A friend of mine told me that he and his son were getting involved with Primerica. and because I had been a broker with Edward Jones, I told him I may still have some of the training manuals stored around somewhere.
So today, I began rummaging through several boxes searching for the training manuals. Well, I didn’t actually find what I was looking for because I was joyfully sidetracked with another discovery. I better explain why it was so special for me. Back in 1979, when I came to the Lord, a brother who had accepted the responsibility of discipling me, had given me a book to read, and we would get together and discuss what I had read.
He gave me J.I. Packers book, “I Want To Be A Christian.” This is without a doubt one of the best books written about Christianity. It explains in detail the Christian faith with an in-depth look at the Apostle’s Creed, Baptism, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer.
Back in Junior High School, I was a member of a Christian Reformed Church, and they led us through the “The Heidelberg Catechism,” and to be honest, I didn’t get much out of it. It was too, too, well, boring. But Packer’s book was much easier to grasp because he takes one-step-at-a-time until you have a clear understanding of what it is to be a Christian.
I then read, “Disciple, from Juan Carlos Ortiz. At the time, the book had only been published for a few years, but today it has become a Christian Classic that should read by every believer.
After that, I had found A.W. Tozer’s book, The Pursuit of God. Speaking of a book becoming a classic, the one is at the top of the list. One verse that could”Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning.” The perfect verse to describe this book is HOSEA 6:3: “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning.”
These are the books that formed a solid foundation on which my faith was built. I continually turn back to each of those books to refresh my faith and love of my Father.
But there is also a rather obscure book that I had read, a book that taught me to “keep on praying until the Lord says, “Yes,” “No,” or “Shutup.” I am referring to it as being obscure because I doubt many have even heard of it or the Pastor who wrote it (unless you have lived in Minnesota for a few years).
I am referring to, “A Time for Intercession: How to deal with unseen obstacles that block God’s answers to prayer,” by Erwin Prange. I own three of Prange’s books, and although I never met this wonderful man of God, I know he understood the works of our Father. An obituary states that Prange, “Ran Joyfully into the Arms of His Lord & Savior on February 22, 2011.” What a great testimony! If I taste death before my Savior returns, I hope the same can be said of me.
I devoured these books during the earliest stages of my faith and learned how to pray with confidence and faith. Through this last one, I learned the power of Intercession, and that an Intercessor actually becomes the channel for God’s healing love to our broken world. I learned that we do not have to be mere spectators of God’s work in people’s lives, but through intercession, we actually become partners with Him. That is the exciting part!
What reminded me of this book, and why I was so delighted to find it again, is that recently I was praying for a precious sister who had become weary and overcome with the concerns of the church on which she was a board member. The church was experiencing the after-effects of a split, and being a member of the board, she bore a tremendous amount of burdens. While praying for her, I felt moved, compelled actually, to have her look in my eyes and to give her burdens to me. I told her that I would carry them for her.
This is similar to the experience Prange described in his book. As he told the story, a member of a neighboring church and her daughter had come to their altar to stand in proxy for their son and grandson, who was dying from an undiagnosed disease. They had prayed together many times about this, but without any signs of recovery.
Several times even the son had come for prayer. Each time, leaving with the assurance that God would heal him. Yet, the more they prayed the worse he seemed to become. Now, with that, you would think they would stop praying! But thankfully, they kept seeking the Lord. Persistence is a tremendous benefit.
That night as the neighbor and daughter knelt before Prange, he paused and meditated a few moments in silence. Finally, he said, “Lord, I don’t know what is blocking this healing. I don’t know how to pray in this situation. Please give me Your words, please give me a prayer that is right in the center of Your will and love. Give me the prayer of the Intercessor, Himself.”
As he laid his hands on the woman’s head, a strange kind of prayer came out. “Lord, take me instead; don’t take this young man. He hasn’t lived his life; he has young children; he isn’t ready to go. I have lived my life, I think I am ready to go.” Later, he remembered something Spurgeon said, “God’s man is immortal till his task is done.”
This is where I discovered that he was praying the prayer of the intercessor. It is the perfect example of how we are to pray. Oh, not those words, but with that attitude. That the person we are praying for is far more important than our needs — even our life. This is the heart of the Gospel! I will say that over and over until it sinks in. There is nothing high or heroic about it. The intercessor just does not place that high of a value on their own needs or life.
Even now, as you read these words, Jesus is saying, “Father, when they pray, don’t look at them, don’t listen to them, look at me, listen to me, I am the Head of the Body.” Jesus’ unlimited prayer promises, “Whatever you ask the Father in My Name,” is tied in with the role of the intercessor.
When you gain a true revelation of the role of an intercessor, it will revolutionize your faith. I also guarantee that your family and friends may wonder about your sanity, but that is the burden you have to accept. This is what happened to Jesus. Do your remember the story told in Mark’s Gospel, where Jesus went home and his family was becoming concerned with his sanity:
Then Jesus went home. But again many people gathered there. There were so many people that Jesus and his followers could not eat. Jesus’ family heard about all these things. They went to get him because people said that Jesus was crazy . . . (Mark 3:20-21)
Hey, it happens, even in the best of families. What about the time when he revealed His destiny to the inner core of the disciples? Peter said, “No Lord, We are not going to let you do it!” How did Jesus respond? “Get behind me Satan!”
We have misunderstood the whole concept and role of an intercessor. We have missed how our God, our Father, governs the world and the church through intercession. We have overlooked the impact intercession can make.
Haven’t you ever wondered how our Father works His mercy in the midst of the tremendous problems of human pain? How the love and goodness our Father wishes to demonstrate is able to interact with evil and tragedy? How are we able to effectively cooperate with Him as channels and intercessors? What part do we play in the history of the world and the church?
You need to read another great book on intercession! It is quite appropriately entitled: “Intercessor.” Or more precisely: “Rees Howards Intercessor, by Norman Grubb.” It is a biography of Rees Howells, whose mastery of intercessory prayer had global consequences.
In this book, you discover many of the strange and unbelievable things that happened during World War II. It begins with the Dunkirk evacuation, where the German army suddenly and unexplainably pulled back for a few hours and gave the British Expeditionary Force time to assemble on the beach. Where the normally windy and chopping English Channel was like a lake of glass, that even rowboats could cross.
Let me explain. During the Battle of Britain, no one could explain why Germany broke off from the battle. The last British fighter plane was on the ground and at that very moment, when England was there for the taking, the Germans turned away toward the Mediterranean Sea. Huh? Was Hitler nuts? England was in the palm of his hands, and he quit the battle? Why?
What about the Normandy invasion? On that day, the greatest armada ever assembled in history crossed the English Channel. But oddly, not a single German plane or submarine opposed the crossing. For the next thirty days, the weather was so bad, it would have been impossible to mount an invasion. And if the Normandy invasion had not taken place when it did, the V-2s would have wiped out Britain.
Continually, throughout the entire war, there were unexplained events. Was God involved? Did He care? How did He fit into all that insanity? Whose side was He really on? Neither? Both? How did He feel about all that cruelty, bloodshed and pain? Why was He silent over Dachau, Buchenwald, and the frigid Siberian death camps? What about the holocaust that almost wiped out His very own people? No really, did He actually involve Himself in that bloody tragedy called “History“? What about what is happening now, in 2016? Does He really care? Does He have higher plans?
Well, if you read Grubb’s book, especially near the end, chills will run and down your body! You will finally discover the key, or, at least, a partial answer, to that great mystery of how our God involves himself in human destiny!
Grubb’s book tells how in 1939 when Hitler began to take over all of Europe, Rees Howells, a Welsh coal miner/evangelist, had a word from the Lord. The word was that Hitler would be defeated. He continually repeated this word, maybe a little prematurely, because it appeared that Hitler was taking over all of Europe. Howells was labeled a false prophet and people began to ignore him. But he said, “I know that the Lord has spoken to me; I know that this word is true.” So, from that time on, beginning roughly with Dunkirk, Rees Howells gathered together his intercessors. Every night for five years they prayed a self-fulfilling prophecy into reality.
At the time of the Dunkirk evacuation, Howells went off alone for three days and three nights. He wrestled with the Lord in a way that left him, like Jacob, limping and a semi-invalid for the rest of his life. As he and his group of intercessors prayed each night, the Holy Spirit began to give them prayers to pray.
He had written in his journal that the Lord told them to, “Pray that Germany will break off the Battle of Britain,” and it happened. Then He said, “Pray for the Normandy invasion,” and it succeeded against all odds. The Spirit of God began to speak more and more plainly to the intercessors. At one time, He said, “Pray that Germany will attack Russia because I am going to judge them both; pray that Germany will not take Moscow but attack Stalingrad instead and be destroyed.”
The Spirit began to reveal a part of the plan. When Germany broke off the Battle of Britain, the intercessors were told that they should pray that the enemy would become bogged down in Greece in order that the Bible lands might be saved. When the Afrikorps were at the gates of Cairo, the Spirit plainly told them, “Pray that the Bible Lands will be kept open and the Afrikorps defeated.” And they were.
Throughout the entire course of the war, the Spirit of God guided these intercessors and through them guided and directed the course and the outcome of the war.
Some of Norman Grubb’s other books describe how one man prayed the Gospel into a whole country. C.T. Studd, his father-in-law, almost single-handedly prayed for the Gospel to into Africa. Praying Hyde prayed the Gospel into India almost single-handedly. In a manner of speaking, you could say that Hudson Taylor prayed for the Gospel to enter China! As into Charles Wesley said, “The world has yet to see what one man fully yielded to God might accomplish.”
Amen! Will you be that one man or woman? Are you willing to be so yielded to Yahweh that you will accomplish much for the advancement of His Kingdom? I challenge you to become an intercessor.
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.