Day 5 - God Seeks Intercessors

6:00 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Are you ready to be an intercessor? Are you ready to up your game as an intercessor?

In Isaiah 59:16, it is written: And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor.

In this chapter of The Secret of Intercession, Murray talks of God's desire to have intercessors to have those that love "the people enough or who had sufficient faith in His power to deliver, to intercede on their behalf" (21).

God is looking for those people, those who love others enough and believe in him enough to prayer for others.

It's not an easy position. It was the position of Christ before he took his place on the throne. When Christ took the throne, man was given the obligation to extend God's kingdom.

As Murray writes, "He [Jesus] ever lives to pray. Prayer is the highest exercise of His royal prerogative as Priest-King upon the throne. All that Christ was to do in heaven was to be in fellowship with His people on earth" (22).

He also states that through prayer, God rules the world and his church.

PRAYER MATTERS. SIGNIFICANTLY. "God calls for intercessors: in His grace He has made His work dependent on them. He waits for them" (22).

As asked by Murray, How is intercession an active "partnership" with Jesus, the Great High Priest, who "ever liveth to make intercession" (Heb. 7:25) for us?

My initial, simple response about two years was we take Jesus' place on earth. We Jesus took his place beside God, humans were left to spread the word, to pray for others and ourselves. When we intercede, we connect to Jesus, to God.

My response hasn't changed much in two years. Prayer is active. From the actual speaking and emoting of prayer to the movement of that prayer to Jesus and the communication that occurs during it and the blessings that fall because of the lifting of the prayers. Just as I spoke in Day 4 about intercession and our readiness to yield to God, prayers connects us to Jesus, provides a direct link to his love for us, and that love--much like prayer--is active, too. Our intercession illustrates an active communication, movement, and love between us and Jesus, and the blessings that God gives because of the activity.


Stripping Is Good for the Soul

9:17 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

No, sorry, it's not THAT kind of party. I just knew the title would get you here.

The post IS about stripping, however, so sit back, have a read, and learn a bit more about me.

I do believe things happen for a reason, so I should have known that reading a post about "dying to self" from fellow author and Tag Team Sister in Christ Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts would propel me into my own dying episode.

Yesterday was a bad day for me. A lot of things in my life are coming to head. Recently, I compared it to an abscess, this growing pocket of pus that's so ready to be popped so that the poison can drain away, the pain can subside, and things can be made well.

I went to sleep with a heavy heart and woke up tired, battered, and a little bruised. I went to Facebook on my phone and saw I had a response on a quote I posted the day before by poet Gwendolyn Brooks: "I am a writer perhaps because I am not a talker."

A friend of mine, jokingly (kind of - lol) replied, "uhhh--You? Not a talker? I never noticed you having that problem! ;-)"

I took the time, while still in bed, to voice the following response: "... that was only because I took a liking to ya that I spoke, lol. And that God has a funny way of making me look normal than I really am, lol. Inside, I'm usually loathing that I have to speak."

Almost instantly, I paused. Something didn't sound right about what I had written although it was exactly what I believed and what I wanted to write.

A thought popped into my head, and I voiced it on Facebook:

I just wrote about how God has a funny way of making me look like I'm a good conversationalist and speaker when secretly I hate speaking in public. But perhaps maybe it's not about God being funny but about me being fearful of speaking in public and how I feel I am perceived that's the problem--especially when I've received nothing but praise for this act in the past. Food for thought for me this morning...on a lot about how I think of me.

How did I come to think that God was the funny one? LOL Seriously. I'm flawed. He isn't. I'm riddled with fear, insecurities, too many years of low self-esteem, and this constant (though I am working on all these things) need to make EVERYONE around me OK with me. He isn't. Perhaps, I'm the funny one because I allow my fleshy human self to believe that what I think about myself is true and God just likes to joke. Maybe I'm the funny one because even though I've read and I believe that I'm the head and not the tail, that I will soar on wings like eagles, that I will run and not grow weary, that I will walk and not be faint, that the Lord will prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies and anoint my head with oil, that I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me ... I haven't walked the walk of these beliefs.

I haven't stripped myself bare of myself, of this fleshy human that truly believes I know what's what ... that in the end it is I that knows everything there is to know about me, so surely others -- to include God -- are the funny ones when they try to present me in a manner that doesn't equal what I see when I look in the mirror, when I think of myself.

Just from this one quote, response, and my response; I have gotten this little, precious nugget of truth: I am greater than what I think I am. Now, this has nothing to do with pride. I'm not being boastful. I'm not patting self on the back so hard that I flip over. Ask anyone that knows me: it's hard for me to be that full of myself.

It's just that for the first time in a long time, the veil I've placed on me was removed. In an instant, I was stripped bare of my insecurities and my Shonell-made truths and saw THE truth: I'm great. There are things to be loved and admired about me. I'm worth more than I think I am. I am fantabulous. And it's OK to think it. And it's OK to SAY it. And it's OK to DECLARE it, and God would have it no other way.

How am I to receive the abundance he has for me ... or better yet, to REALIZE that I'm receiving the abundance and not let it pass me by if I don't strip myself before him and let HIS truth be known about me?


Day 4 - Intercession in the Plan of Redemption

6:00 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

The very last paragraph of Day 4 in Andrew Murray's The Secret of Intercession moves me:

Christian warriors are pleading with God for the power of heaven to be sent down into the hearts of men. Oh, that God might burn into our hearts this one thought: intercession in its power is according to His will and is most certainly effectual! (19)

As Murray states in this chapter, God sees intercession as the strongest power of man. It is "the highest expression of His people's readiness to receive and to yield themselves wholly to the working of His almighty power" (18).

This chapter provides a general narrative of our receiving of this power. We all know of Adam and his role in God's narrative to do as all that was with and through God. We know of the sin, and we know of the world falling under this sin. But God gave us Jesus, and through Jesus, who interceded for man as man, that we are giving this wonderful, empowering, life-changing power to intercede, to have "the right to claim and expect that God will hear prayer" (18).

Murray concludes this chapter with the following question: How does intercession show that God's people are ready to yield to His will and receive His blessings?

For me, intercession is our link, it is the chain that connects us to God, not just for him to hear us when we call, but for his being to flow and imbue us, to ignite us. When we lose that connection, when we get full of self, we see everything through our own eyes. We think we can control the world. We think we can fix all the problems. We think we can tackle any and everything, and we puff up with the pride of me, me, me. Usually, and often quickly, we realize that our vision, our goals, our wants, our actions do not fix everything. And they hardly give us the happiness we want to desperately. But that connection to God provides a disconnection to our self-centered thoughts and makes us connect to  what God wants and desires for us and for this world. It forces us to see ourselves as not the center of the universe but as an important cog that makes it all work out -- but only through our prayers to God that his will be done in and through us.

It makes me think about a conversation I had once with a pastor friend of mine. She had preached on a particular subject, and another pastor came to her after and asked, "How do you do that?"

She replied, "Do what?"

"Stay in the spirit like that?" He was referring to how she always seemed to be in communication with God in her endeavors.

Her response: "I didn't know I was supposed to leave His presence."

This ties back to Day 3 when Murray talks of "unceasing intercession." Are we supposed to leave His presence? Leave the daily conversations, interactions with him? I'm His beloved, and He is mine (Song of Solomon 6:3). If he's mine, I don't make plans to leave him, and I work to understand where he is coming from. Because I know he is for my good, I know his ways are for my good, too. Why wouldn't I intercede? Why wouldn't I stay in his space? Why wouldn't I open myself to his will and the receiving of his blessings for me and mine?


Day 3 - Man's Place in God's Plan

6:00 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

In Day 3 of Andrew Murray's The Secret of Intercession, Murray talks about man's place in God's plan. He starts with this passage:

The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's; but the earth hath he given to the children of men. - Psalm 115:16

Murray goes on to talk about the perfect goodness, holiness of God's place, heaven, but also how we are to make sure His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). It, like the other days of the book, are very brief, but in this day, his message is makes a powerful impact just like the first two: God has supplied us with an earth full for hidden potential and possibility and that God has instill man with the ability to uncover these hidden treasures and make the earth a better place for God's people. Intercession is one way in which we can begin to uncover these treasures. The more we conduct the "unceasing intercession of God's people" (15), the faster we will realize earth as it is in heaven.

As with all the other days, this "day chapter" ends with a question: What work has God begun and prepared for you to discover and fulfill?

These are the initial responses I had...

God has definitely given me words to use, to move. There are stories in me that need to be told, and I know they are not always meant for my good but for the good of those that might read and be sparked to write, sparked to feel, sparked to think, and sparked to move, to act. They are seeds he instilled in me, and it is my job to one, be a part of the world to see what is needed to help and to pick the best blooms from the literary plants within me to bring to the audience. Sometimes, these comes the way of mysteries. And other times, it will be Christian fiction, women's fiction, or some other genre.

God has given me a tender heart and an affinity toward women, the trials and tribulations they face and the encouragement they need to be uplifted and move into their destinies. For a long time, I have felt that God has wanted me to move into a direction in my life so that I can be an advocate for women, and I'm constantly in prayer with him to learn how I might be of service to him ... and to these women.

God has given me the role of THE FIXER in my group of friends, family, and loved ones, and I know that I often go the wrong direction with this fixer role, but I know that I can learn to be fixer that can help others and intercede on the behalf of others.

I constantly realize that I am a work-in-progress, so I'm constantly working to grow and be better in trying to discover and fulfill what God has begun in me.

What work has God begun and prepared for you to discover and fulfill?

Previous The Secret of Intercession Posts:

1- Day One - Intercession
2- Day Two - The Opening of the Eyes


A Conversation with Father

12:39 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

I sit, lethargic, before my computer, staring at the screen with a mind that is active but a body that wishes not to be put into motion.

In my right ear, I hear, "What's going on?"

I shrug as I feel the tears build because I know he hears me.

ME: Don't think I can do this.

GOD: Do what?

ME: This, this Ph.D. I mean, you and I both know I'm going to if for no other reason than I hate to disappoint, and I fear people looking at my differently.

GOD: Even though I told you it's not about what others think--it's about the good path you've chosen to take and the missions that must be accomplished while on that path...?

ME: Basically. (sighs) I just don't think I'm smart enough. I'm not really smart, you know? I think I play smart well, but I don't embody it all that much.

Silence ensues, and I look around, sit still, hoping to hear him again.

Finally, he sighs, and I feel his hand on my back. I sob.

GOD: Didn't I tell you to apply to this school...and just this school?

ME: You did, and initially, I thought you just needed some humor in your celestial life. Who applies to ONE school?

GOD: You.

ME: You got me. (sighs) But, Dad, you've seen me. My life is so overwhelming, and most days I'd rather sit and stare off into space instead of work, and some days, some days the depression hits so

hard that sitting and staring is like too much work.

GOD: Do you remember when you got that call from the school, three hours before the closing time for applications to be turned in?

ME: (shudders) Oh my God...sorry, I mean, yes. I was so scared, and I knew for sure then you were trying to set me up.

GOD: You had three hours to get a recommendation to the school. And what happened?

ME: Found the one person in the world least likely to help me.

GOD: And what did she do?

ME: Help me. Big time.

Silence collects, but I don't fret. I hear his breathing against my ear. I smile.

Then frown.

ME: Daddy, I just don't...(sighs)...I feel old. I feel done. I feel so out of my element right now. About any and everything. Not even my academics can squash it, and in the past, it could.

GOD: Remind me, who was given a fellowship their first year, a fellowship that helped with living expenses and needs?

ME: Me, but I don't think...

GOD: And who finished coursework in a year and a half, despite insecurities in the first semester and unnecessary people and circumstances in the second?

ME: I get what...

GOD: Who?

My body trembles from the thunder in his voice.

ME: (soft) Me.

GOD: And who suffered a major bout of depression that left her spending three of her six months for qualifying exam prep crying, balled up on the bed, the sofa, barely eating and not leaving the

house--yet still managed to do an excellent job on the exams?

I shake my head as a warmth fills my body.

ME: Me.

GOD: And who, still in the midst of that depression, was able to get both her dissertation proposal and her IRB proposal accepted?

I point at myself.

GOD: Say it. Speak life.

ME: Me.

God sighs. Despite myself, I chuckle.

GOD: Me what?

ME: I did that. (rubs neck) But Dad, this time it's different. I'm tired. I'm frustrated. I'm scared. I'm worried. I'm unsure. I'm resigned. I'm all over the place and no place. I feel so alone.

(feels his hand on shoulder) Although I shouldn't say that, considering you are with me, and with you, I got everything.

GOD: Day in, and day out.

My body shakes, and sobs increase as God wraps me in his arms. He rubs my hair and drops a faint kiss upon my forehead.

GOD: I have a question.

ME: Yes, Dad.

GOD: Do you trust me?

ME: Without question.

GOD: Oh, there are questions--you listed them earlier. You say you trust me, but you're scared, worried, unsure. Doesn't sound like a trusting person.

I cast my eyes down.

ME: Forgive me, Father.

GOD: Answer me this: Do you believe that when I tell you to do something it's for your good?

ME: Yes.

GOD: Who told you to pursue your Ph.D. finally?

ME: (silent for a few seconds) You. (lifts a finger emphatically) BUT, perhaps starting the journey wasn't about finishing it. Perhaps you want me to go to learn or figure out something else.

GOD: (chuckles) Nice try. So, the recommendation, the classes, the managing-through despite depression, the qualifying exams, the proposals--all of that was to teach you about something else not

related to the Ph.D.?

ME: (unsure) Perhaps?

GOD: So, I brought you all this way to say, "I'm just playing" and leave you stranded?

I don't speak. He's right, which convicts me right where I sit.

Before I can utter, "I'm sorry," before I can tell him that I trust him and it's me I have doubts about, he pulls me close and whispers, "Come, rest upon me. Let your worries and cares go play for

a while."

I close my eyes just as he kisses my hair and whispers, "It is all finished, my daughter."

I feel those words move and settle just beneath my heart.


Day 2 - The Opening of the Eyes

7:50 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Andrew Murray, in The Secret of Intercession, starts day two by talking about Elisha's prayers -- first for the God to protect his young servant (and in doing so, allowing him to see chariots of fire and horsemen upon a mountain) and second for the Syrian army, that had been struck with blindness and led into Samaria, to have their eyes open. Murray goes on to talk about the importance of OPENING OUR EYES, "to ask that our eyes may see the wonderful provision that God has made for His church in the baptism with the Holy Spirit" (8) and to ask "that God may open the eyes of those of His children who do not as yet see the power that the world and sin have upon His people" (9).

This opening of our eyes is not just about us seeing what's in the real world, what's going on right before our faces, though this is vital, too. It's also about asking our father to allow us to see in the spiritual sphere as well.

At the end of the day two section, a question is posed: As your eyes are opened to the work God is doing around you, what do you see? How can you join in Christ's work?

When I initially came upon this question a few years ago, I wrote, I see people hurting. I see broken hearts, minds, bodies. Broken families. Broken education. Broken everything. I really want to help women. Young women. Grown women. Mature women. I want to help them, through God, see their worth and move strongly into their lives.

Years later, these answers hold true for me...with a bit more umph than in the past. But I realized that I didn't look to the " God is doing around you" part of the question. I know, I know that God is doing amazing works around me. I see them everything in my own walk, I see them when my friends and loved ones tell of the news in their lives. When God is moving, and he's always moving, and you open your eyes to that moving, you can feel and experience all that he offers.

I often ask myself in prayers for God to press himself into me so fully that when I open my eyes, I see things as he does. I think it's part of the reason why I'm such a feeler. I sense a lot of things from others, from the spaces I go into. When others are going through, I feel it as if it's my pain, and it often causes me much physical pain, angst, tears, and the only thing that can alleviate that pain initially is prayer.

Many of the times, it's not something I see see, not with my eyes--if that makes sense. It's always hard for me to explain this part of me, but I know I'm not the only one who gets like this, so I know someone will get it.

Say I'm looking at John. With my regular eyes, I see John at a table, laughing, cracking jokes, being the life of the party at the table where he sits. Nothing on the surface shows anything. Yet with my spiritual eyes, I feel the pain that lies beneath that surface. Something's going on. I may not know what it is, but I can feel it and it gets heavy on me, and it makes me cry, and makes me feel sick to my stomach, and makes me nauseous, and whatever else emotions and reactions that what's truly going on brings about.

In the moment, I immediately ask God to dispatch angels, to alleviate the pain, to help me use the power given to me by him to pray, to do what I need to do on my part to help.

Because of this way of seeing, I see, so often, the pain of others. So when I see the question above, when it asks "what do you see", I see the pain and suffering. When I read an article, or see a news story on the tele, or hear a story from a friend, etc., I can taste the pain in those circumstances and want to help eradicate the pain. I often get very upset and become unwell when I think I can't help, when I allow my human self to ask, "How can I, one person, do anything?"

But with prayer, with faith, with action, we can do all things because Christ strengthens us.

And I want to join in Christ's work by helping others. God has given me gifts, and I know that I can utilize those gifts in a Christian, faith-based way, to reach others.


Day 1 - Intercession

3:34 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Intercession ~ prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another

In Andrew Murray's book, The Secret of Intercession, day one focuses on intercession--its meaning and its importance in our lives. It's a rather short chapter, but there is a vitality to it, a read this now and act feeling to it.

At the end of the day one section, a question is posed: How are those who pray for others blessed themselves?

When I think on this question, two verses instantly come to mind.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Praying for others is the epitome of that love we are to give to others, share with the world. So often, it is easy to turn our cameras on ourselves, to get so focused on self that we forget others. We worry about our situations, we bemoan our situations to others, but sometimes we don't take the time to do the thing God really wants us to do--love one another and show that love.

When you are staunched deeply in prayer, it moves you; the words bring power to you and to the situation at hand. It enacts the power that we have as children of God - I can't think of a better blessing to befall the prayer warrior.

Prayer is like a boomerang. When you release it, its favor always, in some form, comes back to you. It can come back to you directly as what you release, its goodness and love, is giving to you in the form of something God knows you desire. It can come back to you indirectly as your prayers cause a shift in someone's life that empowers them to open their mouths, their hearts in prayer of others. Before you know it, you're getting phone calls from friends and family members that start with, "You won't believe the incredible thing that just happened to me...." And you WOULD believe it because you know what the chain reaction of prayer concludes with...blessings falling down.

This just popped into my head while I was writing. I think about prayer almost in the same way I think about how I loan money typically. If a friend or fam member asks to borrow money, I typically give it without thinking about getting it back. Someone's in need, I help, move on. In and out. It makes me feel good to be able to help. It makes me want to help even more when I can. And, even more amazingly, something always happens in which I receive some favor back that I know is somehow tied to my giving in the first place. I think about prayer in the same way. I don't pray to get something back. I pray because I'm called to do it, and I need to do it. I pray and move on because I gave it to God and he's going to do what he's going to do. When that person comes back to me with a positive report, that is a blessing for me, too, because it allows me to see God's goodness and keep it close to me as evidence. Seeing the returns that come from prayer is a great incentive to keep prayer going.

There are emotional blessings that arise from praying for others, too. When I have purposely detached myself from current goings on to attend to prayer for someone, it takes all of me to be quiet, to listen to God, and to pray what I need to pray. And when the Holy Spirit latches on to that moment and causes you to tingle from the inside out and speak to God in tongues and sometimes fall to the ground on your face, the emotions are fully activated in the moment. It's hard to even find a word to describe that kind of emotional blessing...but after one of those prayers, for me, I'm left so deliciously, emotionally spent, that all I can do is sit off by myself, laughing and crying at the same time, feeling my mouth tremble with more words to God and thinking, Thank you, thank you, thank you.

All of these things (and more) reflect the blessings that fall upon the prayer warrior, the one who opens his/her mouth and pray in favor of another.



1:41 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

What are you blessed for?


Kickstarting Intercession

11:49 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

When I first arrived in Lubbock, TX, I started buying several books on prayer and on spiritual warfare (that comes with its own long story). One of the books on prayer I bought was The Secret of Intercession by Andrew Murray [buy!].

It's a small book, less than 150 pages, but within it, you find 31 days of lessons that aid you in becoming the great prayer warrior you are destined to become.

Around 2003, prayer became a very integral part of my life. Not so much for the praying I did for myself but for the praying I did for others. Many times, at three or four in the morning, I would be pinched out of my sleep with the need to pray. As hard as it is sometimes for me to move with my back and knees, without effort, I would slip from the bed to the floor, hands clasped together, to pray fervently. Sometimes I wept. Sometimes I ended up pacing my home, speaking in tongues and unleashing whatever it was that weighed my chest.

But it was never for me. God would just put in my spirit, Pray. Sometimes, I would sense that it was for a man...or a woman...or a child...or a family, but often it was just that one syllable word -- pray -- and the strength found within it.

I read The Secret of Intercession back in 2009, but a few days ago, as I was looking through my boxes for a bible for one of my bros, I came across the book again, and something in my spirit said, Get it. Read it. You've learned and you'll feel new things from reading it now.

And so I am. I'm going to read it and blog on the questions each section poses. Starting tomorrow. For a while now, I've been praying for some clarity in many facets of my world, and this is a wonderful activity to get me back to being focused with my Father.

I can't wait.