The intercessors gathered even though it was so close to Christmas. We had tried to take some time off the previous year but learned that our post could not be empty in these strategic times. We felt God urging us to maintain our PrayerMountain commitment.
We prayed in the Spirit for 45 minutes or so, and I gathered thirty or so prayer warriors together to hear what Holy Spirit had said. I remember the revelation flow that came out of my belly: “Detroit is the target. Amsterdam is the launch. A concealed weapon, a hidden thing, flies toward Detroit.”
A couple of intercessors immediately felt the spiritual travail of those words, and a watchman intercessor said, “Christmas infuriates the enemies of Jesus, and they intend to mar Christmas Day with death.”
I continued to hear the voice of the Spirit, “Upon approach death will be released, and the secreted device will be activated.”
So, we spoke with authority, in the mighty Name of Jesus, “Lord, in the name and authority of Jesus we declare the fuse will not function, the device will not work, for surely the effort of the enemy will bring pain upon the one who delivers this device yet he will not die. The secreted device will fail.”
On Christmas Day, a few days after PrayerMountain that December 2009, a young man flying from Amsterdam to Detroit attempted to activate explosives secreted in his underwear. He went into the restroom during the approach of Northwest flight 253 to Detroit and attempted to activate the device. The fuse failed! The failure resulted in painful burns and personal injury for the terrorist, but the flight landed safely!
I am certain that other intercessors and warriors were praying the very same way we were praying. I am certain attentive, activated, and mature intercessors prayed and the activities of a terrorist were frustrated. The specifics Holy Spirit had us pray frustrated the plans and schemes of hell.
Maturing intercession provides more effective and efficient kingdom influence than accumulating intercessors. Perhaps the mistaken conclusion that more is better than mature often limits our ability to provide kingdom influence at the level necessary to establish the will of God on earth as it is in heaven.
Maturing intercessors matures intercession. Activating the spiritual gifts and authorizing intercessors to decree revelatory prayer that has been properly processed gives boldness and release to accurate heavenly intervention. If God were going to simply intervene without intercession, because Father already knows what we need, no intercession would ever be necessary. Intercession releases what God wants in heaven into the earth.
Maturing Intercession Prophetically
The use of the term “prophetically” here speaks to the revelatory nature of intercession when Holy Spirit reveals what we should “declare in prayer.”
We do not know how to pray what is necessary. We are limited. Creation groans but can do nothing to alter its condition because it awaits what inheritors of God’s purposes manifest, both ultimately and progressively.
Note how Paul speaks to the ultimate sense of glory and the progressive release of God’s goals in a context of birthing purpose:
“Creation anticipates the ultimate liberation from decay that will arrive through the revealing of God’s children. [The Creation is pregnant with purpose that awaits birthing.] We are aware that all Creation has been childbirth groaning throughout history. We experience childbirth groaning as believers, having Holy Spirit within us as our foretaste of future glory, and we anticipate the ultimate glorification of our bodies from decay. In addition, we await with eagerness the ultimate inheritance available when we receive glorified bodies. [Believers are pregnant with purpose.]
We were given this hope when we were saved. [A spiritual conception occurs when we are born into the kingdom.] (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. What we accurately anticipate because of Holy Spirit within us gives us boldness about our present condition.)
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our limitations. For example, we don’t know how to pray what is necessary (even though our accurate anticipations produce a childbirth groaning.) So, Holy Spirit joins Himself with intercession, and we share His groanings that cannot be expressed in words that Father understands completely; for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. [Holy Spirit within us groaning with full revelation of what Father wants, ultimately and progressively.]
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” [Romans 8:18-28.]
Prophetically, intercessors mature in their capacity to accurately anticipate what God wants to release now because they have a fuller experience of what God will ultimately reveal. They know what to do now because they know more about how things will be when they are completed. Paul makes it obvious that intercession brings the ultimates into the progress we are making here and now in inheriting the what-God-wants for All. Because that experience is way beyond us in our present limitations, God groans with us, and the symphonic orchestration of that spiritual and heavenly operation centers within those chosen, appointed, selected, and positioned through passion to produce purpose.
Paul also makes it clear that Father predetermined that the people who would produce His purpose would be like Jesus. So, He works in us to transform His positioned intercessors to mature them personally: we cannot separate what God is doing to make us more like Jesus from what God can birth through us.
Maturing intercessors prophetically produces more passion and purpose!
While I have always wanted a prophet to lead intercession training, the point is not for our ministry to accumulate intercessors so they can pray out what the prophet sees, hears, and says as much as to train them to function prophetically. Prophetic in this sense means to accurately anticipate what is coming next so we are prepared to respond to it when it arrives.
Picture the child-birth groaning as God’s designed process of preparation for the people with passionate love for God and positioned to produce His purpose so that when the “baby is born” He has matured inheritors of purpose to care for what they’ve birthed. The intercession is the process, passion, preparation, and positioning of a people of purpose who can take care of the “baby” they birth.
While Paul mixes metaphors of inheritance with birthing somewhat, the theme of his writing gathers these metaphors together and wraps them up in a nice package: impregnated with ultimate manifestations, now hidden within Creation and the kingdom like an unborn child, birthing these purposes cannot be achieved in the present condition of the natural world, including our bodies, but we have hope of the ultimates to make us bold. God Himself enters into the process, sharing our spiritual experience, enabling and empower us to birth His purpose as the people of passion He has positioned to progressively inherit what we can birth. Paul speaks to the ultimates that realized in the future as a basis for us understanding what God is doing here and now through His people.
How Then Shall We Pray?
Mature intercession involves the whole Body in birthing. Mature intercession involves Holy Spirit in birthing. Mature intercession accurately anticipates what is coming when the purpose is born so God’s people are ready to respond to that next step of progressive kingdom manifestation. The birthing is spiritual because the natural will not give birth to its ultimate condition until Jesus manifests Himself again, but the birthing is none the less kingdom and glorious.
We should pray the way God is working. Holy Spirit collaborates with us only when we are partnering with the Father to produce His purpose. Intercession doesn’t work All together. God does. We don’t know how to symphonically orchestrate All, and we don’t even know how to pray what is necessary without the “intercession together with” that Holy Spirit does. The point is that Holy Spirit knows and the Father knows Holy Spirit groans as the merging of Father’s passion and purpose with the people Father calls to inherit purpose.
How do we learn to pray like this? By praying like this. We learn to pray by praying. We mature in intercession by experiencing mature intercession. That is, if we continue to pray at the same level, we get better at praying at that level. It is only when a kingdom leader brings us into mature intercession and we sustain that mature intercession that we mature in intercession.
Intercession isn’t women’s work. The days when intercessors are the weirdest women in the church led by the weirdest woman among them, who set about to prove a superlative form of spiritual maturity because of their titles are over! The days when we measure the intercession that births purpose by numbers or spectator devotionalism are over! The definitions of “unity” should be altered to measure our oneness with Holy Spirit more than our agreement with distributed reactions. While coordination of what God is saying and how people are praying about it are very valuable as a context for accountability, the concept that we don’t know how to pray as we ought until we read the latest blog from headquarters limits our preparation for possessing the purposes we are birthing.
The above illustration of intercession was about a room of people doing mature intercession that birthed a purpose. That is more important than merely avoiding a disaster. The story of our prayer for Detroit begins with that illustration. It does not end there. A city marked for revival and riot, Detroit was a target because she has a purpose.