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