Saturday, April 07, 2007

Inner~Views: Author of New Resource: Strategic Prayer

NPPN Interviewed Eddie Smith, President of the US Prayer Center and Co-Author of "Strategic Prayer: Applying the Power of Targeted Prayer" Strategic Prayer

NPPN ~ Eddie, you have published dozens of books on prayer that are blessings to the Body of Christ. Why another one? Why this one?

First, thank you for the interview, Phil. Frankly, this book is a concept that my coauthor Michael L. Hennen developed. He actually shared the idea with me several years ago. When my publisher asked me last year if I had an idea for my next book, I remembered what Michael had shown me and contacted him. We agreed to coauthor this remarkable book===>Click headline to order the book . . .

NPPN ~ You teamed with Michael L. Hennen on this book. How did this make "Strategic Prayer" a stronger work?

Michael is in his early forties, I'm in my mid-sixties. My experience has mostly been in the U.S. Michael's experience has mostly been on the mission field, in some of the most dangerous places on earth. Today he serves several international ministries as a church planter and leadership development specialist in the Middle EastHe's a teacher, I'm an exhorter. We each brought our experiences and understanding to this project.

NPPN ~ Is "strategic" just another buzz-word to make ordinary prayer sound more interesting?

Not at all. As I see it, strategic carries at least three meanings.
  • First, if something is strategic it's important or essential.
  • Second, something is strategic when its part of an overall plan with a specific objective. (In military terms, it is something that's intended to destroy the military potential of one's enemy.)
  • Finally, today "strategic prayer" typically means prayer directed against the work of those Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:12. Tactical praying is when we pray for people, i.e. a child who's abusing drugs. Strategic praying is when we pray against the demonic entities that are manipulating that child.
NPPN ~ Explain what you mean by "Our book, 'Strategic Prayer,' is more than a text, it's a tool."

Phil, most of my books on prayer are basically Chapters that consist of specific lessons. This new book has chapters too. But the chapters in this book are relatively small. Each chapter explains one of twenty-seven military principles that we've applied to prayer. But once briefly explained, we offer a list of Key Points from the chapter; a list of Spiritual Reconnaissance questions pertaining to the chapter; and a list of questions that enable the reader to personalize the issue the chapter presents.The book ultimately provides a "spiritual map" for effective intercession. More than spiritually mapping a city or land area, with this book one can "spiritually map" issues like a lost husband, a drug-abusing teen, or division in a church.

NPPN ~ Would it be accurate to say that "Strategic Prayer" is a shift from reactive to proactive spiritual warfare?

Exactly. In fact, most prayer today is reactive prayer. I asked a large conference in a northeaster city, "How many of you can tell me 10 things the devil is doing in your city?" Every hand went up. I said, "I'm not interested in what the devil is doing. Can anyone tell me 10 things Christ is doing in your city?" Not one hand was raised."Interesting," I said, "You are more familiar with the work of Satan than you are with the work of Christ. You are Christ's Bride, his helpmeet. As he only did what he saw the father doing (Jn 5:19), you're here to assist him in what he's doing. If you don't know what that is, then who or what is directing your praying-Satan?" Sadly, we typically pray in reaction to what the enemy is doing, rather than proactively praying in cooperation with what Christ is doing.Even in the Lord's Prayer we're taught the proactive prayer, "Deliver us from the evil one." When we do that, we're asking heaven's court for a "restraining order" against the devil.

NPPN ~ How is this new book a useful tool for:

==> Pastors & Congregational Prayer Leaders?

  • Eighty-five percent of the adults in the last church that Alice and I served as pastors were intercessors. Our corporate prayer meetings were amazing, well attended, and exciting. Pastors from other churches routinely visit our prayer meetings to see how they were conducted. There are many reasons why they were so well-attended. One of those reasons had to do with purpose, direction, and measurable results. Every corporate prayer meeting had strategic targets, clear purpose, and built in measures of accountability. Those attending knew they were part of accomplishing something remarkable that they could never have accomplished on their own. They also knew that when the prayer meeting was over, we would research the issue for the next month to see if there was any evidence that we had hit the target.If anyone sitting in a corporate prayer meeting can't explain the specific target for the evening, and the desired result, the leader has failed. That lack of leadership will eventually cause folks to lose interest and fall away.The level of direction and the tools provided in this book will help pastors and prayer leaders establish specific targets, and direct strategic prayer toward them.

==> Intercessors?

  • Similarly, individual prayer requires preparation. An attorney may spend 95% of his time preparing his case, and only 5% of his time standing before the judge pleading his case. Unfortunately some intercessors spend 5% of their time preparing their case, 95% of their time pleading their case, and wonder why they are ineffective.This book is a tool that will enable an individual intercessor to "spiritually map" any issue for effective prayer. One mother was distraught about her wayward son who had joined the Army. She visited him at the Army base, and on the way home she saw this book at a friend's house. She asked if she could borrow it, and later she wrote, "By the time my plane landed I had read the first five chapters and completed all the 'mapping assignments' in them. I now know exactly how to pray for him. I can't wait to read the rest of this book!"

NPPN~ "There is no power in prayer!" What does this mean and how would an understanding of this truth transform the prayers of Christians and the praying of the Church?

Too many of us are trying to manipulate God with prayer. We think if we pray long enough, hard enough, and get enough people involved in doing it, that God will simply have to send a revival. We need to know that revival is a gift to receive, not a goal to achieve. And, as you've pointed out, there is no power in prayer. God is the source of power, not prayer. Prayer accesses his power! Through it, we joint-venture with him in the family business-extending the Kingdom!Bro. Phil, most of us are familiar with the electroshock weapon law enforcement uses called a Taser gun. It shoots barbs attached at the ends of two electrical wires into the flesh of a victim. Once hit, the unit sends a million volts of electrical power into the victim through those wires. The power isn't in the barbs or the wires. But they enable the power to get to the target. Therefore they must be aimed effectively.

NPPN ~ Eddie, please write a prayer for those who desire to apply the power of targeted prayer.

"Father, I thank you for the one reading this message today. I thank you for their hunger to know you better and pray more effectively. I pray that you will equip them and enable them to move up to higher levels of prayer-praying to extend your Kingdom. You've taught us how to pray to receive; how to pray to relate to you (intimacy); and now you're calling us to pray to produce-to fill the earth with the knowledge of your glory! In Christ's name I ask, Amen."

{Eddie & Alice Smith offer a free 52-week online school of prayer at www.TeachMeToPray.com}


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