministry, locate a pastor or another leader to assist you, if one is available, and move to another location to continue.     Send them off with a scripture. Again, the Lord will bring up scriptures as you’re praying. After you end the prayer, encourage them that you are standing with them and give them the rhema – “now” – word that God has revealed to you. When you end a time of personal prayer ministry, a hug can be a very comforting and affirming gesture. Hugs from the side and front hugs (with only contact at the shoulders) are appropriate.  Wear appropriate attire.  We are asked not to wear shorts when scheduled to pray for people at a service at Church of the Highlands. Women ministers should wear modest clothing. Any tattoos should be covered. We don’t want to attract attention or be a distraction in any way when praying for people. 

Underline in Ephesians 4:1-3 where our efforts should lie.  “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

     Unity, trusting one another, submitting, and humility – that’s what God’s army looks like so that the enemy cannot step in and bring confusion. It isn’t about us at all; it’s about our king Jesus and His heart to bring freedom and healing to those that He loves so much.  It’s about us growing and getting better at extending His kingdom.

     If you know you’ll be serving on a prayer team, be sure to prepare your heart.  We have studied much on this subject, but as a reminder we should stay pure, stay clean, stay set apart. A key to our anointing is to have a heart that is fully consecrated.  We want to be instant to repent of sin and to be forgiving. We want to come prepared to minister with a clean heart that’s open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  

 

 

Guarding our minds

 

     When we go on the attack in praying for people to be healed or set free, the enemy will resist. How does he resist?  With words, accusations, and fear. He will use his common schemes of pride,  fear, and insecurity to retaliate against us. The strategy is to get us operating in the flesh so that we are ineffective. Be prepared to see it coming. We need to instantly discern hell’s influence and stand against it with God’s truth.  We need to recognize the lie, reject the lie, and replace the lie with what God’s says is the truth. 

 

< >Pride.  Fear.   

 

< >“What if nothing happens when I pray?”“What if the person manifests demons?”  “What if the person doesn’t approve of or like my prayer?”  “You’re not ready for this – you’re not good enough to minister to someone else.” 

Write out 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 

 

1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 

 

     Never entertain or give place to the lies, but recognize them for what they are – they are spirits of darkness trying to talk to us. 

 

< >Insecurity.   

 

< >“What if they think I don’t know what I’m doing?”“You don’t have anything good to pray.”  “I have just as many problems as they do, why am praying for them?” “If anyone knew how bad I’d been lately about praying and reading my Bible, they wouldn’t want to come to me.” “God really can’t use me – look at my family situation.”   

 

     These are lies!  They need to be recognized, rejected, and replaced with the truth of God’s Word. 

 

Read the following verses and circle the “power” words:

 

Romans 8:37 – “We are all more than conquerors through Christ!” 

 

Phil. 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”  

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5- “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 

 

Zechariah 4:6“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.” 

Possession or Bondage?

 

     It is important to distinguish between possession and bondage. Can a Christian be possessed by a demon? In 2 Timothy 2:26 Paul was speaking about Christians who are held captive by the devil. His hope was that “they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”  

     He was not referring to demonic or satanic possession, but he was saying that a Christian can be in bondage. When we receive Jesus and trust Him as our Savior, our spirit is born again and made alive. God sends His Spirit to live in the “house” of our spirit.

 

Finish 1 Corinthians 3:16.  “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?”

 

     When the Holy Spirit lives in you, He possesses you, and you cannot be possessed by satan or demons. If a person is not saved, his spirit is not alive, and he is either filled with self or he can be possessed by demons or even satan. Possession and bondage do not mean the same thing. Possession has to do with a lost person’s spirit and denotes control and ownership of the person’s spirit. Bondage has to do with our soul: the mind, will, and emotions. As believers we can be in bondage and under the influence of the oppression of the devil. Bondage, in contrast to possession, refers to control in an area of a person’s soul.

     Bondages, such as anger, fear, addiction, lust, and rejection, are lodged in a person’s soul, not his spirit. As we have noted before, our soul and body are not reborn when we experience salvation. Our soul must be restored. Psalm 23:3 says, “He restores my soul.”

     Because the prince of this world is running out of time, his strategies are pervasive.  As an intercessor, you will need to be prepared to lead people through darkness into light.   Following is a basic format to use when praying for someone to be healed and set free from oppression of the enemy.

 

 

Freedom Prayer Format 

 

< >Interview – obtain a starting point.

Write out Matthew 7:7.   Ask and you shall receive.

 

< >Forgive.

Following is Matthew 6:14.  Write out verse 15.  “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

 

 

     Because God has forgiven us a debt we could never pay, Matt. 18:34-35 tells us that we will be “handed over to the torturers” if we do not forgive others from our hearts.  These torturers are demon spirits who have been given legal right by our unforgiveness to torment us.  Tell them that one way they can tell that the haven’t forgiven someone is if they feel sick, anxious, angry, or sad when that person’s name is mentioned. 

 

Lead them in the steps to forgive:

< >Identify those to forgive.Forgive the person who offended or hurt you, or participated in opening you up to this spirit.Release and bless them. Repent to God.  

 

Steps to repentance:

< >See the truth about sin.See your sin in the area being addressed.Respond to revelation of the sin with Godly sorrow.Confess and repent of the sin.“Father, I come into Your presence and ask for Your forgiveness.  I have given place to the sin of ___ in my life and have allowed satan to get a foothold.  I am sorry for my sin. I commit to turn form this sin. Please cleanse me from all unrighteousness according to your word. Thank You, Lord.”

 

 

< >Renounce the enemy.

From 2 Corinthians 4:2, underline what we find if we confess and renounce sin. “He who conceals his own sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

 

     You may want to have them repeat after you prayers like this one:

“I renounce the sin of anger and the spirit behind it. Spirit of anger, I refuse to accept your influence in my life any longer! In the name of Jesus, I close all doors I have opened to the enemy because of the bondage of anger in my life. I choose to turn from this evil, to do good, and pursue peace and joy and self-control.  I choose no longer to partner with anger and cross the line into sin.  I choose to be a peacemaker and reconciler instead of one who divides.”

 

< >Anoint to break the yoke.  

 

< >Consecration – In Leviticus 8:12 it says that “Moses poured the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him, to consecrate him." As you anoint with oil, you will be proclaiming that the person is holy and set apart for God. Seal the word – In 1 Samuel 9:15-17 God revealed His word to the prophet Samuel, that he had chosen Saul to be the first king of Israel.  That was the word of the Lord.  The next day Samuel poured oil over Saul's head and spoke God's word to him.  The prophets were given God's word and they were sent out to anoint with oil to seal God's word.  You will anoint with oil to seal the word of God concerning the person you are praying for.  Breaking of Bondage – In Isaiah 10:27 the word of God says, "it shall come to pass in that day that the burden will be taken from your shoulder, and the yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil."  When you anoint with oil, you are proclaiming that all bondage is broken off of the person’s life. Healing – In Mark 6:13, we are told that the disciples “were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.”  As disciples of Jesus, when you anoint with oil, they will be healed – spirit, soul, and body! 

Look up and write out Isaiah 61:1. “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” 

 

     You may want to have them repeat after you prayers like this one:

 “I break every curse, vow, and anything against  _____ that has given place to anger (for example). Jesus, we believe that as we anoint ___ that You are here to remove the spirit of anger from their life.  Jesus, anoint ___ for ruler-ship in this area where anger has ruled through generations. Now, in the name of Jesus and because of the anointing He has passed on to ___, set them apart from the spirit of anger.  Remove the bondage and break it so it will no longer fit.

 

< >Cast Out the spirit. 

Paul spoke directly to the evil spirit in a slave girl who was following him. What did he say to the evil spirit in Acts 16:18? “I command you in the name of Jesus to come out.”

 

     Jesus was speaking of all believers when He said, “And these signs shall follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons.” (Mark 16:17)

 

Finish this statement from Luke 10:19:  “Jesus has given me authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm me.”

 

     You may want to have them repeat after you prayers like this one:

“Because your defeat has been accomplished through the cross of Jesus and because of the Spirit of God who gives us power and authority to loose ___ from your hold, I command you to leave them now, in the mighty name of Jesus.” 

 

< >Bless and fill with the Holy Spirit, the word and the opposite.   

 

Read Luke 11:24-26 and explain why just casting the demon out is not enough.When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

 

     Bless and fill with the following:

< >the Holy Spirit – Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)the Word. Your word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin against You. (Ps.119:11) the opposite. For example:Rejection à acceptance and love of God and others.

 

Anger à peace, joy, and self-control.

Offense à overlooking an offense, forgiveness. 

 

     You may want to have them repeat after you prayers like this one:

 “Lord, we pray for a fresh outpouring of Your Holy Spirit over the place where anger (for example) has occupied.  We ask You Holy Spirit to invade and posses this new territory.  We ask You to rule and reign in that place.  Lord, we ask You to bless ___ with peace and self-control and joy, especially where they have been so angry. She/ He is Your child, a child of the King, help ___ to receive this truth.     

 

 

Basic training for prayer ministry

 

< >Relax and enjoy praying for someone. The Bible says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” No matter how serious a person’s problems are, the joy of the Lord is their strength.  Don’t get mechanical in your methods – no two people are alike. Learn to minister in the Spirit.  Let the Spirit make it fresh to you every time rather than relying on the old.  Pray for a fresh anointing each time.  Be sensitive to the people. Treat them with love and tenderness. They may be vulnerable and able to be wounded easily. Desire and seek after a baptism of love for your brothers and sisters.  They will open up and receive so much more easily if they sense the presence of love surrounding them. Ask God to allow you to see them as He sees them. We are conduits for the love of Jesus. Be sensitive to the working and voice of the Holy Spirit. Smile because smiles are contagious and put people at ease.Use their name.  Call them by name because it makes them feel comfortable.  If they begin to cry or become emotional, using their names will calm them down.         When praying to break generational sin and curses, ask for maiden names for women and mothers so that both sides of the person’s family will be covered.

 

 

< >Hugs and touching:  as mentioned earlier, it’s good to hug because we are passing on the love of God. Use hugs, but don’t force them. Use extreme caution in touching people. If you are praying for healing, you may want to have the person put their hand on their heart and then you put a couple of fingers on their hand.  Or let’s suppose that you discern that there is something lodged deeply in the person from the core or their being.  It’s almost like the prayer needs to be applied in that place.  Tell them to put their hand on the stomach and then put your fingertips on their hand while you pray.  Only touch them on their hands or on their shoulder. We don’t want to be touching them in any other place.    The will of the person you are praying for: When we pray for someone, we want them to be set free, but also we want them to have the understanding that they don’t have to put up with the enemy’s harassment. Even as we pray for them, we are discipling them and encouraging them to rise up and exert their own will against the spirits of darkness.  As we pray with them, we need to get them engaged in the prayer.       If someone seems passive when they come to you, you may need to speak to them for a minute to get them involved in the prayer time. You may need to stir them up to get them to claim their freedom.

 

 

< >Praying too loud: Be sensitive to the person you are praying for by not praying so loud that others can hear.  Be careful not to distract the person you are praying for with the volume of your prayer and get them out of the Spirit.Eyes open or closed? When you are engaged in spiritual warfare, you may want to keep you eyes open. Often when we pray, we close our eyes in reverence to God. But we never want to revere a demon.  Some have complained that it is distracting to have their eyes open when they pray, but it is important to be aware of any signs that the person we are praying for is struggling or experiencing freedom.  Watch for facial expressions, stiffening up, clinched fists, and lips tightening up. Don’t stare off into space or at the crowd because it looks like you don’t care.     Don’t have the person look at you while you are praying for him.  Jesus didn’t do that.  The only time that might be appropriate is if the demon is more in control than the person.   Otherwise, it can be confusing.

 

 

< >When do you end the prayer time? When we minister, we may need to pause and ask the person what they are feeling on the inside.  You may want to ask them if they sense a release.  Sometimes we don’t know when or how to end the prayer time so it’s good to ask the person how they feel and if there is still something that needs to be dealt with.  Then if there is a sense of release, bless them and end your ministry time.     Sometimes the person is not going to know if a bondage has been broken, so you’re going to have to discern by the Spirit. Ask the Lord, “Do I stop now and encourage the person to embrace their freedom and walk in it by faith, and just see the evidence of it later?”  That may be the case sometimes. They may not know that an evil spirit has left them until a month later when they didn’t have the same reaction to some circumstance that they had always had.  The Holy Spirit’s guidance is very important.        

 

 

< >Handling manifestations: When a person manifests something demonic, it is not the time to become intimidated and let fear rise up in you.  It is a time to rejoice – Hallelujah! The glory of the Lord is crowding this thing out of hiding.  Demons would prefer to stay hidden.  When a manifestation breaks out, it is the glory of the Lord driving them to be exposed.  When that begins to happen, one of the first things that you want to do is make a determination whether it is the working of a spirit or is it something in their flesh.  Take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit, “Lord, help me discern and understand what is happening here.” Never be timid about asking for help from other prayer ministers or pastors. Motion to one to come along side you as you minister.      If you are praying next to someone who is ministering to a person who is having manifestations, it’s important not to get distracted by that, but to stay focused on the one you are praying for.  Also, it’s important not to crowd in on a prayer minister who is dealing with a situation like that. You can intercede, but don’t gather around it. 

 

 

< >Screaming, throwing up: You may have someone you are praying for let out a scream, or possibly an incessant long scream.  Help to redirect them and exert their will. Tell them not to let the let the spirit use their mouth and to take authority over it.  You might say, “Don’t let this thing distract you and use your mouth like this.  Talk to the spirit and tell it to leave.  You have authority!  Tell it to leave.  Don’t let this thing take authority over you. Let’s get back into prayer and press in against this thing.”     When confronting evil spirits, throwing up rarely happens, but it can.  Some people think they are supposed to choke, gag, or throw up because that’s what they’ve heard or read somewhere. It does happen, but only rarely.

 

 

< >Falling down: There are three reasons that someone might go down when you are praying for them.  It could be the Holy Spirit. If you do discern that it is the Holy Spirit, then continue to minister to the person until you are satisfied that the Lord’s work is complete, and then help them get back on their feet.     Another reason would be a predisposition to falling because of services they have attended where people typically fall down.  If you discern that this is the case, encourage them not to fall down. 

 

     A third reason would be that they are in battle and something begins to break inside.  Under that influence, they may begin to crumple.  Hold them up, at least to a sitting position.  Say something like, “Let me get you sitting up so we can fight this thing together.  God wants you free.…”  The sitting position is a better position to fight than lying down.    

 

< >Cleanse the room and yourself. After praying for people to be set free from demonic influences, it is important to pray a prayer of cleansing over the place and yourself. Cleanse the room by the blood of Jesus.  Command every spirit of darkness that has been loosed out of the lives of people to leave, and command any spirit assigned to oppose God’s work to be gone by the blood of the Lamb.        don’t answer the phone past a certain time at nightset a time frame (beginning time and ending time) when you visit with someone one-on-one look at your schedule and priorities and decide what times each week you have available to minister one-on-oneestablish margin in your life so that you can stay refreshed

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Commissioning

Week Twelve

 

List prayer opportunites at church and the styles under each one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commissioning

Week Twelve

 

 

     Now that you’ve invested 11 weeks in the teachings about intercession at Church of the Highlands, it’s time to find your place in the prayer ministry!

     Before you begin this lesson, it would be very helpful for you to know your spiritual gifts.  At Church of the Highlands we have a special class called the Discovery Seminar designed to help you find out how God has divinely gifted you so that you can be more effective in serving Him. This class is offered monthly at the church. 

     We as a prayer force have varying gifts and passions that affect the way that we pray.  There are several types of intercessors, and it’s the goal of this lesson to familiarize you with the differences and bring about an understanding that these differences are what make the prayer force affective.   

     Have you ever been a prayer group where one man starts to pray by getting out a lengthy list of requests. He begins praying, “Oh God! Thou art the great almighty God. We bless you, oh God. We want to lift up these many needs to You, oh God.” A woman in the prayer group looks over at him and thinks, “How boring.” Then another woman begins to pray and weep.  She wails loudly and the man thinks, “My Lord, somebody give that lady a pill!” Then another man stands up and scares everyone half to death by yelling, “You come down, you dark spirit!” 

     During the meeting, one person is praying for the small groups; another is praying for Jenny who has the stomach bug; another is praying for the puppy that got caught in the drain; and another is praying for the troops in Iraq. When the meeting is over, everyone leaves scratching their heads and wondering if God did anything. Everyone has so exercised their independence that they have not come together in corporate unity. And instead of valuing the differences in prayer styles and giftings, they judge each other and accomplish nothing in the spirit. 

     In the American church we have so honored independence that we have not learned to pray together in unity appreciating the various prayer styles and types of intercessors.  Under the leadership of our pastor and our prayer coordinator, there is a prayer opportunity for each of us.  The prayer ministry at Church of the Highlands is continually developing a prayer force and prayer strategies to mobilize every type of intercessor.  There is a place for you!

     We will begin with three elements that are the basis for success in our prayer ministry as we endeavor to be the most complete and successful team that we can be.  Then we’ll look into the different types of intercessors. Hopefully you’ll begin to see why you pray the way you do.  Next, we’ll complete a questionnaire that will identify the type of intercessors that we are. Lastly, we’ll explore prayer opportunities in our church so that we can get plugged in the most effectively.     

 

 

 

Three elements important to corporate intercession

 

< >Love. 

From Colossians 2:1-3, why did Paul pray that the believers would be united in love?My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

   

< >Unity. 

From Romans 15:5-7, finish this passage by writing out verse 7.”May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

 

< >Power.

Read Matthew 18:18-20. Write out verse 20. "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (vs. 20)

 

     Although no two intercessors are exactly alike, we can group them according to general types with similar giftings. 

 

 

Three Spiritual gifts lists in the Bible

 

< >5-fold ministry.

List the 5-fold ministry gifts from Ephesians 4:11.  apostles, prophets, evangelists,  pastors and teachers.

 

< >Motivational gifts.

List the motivational spiritual gifts from Romans 12:6-8. prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging,  contributing to the needs of others (giving),  leadership, showing mercy..

 

3.  Manifestation gifts.  

 

List the manifestation gifts from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues,  the interpretation of tongues..

 

     In all three of the lists is the gift of prophecy.  This is where the gift of intercession falls.  Prophecy flows out of us in the arena of prayer. "Prophetic intercession is the ability to receive an immediate prayer request from God and pray about it in a divinely anointed utterance" (Dutch Sheets). True intercessory prayer is always prophetic, initiated in an intercessor’s heart by the Holy Spirit. All intercession initiated by Him is powerful and always accomplishes what He sent it to do. Intercessors enter into the throne room of God in worship to learn what is on His heart so that they can intercede effectively. This is why we begin our prayer meetings with worship. 

     Intercessors come together with a blend of spiritual gifts so that when we meet to pray, we are a uniquely fine-tuned orchestra.  We will seer into the heavenlies with the burden that God has given us and we will see the breakthroughs come.

 

Types of intercessors:

 

< >List 

Finish Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

 

< >Souls

According to 1 Timothy 2:4, what does God want? All men to be saved.

 

What does Luke 10:2 tell us to pray for? “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

 

< >Personal

Read 1 Samuel 14:6-17, the story of Jonathon defeating the Philistines with the support of his armor bearer. The armor bearer’s job was to carry Jonathon’s military equipment. As a personal intercessor we carry the spiritual equipment and follow behind our leader.  Finish the statement made by Jonathon’s armor bearer from 1 Samuel 14:7: "’Do all that you have in mind,’ his armor-bearer said. ‘Go ahead; I am with your heart and soul.’"   

 

< >Mercy 

 

Read Matthew 9:35-36.  Write out verse 36. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (vs. 36)

 

Finish Luke 15:20 about the prodigal son. “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

 

< >Crisis

Finish Mark 11:12: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

 

< >Warfare 

 

Finish Colossians 4:12. “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greeting. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”

Read Hebrews 11:32-34.  List the actions that the men of faith took that mirror warfare intercession. “…Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”

 

< >Worship

Read Luke 2:36-37. Write out verse 37.  “and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. (vs. 37)

 

Read Luke 10:38-39.  Write out verse 39. “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said.”

 

< >Government/ issues

From Genesis 11:5-6 what principle do we learn from the account of the building of the tower of Babel? "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”

 

< >Prophetic

In Ezekiel 37:3-4, the Lord says to the prophet, "Son of man, can these bones live?" Ezekiel said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know." God’s response was, “Prophesy to these bones…”  In verse seven Ezekiel said, “So I prophesied as I was commanded.”  What happened after he prophesied what God commanded? “And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.  I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.”

 

     Following is a questionnaire to help you learn what type of intercessor you are.  As you read the questions, keep in mind that there aren’t any wrong answers.  God has called you and molded you into the intercessor you are and every type is highly valued!   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intercessor Type Questionnaire

 

     Respond to each question below according to who you are, not who you would like to be or think you ought to be. How true are these statements of you? What has been your experience? To what degree do these statements reflect your usual tendencies? Answer each question with 1,2,3,4, or 5 based on the following descriptions:

 

1 – rarely true of me

2 – infrequently true of me

3 – occasionally true of me

4 – frequently true of me

5 – very true of me, consistently

 

Question

#

  1. Are scriptures about salvation easy for you to recall?

 

 

  1. Are unsaved people drawn to you?

 

 

  1. Are you forceful in your prayer time?

 

 

  1. Are you stimulated by politics?

 

 

  1. Do injustices against others make you want to pray?

 

 

  1. Do people ask you to pray for their personal matters?

 

 

  1. Do people say that you prayed just what was on their hearts?

 

 

  1. Do people share their hurts with you?

 

 

  1. During prayer do you bow, lift your hands, clap, lie down, dance, or otherwise express your adoration to the Lord?

 

  1. Do you enjoy praying for people in altar ministry?

 

 

  1. Do you enjoy studying about principalities and spiritual roots?

 

 

  1. Do you ever wake up in the night with an urgent need to pray?

 

 

  1. Do you find it difficult to stop praying about something until you know the assignment is completed?

 

  1. Do you find that you pray in tongues throughout the day and often in prayer meetings?

 

  1. Do you find that your prayers often line up directly with specific scriptures?

 

  1. Do you find yourself defending the defenseless?

 

 

  1. Do you find yourself desiring to focus on a couple of people during your prayer time?

 

  1. Do you find yourself seeking the approval of someone that you pray for regularly?

 

  1. Do you get restless at prayer meetings when the enemy is not being confronted?

 

  1. Do you have a burden to pray for the lost on a regular basis?

 

 

  1. Do you have a strong prophetic gifting?

 

 

  1. Do you have the gift of evangelism?

 

 

  1. Do you have the gift of healing?

 

 

  1. Do you have the gift of mercy?

 

 

  1. Do you have the gift of teaching?

 

 

  1. Do you have the gift of the discerning of spirits?

 

 

  1. Do you keep up with the names of government officials?

 

 

  1. Do you counsel leaders?

 

 

  1. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the number of lost people?

 

 

  1. Do you find yourself speaking to demonic forces in your prayer times?

 

 

  1. Do you pray for people in urgent situations, and then never feel the need to pray for them again?

 

  1. Do you pray for the government?

 

 

  1. During worship, do you find yourself singing your own words to the songs that are played as a prayer to the Lord?

 

  1. Do you often spend most of your prayer time just meditating on the Lord?

 

  1. Do you pray over the same people consistently?

 

 

  1. Do you read the newspaper or watch the news and want to pray?

 

 

  1. Do you read the newspaper or watch the news on T.V. and cry out for hurting people?

 

  1. Do you receive special insight or revelation form the Lord in order to pray for specific people?

 

  1. Do you record dates for your prayers?

 

 

  1. Do you shy away from giving difficult words to people for fear of hurting their feelings?

 

  1. Do you spend a large part of your prayer time in praise to the Lord?

 

 

  1. Do you thrive in crisis?

 

 

 

 

  1. Do you use musical instruments during your prayer time?

 

 

  1. Does God speak to you through dreams and visions?

 

 

  1. Does injustice anger you?

 

 

  1. Does it bother you when a prayer meeting seems to get “out of control”?

 

 

  1. Does it bother you when others don’t share your grief over the pain that people are suffering with?

 

  1. Does praying through outlines release you to pray?

 

 

  1. Does structure bring freedom for you?

 

 

  1. Does the Lord ever interrupt your prayer time by bringing faces, names, or situations to mind?

 

  1. Does the Lord entrust you with private words and thoughts that He is not ready to release? 

 

  1. Does the pain of others make you want to battle the enemy for their freedom?

 

  1. Does your heart break over issues that cause God to grieve?

 

 

  1. During your prayer time do you put on music?

 

 

  1. Is your preference to pray for individuals rather than groups?

 

 

  1. When you pray, do you ever sense that you have connected with heaven and entered the Lord’s throne room?

 

  1. When others share their hurts with you, do you have a hard time letting it go?

 

  1. When praying over individuals, do you get mental pictures?

 

 

  1. When you pray, do you ever sense that there is an emergency?

 

 

  1. When you receive a prayer request, do you write it down?

 

 

  1. When you talk to someone you have never met, do you want to know if they are saved?

 

  1. Would being a prayer shield for a particular leader be a responsibility that you would be faithful to?

 

  1. Would you enjoy prayer walking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interpreting the Results

 

     To interpret the results, record the number you chose (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) from each question in the chart below. Add up your scores for a total for each type.  If you scored a total of 28 or above on any line, you are that type of intercessor. 

 

Following is an example:

 

Type of Intercessor

Score on each question

Totals

List

25, 35, 39, 46, 48, 49, 60

 

 

4+5+5+5+3+3+4

29

 

This person would be a list intercessor.

 

 

Type of Intercessor

Score on each question

Totals

List

25, 35, 39, 46, 48, 49, 60

 

 

 

 

Soul

1, 2, 10, 20, 22, 29, 61

 

 

 

 

Personal

6, 17, 18, 28, 38, 55, 62

 

 

 

 

Mercy

8, 24, 37, 40, 47, 53, 57

 

 

 

 

Crisis

12, 13, 23, 31, 42, 50, 59

 

 

 

 

Warfare

3, 11, 19, 26, 30, 45, 52

 

 

 

 

Worship

9, 33, 34, 41, 43, 54, 56

 

 

 

 

Government/ Issues

4, 5, 16, 27, 32, 36, 63

 

 

 

 

Prophetic

7, 14, 15, 21, 44, 51, 58

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do I get involved?!

 

     Now that you’ve investigated the type of intercessor you are, it’s time to get plugged in! Your small group leader will discuss with you all of the prayer opportunities at Church of the Highlands and provide you with materials to get started.

 

 

A BLESSING

 

     As a highly favored intercessor of Church of the Highlands receive this blessing from Mark Hand, our prayer coordinator, and all of the leadership of the Prayer Force:  

 

In the name of Jesus Christ, I bless you, _____________ with the promises of God, which are yes and amen.  I pray the Holy Spirit make you healthy and strong in body, mind and spirit to move in faith and expectancy.  May God’s angels be with you to protect and keep you.

 

< >God bless you with ability, with abundance and with an    assurance of His love and grace.God bless you with clear direction, with a controlled and God bless you with courage and creativityGod bless you with spiritual perception of His truthGod bless you with great faith, and with His favor and with man’sGod bless you with good health and a good ____________ (wife God bless your hands to bless others.God bless you with happiness, fulfillment, contentment, hope and God bless you with a listening ear and with a long life and God bless you with His peace, with pleasant speech, a pleasant personality, with promotion, protection, provision, safety and strength.

 

< >God bless you with success, trust and wisdom AND

 

God bless you with goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life that you might dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make His face shine down on you and give you peace, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.  I bless you, _____________ (name), in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen!

 


Comments

The ARC (Association of Related Churches) Is Planting Churches, Looking for Flowers and Scoping Out Demons — 85 Comments

  1. I just can’t read this on an empty stomach. I’ll be back after my fried chicken supper, with gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans ………. And then a long, tall glass of prohibition sweet tea

  2. Oh, My Goodness

    this: “”In the name of Jesus Christ I now renounce, break and loose myself from all demonic subjection to my parents, grandparents, or any other human beings, living or dead, who have dominated me in any way. I thank you, Lord, for setting me free.”

    this is classic cult stuff:
    getting a young person away from any influence of his/her family

    I can’t find any other reason for people ‘teaching’ this cr*p.

  3. These people don’t realize the damage it does when you continually tell people who need genuine medical help that they are demon-possessed. (Or maybe they do, and they don’t care.)

  4. I read through this. The scary part of it for me is that there is a lot here that tugs at my heart. For instance, I do love the Holy Spirit and have experienced His presence. Who wouldn’t want more of that “life-giving flow?”

    Even the overtly off-putting sections (thanks for the highlighting!) are sometimes so reasonably or adroitly phrased that it pacifies one part of my brain even while another part tries not to succumb.

    These people are so good with words… it messes with my brain.

    I get why people run from the institutional church. The term “crazy-maker” comes to mind.

  5. I guess if you veer all over the Bible, picking and choosing individual verses, using them out of context, you can make the Bible appear to say whatever you want it to say.

  6. So these are the Queen of Heaven/Operation Ice Castle bozos!
    AKA “The one-way ticket to Crazyland” —
    “DEMONS! DEOMNS! DEEEEEMONS! SHEEKA-BOOM-BAH! BAM!”

  7. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    AND THEY’RE ALSO THE “PAGAN TEMPLE SCREAMERS” WHO CLAIMED THEY KILLED OUEEN OF HEAVEN MINIONS PRINCESS DI AND MOTHER TERESA WITH THEIR IMPRECATORY PRAYERS/HEXES!

  8. Another lethal “Christian” trainwreck but without the Reformed/Calvinist atomic bomb and its subsequent deadly radioactive fallout. However, the same action is required: FLEE! Don’t even worry about your mobile, just run. You can buy another phone; you can’t buy another soul.

  9. Christiane wrote:

    Oh, My Goodness
    this: “”In the name of Jesus Christ I now renounce, break and loose myself from all demonic subjection to my parents, grandparents, or any other human beings, living or dead, who have dominated me in any way. I thank you, Lord, for setting me free.”
    this is classic cult stuff:
    getting a young person away from any influence of his/her family
    I can’t find any other reason for people ‘teaching’ this cr*p.

    Ya, you are right on this one, Christiane. Cr*p is describing it in a civilzed way, but it’ll do.

  10. So they want to present themselves as “happy” to the outside world to ensnare others.

    As mentioned multiple times – cult.

    However the danger in these groups is they can emulate a “regular” church. People who are looking for a new church home can be deceived by this until it’s too late and they have gone too far down the rabbit hole.

    My wife had an experience like this when she immigrated to Canada. She wanted to find a church and so was recommended one by an acquaintance. Seemed “normal” on the outside but the preaching became very pastor and money focussed. This was not quite a cult (no heavy love bombing) but I can see how folks can get trapped.

    And some folks would purposely seek a church associated with a denomination or association with the idea that there would be some form of accountability as opposed to some of the independent churches that are essentially pastor family businesses. BTW just read a book on Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church – 90 million bucks a year! Obscene!

    Once again, great to bring all the resources together in one place.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    So these are the Queen of Heaven/Operation Ice Castle bozos!
    AKA “The one-way ticket to Crazyland” —
    “DEMONS! DEOMNS! DEEEEEMONS! SHEEKA-BOOM-BAH! BAM!”

    You know, that story (about how Ana Mendez allegedly climbed Mount Everest to get rid of demons) really needs to be told in a higher-profile place than a few discernment websites with their own axes to grind. It’s not merely that this was seriously crazycakes, but the Nepalese government takes a dim view of these sorts of claims.

    Here’s an example–two Indian police officers, a married couple, claimed to have climbed Everest last year and have the pictures to prove it. Problem is, it was all PhotoShop.

    “Our investigation shows that the couple faked their summit. We have imposed a 10-year ban against them from climbing any mountain in Nepal,” Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal, the tourism department chief, told Agence France-Presse.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/30/indian-couple-banned-from-climbing-after-faking-ascent-of-everest

    Other reports indicate the couple has basically disappeared (maybe through embarrassment?) since this event.

  12. Jack wrote:

    So they want to present themselves as “happy” to the outside world to ensnare others.

    Broad-spectrum love-bombing.

    (“Broad” originally came out as “Borad” — Freudian slip there?)

  13. Nancy2 wrote:

    I guess if you veer all over the Bible, picking and choosing individual verses, using them out of context, you can make the Bible appear to say whatever you want it to say.

    Over the last 40-45 years it has morphed into an art-form throughout fundagelical land.

  14. Hmm. Some of what they say is good stuff, some seems excessive to me. However, I probably would not fit right in with the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola either. I guess I will stick to the Book of Common Prayer. I do think that having written guides as it were is a good idea; I just don’t ‘get it’ necessarily with all the emphases of other people’s guides.

  15. Thank you WW for putting this up as a permanent page. Many Birmingham residents are alarmed by the way this church has a new campuses popping up in affluent neighborhoods all over the state. Churches of every denomination are losing longtime members to these franchises. The local media will hardly report on anything negative, and many news stories have been scrubbed from the internet. This is an extremely important resource for those of us who are trying to get the word out. We are praying commenters will stay on subject so anyone searching will be able to find valuable information here. Many attenders have no idea this is a NAR church. They don’t know that Robert Morris is an “apostolic elder” and what that means. If you have stumbled on this site seeking information, there are sermon reviews at Fighting For The Faith. Warren Throckmorton’s blog has a ton of info on Robert Morris, and be sure to read any comment by GWInsida. The Mennoknight has an article about Chris Hodges, and he got so much flak from members that he shut the comments down. It’s a very concise and one of the few stories that links Chris Hodges to Ted Haggard and spiritual mapping. Please pray that those who have ears to hear will find the answers they need to make an informed decision on whether they should attend this church. There will be some who may come here to tell WW not to touch the anointed, not to judge, and even deny these aberrant doctrines are taught there. They will tell us all about the many good things COTH does and how the church is paid for and so on. They’ll say no one begs for money, even though Robert Morris comes yearly to sell his books and threaten them with curses if they don’t tithe the first ten percent of their income. No one will mention how many small groups use his materials to further line his pockets. They’ll be looking for any reason to discredit this site. But, some will find their way here and it will be enough to start the wheels turning. They’ll figure out why they’ve had a funny feeling and they’ll pray about it and start researching. This is not an attack on the members, the leaders, or the church. It’s not an issue of cessationism vs. continuationism. It’s about the New Apostalic Reformation and how it is infiltrating churches all over the U.S. The scary fact is that these leaders know it’s bizarre and they’re keeping it quiet. You have to know the buzz words and what to look for, and WW is to be commended for doing their part in bringing it into the light.

  16. Canna wrote:

    The local media will hardly report on anything negative, and many news stories have been scrubbed from the internet.

    Two words: MONEY TALKS.

    It also helps if you sew up as many of the Seven Mountains as possible by having local authorities and media as members of the church/cult and under the thumb of the Head Apostolic Elder.

  17. Tim wrote:

    Way too much focus on Satan, way to little focus on the finished work of Jesus Christ. As other commenters said, this leads to control over followers, not freedom for fellow believers. Their language about renouncing Satan generationally remind me of what Mark Driscoll was doing with his demon trials: Mark Driscoll’s Demons – the false doctrine of the Mars Hill demon trials.

    They have made Satan more powerful than God.

    Because if God is on the ropes and helpless against Satan and his Demons without the aid of Great Spiritual Warriors (guess who?), they are IMPORTANT. Demigod-level Wizards and Clerics slinging their spells against the Demons Demons Deeeemons in their own little Live RPG.

    Plus the ego-boo of their Great Spiritual Power and Skills — move over, Operating Thetan VIII Tom Cruise!

    Yet they always sound Desperate and Shrill. Could it be that they have made Satan so Powerful and Omnipotent that deep down inside they’re afraid they’ve chosen the losing side?

  18. Jack wrote:

    As mentioned multiple times – cult.

    However the danger in these groups is they can emulate a “regular” church. People who are looking for a new church home can be deceived by this until it’s too late and they have gone too far down the rabbit hole.

    Successful sociopaths are masters of camouflaging what they are.
    We only hear about the ones who F’ed up and got caught.

    “For Satan himself can transform himself to appear as an Angel of Light.”
    — some Rabbi from Tarsus

  19. Christiane wrote:

    Oh, My Goodness

    this: “”In the name of Jesus Christ I now renounce, break and loose myself from all demonic subjection to my parents, grandparents, or any other human beings, living or dead, who have dominated me in any way. I thank you, Lord, for setting me free.”

    “PSI CORPS IS MOTHER! PSI CORPS IS FATHER!”

  20. In the Training Guide posting, were the underlined portions underlined by the original authors, or by Dee and Deb?

  21. “They have a particular penchant for getting rid of demons.”

    There’s a new ARC plant in my community. Perhaps they will cast out the New Calvinists that are swarming like bees here!

  22. The ARC conference was held at Church of the Highlands last week and the speaker on the last night was Steven Furtick. He spewed out a bunch of nonsense and they just ate it up. That’s is much more alarming to me than those amateur new calvinists.

  23. I keep dipping into the training materials and keep getting hung up on the opening:

    Highlands Vision
    Week One
    Purpose: to support Pastor Chris Hodges in the vision that God has given him for Church of the Highlands.

    I’ve been involved with several churches, but never one that displayed this kind of hubris. My current church certainly talks about God’s will and vision for our parish, but without claiming that these are passed through a lone self-identified clergy member.

    So no, I will never go to church to further a vision arrogated by one man. We are all God’s people. The founder of the Religious Society of Friends, George Fox, wrote this:

    Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you.

  24. I looked at the ARC’s map of churches for the Phoenix area. Of the eight churches on the map, two no longer have websites (or Facebook pages), which to me indicates they no longer exist. There is another church that claimed to have two sites, but a review of the church’s website finds they only meet in one location. So three of the eight churches associated with ARC in Phoenix are no more.

  25. Friend wrote:

    Purpose: to support Pastor Chris Hodges in the vision that God has given him for Church of the Highlands.

    sounds familiar ….. maybe he took a page from Furtick?

    after all, Furtick is supposed to have gathered together the ‘board members’ for ARC, including some of the stellar luminaries who have been caught having affairs, but no matter, they have been ‘rehabed’

    the term ‘franchi$e’ fits this me$$, yes, a$ money-making would be a part of any kind of Furtick’s enterpri$es and he certainly has demon-strated how, when God gives you a VI$ION, the money is soon to follow

  26. In their “Prayer Force Training Leader’s Guide” at the beginning has the heading:
    “1. Submission: We willingly submit to our pastor and desire to serve him.”

    Good golly, how can anyone read past that without alarm bells going off? It is underlined but it should be BOLD and flashing RED.

  27. Christiane wrote:

    Friend wrote:

    Purpose: to support Pastor Chris Hodges in the vision that God has given him for Church of the Highlands.

    sounds familiar ….. maybe he took a page from Furtick?

    Bill M wrote:

    In their “Prayer Force Training Leader’s Guide” at the beginning has the heading:
    “1. Submission: We willingly submit to our pastor and desire to serve him.”

    “WE ARE UNITED BEHIND THE VISIONARY!”
    — Pastor Furtick coloring book for Elevation kids

  28. Friend wrote:

    I’ve been involved with several churches, but never one that displayed this kind of hubris. My current church certainly talks about God’s will and vision for our parish, but without claiming that these are passed through a lone self-identified clergy member.

    Even when self-identified as Head Apostle, Apostolic Elder, Prophet and Visionary?

    “I SEE Things…”
    — a certain Prophet & Visionary from Mars Hill Seattle

  29. Canna wrote:

    The ARC conference was held at Church of the Highlands last week and the speaker on the last night was Steven Furtick. He spewed out a bunch of nonsense and they just ate it up.

    “WE ARE UNITED BEHIND THE VISIONARY!”

  30. Muff Potter wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:

    I guess if you veer all over the Bible, picking and choosing individual verses, using them out of context, you can make the Bible appear to say whatever you want it to say.

    Over the last 40-45 years it has morphed into an art-form throughout fundagelical land.

    “I Know I’m Right —
    I HAVE A VERSE!”

  31. Bill M wrote:

    In their “Prayer Force Training Leader’s Guide” at the beginning has the heading:
    “1. Submission: We willingly submit to our pastor and desire to serve him.”
    Good golly, how can anyone read past that without alarm bells going off? It is underlined but it should be BOLD and flashing RED.

    Then there’s this: ” Follow the lead of our pastor with reverence, honor, and respect. Even when you disagree, trust the Lord and obey! ”
    Who needs God when you have a god?

  32. Canna wrote:

    The ARC conference was held at Church of the Highlands last week and the speaker on the last night was Steven Furtick. He spewed out a bunch of nonsense and they just ate it up. That’s is much more alarming to me than those amateur new calvinists.

    Though they are worrisome, I don’t think the are quite as dangerous. I was involved in churches like this for awhile, and it’s exactly that randomness that makes them too scattered to effectively do anything. The Calvinistas have a strategy they started 20 years ago, and have been methodically putting it into place, and it includes how to brainstorm young men and take over major institutions. Furthermore, they encourage their members to go after anyone who isn’t spouting the party line in aggressive and intentional ways.

    You can tell just by reading the manual that ARC doesn’t have that. They are all over the place. They are powerful, because offering those emotional highs really appeals to a lot of people, but they can’t sustain it, and they are haphazard in their approach.

  33. “Particularly influential members of The Team (or what we like to call the *A* Team:”

    Oh please, don’t ruin my favorite 80s TV show for me.

  34. Bill M wrote:

    In their “Prayer Force Training Leader’s Guide” at the beginning has the heading:
    “1. Submission: We willingly submit to our pastor and desire to serve him.”

    Whew! And the 21st century church in America is cluttered with poor abused souls who did just that! It sounds good – to submit to and serve your pastor – but that is dangerous business in today’s “church” where authoritarians and charlatans rule the spiritual life out of you. I’ve got a radical idea … why don’t believers try submitting to and serving Christ rather than men?!

  35. The Calvinistas have a strategy they started 20 years ago, and have been methodically putting it into place, and it includes how to brainstorm young men and take over major institutions. Furthermore, they encourage their members to go after anyone who isn’t spouting the party line in aggressive and intentional ways.

    Chairman Calvin’s Red Guard.
    Young Calvinist League.
    Calvinist International (CALVINTERN).

    P.S. Shouldn’t that be “brainwash” instead of “brainstorm”.

  36. Nancy2 wrote:

    Then there’s this: ” Follow the lead of our pastor with reverence, honor, and respect. Even when you disagree, trust the Lord and obey! ”
    Who needs God when you have a god?

    This ‘teaching’ or ‘commandment’ (not sure what to call it) does not recognize the work of the Holy Spirit within the conscience of a human person. Blind obedience in the face of realizing what you are being asked to do is wrong ….. that is NOT the faith of Christ, no.

    Sounds again like a cult teaching.

  37. @ Christiane:

    In all fairness the statement says ‘when you disagree’, it does not say anything about some moral or ethical issue. I disagree with stuff at church from time to time but I co-operate because there is no moral issue involved. If people are running around claiming that their conscience is telling them that the carpet should be blue and not green, then they need help.

  38. Lizzybeth wrote:

    These people are so good with words… it messes with my brain.

    I think it’s easy to read it through our filters, if you already have some familiarity/affinity for the more charismatic Christianity you might read a lot of it in a more benign way. But it would be easy to misuse.

    And I agree with Paul (?) that the mental illness = demon possession thing is really damaging.

  39. Nancy2 wrote:

    Then there’s this: ” Follow the lead of our pastor with reverence, honor, and respect. Even when you disagree, trust the Lord and obey! ”

    The concept of letting one man lord it over you is so contrary to Jesus teaching I don’t think they can even proof text it.

  40. okrapod wrote:

    In all fairness the statement says ‘when you disagree’, it does not say anything about some moral or ethical issue. I disagree with stuff at church from time to time but I co-operate because there is no moral issue involved. If people are running around claiming that their conscience is telling them that the carpet should be blue and not green, then they need help.

    I am not familiar with your way of describing a person’s ‘conscience’. We may see the term differently. At least, that is something I suspect from this and from other interactions we have had.

  41. Max wrote:

    I’ve got a radical idea … why don’t believers try submitting to and serving Christ rather than men?!

    Because they’ve got the rank and file pew-serfs bamboozled into believing that they (pulpit strong men) speak for Christ.

  42. Bill M wrote:

    The concept of letting one man lord it over you is so contrary to Jesus teaching I don’t think they can even proof text it.

    Amen! Jesus IS the New Covenant, the only “contract” you need between heaven and earth … and the only Lord you need in your life.

    “This is My blood of the [new and better] covenant, which [ratifies the agreement and] is being poured out for many [as a substitutionary atonement] for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)

    NO OTHER CHURCH MEMBERSHIP NEEDED, FOLKS!!

  43. Max wrote:

    NO OTHER CHURCH MEMBERSHIP NEEDED, FOLKS!!

    Meant to say “NO OTHER CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENTS NEEDED”

  44. Christiane wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    In all fairness the statement says ‘when you disagree’, it does not say anything about some moral or ethical issue. I disagree with stuff at church from time to time but I co-operate because there is no moral issue involved.
    //
    I am not familiar with your way of describing a person’s ‘conscience’. We may see the term differently. At least, that is something I suspect from this and from other interactions we have had.

    I also didn’t see that the distinction really matters to ARC, only the church’s “vision”. Even if it is a moral or major spiritual issue, I don’t see that the member is still allowed to address it.

    Though I did see okrapod’s point–there are people who get really worked up over things like carpet color or the side that the piano should be on, which is silly. But they still do.

  45. Muff Potter wrote:

    Because they’ve got the rank and file pew-serfs bamboozled into believing that they (pulpit strong men) speak for Christ.

    Then bamboozled they will remain, if they allow the voice of a mere man to supersede hearing directly from God. Every believer is a priest … every believer has direct access to God. But if you buy the lie that the pulpit speaks for God and that you can only hear from Him through their voice, then you have allowed your strength to be controlled by their weakness and they own you!

  46. You all want to hear something I just remembered? I thought maybe I needed to listen to a few Morris sermons. So at one point he threw in that if you don’t tithe you are leaving the door open for satan.

    Flashback: Decades ago I went to hear the father of one of my child’s friends preach and he said ‘if you don’t tithe that is a bridgehead for satan’. What is scary about that? He was a presbyterian, pastor of first and only p. church in our little town.

    I plan to listen to Morris some more and try to see what he is actually saying, assuming that he is a star performer in all this. But I have to tell you, if you go listen to Adrian Rodgers, which I do, he said some stuff that people don’t much say any more either. For me it will be interesting to see where I think the lines are drawn.

    And, yes, we all ‘hear’ through our own past experiences and our own already formed ideas, for better or worse.

  47. I agree with Christiane and Nancy2, don’t see anything about trust and obey your pastor in the Bible. As Max says, why not serve Christ rather than men? On another note, Robert Morris is laying off staff at Gateway, so maybe people will begin to question the tithing doctrine they push at Church of the Highlands. Of course, any time I mention RM to a member, they say that’s him and not Hodges that teaches that. They don’t have an answer for why their pastor lets a wolf take the stage.

  48. ishy wrote:

    Though I did see okrapod’s point–there are people who get really worked up over things like carpet color or the side that the piano should be on, which is silly. But they still do.

    I would say that the things of ‘conscience’ are more in the line of what directs to do good and to avoid evil, when you consider ‘conscience’ as moral guide.

    about the color of the Church carpet, a story about my good friend Rex Ray:
    he had gone to S.America to help build a little church where they were so thankful, though the church had only a tin roof and packed dirt floor;
    and he had returned to his own Church and found himself asked to speak concerning a great brouhaha in the Church about ‘what color carpet’ was important;
    and as he stood there in front of those people who were so angry with each other over the color of the new carpet, he stopped talking, began to weep, and couldn’t stop …. and he didn’t understand why he was crying. He sat down and was comforted by some people near him.

    I told him it must have been the ‘contrast’ between the humble people grateful for so little,
    and the people of his Church who could not agree with one another over the color of a new carpet ….. it must have been the great contrast that made him weep. He had it in his heart that Our Lord comes among humble thankful people even in the places with tin roofs and dirt floors.

    So Rex Ray stood before his Church, and he grew silent and wept for the irony of a people who had so much, and were not at peace with one another over the ‘color of a new carpet’ when he could not forget the humility of another Christian people far away.

    Conscience? Maybe it is one way Our Lord has of bringing light on our own very human foolish ways to shame us and help bring us to be humble before Him?

  49. ishy wrote:

    I also didn’t see that the distinction really matters to ARC, only the church’s “vision”. Even if it is a moral or major spiritual issue, I don’t see that the member is still allowed to address it.

    The way it worked out in Maranatha, and this looks very similar to Maranatha, was that the following assumptions were made:

    1. If you were in Maranatha it was because God wanted you there.
    2. The purpose of Maranatha was to fulfill the vision of the leaders, which was assumed to come to them from God, and therefore
    3. Each member needed to be doing something to bring about the vision. In this case the vision was evangelism on college and university campuses.

  50. @ Christiane:

    I think you are probably correct about Rex Ray. When I went to Africa I was all primed for culture shock. Read about it, got ready to cope, that kind of thing, the great and potentially destructive force of culture shock-or so they said. Except I never felt it. Nothing, Nada. The culture was vastly different but I basically ‘felt’ nothing one way or the other that could remotely be called shock.

    And then I came home and that was when culture shock knocked me for a loop-shock at my own culture. Shock at stuff I had just never noticed. I really can’t describe it. Like being an alien in one’s own land. Awful feeling. So I have no idea about what Rex Ray felt, but what I felt was ‘who am I and where am I anyhow and how did this happen?’. More or less. LIke, will the real me please stand up.

  51. Christiane wrote:

    I would say that the things of ‘conscience’ are more in the line of what directs to do good and to avoid evil

    I thought okrapods point was precisely that ‘what color is the carpet’ is not a moral/conscience question and can easily be ignored. And that we should draw mental space between moral questions and superficial disagreements.

  52. Lea wrote:

    And that we should draw mental space between moral questions and superficial disagreements.

    Yeah. And also I think that it is not unreasonable to require that if someone is going to be on some prayer ministry team that they lay aside their personal preferences (own agendas) and play with the team as far as that ministry is concerned.

    And partly I think that because that is precisely what recently happened at our church as I have explained not too long ago. I agree with Father S; if you can’t play by the rules then maybe you need to step aside for a while and rethink your position and even repent should it be necessary, depending on the specifics of the situation.

    The manual we are discussing here did not say it that nicely, but I got the feeling that this is what was being said. Something like you will be expected to wear the team jersey if you play on the team, and if not then maybe this is not the team for you.

  53. ishy wrote:

    there are people who get really worked up over things like carpet color or the side that the piano should be on, which is silly. But they still do.

    Funny you should mention that. Our church recently had to make a decision about returning the piano to its old spot. Although these are indeed often silly discussions, it turned out that 1) the antique piano had been moved for its own protection, whereupon 2) members with hearing loss discovered that its new position made the music a lot more pleasant. So putting it back seemed like an ill-considered idea. The music ministers solved the problem simply by listening to the ideas of a small number of people. Everyone knew that somebody wasn’t going to get his/her way.

    Sometimes people just want to be heard. Church authoritahs are often reluctant to listen–all the more if members are suspected of harboring demons.

  54. Christiane wrote:

    the irony of a people who had so much, and were not at peace with one another over the ‘color of a new carpet’

    Guilty. I spent a couple of years griping about our horrible church kitchen. Then one day we had a big conference, and guests kept coming in and saying, “Oh look! You have a kitchen!” One group lingered; their church kitchen had been destroyed by fire years earlier and never rebuilt.

    After that I shut up, but groaned inwardly every time I sanitized the counters, knowing that the mice had just been doing the cha-cha. 😉

  55. OR, if you don’t agree with the pastor’s vision, get off the bus. Because you ain’t driving the bus, and if you try to stand in the way, the bus is gonna run over you. There’s a pile of dead bodies under the bus, and with god’s grace there’s gonna be more!!! Or something like that.

  56. All that is being said, it seems to be is correct, just from different angles.

    At the same time there do arise conflicts sometimes about who gets to say how things will be. I was in a church for a while where the musicians literally ran the morning service, and one time-I kid you not-there was so much music especially so much special music that when the pastor got up to speak he announced that he did not have time to read the scripture and then proceeded to say about two paragraphs and sat down. So the next day at work I objected to how that worked out to a co-worker who happened to sing in the choir. His reply was that the lyrics were based on scripture so there was no need for the pastor to read scripture. I had not seen that coming.

    So by now everybody knows that I lean toward having the pastor in charge of some things-not just for his sake but for everybody’s sake. Provided of course that the pastor is doing the right sorts of things-not molesting the women and bullying the men. And provided that the pastor is answerable to somebody also.

    Is this where I put in a plug for liturgy and bishops? Maybe not. Maybe we need to say that some things work better for some people than they do for other people.

  57. Max wrote:

    Then bamboozled they will remain, if they allow the voice of a mere man to supersede hearing directly from God. Every believer is a priest … every believer has direct access to God. But if you buy the lie that the pulpit speaks for God and that you can only hear from Him through their voice, then you have allowed your strength to be controlled by their weakness and they own you!

    Wasn’t this one of the early Protestants’ BIG beefs about the Catholic Church?

    Guess they were just jealous it wasn’t THEM.

  58. okrapod wrote:

    Maybe we need to say that some things work better for some people than they do for other people.

    this is true

  59. Robert M wrote:

    Each member needed to be doing something to bring about the vision.

    Sounds like a mega…, at least in our neck of the woods.

  60. I wonder how Jesus ever managed to cast out demons without this handy 12-week guide! These kind of “formulas” and “how to” things generally sets off my spiritual alarm. I didn’t read the whole thing, but at a cursory glance it’s as if the “Name-It-And-Claim-It” crowd and Bill Gothard had some kind of weird love-child together!
    It kind of makes hair (what’s left of it) stand on end a little bit!

  61. Root 66 wrote:

    I wonder how Jesus ever managed to cast out demons without this handy 12-week guide!

    That would be a cinch for Jesus, but I’m thinking it would take him far longer to get the hang of obeying Pastor Chris Hodges.

  62. ___

    “Let None Call It Cult?”

    hmmm…

    Any 501(c)3 church pastorship that threatens a demon possession invasion to those members who fail to meet the church’s standard for monetary giving is suspect.

    Subscribers beware.

    Sopy


    ⚠️

  63. Sopwith wrote:

    Any 501(c)3 church pastorship that threatens a demon possession invasion to those members who fail to meet the church’s standard for monetary giving is suspect.

    Just like the Witch-men and Hexen in Wellman’s fantasy stories set in Appalachia.
    Extorting money and possessions from others using their Magick Powers to cast Hexes and/or siccing their Familiar Spirits to force the issue. (My writing contacts tell me this is also a common motif in Pennsylvania Dutch Hex lore.) Just these Witch-men have press-ganged God to be their Ugly Bird.

  64. JYJames wrote:

    Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:
    ARC’s map of churches
    Here, growing like a weed, or as some say, … like a beansprout.

    How about “metastasizing cancer”?

  65. JYJames wrote:

    Robert M wrote:
    Each member needed to be doing something to bring about the vision.

    Sounds like a mega…, at least in our neck of the woods.

    24/7/365 For The Revolution, Comrades!

  66. Root 66 wrote:

    I didn’t read the whole thing, but at a cursory glance it’s as if the “Name-It-And-Claim-It” crowd and Bill Gothard had some kind of weird love-child together!

    Root, you have just come up with the High Concept for the next SyFy Channel Hhorror/monster Z-movie!

    Get your Kicks
    With Root 66!

  67. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Nancy2 wrote:
    I guess if you veer all over the Bible, picking and choosing individual verses, using them out of context, you can make the Bible appear to say whatever you want it to say.
    Over the last 40-45 years it has morphed into an art-form throughout fundagelical land.
    “I Know I’m Right —
    I HAVE A VERSE!”

    Everyone believes they are right and can “prove” it by Scripture.

  68. __

    “Behind The Eightball; The Vision Of Two Thousand”?

    hmmm…

    HUG,

    To those who are astute, the exploitation and the fear mongering are simply blatant within this 501(c)3 religiological organization. Yet, responsibility always lies with the christian individual. Subsequently,a careful consideration of ones ways is vehemently advised…

    __
    “Is Your Church Comfortably Numb?”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8xXeT2N-_YE

    🙂

  69.   __

    “Post-Christian Downward Trending?”

    hmmm…

    I wonder why?!?

      According to the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, nones represented nearly 23 percent of Americans. 

      That amounted to just under 56 million people in 2014. 

    What?

      It is not just issues of abuse that are driving them away in droves. 

    Figure in the lies?

      Apparently, 501(c)3 church groups have lied and mis-lead the people for years about maintaining 10% mandatory monitary givIng. Is it any suprise that the new testament says no such thing. The end of the matter is that the bible says that God loves a cheerful giver. Church groups (for example) affilated with ARC not only drive home with the ten percent rule but spice it up with a rule that demon spirits will invade your life if you are remiss in your mandatory giving quotient. 

      And ARC Inc. intends to build 2000 churches on this same nefarious giving model? I guess gulliabe people are born every day…

    (sadface)

    Sopy

  70. Sopwith wrote:

    Church groups (for example) affilated with ARC not only drive home with the ten percent rule but spice it up with a rule that demon spirits will invade your life if you are remiss in your mandatory giving quotient.

    Pay Protection or Get (Re?)Possessed?

    How does that differ from a Witch-man extorting money from others by threatening them with his familiar spirits?

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