The following is a chapter from the book ‘Orality Breakouts – Using Heart Language to Transform Hearts‘. A chapter will be posted here each week.
Chapter 15 – On Mission with God in Prayer for God’s Purpose: Transformation
By Linda Bemis, Maureen Bravo, and Barbara Clark
In this chapter we want to share the experience and results of prayer in regard to what God is doing in the orality movement. Although we are a small group of intercessors, we have had the opportunity to mobilize and link with others to pray for an important part of God’s mission work. That work is bringing together the practice of oral strategies with the identification and adoption of the Unreached, Unengaged People Groups (UUPG)1 of the world. We represent one group asking God to multiply the fruit of His work. Our desire is to be obedient in responding effectively to the unique needs of UUPG all across the world.
Beginnings in prayer2
It is with a humble heart that I share what happened as God shifted our group into this prayer focus. From the time I (Linda) was able to join the work of orality in prayer it was (and continues to be) a God-initiated experience. In June 2006, I had the opportunity to be on-site for prayer during one of the orality partners meetings. The global prayer movement workers were eager to share how they had been praying for the meetings and how excited they were to see someone praying as the meeting was taking place. God opened the door for great unity among those involved in prayer. As with any new thing that God initiates, when He calls, He equips. When He equips, He provides. And where His provision is, He meets His people.
The key to praying and mobilizing prayer movements is to realize that it is not about us or our prayers—it is about God and His purpose and plan. As we pray, He calls us to join His work. As we join Him, He reveals what He is doing and leads others to unite together with the Son as He intercedes to the Father. Prayer is merely a conduit for a relationship with God. If we allow ourselves to be available, the Father will meet us. It’s all about relationship! Initially, we were not aware of the details or the mechanics of what was involved in our new prayer challenge. God simply put it on our hearts to pray for Avery Willis, Executive Director of the International Orality Network, with whom we had a relationship. This led to a larger opportunity to link with others. God was calling us to prayer for what He was doing, without being concerned about the details.
We must take into the arena of prayer an attitude that God will continue and complete what He is doing, understanding that we cannot take ownership of even our prayers. That may mean being open to doing things differently in prayer, letting go of our preferences or the way prayer looks at any given time. God’s activity is progressing at such a rate and magnitude that we need to just trust in Him and believe what He has already told us.
God led us to pray for the work of orality because He was at work. We never realized our ignorance of what God was doing, much less what was actually involved in doing it. We just knew we had to pray for the work. When God thrust me (Linda) into the position of director for prayer, I began to ask Him to show me and our small group how and for what we were to pray. That is when the reality of the needs of oral learners began to unfold.
Unlike any other time in history, we must pray for God’s people in regard to their ignorance of the work of His Great Commission. We must pray that the sin of prayerlessness will not go unheeded in our hearts. God is calling us to join Him as He reaches out to those who still wait to hear! When we pray for something, God births a love for it in our hearts. That love grows deeper as we pursue it. As we began to put the puzzle pieces together in trying to understand what it was that we were praying for, God began to put the desire in our hearts to join His work.
How does that happen? As we pray for a sense of God-centeredness to take priority above anything else, in the midst of our prayers He begins to transform us. We gathered as a prayer team with those who were willing to listen to the Shepherd (John 10:26- 28). We asked Him to put His heart over our hearts (Ps. 33:11), and began exalting His Name. We acknowledged He was with us, trusting His leadership through the Holy Spirit, giving thanks, asking for a deeper sense of His power within, and claiming, “The Holy Spirit will teach you…what you ought to say” (Luke 12:12).
How does that look in prayer? Real prayer has everything to do with joining the Son in what God deems important. Could it be that prayer is the God-breathed response from His heart as we speak together about a situation or person in prayer and echo back from God’s heart His response and answer? How is that possible? We try to remove ourselves as much as possible and relinquish preconceived ideas, personal expectations, and agendas so that God can reign and rule in and through the time together, so that only He gets the glory. That is when God allows the work to move into an effective and fruitful realm.
The process of prayer should help people get to a place of access so that God can meet the need.3 God allows us to be used to help those prayed for to receive the provision He already has for them. A prayer room can be very effective if it becomes a place for true worshipers. If we are to guard anything, let it be the vision of God for His people. As we enter His throne room, we should seek the heart and mind of God. We learn to look up and bear witness to His activity as we let go and allow God to show us His plan for gaining access to His strategy. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will only be seen over all the earth when it is first desired, received, and released within believers. (We are the reason that it is yet to be seen!) His love will be made visible through those who engage in an intense “warfare of love” over the nations and the peoples of the world through worship, consecration, and intercession.4 That warfare of love— launched by the Father, modeled by the Son, nurtured and sustained by the Spirit—can only take place when we truly abandon ourselves to Him in authentic, transparent, intimate worship where we enter that “secret place” of intense intimacy with Him. Then we are able to agree with Him (“Thy will be done!”) and pray His will back to Him confident of being heard.
What must we do, or do differently, to bring us to the point of breakthrough? The breakthrough we desire requires a new consecration entailing a much deeper death to self in order to make possible a new awakening to Christ. In that place of worship, with authentic intimacy with God, we must intentionally reconsecrate ourselves, our lives, and our ministries, and couple that with intercession for our families, cities, and nations. That is the call being heard by many intercessors/worshippers at this hour. We must purpose to make ours a lifestyle of authentic worship that will allow us entry into His heart in ways we have not yet seen or experienced. There, we can cooperate with Him to see His plans fulfilled, rather than forming our own plans and asking Him to bless them.
The people and the relational connections that God is preparing for the future will be authentic and have a lasting effect throughout the entire world. As we worship Him joyously over each gathering in the nations of the world, over each UUPG, He will move on their behalf. Trust Him and rest. In our intercessory prayer rooms we pray, share, train, and model the changing face of intercession.
People who come into a prayer room are either pray-ers or those who have come to be prayed for. They come from many different experiences and backgrounds. All must be ready to make a transition from a “self”’ purpose to a kingdom purpose, ready to transition in mind and spirit to be in a listening mode, willing to participate with a kingdom perspective, transformed and engaged by our awesome God. That is when God meets us as we are engaged in the spirit with His Spirit. We serve at the discretion of the King, in an intimate relationship.
We must function in prayer in a worship mode as opposed to an expectations mode, learning to take our hands off everything, even the words spoken in prayer. We ask God to be the facilitator of our prayers, to help us to be teachable. When we are ready and willing to receive, rather than to give our opinion, God becomes the rightful facilitator. It is vital to remain teachable, maintaining a posture of allowing God to have the last word. The Lord is seeking to refine us. He does that in the midst of the prayer room. For intercessors in the prayer room, and those for whom we are interceding, it is He who is changing our understanding and giving us His wisdom to know how to pray.
When God draws us into prayer, He opens His perspective to us. If we are willing to see it, this is the changing face of intercession. It is not that God’s face changes, but His intercession and the needs for intercession change, with His movement. How does this happen? We walk in obedience to what He is calling us to, one step at a time, one prayer at a time. Where will this take us? Hopefully, to a place where we really believe God will use us and our prayers in His work, linking all of us into His bigger picture.
1 Http://globalfrontiermissions.org/unreached.html (accessed 14 July 2010)
2 References to the different types of prayer are from of Dr. Gregory R. Frizzell’s book, How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life, the Biblical Path to Holiness and Relationship with God, Fulton, KY: The Master Design, 2000. 29-40. Used with permission.
3 Prayer is an indispensable part of God’s strategy for His work and His mission, and several websites are helpful in developing a strategy of prayer: Table 71 (http:// www.table71.org); ION official site (http://www.orality.net); Oral Strategies, (http://www.oralstrategies.org); Ethne’ Prayer Strategy group (http://www.ethne.net/prayer/prayer-resources); and Global Prayer Digest (http://globalprayerdigest.org).
4 For information about unreached people groups, the following websites may be helpful: Call2All (http://www.Call2All.org); 4K World Map (http://www.4KWorldMap. org); World Missions Atlas Project (http://www.Worldmap.org); Research collaboration project (http://www.peoplegroups.org); and Finishing The Task (http:// www.finishingthetask.com/Statistics.aspx) (accessed 14 July 2010).
Linda Bemis is Director for the Prayer Task Force of the International Orality Network (ION), and an experienced trainer and facilitator in prayer and prayer mobilization. She has a history of working extensively in “hidden support and prayer ministry,” and leading intercessors to work alongside leaders. She combines her gifting as an intercessor with a passion for prayer and evangelism in her ministry.
Maureen Bravo is Founder/Executive Director of Resources Unlimited International, Inc. (RUII), the Founder/Facilitator of the Intercessory Prayer Network of Central Florida (IPNCF), and serves on the Prayer Task Force of the ION. She has extensive experience training intercessors, leading worship, facilitating reconciliation, evangelizing and discipling new believers, and mentoring emerging leaders, as well as training, and equipping those who serve in the Body of Christ.
Barbara Clark, Founder of In His Hands Ministry, has many years of church prayer ministry leadership, training, speaking, and consulting on prayer. She serves on the Prayer Task Force of the ION. Her passion is a deeper “relational” type of prayer with the Lord, instead of following strict “printed” prayer guidelines, and to see Him at work toward the completion of the Great Commission.