Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Prophetic Intercession

Here is something that for years I have pondered and I don't know what I believe, really. What is Prophetic Intercession really?

Now, here is one thing that I have wrestled with: Many intercessors say they take on the pains of people with physical diseases they are in prophetic intercession for. I have always wondered if that was really from God, or whether in our openness to thinking it was 'prophetic intercession' we were actually opening a door for the enemy to mimic the symptoms upon the intercessor?

Now for me, I don't want any pain that I don't have to carry - certainly not any pain the enemy is 'letting me share' with those I pray for - even though I am willing to carry whatever pain God gives me the grace to carry in intercession. I am willing because when you know the pain or stress of the people you pray for from experience, I believe it gives you more compassion for where they stand.

Real pain is what I see the prophetic intercessors in scripture bearing for the sake of those they are interceding for with their lives and with their prayers. Peter wrote that when we suffer for our own faults that there is no glory for us to take it patiently, but if we suffer for righteousness' sake, then we are not to be "afraid of their terror, neither be troubled," but rather be "happy".

As Paul explained it, we not only know "the power of His resurrection", but also the "fellowship of His sufferings". The combination of these things, Paul said, are necessary in attaining the resurrection from the dead. Not one or the other, but both. That mindset is far from what I have mostly heard called "prophetic intercession" these days.

Recently during one of my daily scripture readings I jotted down a thought, that many Christian believers have a strong revelation these days of "the inheritance of the saints", but that the Israeli believers have a strong revelation of "the fellowship of His sufferings." They do what they sacrificially for the sake of sharing the gospel with their nation.

According to Paul both the power and the sufferings are what make us attain the resurrection of the dead. If is not an either/or choice, but they go hand in hand. As I see it, this is how as the Body of the Lord we are supposed to pour from vessel to vessel so we have everything we need, not just part of what we need.

This is one of the key reasons it is a mistake in the churches who are operating at a high level in the inheritance revelation to assume that the increasing salvation among the Jews is of no consequence to them. It is of great consequence because one will not get to the goal line without the other.

In scripture the prophets certainly underwent hardship to carry the messages they carried from the Lord - Jeremiah is a good example of one who was kept in a horrible cesspool until the national leaders were carried away into captivity. This guy really suffered for seeing what the rest of his nation did not see.

Another example is Daniel who went into exile and captivity with Israel, and from that place prayed in identification with the sins of his people - although he himself was innocent. He still loved his people enough to confess their sins before God seeking God's pardon on their behalf. Moses did the same thing. Every great and godly leader of Israel took that same position to stand between God and the people to intercede for God's mercy.

Even the apostle Paul - the example of a New Covenant apostle/prophet - carried out a distinctly prophetic act when he took the contributions gathered from all the churches he oversaw back to Jerusalem for the persecuted saints.

All along the trip back to Jerusalem the prophetic people were coming to Paul saying, 'Don't do this! They are going to lock you up - we've seen it!'

Paul answered them, 'Don't make me cry. I am bound in the Spirit to do this.'

He was saying, This is bigger than me, I'm not the first priority to consider, but this prophetic act has to be carried out. It was a prophetic act not just for the sake of the first century churches, but for the sake of the generation to come when God would begin to re-graft the natural branches (Jews) back into their own olive tree - right alongside all the wild branches (Non-Jewish Christians from the nations).

After Paul carried out his mission, returning to Jerusalem with the contributions from the churches for all the persecuted believers in Israel, he was indeed arrested. Then from Rome where he was taken to bear witness of the gospel - while standing trial - he explained the underlying understanding he had that caused him to continue forward past every prophetic warning that he would be arrested in Jerusalem.

It was simple. The church simply could not act as if the trials of the Body in Israel had nothing to do with them. If one member of the Body suffers, all suffer - whether they feel it or not; whether they are cognizant of it or not.

So Paul wrote in the letter to the Romans (9-11), spelling out what he knew by revelation God ultimately intended to do: removing the scales of unbelief from the eyes of the Jewish people so they might be able to receive their own Messiah in faith.

There is no record that the churches continued to do this thing that Paul paid such a high price to model for us. In fact, it is clear from church historical records that if they continued to materially support the believers in Israel it had completely stopped by 325 A.D.

Paul invested in the generation who would see what he had done prophetically, and would follow him as he had followed Christ - even to the Christian care for the Body of the Lord in Israel. We see them again in Israel in our generation, but we have yet to see what Paul modeled prophetically for us in the churches to do about the rock and hard place they stand in for the sake of the gospel.

I believe the prophets have assignments that bring them into conditions that I would term as prophetic intercession. I see it in scripture and therefore believe it is something that continues to happen today. It is not an extra-biblical manifestation, so all the debate over whether it is from God or from the devil does not even apply.

Mostly what I have seen in terms prophetic intercession is not something I see an example of in scripture, so I'm not sure about those manifestations. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. I am not chasing down anyone in a witch hunt to prove they are wrong, nor chasing them down to participate in it either.

I realize the scripture says that the Spirit makes intercession within us for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. That word groanings is stenadzo. It is also used 2 verses earlier and is descriptive of how we pray when we are in dire straits and don't even know how to put our prayers into words: "to sigh, murmur, pray inaudibly:—with grief, groan, grudge, sigh." Hannah prayed in groanings when her lips were moving and not a word came out of her mouth.

I have seen all sorts of things called prophetic intercession - and I don't want to make a judgment on that, except to say if that was prophetic
intercession, it did not resemble at all the prophetic intercession I see in the scriptures.

When Paul told the Galatians, "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you," I seriously doubt he was talking about mimicking labor pains while praying. Rather, he was laboring in instruction and modeling the way they were to walk out their faith as the non-Jewish (Gentiles, which means nations outside of Israel) believers, or Christians as the unbelievers in Antioch took to calling them.

The Galatians were being enticed to go through the process of Gentiles being converted to Judaism and the apostle Paul - who was the apostle to the Gentiles - was laboring with them through re-instruction how that was not necessary. Paul wasn't assuming the birthing position in the prayer meeting, he was going over the same ground in teaching - instruction of the faith - as many times as it took for the Galatians to get it settled into their spirit.

Paul was saying that the important thing was, and the thing that he was sacrificing himself by interceding in their lives with his life - was for the Messiah to be formed in them. That is what he was teaching them and modeling to them.

(The "Messiah" which means the "Anointed" of God, is "Christ" in the English, from the word "Christos" in the Aramaic/Greek. This does not need to be an issue that distracts from the greater issue of "Christ in us, the hope of glory.)

He was saying - we have a greater concern than going through a process to convert to Judaism, which is only a shadow of the process of transformation we all have embarked on in Jesus being formed in us.

In the Old Covenant, the Spirit of God - the Anointed - would only come to rest on those holding the office of prophet, priest and king. These offices are all representative of the office of Jesus, God's Anointed, or Messiah....or Christ. Each of those words meaning the same thing: Anointed.

The regular people of Israel did not have the Anointed Spirit resting on them except for a few who were a foreshadowing of the anointing that would one day indwell all in the faith. This foreshadowing is recorded in the camp of Israel in the Exodus, when the Spirit rested on the 70 elders chosen to help Moses judge the people.

The 70 elders, of course, are representative of the 70 nations - it is a symbolic number to represent all the nations of the world and pointing to the time when the Holy Spirit would be given to all who followed in the faith of Yeshua-Jesus. Until Jesus died and rose again, the Holy Spirit did not indwell believers, but only came to rest on those in the offices that represented the Messiah Yeshua - Prophet, Priest & King.

The indwelling of the Spirit is better than a mere resting of the Spirit, on an office. Jesus had the Spirit without measure - He was indwelt by the Spirit without measure because the devil had nothing in Him. There was no darkness in Jesus as the Son of Man, so the Spirit had full access. As we are transformed to the likeness of Jesus, what is actually taking place is the areas of darkness in us which the devil has been owning, are being crucified and in that place the Spirit of God is taking ownership. So we are not seeking for the Spirit to "rest" on us, but to indwell us more fully - without measure, as the Spirit indwelt Jesus.

What is prophetic intercession at its highest level? Do we need to have symptoms or suffer the same stresses as though we are prophetically interceding for? Are prayer rooms filled with intercessors writhing in what appears to be birth pangs real, or missing the intended point?

These are questions that I have wrestled with for many years, and still do....especially during times of suffering.


Ruth Mayfield said...

Shalom Donna,
It is interesting you have written this blog. I have been meditating along similar lines, but haven't as yet found time to write.
My thoughts on this go to Jeremiah. He was a prophet declaring God's truth to Israel when they could not seem to hear it. They were looking for God to intervene and save them their way, on their terms. Jeremiah saw them from God's perspective and God gave him the grace to interceed on their behalf when it looked like a totally hopeless situation. His hope in God having a remnant in Israel who would respond to God was gradually destroyed. He suffered unrighteously at the hands of the very ones he was trying to help. Yet he was moved by God to purchase land when God was saying that Israel would be carried off to Babylon. To me Jeremiah, more than any other prophet had within his being HOPE that could not be contained nor silenced.
When we are praying and interceding for a particular burden that we do not know how to pray, or we don't know/understand what God's will might be--the groaning within us causes our entire being to tremble as our spirit begins to move in unity with the Holy Spirit in intercession. It is a movement of mercy and compassion beyond empathy to God's perspective on the suffering. Then Hope which cannot be contained begins to bubble up from within. Hope that makes no sense in the natural. Hope that should perhaps have been beaten down in defeat, arises as though the very resurrection power of God is touching it. Hope that looses site of all else but the plan, purpose and glory of God.
This, to me, is prophetic intercession in action.

Anonymous said...

You and I think alike about Jeremiah. People think of him as the depressing prophet but in reality he was the irrepressibly faith-filled standing in the bleakest of circumstances. It is easy to be happy and hopefull when the world is working out for you, but when you are faithful and standing in shoes like Jeremiah, his hope in God really says something.

It reminds me of two scriptures, one from the Hebrews "Hall of faith" where it talks about all the people who died in faith never seeing what God had them embrace in hope.

The second thing it reminds me of is the scripture where Yeshua said that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. I was just reading how when we are chastening for our faults and are patient in it, there is no glory in that for us. But if we suffer for righteousness sake and take it patiently, then there is glory in that.

It must work the same way for those who hold on faithfully to what God has planted in their hearts to hope for when everything they see says that is not how it is going to go. Those who "die" in faith believing. Their faith that they held onto inspite of it all means something to God, even though everyone around them may think they were just another "depressing prophet". In the end it is God's viewpoint we live for, isn't it?