Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Prayer is an Active Event

Prayer is an Active Event

“Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Joel 2:13 KJV)

Glad you could join us for yet another “Truth for the Journey.” In our last article we looked at the principle meanings of intercession: a) One who “took the place of” b) Standing in the “gap.” Then we looked at intercession in terms of providing a hedge of protection for others. Standing between them and the enemy. Making up the hedge as mediators, defending them, by using the Word of God. We discussed the “power of attorney,” just like a layer who has the “authority to act on behalf of” others in a court of law.

Today we continue with “Prayer is an Active Event.” In the book of Isa 66:8, “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (KJV). Instead of the word “travail” the NIV uses the word “labor.” Nevertheless this is a very profound statement, taking Zion (as a type) to represent the Church, the Body of Christ.

Getting into “labor” or “travail” during intercession, is likened unto a state of “child-birth.” This type of praying then becomes an active event just as our title suggests! “Active,” in terms of “work,” in addition it’s not a “passive” or “quiet” event. Giving birth can be both strenuous and noisy! Not necessarily a pretty or pleasant experience either! Including the fact that most mothers, at that point, care very little who hears them scream!

So from this we can deduce that “travailing in the spirit” or “giving birth” to the things of God in prayer – can also be a noisy affair at times! To add to this, I quote here from one of Jack Hayford’s books on the subject, “Just as groans of travail precede birth, so Holy-Spirit-begotten intercessions forecast new life, new hope and new possibilities for individuals trapped in the impossible” (page 144, “Prayer is Invading the Impossible”).

To continue, we see in the book of Joel that God promises that if we rend our hearts, crying out and giving birth, that afterwards He will, “pour out His Spirit on all people” (Joel 2:28 NIV). A pouring forth of God’s Spirit brings about “newness of life.” However, there is more to the Spirit than just making us feel good! There is real passion that exists with the Spirit of God, to help individuals, to protect them, to intercede on their behalf and to be their advocate. Yet He still needs our prayers, to help Him bring this about. He needs us to work with Him in this passion of His, for people.

Lets consider at this point that God the Father is seen in a similar as a judge, but is a judge who does not judge according to “emotion” nor “invariable needs,” but according to the book (TRUTH). As for us, we too can pray no other way - THAN ACCORDING TO HIS WILL.

“This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1Jo 5:14 KJV). “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:11 KJV) “He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom 8:27 KJV).

Scripture reveals to us that Satan has three main objectives in our lives, to steal, kill and to destroy (John 10:10). However God is NOT willing for destruction, death and theft to take place. He prefers that we work together with His Spirit, so that destruction can be averted. He provided more than a “pass-over” in the New Testament. They had their wooden doorframes and lintels stained with animal’s blood; but it is our whole lives that are stained with Christ’s blood! That speaks of better things than the blood of Able and represents a covenant of much “better” things (Heb 12:24).

Let me add just swiftly that if they had not followed Gods instructions in Egypt, they would have seen a different outcome. The same is true of today. If we follow God’s directive, only then we reap the desired results. His ways work, for those who work them and chiefly we have nothing to fear, so long as we ACT but also PRAY according to His will (directive).

Consider the fact that if praying were EASY then we would not need a helper would we? However the Holy Spirit is our helper in prayer and as E.M. Bounds wrote in his book, The Reality of Prayer, “How vain and delusive and how utterly fruitless and inefficient are prayers without the Sprit.” He goes onto say, “…official prayers they may be, fitted for state occasion, beautiful and courtly, but worth less than nothing as God values prayer” (emphasis added).

However prayer is made easy through the ministry of the Holy Spirit working through us, but without His help, its not hard to say that we are useless at it! Yet travailing in the spirit does indeed bring forth new life, as we saw at the entrance of the tomb of Lazarus:

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (Jo 11:33-44 KJV – emphasis added).

Now there is so much in these verses above that we could dissect them all day long! Yet just by highlighting certain parts of it in bold font – it’s easy to see that Jesus was NOT quiet during this event. It was not a moment where Jesus was looking to be “discreet” rather as our title suggests – was an entirely “active event” that everyone heard! According to the Authorized Version it says expressly that Jesus “groaned,” “wept” and “cried with a loud voice.” Jesus was NOT hidden away somewhere in a private prayer closet, but was openly travailing in the Spirit.

By way of small interjection here – if Jesus needed the Holy Spirit in prayer, how much more do we?

Moving on, I draw your attention to notice how the people said, “…behold how he loved him!” because they saw Him cry, “Jesus wept.” People very often tie things to “emotion” and only know how to read emotions, however emotions rarely give an accurate reading! Those present that day did likewise; they put everything down to “emotion” and “sentiment” rather than accurately reading what was truly taking place.

For instance, if Jesus was just all bent-out-of-shape emotionally, as they supposed - just because a good friend had died, then why did He purposefully delay His arrival two full days? “Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judæa again.”

The truth of the matter is that there was a purpose to this event - which Jesus was fully aware of. No! It was NOT an emotion that Jesus was displaying. It was an opportunity to reveal how God answered prayer.

Travail brings life. So it was on that particular day and so it still is today. This type of prayer is so active because new life is involved. Just as a baby must be pushed out into the world so does, new life, new hope etc., etc. Miracles and the will of God must also be pushed into existence. His will from heaven pushed into the earth realm.

A good example of this exists in the Old Testament where Daniel prayed and the angel baring the answer to his prayer, took time getting to him. Dan 10:12 KJV “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”

However the very next verse says, “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” This was spiritual warfare being spoken of here. Notice: Daniel did not quit praying until the breakthrough came. This takes perseverance – something that we too must adopt into our praying. It takes courage to wait without growing faint.

In fact it will do us all good to remember what the angel told Daniel, that how on the very first day that he prayed, the answer was on its way! But it took all of 21 days to get there. Do we quit before it arrives? Do we realize that our prayers are as good as answered the first day we pray, but the manifestation of the answer takes a little longer to materialize?

Pain is Forgotten:
Going back to travail, when a woman is giving birth, as Jesus foretold, it is agony. But a moment after the child is born and laid upon the mother’s breast, the pain is forgotten and the joy of the new birth overwhelms her. We can remember this, because there is a lot of joy connected with intercession. An intense joy that comes with the breakthrough and the victory!

When interceding there will be times when we know in the spirit that the breakthrough happened. We will know this breakthrough by the experience of JOY! Now this speaks of more than just emotion, but of reality. There is a difference! We must decide to rejoice that our prayers have been received and answered in the spirit realm, perhaps long before we see any results in the natural realm. Prayer is all about faith. “PRAYING FAITH!” Speaking those things that are not as thought they were! (Rom 4:17)

In our last article we said that intercession is a very powerful weapon in spiritual warfare and we repeat this fact again today. It is indeed a powerful weapon in the onslaught against the enemy; Satan does not like it. If you want to see the Spirit of God move more than He has already, whether in the local church, school, housing estate or in a specific relationship that involves people who are not born again, then we MUST be willing to intercede. We must be of an attitude that allows the will of God to be brought into being, and travail for those in need. Then we will reap the harvest, which God has prepared.

Paul in Galatians 4:19 said, “My dear children, for I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Paul was constantly in a place of weeping before God for his people. This then must also be the place for us.

Father I want to intercede. I want to learn. I want to adapt to this new way of life. I want to take Christ’s example, as Your Spirit illuminates it to me and to live out a life of intercession. Help me take my place. Amen.

Travail and labor is part of prayer. I give myself to it. So that new life can come forth just as Lazarus did at the tomb.

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Friday, 17 June 2011

Intercession IS

Intercession IS

He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds. We have all strayed like sheep.
Each one of us has turned to go his own way, and the LORD has laid all our sins on him (Isa 53:5-6 GW).

Hello! Today in “Truth for the Journey” we are continuing our study on this topic of “intercession.” We will take several articles over the coming weeks to discuss this subject and already we have many of you writing in; either through Facebook, email or other, telling us how much you are enjoying these articles! Intercession is an outstanding theme to focus on and all of us must be convicted to engage in this joint and wondrous responsibility.

As we have brought out in previous articles, we are ALL called to this servant’s ministry of compassion, which really expresses the divine nature of God (John 15:13). Intercession is an act of love – it takes obedience to pray. Most of us will agree that rarely have we ever FELT like praying! It’s not a feeling orientated effort, although they are involved. Love is an act of obedience, but feelings follow; this LOVE covers a multitude of sin, in our own lives! In other words we directly benefit from the intercession that we do for others! (1Pet 4:8)

Our attitude towards others really influences how God must handle us. If we don’t forgive for instance – although its God’s nature to forgive – we tie His hands. His word says that if we don’t forgive he cant forgive us (Matt 6:15; 18: 22). This greatly effects our salvation. People forget this. Take it for granted. And assume rather than know that they are heaven bound! (Matt 7:23).

Intercession principally means: a) One who “took the place of” b) Standing in the “gap.”

To intercede is to take the place of another, to stand in the gap on their behalf. Jesus’ greatest act of intercession was to stand in the gap on the cross (Isa 53:5-6 as stated above). However it is also our duty to stand in the gap for others in intercession. “I look attentively, and there is none helping, And I am astonished that there is none supporting, and give salvation to me doth mine own arm. And my wrath--it hath supported me (Isa 63:5 YLT). “He seeth that there is no man, And is astonished that there is no intercessor, And His own arm giveth salvation to Him, And His righteousness--it sustained Him” (Isa 59: 16 YLT).

God is looking for intercessors simply because the Church has not taken its priestly place. “The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice. I looked for someone 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 no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD” (Ezekiel 22: 29-31).

Hedge of Protection
The scripture above just proves how people are bound-to-their-own-destruction; the wrath of God is already upon them BUT God wants us to take up our priestly ministry and “stand in the gap” for them. “Standing in the gap” literally means standing between these people and destruction. It’s our priestly duty to make up the hedge and to protect them! (John 10:10)

Looking at different translations can often give a sharper light to a subject. Take the book of Job for instance, chapter 9:32-33 from the New Living Translation where it says, “God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. If only there were a mediator between us, SOMEONE WHO COULD BRING US TOGETHER” (emphasis added).

Then in the same verse – perhaps with a slightly better edge on it - the Message Bible says, "God and I are not equals; I can't bring a case against him. We'll never enter a courtroom as peers. How I wish we had an arbitrator 
to step in and let me get on with life… Then I'd speak up and state my case boldly. 
As things stand, there is no way I can do it." (Job 9:32-35 MSG)

However as mediators or “intercessors” it is with the very Word of God that we defend people, pleading their case before God – according to His own Words. Mediators or “intercessors” are able to bring the very hand of God and the hand of man TOGETHER, just as the New Living Translation nicely brought out above.

Still today God is looking for men and women who will “stand-in-the-gap” and spend time in this act of “intercession.” Many of us talk about the harvest and very often we want to be the ones “reaping” that harvest! We want to be the ones getting involved in all the action! But in order to reap this harvest, first we must spend time “standing in the gap.” As a minister of the gospel, for more than a quarter of a century now, I still only see fruit during a times-of-ministry, if the prayers of the saints (Church) have been offered up before hand. Only then can the rich fruit of ministry be reaped. It is the Churches job to stand in the gap for people.

In the secular world however, someone who “stands in the gap” like this, in a legal manner is called an “attorney.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary gives the following definition for an attorney: “one appointed to act for another in business or legal matters (who has power of attorney and authority to act thus), qualified lawyer, esp. representing clients in proceedings.” In this context as intercessors, we too have been given the “power of attorney” along with the authority to act on behalf of others; the only difference being that the “law” in which we specialize, in order to do our job – is the perfect law of liberty in Christ!

In closing I want to add some notes from my wife. During her many classes on intercession my Jenny enjoyed doing sessions of Q&A because she valued the feedback and the interaction involved with teaching this subject. Just a few of the typical questions that she would be asked during these sessions are as follows:

Q: “Why was God looking for a man and not an angel or a spirit to stand before Him?”
A: Angels don’t intercede. There is no place in scripture given to that – they are messengers and ministering spirits but NOT intercessors! It is man who must intercede on behalf of man – before the Lord. That’s why Jesus had to come in the flesh in the likeness of sinful men.

We are in this world but not of it according to scripture (John 15:19). However as Angels (who are ministering “spirits” but are NOT human) they cannot play the same part that we do. They are not “in the world” they can only visit and bring messages! This is why God uses us – we are here and can act as a “point-of-contact.” I emphasis again that it MUST be human beings who intercede on behalf of other human beings.

Do we really comprehend that Jesus is still as much man, as He is God. As much God as He is man (Spurgeon famously called him the God-man for this very reason!) making this the precise reason why Jesus is still able to intercede before God on our behalf!

Q: “Why can intercessors sometimes step over into Witchcraft – even though their intentions are generally good?”
A: Its true to say that intercession is able to stay-the-hand-of-destruction. We have seen this throughout scripture. Intercession has influence with God and is why we must stand before Him for the sake of others.
“Standing in their place” literally means to pray as if they were praying for themselves so it is imperative that we don’t pray our own will or even theirs – but the will of God ONLY. To do anything other than this – is to step into witchcraft. Mostly this occurs unknowingly. None of us purposefully step into error! We tend not to realize that they are stepping over the boundaries and even think we are praying God’s will. This is why we need the Holy Spirit so badly. He can rightly divide the Word in our hearts, so that out of our mouths comes revelation. We pray this revelation (truth) into a situation that makes praying “on target,” “spot-on” or “hitting-the-bulls-eye” just as we brought out in the last article.

In closing I will add this: Oil and water find it hard to mix! Life by the Spirit is a constant adventure. “Constancy” is everything. Only in our constancy can we prove or demonstrate that we are “given-to” something… whether it be a hobby, a sport or even intercession! The saying “practice makes perfect” suggests that if we do something “much” we become better at it. That’s logic! So therefore it also stands to reason (in agreement with the teachings of E.M Bounds) that much time spent in the presence of God allows us to become better acquainted with His ways, more than someone who just pop-visits!

Recently in a podcast interview John Bevere said, “Too much is ‘assumed’ rather than ‘known’ these days.” I agree that its too easy to take things for granted. So let us decide that its better to KNOW HOW to pray than to assume we know how to pray. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals mysteries and gives revelation. We grow and mature. What was a mystery to us a year ago is no longer a mystery today. In other words He does not “keep-us-ignorant” just to “keep-us-dependent” on Him. No! He teaches us so that we can learn, grow and mature. Let us retain what we have learnt by the Spirit and apply it to prayer!

Thank you Father once again for the Holy Spirit. I need Him to pray accurately. I want to yield to Him. I want to answer the call to pray. Stir up the gifts in me, so that I pray better. Amen.


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Spirit Leads

The Spirit Leads

“So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance (Romans 8: 26 AMP).

Welcome back as we move on today with “The Spirit Leads.” In both the New and Old Testaments we are told that Jesus is interceding for us right now. “Who is he that is condemning? Christ is He that died, yea, rather also, was raised up; who is also on the right hand of God--who also doth intercede for us” (Rom 8:34 YLT). “For this cause he will have a heritage with the great, and he will have a part in the goods of war with the strong, because he gave up his life, and was numbered with the evil-doers; taking on himself the sins of the people, and making prayer for the wrongdoers” (Isa 53:12 BBE).

What comfort to know that Jesus is praying for us still! But in addition to this the New Testament reveals that not only Jesus but the Holy Spirit also is interceding - for us and with us (which is mind-blowing!) Our only role is to learn how to pray WITH them. This involves communication and finding out what is on the very heart of God (1 Cor 2:16). Never again do we need to pray “off-target” or as Paul suggested, as one who beats the air! “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air” (1 Cor 9:26 KJV). Or as another translation puts it in a more contemporary manner, “So I run--but not without a clear goal ahead of me. So I box--but not as if I were just shadow boxing” (GW).

We are all called to intercede and with the Holy Spirit’s help we can get it right each time. No more guessing. We can enjoy knowing how and when and where to pray, with His help! Knowing that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit “intercede” we can be sure that “intercession” is as much a powerful weapon in spiritual-warfare, as it ever was. Nothing has changed.

Lets continue by looking at a little Hebrew word called “paga” which was used for “intercession” (see Isa 53:12 KJV - Strong’s ♯06293) in the Old Testament, which meant: “to impinge with violence” & “to collide with.” The Vine’s Dictionary adds: “to strike up against, to be violent against, to invade, to come between, to cause to entreat, to meet with, and pray.”

We could say then that “paga” has a three-fold purpose: 1. Violence 2. Entreaty 3. Coming-between. This actually gives a very good definition of intercession: facing God and facing the enemy - on behalf of others.

Lets break this down further. The two main aspects involved in intercession specifically are “warfare” and “travail.” In terms of warfare this means facing Satan in the name and authority of Jesus Christ on behalf of people, thereby “striking up against” and “colliding with” him (in violence). Then in terms of travail, this is where we “come between” or where we “face the Father” on behalf of people (in entreaty). Intercession has then two main features that are done on behalf of others: facing Satan (warfare) and facing God (travail).

While “paga” is the word commonly used for “intercession” in the Old Testament, in the New Testament it is “enteuxis” (Strongs ♯1783) which means: a petition, supplication, prayer, intercession, (lit: approaching the king). Cognate: 1783 énteuksis – properly, intervention (intersection which literally "hits the mark"); intervention led by God, marking intersection between heaven and earth as it reflects the Lord's specific will. See 1793 (entygxanō). [The root of this term is 5177 (tygxánō) which means "to strike, hit the bulls-eye" ("spot on"). Accordingly, it is used in classical Greek as the antonym of harmartia ("to miss the mark, sin"), so Lucian, Xenophon, Homer, etc. (see Thayer, 5177 /tygxánō).

Thus biblical intercession centers in waiting upon the Lord to learn what hits the mark (is His will) – i.e. guiding the believer to act as His agent. Intercession is not "the tool in and of itself" to act according to the mark, of the intercessor! It always builds on faith (learning God's persuasion).] 1783 /énteuksis ("Spirit-directed intervention") refers to the petitions (intercessions) of believers as they "fall in line with" God's will – revealing how the one intervening should get involved after drawing near to God and agreeing with His revealed will. True intercession (1783 /énteuksis) seeks to act only as the Lord directs, i.e. following His will to act as His hand extended (cf. 1 Jn 4:17). (Greek from: http://strongsnumbers.com/greek/1783.htm)

Although lengthy, the definitions above, given for “intercession” in the Greek – give such a well-rounded view of intercession as denoted in scripture. We can’t escape its original meaning.

However in context with “spiritual warfare” in the New Testament - let me bring out the following scriptures that showcase just how much direct conflict is involved: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Cor 10:3-4 KJV). “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 KJV). “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12 KJV).

As we have already seen in the Old Testament with paga “colliding with” is part of spiritual warfare! “OUR warfare…” “WE wrestle…” and “flee from YOU” is all direct contact. In addition to this is the passage from Rev 12:11, which says, “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” They overcame him... implies direct contact and reveals above all that God (the Holy Spirit) is NOT going to do our warfare FOR US!

Instead the Holy Spirit guides our praying. Goes to meet our prayers and prays through us (Rom 8:26 AMP). God gave us weapons to do our own fighting! Many people don’t understand why spiritual warfare is necessary. To this I say consider this fact: we definitely don’t need battle armor to face God! We only need this when facing Satan.

Everything God gave us must be applied by faith including, “the weapons of our warfare.” We must lift up our own sword and use our own mouths to inflict the enemy. It is our job to “enforce” the victory of the cross. God did His part – we must do ours.

The fact that He (Christ) still prays - does not negate ours. The fact that He is still interceding for us at the right hand side of the Father, coupled with the fact that the Holy Spirit intercedes, does not let us off the hook from interceding ourselves. In fact there should be a “smooth-cooperation” between heaven and earth. As Jesus taught His disciples, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:9-10 KJV).

Another instance where we see heaven and earth in cooperation is where Jesus said, “if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 18:19). The position of heaven and earth appeared to be of great importance to Jesus, as he mentioned this numerous times throughout scripture. Nevertheless there must be collaboration between the two. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to help us do this correctly according to truth (Jo 4:23, 24; 14:17; Eph 5:9).

We have been given authority on this earth to do the Father’s will just as Jesus came to do the will of the Father. We must execute the will of God by the Spirit. No one knows the mind of God but the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:11, 16; Rom 11:34). We MUST allow the Holy Spirit to guide our praying, otherwise we are guaranteed to pray amiss.

In closing I quote an excerpt from Myles Munroe, who implies that God is illegal on this earth without our cooperation and needs our permission to work here! In context read this interview with Benny Hinn,

“Even God Himself is illegal on earth. Why? Because, He is a spirit and the law He set up by His own mouth was that only spirits with bodies can function on earth legally. Why can't God take care of Pharaoh by Himself? Why can't God invade that government and disrupt that process and set them free by Himself? He is illegal. So God then has to get the attention of a human first. Then spend hours, maybe even days trying to convince this one human to work with Him.”

“Moses came up with every single excuse he could find and gave them. And Almighty God tolerated him, saying, 'Look, if you can't talk, I will speak for you. If you got problems, I'll solve them for you. If you're afraid, I'll give you courage. In other words, whatever you need, please work with me! Cause I want to do something. Give me your body.' So, even though God can do anything, He can only do what you permit Him to do. If you study the Word of God, you will see why it makes so much sense. For example, God has done nothing on earth without a human co-operating with Him. He had to find a human.” (Myles Munroe, "This Is Your Day," Benny Hinn, July 12, 13, 2004)

Final thought: If we take into consideration what Miles said in this interview we can see that Christ indeed “had” to become a man, (he was both son of man and son of God) so that He could cooperate with His heavenly Father from earth. Today we continue this through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who is the divine administrator of the Body of Christ. We continue to cooperate with this sovereign God who chose to work with man and to limit Himself to our prayers, a mystery unfathomable yet undeniably true!

We cannot deny that throughout the Bible God needed man to operate on this earth. I dare say that God needs our obedience and cooperation still today. Therefore we must work together with His Holy Spirit - just as Christ did during His earthly ministry, so that the will of God can be “released” on this earth as it is in heaven.

Thank you Father for the Holy Spirit who helps me to intercede. Help me work with Him so that I can be effective for You. I don’t want to “beat the air” but to make great power available. Amen.

To collide with, entreat and to come between. I cooperate with the Holy Spirit – in prayer.

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

GOD Delights in Mercy

GOD Delights in Mercy

“Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (Jas 2:13 NIV)

Hello! Lets continue. In the last article we discussed our own fundamental “willingness” towards prayer. Today we move on to discuss – GOD’S WILLINGNESS! Yes! He is more willing and able to answer our prayers than we are willing to pray! We never have to spend hours – in vain babbling – trying to get God’s attention, twisting His arm, manipulating or trying to convince Him of His own will! For if we pray according to His Word, He is already obligated to answer. He cannot refute His own Words!

The Logos – God’s written will – now in leather bound covers with golden edges rather than wooden scrolls, is what we use when we pray. It is our plumb-line and we only get “off-center” when trying to negotiate the terms of His will – against our own!

So is God willing? Yes He is! But consider this fact. Most folks don’t ever struggle with the fact that God is “ABLE” but on the other hand, are not always convinced that He is WILLING. For example, if you asked a random person in the street “CAN God heal? Most would answer, “Yes!” If you then asked “Will God heal?” most would answer, “I don’t know!”

Once we have it settled in our hearts and minds - that God in deed is “always” willing and “always” able to perform His Word, this struggle stops. Rather it is “us” who must be willing. The blockage does not exist with God; it is with us! (Note: sin also creates a blockage between God and man - but that is another subject!)

So if the answer to the question, “Does God WANT to heal?” is “YES!” how can we be so sure? The written Word reveals it to be so. Jesus used the authority – of the “written” word - during his stint in the wilderness! Notice how both Jesus and his opponent the devil knew exactly what was written! The only difference: Satan wrongly divided it while Jesus rightly divided it! BIG DIFFERENCE! One effective and powerful the other twisted and out of context. Demonstrating to us that if we put the same “rightly-divided-Word” in our mouths – it will have just as much power to defeat Satan as it did in the mouth of Jesus! (2 Tim 2:15)

The one to help us with this, of course is the Holy Spirit! But again we will save that for our next article, where we will introduce the role of the Spirit, along side us in prayer. Without Him “we don’t know what to pray for as we ought” (Rom 8:26).

To continue, if God delights in mercy that triumphs over judgment. What on earth does this actually mean? In short – God loves to be merciful but demands also that we show mercy; we achieve this not only through our actions but also through our prayers.

Andrew Murray in his book called “The Ministry of Intercession” chapter 14 wrote the following: “Here is a God of glory able to meet all these needs. We are told that He delights in mercy, that He waits to be gracious, that He longs to pour out His blessing; that the love that gave the Son to death is the measure of the love that each moment hovers over every human being. And yet He does not help.”

“And there they perish, a million a month in China alone, and it is as if God does not move. If He does so love and long to bless, there must be some inscrutable reason for His holding back. What can it be? Scripture says, because of your unbelief. It is the faithlessness and consequent unfaithfulness of God's people.”

“He has taken them up into partnership with Himself; He has honored them, and bound Himself, by making their prayers one of the standard measures of the working of His power. Lack of intercession is one of the chief causes of lack of blessing, Oh, that we would turn eye and heart from everything else and fix them upon this God who hears prayer, until the magnificence of His promises, and His power, and His purpose of love overwhelmed us! How our whole life and heart would become intercession.”

Consider this: if God just calculated all of our needs but never bent to meet them – we would say that He had no mercy. However the world often views Him in just that light: as angry, aboding, ever watching, always unwilling to help but ever ready to punish! No matter how wrong this picture is - do we fit that bill as well? In other words, do we just watch, judge and calculate other’s needs, without ever looking to pray? With all the power available to us, do we administer mercy and justice, as we should (Pro 31:8-9; Ex 23:6 NIV).

Andrew Murray said above that, “…lack of intercession is one of the chief causes of lack of blessing,” and we know this to be true because James 4:2 put it in a nutshell by saying that “we don’t have because we don’t ask!” God has all the power and the resources of heaven and earth at His disposal, in order to answer our prayers, but who is praying? His willingness and power without our cooperation on this earth - avails nothing! This fact that God has “bound Himself, by making our prayers one of the standard measures of the working of His power” makes each one of us tremendously accountable – we can hardly stand it! (But again the Holy Spirit is our Helper!)

In addition to this, we know that throughout church history, revivals ONLY occurred once a prayer campaign was well underway! In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we see confirmation of this… “However, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, search for me, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear their prayer from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their country” (GW - emphasis added).

Our prayers are not made up of vain babblings, human reasoning’s and logical ideas. Yes our intellect is involved to a degree (but even a child can pray), so it is not rocket science! Our prayers are based on faith. Faith in God’s Word alone. This is what pleases God and gets His attention - ABOVE ALL ELSE! (Heb 11:6).

With our prayers acting like this divine “release-valve” for all of heavens richest blessings – it shows imperative (its down to us!) to make sure that God’s ability and willingness is never “held-back!”

Indeed God is waiting – WAITING FOR US! I agree with Andrew Murray; how God’s heart must ache for intercessors to rouse themselves. Let us be the ones!

Father thank you for all the mercy that you have shown towards me. Forgive me for my lack of courage in prayer. For all those times I procrastinated & left it for others to pray. Teach me prayer & use me for Your Glory. Amen.

I am God’s agent on this earth. His ambassador! I am hugely accountable and trust God’s Spirit to guide and to teach me. I use my knowledge of His Word to pray and to increase the blessings of others.

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Friday, 3 June 2011

Are You Willing?

Are You Willing?

“He sees that there's no one to help. He's astounded that there's no one to intercede. So with his own power he wins a victory. His righteousness supports him” (emphasis added - Isa 59:16 GW).

Welcome back! Lets continue, in our last article we shared several famous quotes from well-known individuals concerning this vast topic, prayer. Because of its vastness we cannot possibly “cover” every aspect of prayer in “every” single article, it will require both patience and time to get through it all! So we will take one step at a time and will begin today with “are you willing?”

Intercession is just one part of prayer, which is a world of study and activity in itself. Not just “relational,” as we brought out already. Rather intercession is the part of all praying that is much “weightier” and holds much more “responsibility.” A task that we are ALL expected to engage in.

So why is intercession a weightier realm of prayer? Simply because there is more spiritual involvement, in other words there is more fervency and feeling in the spirit. Our spirit is more involved in intercession than in ordinary prayers and there is a continuous burden until the prayer is answered.

In addition God still actively seeks intercessors today, “I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none” (Eze 22:30 KJV). But however there is a real mystery as to why God still needs our prayers and why it is a force to be reckoned with; that breaks the power of evil and “releases” the plans and purposes of God on the earth.

"This is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, let your name be kept holy. Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven” (Matt 6; 10).

Even in today’s world, we know that prayer does not lack any power, “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]” (James 5:16 AMP - see also Eph 6:18; James 4:7-8).

So what stops us? Why the denial, spiritual apathy and laziness? We have all had to face this and fight our own lack of willingness where prayer was concerned, even when thoroughly convinced of its effectiveness. This defies logic. Still we experience on a daily basis this challenge NOT to pray! Yet our enemy is often much more aware than we are, of just how effective it really is!

“From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it” (Mat 11:12 GW – emphasis added).

Andrew Murray in his book, “The Ministry of Intercession,” laid a real challenge at our doorstep, both for individuals and the Body of Jesus Christ at large. He wrote, “There is a world with its needs entirely dependent on and waiting to be helped by intercession; there is a God in heaven with His all-sufficient supply for all those needs, waiting to be asked; there is a Church with its wondrous calling and its surprises, waiting to be roused to a sense of its wondrous responsibility and power.” (See also Proverbs 31:8-9 KJV)

So with all this power in our hands, the perfect remedy to all our ills and pains, why do we still lack the “willingness” to pray? (So evident at the local prayer meeting when so few volunteer!) Why was it that even God Himself could not find anyone to intercede?

This is a genuine phenomena, but certainly not unique to our modern experience. It has been true throughout Church history (except during revivals), that even with so much power and influence readily at hand, we still shy away from the very thing that has the potential to change now and history forever!

There is nothing passive about prayer and it “requires” much from us. It is certainly not as simple as just “asking-n-getting” – like a microwave transaction! No! It takes much more diligence and “staying-power” before any “break-through” is realized. Considerable valuable time, thought and energy are required. Yet anyone who is given to prayer will testify, “the results far outweigh the costs!”

Conversely those who are still subject to their fallen nature and “the-human-condition” will not easily be given to anything that requires the slightest bit of “self-sacrifice!” But we are not discussing them. We talk of the prayers of the redeemed; those who know the call to prayer; know its power and objective but still opt out!

If prayer requires much, haven’t we been given so much more? Perhaps this is better handled in the old English of the King James: “…unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48 KJV).

Together let us meet this call to prayer - so that when God looks for intercessors – He finds them! Let us discover together what this mystery called prayer is all about and may we discover - over the next few weeks - a new found “willingness” to pray that we have never encountered before. A desire to stand in the gap on a level that we have not experienced before; as the Holy Spirit stirs-us-up to our MOST HOLY RESPONSIBILITY!

Father stir up the passion within me to pray; I repent of the sluggish way that I have treated prayer. I am sorry that my prayer life is not what it could be. Help me to mature in and through prayer. Lead me by Your Spirit right now. Teach me and guide me in intercession. I want to be effective for Your Kingdom. No more procrastination! When You search Father - find a willing intercessor in me! Amen.

I AM WILLING! I am inspired to pray by God’s Holy Spirit. I lack nothing I need to pray effectively. I readily engage in this spiritual effort – knowing that I OVER COME in Jesus name and I help others to overcome. I AM USED BY GOD TO STAND IN THE GAP - MY VOICE IS HEARD – AS I HOLD NOTHING BACK!

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries