“The great serpent has coiled himself around the globe, and who shall set the world free from him?” This was the message from the “prince of preachers,” Charles Spurgeon.
If the serpent had a strong grip in Spurgeon’s day, what can be said about our own? Is the grip of the enemy the reason a new breed of radical, fierce, yet humble and broken intercessors is emerging on the scene? Remember Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.” We are seeing a joining together of the offices of priest and prophet. After years of observing the ravages of the serpent’s hold, it is time for a company of anointed prophetic intercessors to come forth and lay hold of God’s promises for our generation.
One of the most significant yet hidden vessels of the New Testament is the prophetess Anna. After seven years of married life, she was suddenly widowed. We do not know how she lost her husband, if she had children or whether she was left all alone. All we are told is that this sacrificial woman, now age 84, extravagantly devoted the rest of her years to the ministry of prayer and fasting, waiting in the Temple for the coming of the Messiah.
“There was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers” (Luke 2:36–37).
We do not know the age at which Anna married. In all likelihood she was young, possibly 17 or even younger. If so, she was widowed by age 24 and then devoted the next 60 years of her life to priestly intercession. In the event that she married a little later in life than was normal for her culture, let’s say at 37, then she was widowed at 44 and had spent 40 years waiting on God. Or say she got married late in life, at 67. By the time her husband departed, she was the ripe old age of 74. That would mean she had spent 10 years in the Temple.
Whew! Whether it was 10 years or 40 or 60, she had been at the Temple for a long time, never leaving but crying out to the Lord day and night with prayer and fasting. Anna must have been consumed with a burning passion sustained those many long years in what some would consider a state of inactivity.
Like you, I have seen numerous prayer ministries start but few continue. It takes a prophetic vision to continue such a ministry long-term. You need a clear revelation of your target, purpose and goal. Prayer ministries that endure over a period of years, I have found, are those that operate from a context of inspiration. But what inspires them? Burdens and crises come and go. What motivates intercessors or intercessory groups over the long haul?
Only one thing. Like the praying prophetess Anna—and like David, the shepherd-king—we must have a consuming vision of the One we serve. First and foremost we need a vision of our Lord Himself. After all, He is the goal and prize of life.
In what way can Anna be considered a prophetess? The Scripture does not tell us that she wore a coat of camel’s hair or ate locusts and wild honey. I doubt that she pointed a long, snarling finger at people and said brazenly, “Thus saith the Lord!” revealing the secret sins of their hearts. We have no clue that she ever confronted the prophets of Baal like Elijah of old or called down fire from heaven. In fact, we find not even one recorded prophecy from this devout woman.
If she did not give personal prophetic words, then what was her prophetic ministry? She was a woman of the secret place, not with a public ministry at all but interceding in keeping with the purposes of God for her generation. The expression of her prophetic ministry was her enduring intercession. She was a prophetic, intercessory Jesus fanatic!
When Joseph and Mary brought 8-day-old Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord, “At that very moment [Anna] came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
Undoubtedly Anna’s intercessory burden had included searching through the prophetic promises that had not yet been fulfilled. This verse in Luke tells us that she “continued to speak of [Jesus] to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” You see, Anna was looking for a Deliverer, the Messiah, the hope of Israel. She was one of a special task force of prophetic intercessors whom God had ordained for that generation.
They were the ones who were listening and watching for the Lord’s appearing. Like Joshua they were waiting at the doorway of the tent of meeting in hopes that they would be the first to see the shining forth of the Lord’s great presence. Anna was doubtless praying through those beloved prophetic promises of a coming Messiah.
The Lord is searching for an “Anna Company” in our day, intercessors who will pray through the promises of the Second Coming of our lovely Lord and Messiah. Who will pave the way for the coming of the Lord? New recruits are wanted and the Holy Spirit is sending out invitations today. Have you signed and returned yours?
Many of the greatest intercessors of our time have been women. Their sensitivity of spirit, their passion for the things of God, the readiness with which they yield their hearts to Him to plead His cause—all position women for this great calling. It was a woman who anointed Christ prophetically beforehand for burial. Women remained at the cross when the rest of the disciples fled. Women were the first to proclaim, “He is risen!”
The real issue, of course, is not whether you are male or female. To be part of this prophetic, intercessory “Anna Company,” all you need is an ever-growing conviction of the purposes of God and a desire to pray through God’s promises until you see them fulfilled. These revelatory warriors know how to P.U.S.H.—Pray Until Something Happens!
In our day and time the Holy Spirit is drawing together a people who will stand united in a congregation, city or region. God is wooing ones and twos to find one another as covenant prayer partners. He is summoning the leaders in an area to stand together and fight. He is calling all of us in His body to join hands and collectively take our places until the promises of a great, end-time visitation for our generation have come to pass.
Let us arise, O Church, put off our slumber and cry out until our eyes, like Anna’s two thousand years ago, behold Christ. It is time for a bunch of Holy Ghost P.U.S.H.ers to show up on the scene.?
What is prophetic intercession? It is the place where the ministry of the priest and prophet unite. A passage in Jeremiah wonderfully portrays this: “If they are prophets, and if the word of the Lord is with them, let them now entreat the Lord of hosts … ” (Jer. 27:18).
Prophetic persons do not simply pronounce the word of the Lord only; they pray the promise back to Him! In so doing they actually give birth to it and bring it into being.
Prophetic intercession, therefore, paves the way for the fulfillment of the prophetic promise.
Prophetic intercession is our conspiring together with God, “breathing violently” into situations through prayer to bring forth life. When God’s people in community have the spirit of grace and supplication poured out on them (see Zech. 12:10), they share a joint sense of divine possibility and become excited that circumstances are about to change. The old limits and expectations of what God wants to accomplish are radically overturned.
Prayer embraces new horizons, challenges and possibilities. Suddenly intercessors are liberated from considering conditions from a merely human perspective. As Ephesians 2:6 tells us, we have been “raised up with [Christ], and seated with Him in the heavenly places.” These focused warriors now begin to peer intently from a heavenly vantage point. They see with the discerning eyes of the Holy Spirit. Their intercession assumes a revelatory dimension. As they gather up the promises God has willed for their day and age, they stake claim to them tenaciously in the judicial courts of heaven.
Some years ago I took a train from Heidelberg to Rosenheim, Germany—a six-hour excursion in the middle of the night. While attempting to rest on the train, I kept hearing the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit within. I know He was talking to me as an individual, but He was also imparting a burden for a many-membered band of people to come forth.
Here is what I heard that dear Dove convictingly speak:
Where are My Daniels? Where are My Esthers? Where are My Deborahs? And where are My Josephs?
Repeatedly I heard His piercing, relentless plea:
Where are My Daniels? Where are My Esthers? Where are My Deborahs? And where are My Josephs?
I state with conviction that you, reading this article right now, were created “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). For such a prophetic intercessory task God brought you forth. Will you arise and be one of His radical revolutionaries? Will you be one of the answers to His persistent plea?
Many vacancies exist; you can still sign up. It is not too late to answer the call, volunteer for on-the-job training and be commissioned as one of God’s servant-warriors. I think I can hear drumbeats in the background. The march is beginning. Yes, humble, persistent warriors are aligning themselves under God’s command.
There Is an Urgency Right Now
In closing, I want to release an appeal for this type of intercession once again! It is urgent. It is critical! Now hear me out.
The first night after I moved into my new place in Franklin, Tennessee, last summer, I had a warrior angel come and stand at the end of my bed. I had not seen this angel for 26 years! It was dressed in a military uniform and pronounced, “ATTENTION! Be on the Alert!”
I was electrified by the resounding voice of that angel waking me up in the middle of the night. I could not go back to sleep that night even if I wanted to. It is time! Now is the hour for God’s prophetic intercessors to engage once again!
I can hear another sound coming forth: “Calling all watchmen! The time has come for you to mount your walls.” Let’s restore the lost art of prophetic intercession.
Who will answer the call? Will you join me in making history?
James W. Goll is the president of Encounters Network, director of Prayer Storm, and coordinates Encounters Alliance, a coalition of leaders. He is director of God Encounters Training, an e-school of the heart, and is a member of the Harvest International Ministries apostolic team. James is the author of numerous books and has also produced multiple study guides and hundreds of audio and video messages. This article was excerpted from his book Radical Faith, Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2011. Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved.
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