I sit down to write this to do two things: first, writing helps me gather my jumbled thoughts and put them into an organized flow. Secondly, I write to repent in a somewhat public form. As I was spending time in prayer this morning, my heart was grieving and repenting for my prayerlessness, especially over the last 2 to 3 years. Oh, I've prayed a lot during these past few years, don't get me wrong. But my passion for intercession got hijacked by a cynical attitude that has ruled my heart more than I realized.
A few years ago, around 2018, the Lord began to reframe my approach to prayer. I found that I had very little to say in His presence. My intercession, petitions, and requests had been a part of my prayer life for years. People often referred to me as a "person of prayer" and I loved to spend time interceding for my nation, for orphans, for the church, or whatever issue was on my heart and hopefully The Father's. But the Lord started me on a journey a number of years ago where He was teaching me to "just be" more in prayer - sitting with Him, listening more than speaking, and just being led. It was like a stripping away of my abilities, a demolishing of all I had "learned" about intercession. I partnered with Him and slowly allowed all of the things I had learned to be put aside, knowing that it was most likely simply for a season.
I was already on this journey in 2018 when my husband and I began teaching on intercession at our church. I remember teaching on "birthing things in prayer and travail" one Wednesday night, and urging our people that we could miscarry what God wants to do in the earth if we don't learn to partner with his heart, all the while, not realizing that I would soon miscarry an unexpected pregnancy of my own. When we lost our baby girl, I lost the majority of my words in prayer. I was numb. I literally told the Lord that I wasn't ready to talk about it. I would draw near to Him often in those months afterwards, but my words were lost...and that was okay; the previous season had taught me as much.
That was in the fall of 2019 but 2020 in all its glory would soon be upon us. Between Covid and the US elections, intercession-lessness was not an option. So, I picked up the tools I had laid aside and began the journey of intercession once more; but something was different. I was still wounded from my miscarriage, to be sure; but I had also learned a lot in the season of "just being" and now the many prayer meetings I was a part of felt a bit busy and even chaotic at times. Yet, at other times, some meetings felt subdued and lacking passion. It was a strange, unfamiliar juxtaposition. But still, I interceded.
I can emphatically state that during 2020-2021, I interceded a lot - for my nation, for the spirit of marxism to be destroyed, for corruption to be exposed, for abortion to end...I covered it all. Like many in the church, I joined in prayer for the soul of our nation to survive. But in the middle of all of that was the disgrace that many in the Charismatic church (and unfortunately the world) are aware of: the whirlwind of unbalanced prophetic declarations and unchecked internet prophets. I gave them a lot of grace at first. I listened cautiously, hoping that one of them would say something on point. But the more I listened and the more prayer meetings I joined, I found that many could not separate what was QAnon and what was God. I had people I respected as great, godly intercessors who shared conspiracies with me that were off the wall. Ministries I had followed for years seemed to be a bit off course. It all got so weird. Just bizarre. And since the aftermath of the prophetic circus, I have found that I have pulled back from interceding for my nation. And that's why I must repent.
As I cried out this morning to the Lord, I share now with whoever will listen: I have been guilty of letting disillusionment with intercessors and with the prophetic community silence my prayers for this nation. I have looked on with suspicion to anyone calling themselves an intercessor or a prophetic person, when I should have looked on with discernment. I have partnered with hopelessness towards my government more than I have partnered with the hope of God's Kingdom. I have let disappointment in the lack of discernment in my prayer heros move my heart into silence. And yes, I have let the shame of associating myself with some of them be an area of stumbling pride in my heart. I humbly admit that there were too many times that declarations I made or agreed with were born, not of the Spirit, but of the soul. I confess that I must do better with declaring what God truly says versus what we desire Him to do. As a pastor and as a leader, I must make intercession a hallmark of the church, giving it priority not just in times of crises, but all the time.
It's time for me to join the intercessory body again. I pray I am more seasoned and more humble than ever before; that wisdom will accompany my words and power my petitions. But more than all of that, I simply want to be found on my knees, asking for the Father's heart; not wasting time, as the days grow darker; not disassociating myself from a spirit of prayer because some have made it a circus. Intercessors DO shape history and even if they do not change things the way we expect them, they move the heart of God, and that is all that matters. As I told my congregation in 2019, I want to partner with God's heart and no matter the outcome - whether we live or die without seeing what we've requested - I will be on the right side of history, because through prayer - I touched God's heart.