Friday, May 18, 2007

Does Your Prayer Team Have Protocols & Guidelines?

Flakey Intercession
By Alice Smith
As I walked down the corridor toward the large prayer room, several women rushed past me in a panic. They had been praying with more than 50 intercessors from various denominations for pastors in the United States.
Curious to what was happening; I quickly entered the room to see an unbelievable sight. Lying on the floor in the middle of the room in a fetal position was a petite woman intercessor, groaning as though she were being tortured. Crouched over her, on his hands and knees, was a male intercessor stroking her hair and speaking words of encouragement.
Standing around "the entertainment" were dozens of intercessors watching. No one was praying now. Their faces revealed many emotions. Some were in shock, others didn't know what to think, a few intercessors had left the room, and most were simply disgusted.

Asked to correct the situation, I quietly bent down, asked the man to move away, and softly whispered into the intercessor's ear.

"Please stop what you are doing. Everyone's attention has shifted from praying for the pastors -- to you. This is not the way the Holy Spirit would lead."

Gruffly the woman turned her head toward me and growled, "This IS the Holy Spirit." Obviously, everyone in the room suspected that if it were God, He would not have answered in such a way. Yet these kinds of activities are becoming too common in prayer rooms across the nation.
If the prayer movement does not establish Biblical boundaries and acceptable corporate conduct within the next few years, it is possible that the work of prayer could be drastically derailed.

What are some of the flaky intercessory activities with which we should be concerned?

COMPETITION IN PRAYER

Intercessors have a unique position. We are called to be near the throne, to hear the voice of God, and to stand on behalf of others. We, who occupy this position, should set an example of love, grace, mercy and humility. Yet, I find there sometimes strife, jealousy and competition are among intercessors.
In some cases, the prayer room resembles the New York City stock market trading floor. Each participant tries to pray more frequently, prophesy longer, and shout louder than the other do. This frenzy is enough to force many intercessors to feel shut down and unnecessary. Why the spiritual tug of war?
Let there be no doubt about it, all intercession is war! But like all of life, intercession has its ebbs and flows. There are times, when in the heat of battle, that the corporate prayer room seems intense, loud, demanding and pushy. After all, Scripture says that the violent take the Kingdom by force! (See: Matt. 11:12)
But constant warfare should not be the way every prayer time is handled. Effective, sincere corporate prayer should reveal all the attributes of God -- His gentleness, His tender mercy, His unconditional love and His burden for the lost. There are times when the group will experience total silence before God.
At other times, a deep travail for the condition of lost souls will be felt. Joy, expressions of love, and celebration should occur occasionally among the intercessors. To reduce group prayer to anything less only reveals our immaturity in the private place before God.

EMOTIONALISM

Our emotions are part of our soul (mind, will and emotions). However, they should be brought into balance with our spiritual walk with Christ. Paul instructs us, "Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts (emotions) on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things" (Col. 3:1-2).

Our emotions are as flexible and undependable as an elastic measuring tape. One minute we feel happy and the next minute we're sad. We can have a wonderful intimate time in prayer with the Lord, and in five minutes be yelling at our child for spilling milk on the carpet. So emotional expressions are not necessarily an indication of either the presence or lack of the presence of God.

Being radical is not bad as long as you are continually working to maintain balance in all areas of your life.

INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR

Intercessors have a responsibility to represent the Lord both in the prayer room and outside the prayer room. We need to learn that which is Biblical is not always appropriate. Ongoing "weird" activity in the prayer setting is likely to be soulish, if not demonic.
An undisciplined mind confuses soulishness and spirituality, allowing the soul to rule over the spirit. An unruly mind has to be "renewed day by day." The apostle Paul reminds us "be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). To be filled with the Spirit is to exercise the qualities of the Holy Spirit. What are they?
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23). The Greek word for temperance is "egkrates" which is translated "self control." The Holy Spirit will not control you. You must control you!
There is an alarming manifestation among some intercessors that causes me concern. I will call it "ecstasy." This manifestation is misdiagnosed as travail, but it is NOT genuine godly travail! When this ecstasy, as I call it occurs, a glazed expression forms on the intercessor's face, as they voice utterances resembling expressions of sexual gratification.
At times I have seen intercessors positioned in such a manner as to suggest a sexual act is happening, all the while they are groaning with an unearthly sound. Beware women! We must ask the Lord for spiritual discernment concerning such matters.

God does use physical phenomenon to depict a spiritual truth. Travail is a Biblical term better understood by the Hebrew word "yalad" (born) and "chuwl" which means to give birth. We cannot give spiritual birth to anything, only the Holy Spirit can. The bride of Christ is not the source of life, but we are carriers of the source of life. Through effective travailing prayer, we release the work of the Holy Spirit in the earth. But a proper experience of travailing prayer will not cause physical arousal.

What an exciting day to live! For spiritual awakenings are seen throughout the earth. To see this happen however, we must not be flaky people of prayer, but strive to maintain our credibility in the area of prayer. Let me sum it up this way. The throne of God is the center of prayer. When He becomes our center of attention, we will lose ourselves in His presence.
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By "prayer coach", Alice Smith, whose books can be found at www.prayerbookstore.com
Alice and her husband Eddie offer a free 52-week school of prayer at: www.TeachMeToPray.com

* Coaching? Teaching? Preaching? on prayer - Contact Phil@nppn.org
* Pastor Phil's ministry schedule: http://nppn.org/Schedule.htm
* Join the Church Prayer Leaders Network @ http://www.PrayerLeader.com

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My marriage has encountered much trouble because of these flakey intercessors. My husband heads a large prayer ministry which includes mostly women. In my opinion there is much too much flattery going around. Man is not God and will never be. As of late my husband has started getting letters telling of very detailed dreams of them being sexually intimate with Jesus. This type of behavior has bothered me for some time. What must I do when I see women behaving in such an ungodly way?

Phil Miglioratti said...

If this is true, then you and your husband must first come to an agreement this is not godly, that he will not engage discussion on these types of "dreams" with these individuals and that those who are making such claims must be told their letters swill be shared with the elders/leadership of the congregation for their wisdom and discernment.

You and your husband are welcome to contact me @ phil@nppn.org ...