[Course 20 Index] [Prayer-School Index] [Prayer Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]
There is a wide variety of how you can pray for others. We already looked at petition and standing in the gap in Lesson 11. Now we will look at two other forms of praying for others.
Identificational repentance is when you repent on behalf of a people group you represent, when you were not personally involved in the sin.
We see an example of this in Daniel's life. Daniel was a godly and talented youth. Dan. 1:3-4 talks about his talent: "Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility -- young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians."
We see evidences of Daniel's faith in Dan. 1:8: "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way" (NIV). So Daniel took a stand for God, asking the chief of the eunuchs to allow him to eat kosher food. God's response to Daniel and his three friends who stood with him is found in Dan. 1:17: "To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds" (NIV). In other words, God rewarded Daniel's stand for holiness by giving him a strong prophetic anointing and wisdom.
Daniel continued his strong walk of faith, even to the point of risking his life to honor God when it became illegal. Dan. 6:10 says, "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before" (NIV) This resulted in Daniel being thrown into a lions' den, a form of execution for praying to his God instead of to the king. God honored his stand of faith by closing the lions' mouth and causing God's name to be glorified above all the Babylonian gods. (See Dan. 10:11-28. Daniel was clearly a holy and godly man.
Yet in Dan. 9, we see him identifying with the sins of his father and confessing the sin and repenting on behalf of his people. His prayer, recorded starting at Dan. 9:4, begins, "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land..." The prayer continues, but I believe this is enough to give you the idea. Daniel says, "We have sinned and done wrong." Did Daniel personally sin and do wrong? No, he walked strongly in righteousness and was rewarded for it. He says, "We have not listened to the prophets." Again, Daniel was not personally guilty of the sins of his people. Yet he identified with his people and took ownership of their sins, confessing and repenting. He was able to do this because he was of that people group. Daniel would not be able to stand and repent for the Medes or the Persians or any other people group except the Hebrews. But because Daniel was a Jew, he was able to identify with the sins of the Jews, and confess those sins before God and repent for them on behalf of his people. And that is identificational repentance.
Following Daniel's example, we're able to stand in and confess sins and repent and plead God's mercy and forgiveness if we have some common ground with those we are representing. It could be on the basis of ethnic heritage, such as a white Americans confessing and repenting for the sins performed against the American Indians or First Nation People. It could be on the basis of sex, such as women standing in identificational repentance for those who have had abortions. It could be on the basis of some profession or shared interest, such as business executives repenting to God for the way "we" have made money an idol in our society. It can be on the basis of geographic location, such as people in a city repenting and confessing sins committed by the city's founding fathers hundreds of years before.
I would like to share one of my personal experiences in identificational repentance. I live up in the Oakland Hills. When we first bought our house, our neighborhood was not fully developed and people still used to come up to our hills from the flatland for various things. An occult group used to come up to make blood sacrifices (animals, not human) on the hill behind some of the houses that were being built.
One day I was walking my dogs on the trails behind the houses under construction. I happened across one of the altars that had been used for a blood sacrifice, probably the night before. The makeshift altar was still covered with blood and flies were swarming all over it. I had a strong sense that the ground had been defiled. I was careful not to touch the altar itself, but I did drop to my knees and begin to confess and repent to God for the idolatry and blood sacrifices that went on in this location, only a block from my house. I felt that God wanted me to call an intercessor friend and deal with this. So we fasted for 24 hours and then went back to the altar and did various types of prayer the Lord showed us to do, including a great deal of repentance for the blood sacrifice and asking God to purify the ground. We both had a sense it had been defiled by the blood sacrifice. After we were done, God spoke to me and said, "Teresa, if you had not repented on behalf of this blood sacrifice, your neighborhood and your home would have been destroyed by fire. But now I will spare your home and your neighborhood."
I did not understand what He was talking about. But a few months later, there was the famous Oakland "Firestorm" that swept through the Oakland hills, destroying many homes and neighborhoods. The fire was sweeping toward my neighborhood, uncontrollable by the firemen. Then it turned and went another direction, not coming to my neighborhood. I can't prove that the reason God spared my neighborhood was because of this identificational repentance Rosemary and I did at this altar, but I truly believe that is why He spared it.
Prophetic prayer is where we hear from God on what to pray. This can take different forms -- prophetic proclamation, or praying from divine revelation, or performing prophetic gestures.
Prophetic proclamation is where God puts His words in our mouth as we pray, and we are prophesying as we pray. Many years ago, I went to the U.S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena for some classes. The center met in some buildings that were a converted apartment complex and served as dorm rooms. The classroom was what used to be the "rec" room. Across the street from us was a large campus occupied by a cult called Summit International. Several of us would go across the street to walk the campus, witness to the cult members and also pray and intercede. One time we were praying and suddenly some words came out of my mouth. It actually surprised me at the time.
I began telling the campus that it was going to be used for God's glory and that a church would rise up on this property where God's tangible presence would dwell. I did not understand prophetic prayer back then, and that prayer seemed a little odd to me. But God's Spirit came on the others I was with and they began making similar prophetic prayers. Later on, the cult moved out of the property and the U.S. Center for World Missions took it over. Then the Renewal broke out in Toronto and also came to Pasadena and to a church leasing one of the buildings on that property from the U.S. Center for World Missions. That building is known as Mott Auditorium, and the church that uses it is pastored by Che Ann, and is known as a place where people come to meet God, where God's tangible presence dwells on an ongoing basis.
There are times when God will lead intercessors to make prophetic proclamations in prayer. There are many examples of this in Scripture. Let's look at one, the prophetic prayer from the man of Judah to the idolatrous altar that Jeroboam was sacrificing on. We see this in 1 Kings 13:1-2: "By the word of the Lord a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. He cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord: 'O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: "A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you." ' " And we see the fulfillment of this prophetic prayer in 2 Kings 23:8.
Another form of prophetic prayer is supernatural revelation for what God wants you to pray about. These are also referred to as "words of knowledge." I remember one time, when I was an intercessor for Doris and Peter Wagner. God woke me up in the middle of the night and told me to pray for Doris because she was in the hospital and her life was in danger. An intensity came on me and I prayed fervently for some time, and then the intensity left and I went back to sleep.
The next day, I called the Wagner's ministry office to find out what was going on. They told me Doris had a bone infection from a mosquito bite in Malaysia, where she had been doing a conference on deliverance. She had an intense fever and was in critical condition the previous night, but the fever had broken and she was in stable condition. I inquired for the time she was moved to critical condition and it was the same time I had been wakened to pray for her. That's an example of prophetic intercession where God gives you supernatural revelation on what to pray about.
We see Elijah acting in this type of supernatural revelation when the king of Syria wanted to attack Israel. Over and over again, Elijah got supernatural revelation of the Syrian king's battle strategies and reported them to the king of Israel, thus foiling the secret strategies. This happened so frequently that the Syrian king thought he had a spy in their midst. You can read the account in 2 Kings 6:8-12. (It is my personal theory that Elijah didn't just report the enemy's strategy to the king; I believe he also prayed that God would defeat the enemy and make the Israeli troops successful. He was very much a man of prayer.)
Finally, there will be times when the Lord will have us pray by using prophetic gestures, or prophetically acting out something through our actions. For instance, one time God assigned me to pray for a ministry. It was a good ministry, but every time they tried to do anything, obstacle after obstacle seemed to get in their way, rendering them ineffective. As I would pray for them, I had a sense of this large stone wall before me and I found I was making chopping gestures with my hands as though I were chopping at that wall. This continued over a three-week period.
I remember sitting on my hands one time to keep them from making the chopping gestures, because I didn't understand why I was doing that. The intensity and anointing to intercede just wasn't there when I repressed the gestures, so I stopped repressing them. Then one day, as I was praying for breakthrough and making these chopping gestures with my hands, I had a sense that a hole had been punched in the wall. It took only a few more minutes of these gestures and accompanying prayer for breakthrough, and it seemed like an entire section of the wall collapsed.
The intensity to pray also went away, so I stopped praying. Later that day, I heard from the ministry leader, who was amazed. It seems that everything fell into place, the visa and permits came through and several large financial donations toward their outreach program all came through that day. The obstacles weren't there anymore and they had a very successful outreach. Somehow in the process of praying for their breakthrough, I was prophetically acting out breaking a hole in the wall (representing the obstacles). The amazing part is that when the prophetic acting out was complete, the breakthrough came in real life.
There are many forms of prophetic acting out, from symbolically marching around a building (such as a church or school) praying for the strongholds against that place to come down like the walls of Jericho did, walking the streets and praying for God's presence to come to the area and claiming the ground where you walk as Joshua did, etc. Sometimes intercessors will find themselves making strange gestures such as the chopping motions described above, pointing their finger intentionally at an imaginary foe, using their hands to sweep something away, stomping their feet to trample the enemy underfoot, etc.
One of the early Bible examples of prophetic gestures as a form of prayer came from the life of Moses, when the Israelites had to fight Amalek's troops. The Bible records, in Ex. 17:8-13, "Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, 'Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.' So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword." In short, when Moses held up his hands (a prophetic gesture), his troops won, but when he let them down, his troops lost.