Intercession, Initiative and Politics
November 16, 2008
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Intercession “and” Initiative
40 Days of Prayer – Most of us were invited via the prophetic / intercessory movement to some level of prayer prior to the last election. I’m all for that. However, the guy I voted for lost, and most of the intercessory types are feeling a little disoriented right now. Some are so disillusioned they are ready to abandon the political process, give up on the nation and withdraw into the security of church. It’s an emotion fueled by bad theology. I personally come from a prophetic vein and one of my personal, written goals is to consistently respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit in prayer – particularly in the night season. I’m a big fan of prayer and intercession.
However, I want to suggest that the popular concept of prophetic intercession advocated at apostolic levels is being adjusted to include initiative; or needs to be. Right now Christians are sorting through the concept of God’s sovereignty on this front. Let me start with a definition:
“God is Sovereign” is generally understood to mean God controls everything. Actually, he can intervene whenever and however He chooses, but He most often allows events to take their course to allow us to occupy our role of becoming Kings and taking responsibility for our land and calling. (Read the chapter on “Who is God” in Releasing Kings for more detail.)
Intercessory prayer is an effort to elicit the power of God to intervene on behalf of the Kingdom and accomplish things like elect the president that best represents Christian values. Here’s the rub. I’m not convinced intercession is all we need. Here’s what is really needed: as a Christian community we have to produce political candidates that can attract a larger following and do a better job of serving all of the public once in office. For the most part, that’s not something we seem to be even trying to do. Here are two examples where God intervenes occasionally and expects us to intervene to implement his will the rest of the time:
Jesus did feed the 5000 and once paid His taxes with a coin from the fishes mouth. Both events represent miraculous intervention. However, the normal routine was that his financial provisions came in very practical and surprising sources. The Magi gave gold, incense and myrrh at his birth, he worked as a carpenter, and women supported Him during his ministry years. Without diminishing the importance of prayer, we must realize intercession is not the source of all our needs. Kings meet the needs – that’s us.
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. Luke 8:1-3 NIV
Sarah Palin was the recent Republican vice presidential candidate. She is a Christian mother of 5, and the governor of Alaska. After listening to her speak, I am convinced she is a great example of a Christian who is anointed to serve in the political arena – a King. There are others like her and there will be a great many more. She’s gritty, practical, determined, talented and popular. I hear the applause of Heaven on her behalf. Here’s the secret we have been missing: in the political realm, the right and righteous candidate will have the support of both the saved and the unsaved.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Prov 29:2 NKJV
When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding. Prov 28:12 NIV
My point is that the intercessory prayer movement generally inspires people to go to conferences, prayer meetings, and their prayer closet safe inside the four walls of the church. The idea of personal initiative, active participation, running for office, seldom crosses our mind. To divorce action from intercession is to create a totally passive ministry called “the intercessor”. We should be equipping people in prayer plus showing them how to get out in the world and implement what God has shown them. Intercession is what we should do on our way to work – on our way to proactively possessing our land.
Judgment on the land – Some of our Christian leaders are alluding to God’s judgment on the United States because of our increasing secularism, abortion, gay rights, etc. The mistaken version of sovereignty might tempt us to believe that hurricanes, terrorist attacks and recessions are all a reflection of God’s wrath against the nation. I don’t think they are. That attitude just erodes our confidence to go out and solve the nation’s problems. Judgment is a future and personal reality, but I think the primary influence on the course of events now is the principle of sowing and reaping. Here’s an example.
Abortion – the rate of abortion in the US is about 23% of all pregnancies Although it’s declining, something like 40 million births have been terminated – a whole generation lost to a belief that there wasn’t room for them in our society when in reality that void has been filled by another race from another nation. The abortion rate in Mexico is 0.07% and the number of immigrants, legal and otherwise, make up 30% of our total foreign born population which is, amazingly, about 40 million!
Sowing and reaping – people who abort their children are replaced by people who don’t. Not too complicated to figure out. Lest we think the US is the worst, the abortion rate is Russia is 52%! We should do something about those babies as well.
Theocracy – At first glance, the idea of advancing the Kingdom can be thought of as electing Godly politicians and having enforceable laws that reflect Biblical values. Although I vote in that direction, that cannot really be the goal. Think about it. Would you want a society where Biblical values were imposed like Sharia law? Most of us have had a church experience that felt like that!
Our real goal is to create a society where the wheat and tares can live together with the freedom to choose to serve God or not. God himself has always given people the freedom to make good or bad choices; so should we. That’s liberty. Reaping the consequences of bad choices is the purpose of justice in our legal system. Our goal is to rule and reign over creation but not other people. For example, we subdue the environment by controlling pollution but we liberate people to freely exercise their gifts and talents. Maybe we should drop the “us-versus-them” attitude. After all, some of those tares and goats change their minds and become wheat and sheep. In fact, you and I were once in the wrong camp!
It might be tempting to dream of a spirit-filled president and a nice tight theocracy in congress and the courts with morality police (scribes and Pharisees) to implement God’s agenda… but then again, maybe not. That doesn’t describe the Kingdom of God we have in mind. What if we just shoot for “one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all”, knowing that not everyone will spend their liberty wisely. That’s God’s attitude. As Christians, our political goal isn’t just our own self-interest; it’s to preserve the right to choose Jesus and the right not to choose Him, and to live the example that draws people to Him. That “free to choose” culture Americans are famous for creates a healthy tension in the marketplace of ideas that we should preserve; it’s not easy or simple to balance liberty and justice. However, our “idea” is Jesus and we need to see how compelling and wonderful that relational lifestyle is over every other option, regardless of who’s running the show. In the case of abortion, the real tragedy is not that it’s been legal since Roe v. Wade in 1973; it’s that 23% of the time we choose it! Can you see that electing politicians to change the law falls short of our real mandate: giving people the reasons and the power to make good choices.
The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us — you, your son and your grandson — because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.” 23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” Judges 8:22-24
And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” 1 Sam 8:7-9
Loving the Lost – One of the trade marks of the Kingdom is love. That’s how I got saved. I was shocked by the level of Jesus’ love for me. The love I received from other believers caused my heart to yearn to be part of the Kingdom. When we point intercession and spiritual warfare at other people and put them in the opposing camp, we lose that message.
Let’s measure this one by our enemies. Do you think the bad (secular) guys feel love, or at least respect, from the good guys in the Kingdom? They need to. We’re not going to win them over any other way. They are so afraid of a Christian theocracy that they are busy building their own secular theocracy to prepare for the spiritual warfare that we seem to be talking about.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 NIV
Bottom line – the apostolic, prophetic, healing, and intercessory prayer movements have taught us that God can and does intervene supernaturally. The story doesn’t end with signs and wonders. That’s just part of the equipping process for a well rounded disciple. Now we need to release Kings in our society that will roll up their sleeves and turn the theory of revival and reformation into practice by getting involved in business, education, the arts, and government to display the real hope of glory: Christ in you. America’s finest hour is yet ahead; it will come when believers display His glory in the marketplace, in every nation.
Note: Any time we try to articulate a new aspect of Releasing Kings we do so with the awareness that the first attempt is rather flawed. Please feel free to comment. Your thoughts and ideas are welcome.
John & Sue (are dancing – Join us)
Harold is dancing too … with Linda
Opportunity! – I helped Jayston Tunnelle (a pastor from Liberia) write a business plan for a grocery store in Monrovia. We need someone with experience in retail / groceries to review it and we need an investor to make it a reality. The details of the business start-up and Jayston’s contact info are on the link.
You’re invited into the vision to release Kings; communicate the message, make the money, and do the mission.
1.The Message – Our first goal is to get the Releasing Kings message into the hands of the messengers that will carry it… do it, preach it, teach it, example it.
2.The Money – The second goal is to help Kings break out of poverty by networking them with practical opportunities to prosper. We want to introduce them to the right people, the right opportunity, and the right financial approach.
3.The Mission – Network Kings with opportunities to mix business and missions. Accomplish the great commission through the marketplace.
You can get your copy of Releasing Kings for Ministry in the Marketplace or Desire to Destiny at