“I looked 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.” Ezekiel 22:30
The topic for the week of 7/23 was Intercession and Worship. Below are just some of my notes and thoughts from the week:
What you do makes an eternal difference. What you don’t do also makes an eternal difference. Intercession opens the door for God to make the impossible possible. Our prayers literally change the way things are. Through intercession, God invites us to be a part of the radical transformation He desires to complete in the nations. As followers of Christ, we have a big responsibility as it relates to intercession. Satan wants to keep us passive in prayer because he knows the authority that’s been given to us and the power of Jesus’ name to change things, thus destroying his plans to kill, steal and destroy.
We had a time of application at the end of the week where we got into groups of 6-8, walked through the key principles of intercessory prayer, and asked God what He wanted us to pray for. When we were all ready to share, we went around the circle and said what God spoke to us. One of the guys staffing our school, Mikey, said he got the word “anger” coming through really strongly, and also the word righteous, or righteousness. I went next and shared that I got a picture of the top corner of a door opening a tiny bit, shining light from the outside into a dark room. I mentioned that I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but it made me think of the detention center and the kids we visited earlier that week. God had opened a door to allow His Light to shine into a place of complete darkness. The girl next to me got the word “safety”. The guy next to her felt like we needed to pray for musicians, that they would recognize where their ability came from and use their talents to bring glory to God. The guy next to him saw a picture frame, and thought maybe it meant that we should pray for the detention center ministry, the framework of the picture that I got. The last girl saw a vision of people carrying cement blocks, but then they turned into burdens. As we put everything together – anger/righteousness, light shining into the darkness, safety, framework, and people carrying burdens – we felt like God was telling us to start by praying for the detention center. I was the only one in the group who was involved with the detention center, so it was really cool to see how God spoke different and specific things to each of us, giving us each a piece of the big picture He had. We began to pray and as we spoke out, we all began to feel the burden God has for these kids. Our time of intercession was such an amazing experience and reiterated one of the foundational truths that we teach the preschoolers each Sunday at The Village Church: God wants to talk with us. Not only does He want to talk with us, but he actually does talk with us. He is personal.
At YWAM Perth, we have a 24/7 prayer chain, meaning that someone is praying for the ministries and programs of YWAM Perth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My time slot is on Saturday afternoon, and as I was praying for the teams in London for the Olympics, I kept seeing this picture of a wolf. I was reminded of a passage of scripture that talks about wolves. I searched my bible and found it in Matthew 7: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them…” I felt like God was leading me to pray for the protection of hearts and minds as there are also false prophets coming to London to share a message of “truth” that is far from it. I prayed that ears would be closed to false messages and opened to hearing about the true and good news of Jesus.
Toward the end of the week, we shifted the attention of our lectures to worship. We defined worship as an action; a response to someone worthy of honor. We talked about the times when we really just don’t feel like worshiping God, the times we’re really “just not feeling it”. Our speaker talked about the fact that a lot of times we aren’t hungry for God because we choose to fill up on empty, worldly things, and in turn, we choke out our desire for God. As I pondered this, I thought back to conversations I often had with my mom when I was a kid. They usually went something like this:
Me: Mom, can I have some Goldfish?
Mom: No, we’re going to eat dinner soon.
Me: But I’m hungry! Can I just have something to eat?
Mom: No, you’re going to spoil your dinner.
I never understood that. Spoil my dinner? Really? Because I had some Goldfish? Not possible. Goldfish aren’t capable of doing that. They are harmless, really. They are cute and always have smiles on their faces. However, in light of this week’s teaching, I think my mom was on to something. Maybe she knew my love of goldfish better than I did. Maybe she knew that my hidden definition of “some” was really half the box and that before I knew it, I would be so full from eating “some” Goldfish that I would not be hungry for dinner anymore. Unfortunately, there are times that it seems like my ability to exercise self-control has not improved much since childhood, and so often I choose to fill my hunger with the things of this world. I ruin my appetite as I choose to trade the all-satisfying bread of life for empty carbs that have no ability to fill me and only leave me feeling dissatisfied and hungry a short while later. Mick Jagger had it right when he sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction. I can’t get no satisfaction. ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try. I can’t get no, I can’t get no.”
This week was our first time to visit the detention center and honestly, I was impacted by our visit way more than I expected I would be. The girls were stand-offish at first but came around toward the end of our visit. There was one girl in particular that I was really drawn to. She was sitting with us, participating in the conversation but not really addressing any of her comments toward us. In a moment of silence she turned to me, looked me up and down and said, “I just have one question… What’s up with your shorts?” I laugh about it every time I look back on it, which has been often. I appreciated her blunt humor and knew we could be good friends. I informed her that there was nothing wrong with my shorts; they just looked weird because 1) they were not mine and 2) they were basketball shorts. One of the girls asked us why we were there. I told her we just wanted to come and hang out with them. She asked if we got paid to come, and I mentioned that we actually paid to come and see them. She laughed and said, “Why would you want to come see us?” I quickly replied, “Why wouldn’t we want to come see you?” She seemed dumbfounded. As we were leaving, I asked them to tell me their names again because I wanted to remember them next week when we came. They all looked at each other with smirks on their faces and one of the girls said, “Yeah, the names we told you aren’t really our names…” One by one, they each told us their real names. As I was re-capping the day to my sister that night, she reminded me of a conversation we previously had about names. I was telling her how special I feel when someone calls me by name, or when someone I meet for the first time remembers my name. There is something that happens inside of me when someone calls me by my name. Does that happen to you, too? My sister mentioned that maybe for the first time the girls sensed that someone was genuinely interested in them and really did want to know them, and in response thought, “She really does want to know me… Well, if that’s the case, I want her to remember my real name.” When I got home that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the girls we had met. Many of them come from broken, neglectful and often abusive families and are in the detention center because of the poor choices they made as they tried to fight through their circumstances. Their lives are spiraling out of control, and they need help. They need to know about the love of the Father and His desire to be involved in their lives. I’m praying that their hearts would be softened and that conversations about God’s love for them would come up naturally and their hearts would respond positively as they not only hear about His love for them, but feel His love for them as the Holy Spirit moves and works through us. God is going to move in mighty ways there, I just know it…
Pray with me, will you?