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The end of the story

Intercessors don't often get to hear the end of the story. We pray in faith that God has done whatever He intends to do, in whatever situation He prompted us to pray. And we thank Him for the privilege.

Today, I met a lady I had never met before. She began to share with me about a ministry event God had orchestrated in Israel that took several years in the planning. When she told me the month and the year she received the vision and began to move forward with the planning, and when she told me the nature of the event, my heart began to pound.

As it turns out, I was in Israel at exactly the time the Lord began to germinate this vision with her. The type of event that transpired, several years later, was exactly what He had laid on my heart to pray.

I was excited beyond words to learn how the event had transpired, and the lives God had touched. She was grateful to hear of how God had orchestrated intercession, even with someone she didn't know at the time, an intercessor who "happened" to be visiting Israel for the first time in my life.

Intercessors often don't get to hear the end of the story. What a sweet and amazing God, that He allowed me this day to hear this story.

If you are an intercessor, be encouraged. God moves mountains in response to your prayers.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Israel

 

Briar patch prayer

Our team gathered at the start of a weekend retreat. Two of our team members, a husband and wife, were missing. Shortly after we began our prayer time, the wife arrived, frantic. Their teenage son had run away from home.

We began to pray for him, that the Lord would bring him home. I felt in my spirit to pray that the Lord would capture him somehow. That the Lord would hold him safely, wherever he was, until help arrived. I prayed the Lord would lead those searching for the boy in the right direction.

An hour later, we received a call from the boy’s father. The boy had been found, and he was okay. A sheriff’s deputy had found him in the woods, tangled up in a briar patch.

God had answered the prayer He prompted, to capture the boy. 

Ever since that time, when someone asks me for prayer for a loved one who is running, I ask them, “Would it be okay with you if I pray the briar patch prayer?” And I tell them the story. Everyone I have asked has responded, “Yes.”

One of the hardest times to pray the briar patch prayer is for a loved one out on the streets using drugs. I have volunteered with a men’s addiction regeneration center, and I know mothers and wives often ask for prayer for their loved one who is using. When it’s time to pray, “Lord, catch him,” that is tough for them. 

I have a friend, a counselor, who often prays with a mom for her son, “Lord, arrest him.” 

This shocks the mom, and often she asks, “Why would you pray that?” 

My friend responds, “It will save his life. Or stop him from killing someone else.”

The briar patch prayer might seem natural to pray for a child who has run away and is lost. It is harder for a mom to pray, “Lord, arrest my son.” But if getting arrested will save his life?

Another variation on the briar patch prayer is to pray for God to overload the structure in a person’s life. When a loved one is struggling but refusing help from the Lord, God honors that person’s free will. We, as those who pray for our loved ones, must also honor our loved one's free will. But we can pray for God to overload the self-made structure on which this person has become dependent. 

When a person is struggling and not seeking help from God, often she creates her own “structure” for how to cope and survive. We know this is fleeting, and her own defenses will not withstand the assault of the enemy and the world. She needs God as her only structure. But until she sees that, God will overload her structure until she is ready to come to the end of herself. We can pray He does this, and this prayer will not be violating our loved one’s free will.

When the structure gets too heavy, the person will have to realize her way isn’t working. We need to pray that in that moment, she will see God, and ask for His help.

Have you ever been in a situation where the Lord has pressed on your heart to pray that a loved one gets caught? Or that the structure gets overloaded? 

What did you pray? What was the result?

31 days of prayer for our children

These prayers were written for Gisele, a little girl in Burkina Faso. As you pray, you can speak the name of the child/children you are praying for, and let's pray together each day for God's love to change these kids' lives … Your prayers mean so much!
1st
God, thank you for Gisele. Thank you for how precious she is. Thank you for how much you love her. God I pray that you will help her to know you better each day. That she will always feel safe and secure in your love. That she will know she belongs to you.
2nd
God, please help Gisele accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Help her to learn your Word. Help her always to walk in your ways. Thank you that Psalm 1 says she is like a tree planted by fresh water, that bears amazing fruit. God bless her.
3rd
God, help Gisele know she can talk to you anytime she wants. Help her to learn how to listen to you, how to recognize your voice. When the enemy tries to talk to her, God, tell him to be silent. Make your voice loud and clear for her, and let her come to love the sound of your voice.
4th
God, please help Gisele’s family with their daily needs. Give them food and shelter, warmth and cool in season, meaningful work, joyful experiences, love in community, and everything else you know they need. Help them to feel your presence and your love daily. Lead them, guide them, strengthen and encourage them.
5th
God, help Gisele to have good dreams at night. Dreams created by you, just for her. Encourage her through her dreams. Let her see your power and love. Inspire her. Help her to follow your path. Give her visions of how amazing you are, and how precious she is to you.
6th
God, help Gisele smile today. No matter what is going on, no matter what she experiences, help her to smile, just for knowing that you love her. Fill her with the joy that comes only from Jesus. Sow seeds of the joy of the Lord deep into her heart.
7th
God, thank you that your Word says in Zephaniah 3:17 that you sing over Gisele. Help her to hear your song of love for her. Teach her to sing in her heart back to you. Let her spirit dance and soar. Fill her to overflowing with your love. Let her day be blessed.
8th
God, help Gisele to learn and grow as your child. Let her know that you have an amazing plan for her life, and that you will help her to walk on the path you’ve set for her. Give her the daily nourishment – in body, soul and spirit – that she needs to thrive as your daughter. Let her know that she matters to you, that your heart is for her, and that she is the great love of your life.
9th
God, help Gisele to see you in nature. To see your presence, your fingerprints, your handiwork all around her. Whatever she sees today – trees, flowers, grass, clouds, sky – let her see you in all of them. Fill her with awe and wonder, as she recognizes that you are right there with her. Your Word says in Hebrews 13:5 that you will never leave nor forsake her. Fill her with that assurance today, deep in her heart, and seal it with joy.
10th
God, let Gisele enjoy ordinary experiences today. The stuff of daily life – help her to find your presence in it. Let her enjoy just sharing her day with you. Help her family, as well, to put you front and center of their daily life. Strengthen them, God, and let them know that every part of their life matters to you.
11th
God, as your Word instructs in Matthew 6:33, help Gisele and her family to seek you first, today and every day, in all things. Help them turn to you for answers, for encouragement, for comfort. Give them your wisdom and direction. Let them know that you want to be close to them, and help them draw closer to you.
12th
God, thank you that you are Gisele’s provider. Help her to learn to trust in you, that you will always provide what she needs. All she has to do is ask. Don’t let her fall into discouragement that she lives in a place of poverty. Let her know that you are more than able to provide all she needs, and that you love her so much.
13th
God, give Gisele hope for the future. Stir excitement and peace, deep in her spirit, to know that you have planned an awesome life for her, and that you will see her through it. Help her, day by day, to take each step as you lead, and to grow as your precious child.
14th
God, your Word in 2 Timothy 1:7 says Gisele has not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and sound mind. Help her to not be afraid. Help her to trust in you. Silence the voice of fear, and bring her freedom and peace. Help her to sleep through the night peacefully, as your precious daughter. Give her strength each day to face every circumstance, knowing you are right there with her, and she does not need to be afraid.
15th
God, help Gisele learn that she is a valuable part of your kingdom, the Body of Christ. Give her ways, even now, to serve others. Help her to follow your lead, and serve in ways that bring her joy and grow her gifts. Teach her even at a young age how to be a servant leader. Help her to wash the feet of others, just as Jesus did, by thoughts, words, and actions.
16th
God, surround Gisele with godly people to instruct, mentor and guide her, and to encourage her daily. For her family and the folks who teach her in church and in school, give them your words of life to speak over her. Help her to flourish as your daughter. Keep her in safe, healthy community in the Body of Christ. Let her know how much she matters to you.
17th
God, keep Gisele in good health. Protect her from the diseases and environmental toxins in the land where she lives. Speak life daily to every cell of her body, and fill each cell with the joy of Jesus. Help her to grow strong and healthy, and teach her the things she needs to know to live a healthy life. God, please provide what  is needed to bring good health to her family and her whole community.
18th
God, give Gisele safe, fun things to do each day. Even when she is working – at chores, at school – help her to have fun. Let her spirit sing and dance. Let her find joy, even in the mundane, even in the difficult things. True and lasting joy, from the Lord Jesus Christ. Help her to carry that joy in her heart, that others around her will be affected as well.
19th
God, teach Gisele that she carries your Holy Spirit everywhere she goes. Help her to know that she is a lantern of your goodness and peace, that she can change an entire atmosphere, just by being herself. Don’t let her conform to the ways of the world, and don’t let her feel pressured to perform for you or for anyone. Help her to know it’s enough to be your child, and to be just the way you made her. Help her to know that your presence in her will help those around her.
20th
God, help Gisele discover the unique gifts you’ve given her. Help her to see where she fits into the Body of Christ. Help her family and teachers to recognize and encourage her unique gifts, and not to try and fit her into a mold. Help her to live and thrive in true freedom and joy, as your daughter.
21st
God, help Gisele know that nothing is impossible for you. Help her to grow through each challenge she faces, and to see how you show up each time. Help her to rejoice in thanksgiving and praise for all that you are, and all that you do in her life. Teach her how to praise you at all times, in all things.
22nd
God, help Gisele’s community to be safe and thriving. Fill her whole community with the presence of your Holy Spirit. Give wisdom to the leaders of the community, and to the spiritual leaders of each family. Help them to make wise decisions and to be good stewards. Give Gisele a sense of peace and hopefulness, to know that you are working on behalf of her whole community.
23rd
God, fill Gisele with an excitement and desire to learn more about you, and to grow closer to you. Teach her how to grow and live in relationship with you. Help her to share you with others, in whatever ways you’ve equipped her to share. Let her relationship with you become as much a part of her life as breathing. Let her rejoice in your presence.
24th
God, fill Gisele’s life with laughter. Give her good friends that she can laugh with, and play with, and enjoy each day with. Help her family home to resound with laughter. Even as she grows older, help her to keep the childlike joy you’ve given her. Let that joy spread through the land like wildfire.
25th
God, when Gisele has difficult days, let her know you are there. Let her know she matters to you. Wash her clean of all traumas, all fears, all sorrow, all discouragement. Fill her with your unshakeable peace. Let her know that her tears matter to you. Help her to learn how to ask for you in all difficult times, and to trust and know that you are there.
26th
God, let Gisele know you are fighting for her. That she doesn’t have to be enslaved to the lies of the enemy, or to the poverty that surrounds her. Let her know that you are moving mountains on her behalf. Give her the courage to step into the life you’ve created for her, and not to be knocked down by the enemy, or by her family’s past. Loose the generational blessings that you’ve intended for her family and for her nation.
27th
God, give Gisele a voice in this world – the voice you intend for her. Help her to learn how to use her voice, by the strength and leading of your Holy Spirit. Let her know that what she has to say matters, and will be heard. Prick people’s ears and soften people’s hearts to listen to the way you speak through her. Give her favor in all areas where you want her to speak. Help her to know when to speak, and when not to speak. Give her the courage to speak truth in love as you lead.
28th
God, give Gisele’s family the assurance of knowing how much you care for her – as well as for them – and that they don’t need to worry. That you will provide all she needs. That you will fulfill your plan in her life. Help her family to believe your words in Jeremiah 29:11, that you know the plans you have for her, plans to prosper and not to harm her, plans to give her hope and a future. Help her family to praise you for all that you are doing in Gisele’s life.
29th
God, help the wealthy nations of the world to respond to your call to help the people of Gisele’s nation, and other nations in poverty around the world. That the Body of Christ will grow stronger and purer around the world, lifting up each other and loving each other to life. Let those who have enough trust you in sharing what they have with other children and families in Gisele’s community and nation, and in other places where poverty is deep. Dramatically increase the number of children around the world who find sponsors to help them, to hope for them, and to encourage them.
30th
God, help Gisele to know that you are her best friend. Let her know that you would love to talk with her every day, about whatever she wants to talk about. Let her know that you cheer her on each day, and that you love to celebrate with her. Help her to feel your comforting arms around her on the tough days, when things don’t go right, when she gets discouraged. Help her to know you’re a friend she can count on through all things, and that you will always be there, forever, loving her.
31st
God, let Gisele know that Jesus died for her to live forever with you. To be reconciled with you, and forgiven for her sins. Help her to know the power of the cross in her daily life, and that she does not have to live in a yoke of bondage. That freedom in Christ is your gift to her. Keep her in a healthy Christian church that has life, that walks in godly ways, in genuine relationship with you, in active service in the community, in discipleship and missions. Help her to find her place in the Body of Christ, and to be encouraged and excited about her life, and about her eternity with you.
IN JESUS' NAME. AMEN

 

Why I felt compelled to steal a car

I’ve never stolen in my life.

Imagine my surprise when the urge overcame me to steal a car.

My ministry friends and I were staying at a bed and breakfast while attending a conference out of state. I took a walk after breakfast, enjoying the peaceful morning and small town atmosphere. 

On one street, I noticed a car in a driveway and felt the urge to steal it.

What in the world?

I’m an intercessor; I pray for people. I know the enemy looks to trip me up, to distract me. But why the urge to steal? With a myriad of sins to choose from – sins I’ve actually struggled with – why prompt me to do something that’s never occurred to me?

I stopped and prayed in the middle of the street. Which is exactly what God wanted me to do. Turns out the urge to steal was not from the enemy, but from God. Not a prompting to steal. A nudge to pray. As I surveyed the street, listening in my heart, I realized God was letting me know someone was about to steal. I was feeling that person’s heart. God wanted me to pray for that person, so the theft wouldn’t happen, and the person could get help.

As intercessors, we need to be aware of thoughts and emotions that might not be ours. Nor should we give undue credit to the enemy. The thoughts and feelings that touch our heart might be God, allowing us to experience what’s happening around us, so we will pray. 

Our prayers change the atmosphere. We need to stay aware and attuned to God’s heart. 

Have you experienced something like this? 

When a thought comes over you, especially if it seems strange, or comes out of nowhere, stop. Ask the Lord: “What’s going on? Is this my thought? Am I picking this up from someone else who needs prayer? Is it an attempt from the enemy to confuse me? Or is it Your directive to pray?”

I didn’t steal a car that day. I walked the neighborhood for an hour, praying. I believe no one stole a car that day, and someone who needed help received it.

Why it is vital to hold still

 

Have you ever tried to keep a puppy quiet when he was awake and ready for action? Impossible, isn't it? Sometimes I think that's how we must appear to God.

When we set out to live a life of prayer, walking and talking with God, there are times we absolutely must hold still.

In Psalm 46:10, God says, "Be still, and know that I am God."

Did you know that being still is a form of prayer? It is a form of communicating and interacting with God. When we are still, He is not. He is working on us from the inside out, doing all kinds of things we can't comprehend … and some things we can comprehend, like recalibrating us, healing us, redirecting us, tending His garden in our hearts.

Contemplative prayer is one way to "be still" before God. We can learn more about this from the fourth century Desert Fathers, or the more recent writings of Thomas Merton, and Cynthia Bourgeault (Centering Prayer). 

But even without reading a book, God can also teach us to be still.

About ten years ago, I lived in Russia as a visiting university lecturer. I lived in Siberia and traveled on occasion to Moscow and to other cities where I gave guest lectures. Conditions were rough, and I became injured a lot, and encountered many exhausting situations. I found myself very often going to some place in the city, like the river in Moscow, or someplace with a view, wherever I was, and just standing and staring. Not staring at anything in particular; just holding perfectly still and "being." I did this so often, and I credit having done this with the fact that I remained sane, no matter what happened.

It wasn't until much later, when I learned about contemplative prayer, that I realized God was teaching me to be still. I needed those times of just "being," so He could recalibrate me and keep me on course, no matter what craziness was going on around me.

Today I find myself doing the same. But more intentionally. I have to take time out each day, and sometimes more than once, throughout the day, to just be still. When I do, I intentionally surrender to God, and invite Him to be in that moment with me. I don't talk to Him, or listen, or approach Him with my concerns or any kind of agenda. That's not what "being still" is all about. Instead I just purpose myself to sit with Him, quietly, just aware of His presence and nothing more. 

I know He is there, and I know He is doing things in my heart, because I can feel the difference later in the day. But in that moment, all I purpose to do is just "be" with Him.

It makes all the difference in the world.

Have you tried to just sit with God, quietly, no agenda, just "being" present with Him?

It's not easy to do, in our world of distractions and rambling thoughts. But try it. Even if you can sustain it only for a minute, try it. Even if you have to keep bringing your thoughts back to silence, try it. Submit quietly to God. Tell Him you want to just sit in His presence. Invite Him to join you, and just be with Him.

You will come to appreciate these times of stillness before God. You will find yourself wanting, needing to do this more and more.

Photo credit: lasgalletas via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: lasgalletas via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Family Bible verses

Praying God's Word is powerful. Praying words from the Bible is a great way to pray. God loves for us to pray Bible verses back to Him. Bible verses are God's love notes to us. When we pray these back to Him, it's a way to tell Him, “We got Your awesome message and thank You!” And prayer is one way He helps us take these words of truth into our hearts.

Praying Bible verses is also a great way to pray together as a family. You can do this in many different ways.

One way is to create a “family prayer time” each week, when the whole family gathers and prays together. During this prayer time, find a Bible verse to pray together as a family.

You can take this one step further and choose a family “Bible verse of the week.” Write it somewhere that you will see it each day. (It might be a great idea to create a “prayer space” or “prayer board” in your home, in a highly visible place.)

Each person in the family then prays this “Bible verse of the week” each day. There is something wonderful about praying the same verse together. You will be amazed at how God will speak to each person in your family through this verse. Find a time to share together during the week what He has shown you as you pray this Bible verse.

The next week, choose another “Bible verse of the week” and keep going like this each week throughout the year.

Some churches offer a "Bible verse of the week" for the entire church family to pray together. If your church does this, you might choose the same Bible verse as your family's verse of the week. (Or maybe your family wants to choose a different verse just for your family.) If your church does not offer a "Bible verse of the week," pray about whether God might lead you to suggest this!

Have a blessed week with God and with your family.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Why every intercessor needs a cover

 
Meet my friend Sally. She’s an intercessor. Every time she prays through a battle zone, she emerges feeling as if she is covered with black and blue marks. “That’s just part of being an intercessor,” she says.
 
Wrong.
 
Intercessors should not walk around with targets on their backs. It isn’t necessary for intercessors to wear battle wounds.
 
Every intercessor needs a cover.
 
Imagine gunfire breaks out on the street. You look out the window and see a child huddled against a building. Will you run out to rescue the child, and risk both the child and you being shot? Or will you ask a friend with a weapon to cover you while you run to get the child?
 
It’s the same with intercession. Intercessors need intercessors. If someone isn’t covering you while you pray, the enemy will take you out along with the person you’re praying for. That helps no one.
 
It’s vital to find trustworthy intercessors to cover you daily, as you pray for others. Through their prayer cover, you will be invisible to the enemy, as you intercede for others. God will then move through your prayers to help the person receiving prayer. It’s like a cascade of intercession that keeps the enemy confused and allows God to move in. Intercessors praying for intercessors, so the prayers of intercession for the people asking for prayer can hit their targets.
 
To build your cover, start by asking God for names of intercessors who will pray for you daily. Ask these folks if they will pray for God to cover you, so you can do what you’re called to do. If those individuals don’t feel called, ask God for more names. Keep building your cover until you have commitments from at least five intercessors. You’ll need more as God expands your reach.
 
With a secure cover in place, you can move in and out of situations as God calls you to pray. You may feel some bumps and bruises along the way, but you’ll be able to stand firmly under cover and keep lobbing those prayers.
 

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Family prayer box

Here is one way to help your family become a praying family: Keep a prayer box in your home. Keep little pieces of paper and pens next to it.

When someone in your family needs prayer, they can write their prayer requests on the pieces of paper and place these in the prayer box.

Family members can also put in prayer requests for their friends, or other prayer needs that are on their hearts.

Each time you pass by the prayer box, say a prayer asking God to respond to the requests in the box.

At some point, stop and read the requests and ask the Lord to respond to them. Put them back in the box.

Choose a time each week when the family gathers together and reads and prays out loud the prayer requests in the box.

Don’t forget to write “praises” (a note about prayers that were answered) on the pieces of paper and put them in the box too, thanking God for answered prayers.

You can even write the prayer request on one side of the little piece of paper, and then when the prayer is answered, write the “praise” on the other side. This is a great visual way to help everyone see how God has answered the prayers.

You may want to keep a container beside the prayer box where you transfer answered prayers/praises.

And keep adding new prayer requests to the prayer box.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

God is always with you

God is with you all the time. He loves to sit with you, walk with you, play and laugh with you. He shares your joys, and weeps with you when you're sad. He talks to you, He even sings to you. He is always willing to guide you, to answer your questions, to listen to the cries of your heart.

Even when you don't say a word, He loves being with you. But He also loves to hear from you. Whether you have something difficult to talk to Him about, or you just need to vent (He gets it!), or if you simply want to say, "Hi, God, how are You?" or just chat about your daily life, He loves to listen and to answer back. Spending time with you is His favorite thing to do.

This blog was created as a place to learn about talking to God, and to share experiences of talking with Him, hearing Him, seeing what happens from those amazing conversations.

Talking with God is prayer, so this blog is about prayer. Prayer is nothing more than a conversation with God. But it's a powerful conversation with incredible results – for us, for our families, for our communities. Prayer can move mountains, and we will share about that here.

But prayer is also just sharing your heart with God. Sitting with God on an ordinary day – talking, not talking, just hanging out. Just telling Him whatever is on your mind. Or just enjoying a quiet moment with Him. All of that is prayer. And sharing about prayer reminds us that God is always with us, and it's His favorite place to be.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Prayer works!

Prayer works. I'm telling you. Prayer works. It works because through prayer we invite God to work.

The past few weeks have not been easy but I've stayed mostly encouraged. Tonight while going into a group prayer time the enemy clobbered me with discouragement. I still went for prayer out of sheer obedience. When we finished I didn't feel any better. More prayers – heart cries, to be exact.

And then … for those who know me this is really big. The prayer leader tonight talked about how the enemy's biggest focus is to destroy us to the point where we are ineffective. Well, yeh – he does that with me in seeking comfort in food rather than in God. This is especially big for me because I have a personal and generational history of not wanting to choose life.

So tonight as I left the prayer meeting I wanted nothing more than to go home and eat some bad "comfort" food and keep feeling discouraged about everything.

Instead, I talked to God all the way home, simply asked, "Help!!!!!!!" And by the time I got home I was ready to sit and listen to Him. I made a very healthy meal, started praying and asking for prayer, and I feel completely uplifted and my focus is back where it should be: on JESUS.

HE did all this. He grappled the enemy and dismissed him. He grappled with me and my unbelief. He got me focused on "choosing life" for the generations, got me focused on Him … and kept that self-destruction our prayer leader had just talked about from happening.

GOD is so awesome, so real, so powerful, so faithful, so good, and there is nothing He can't do.

And PRAYER WORKS.

Go God!!!!!

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.