Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My journey to making history through prayer - Part 3

So yesterday I gave you many of the reasons why the last thing in the world I wanted to do was apply the label of "intercessor" to my life.

First let me say, I've discovered that labels aren't really that important but functions are.  I've come to realize that what you call a person - their title or label, isn't really all that significant, but the purpose they fulfill certainly is.

As a side note, I've found that although they don't advertise it, most pastor's wives are intercessors,  at least if they have been in the ministry for any significant period of time.  You have to be - you won't survive for the long haul in the pastorate without becoming a praying person.  All  pastors or their spouses won't label themselves an intercessor but most will tell you that they prioritize prayer.  Quite frankly most of them that I know don't care about receiving a title for it, or recognition - they just see it as an essential tool in their spiritual toolbox.  At the heart of it is, it doesn't matter what you call it, as long as you PRAY.

So what did I do when God spoke to me about this?  For the majority of our ministry, I distanced myself from the "intercessors" of the church.  I avoided the "intercessory prayer meeting" of the churches we pastored and stayed away from "that group" because at the time,  I didn't want to be seen as chiming in or harmonizing with the weirdness or negativity that emanated from the group, especially as the pastor's wife. 

My solution for years was to take up the call to intercede in private.  I now regret that decision.  There is nothing wrong with that decision for the majority of people, in fact intercession is not an "up front" ministry,  it is a behind the scenes one for the most part.  The problem with keeping it exclusively private in my case is that good things usually don't come from the leader trying to lead from the background.  This is especially true when there are serious problems going on in a specific area.  A vacuum in leadership will always be filled, the question is, what or who will it be filled with? 

My avoidance of the intercessory prayer meetings in the church for all those years was not good, since we were the pastors of the church.  I do have some regrets and made some mistakes but I'm not dwelling on them, simply learning from them and living out what I've learned currently.

If I had been in the group when these things were happening, I might have been able to stop some of that negativity, although not all. In the majority of cases someone was in charge of the prayer ministry when we came.  It's challenging to un-seat someone because of the "God card" being pulled out,  I knew I was sure to hear, "God called ME to lead this prayer ministry, and now the pastor's wife is taking it over..." and to some degree I walked in fear of that.  For years I made decisions based on fear and not faith.  That is a failure in my ministry that I now regret and am determined not to repeat.

In more recent times in our ministry there has been a change.  First, I am not longer held captive to fear or intimidation. Like most people, I dislike confrontation.  But as leaders we have a choice to walk in fear or faith.  We have to do what's right.  I like to say, "If you do what's right, it will catch up with you."  At times it's not easy, but I've never been sorry that I did what was right.  One difference is that now I do it sooner rather than later.  Delayed obedience is disobedience.  This is a tough lesson I've learned.  One book I recommend on this topic is, "Breaking Intimidation" by John Bevere.  Every pastor  and pastor's wife need to read that book, in my opinion. 

Second, I went full blast in teaching about intercession, especially with the women.  As much as I hate to admit it, 99% of the problems on this subject we had down through the years came from ladies.  I invest in the women of CC by teaching them about true intercession, pentecostal prayer, the proper use of the gifts, etc.  Tomorrow here on the blog I'm going to share with you how God led me to personally do that and some things we're doing that are working.  I'm hoping it will help those of you who are pastoring or leading and experiencing some challenges.

We have a facebook prayer group and it is very active with prayer going on there pretty much 24/7.  It is heavily monitored with an admin making sure posts stay on track with no inappropriate postings.   I needed another responsibility like  I needed a hole in the head but there is NOTHING more important than prayer.  I now lead both weekly corporate intercessory prayer meetings at our church.   Before taking on the responsibility for both of these prayer meetings I made some decisions as to how the prayer meetings would be run that have ensured their success, whether I am present - or not.  I do lead them 99% of the time but if I am out of town or such, most of the time someone else runs the meeting and goes just as smoothly as if I was there.

Friday, I'm going to share some tips on how to lead effective weekly prayer meetings at your church that do not EVER derail into gossip or anything flaky and inappropriate.  Stay tuned!

By the way, NONE of my goal in posting this is to give an attitude that I've arrived or know it all about this.  I'm learning DAILY and quite frankly a lot of the people who read this blog have much to teach me!  (And maybe you will in the comment stream...or by sending me a private note as a lot of you do --  I'd welcome it.)  Please take whatever I have to say from my experience as a blessing and feel free to add to what I'm sharing the next two days with any helpful hints that might cause us at Celebration to go to a new level in making history through prayer!  


3 comments:

Melissa said...

I am totally loving this series!

Deanna said...

I'm so glad! I totally love YOU! :)

Women of Worth said...

All I can add to this is a BIG AMEN!

Thanks! I'm passing this one on to my hubby!

Love you!