Levels of prayer, not levels in the sense of grading, but in the sense of distinct from. Paul exhorted that we should ‘with all kinds of prayer’, suggesting to me that the most simple of prayers are not to be spurned or mocked, and that there are ‘all kinds’, different kinds of prayer. I do not profess to be a great pray-er nor come with awesome insights but I do come alive when there seems to be the need to push in for prayer that touches on history.
Prayer is strange. What difference does prayer make? Does God need us to pray? Does he need x-number of people to pray for something to happen? Does he say – if enough of you request something then I will grant the request, leaving us not sure if he really wanted to answer in the first place or that he only responds to petitions above a certain level? Or is prayer for us rather than for God?
Some prayer I am sure does something for us. Jesus was asleep in the boat (I like Mark’s little addition, of being asleep on a pillow), the storm is raging, the disciples are afraid and wake him. He does not exhibit any fear; he does not call them to prayer; he simply rebukes the wind and the waves and asks why were they afraid! If we were the ones being called on to deal with the storm we would pray like crazy, drag up some Scriptures etc. The prayer would mainly be for us – to deal with our fear. That does not make the prayer illegitimate, but we probably can suggest that a whole lot of prayer is for us as we are not consciously living from the place of true rest, trust and security.
But not all prayer is for us. Abraham and the dialogue over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah can be rehearsed. Paul again and again calls the readers to pray or let’s them know of his own prayers for them:
- join in helping us by your prayers (2 Cor. 1:11)
- I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ… may give you (Ephes. 1:17)
- Pray in the Spirit at all times… persevere in supplications… (Ephes. 6:18)
- we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled (Col. 1:9)
- deveote yourselves to prayer (Col.4:2)
- pray without ceasing (1 Thess.5:17)
- I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions be made for everyone (1 Tim. 2:1)
Not all prayer is for us. Paul continually urges for prayer for others and is continually praying for others. A belief in an all-powerful God cannot nullify that there are actions of God that are dependent on prayer. I cannot get away from there are situations that change, there is an intervention of God as a result of prayer. I still believe that, and given that ‘today is here as a result of yesterday’, this is what brings me to life concerning the thought of prayer.
Land needs to be healed. The corporate memory is held in land. When memory is embedded in a person or in a land there is a response from memory that takes place, until that cycle is broken. Discovering the memory that is triggering the response, then bringing about a resolution to it is key. Anyone involved in counselling will recognise that and there are a variety of ways in which prayer ministry is exercised to open up a different future response. I consider land to be no different. Memories do not control the response, but the deeper the memory, the more it has been re-enforced the greater the effect, indeed it can be so strong that it manifests as a stronghold and controls.
Cycles of history; repetitive patterns. Those are the things we look for. I still believe that we can act as priests, as representatives of heaven and of a new future. To do that it seems there are two aspects that are called on. Bring the past to a conclusion through healing and release the future through declaration. In many cases any involvement will only be partial but will still move things on a step.
Repentance, touching the trauma is key for any resolution of the past. It seems that the closer a person is in some relational sense to what took place the more effective the repentance is, but the key is to be able to embrace the land. If a person embraces land there is an interaction that takes place, and often the person will experience the crap of the land before the land experiences the benefits of their life and walk.
In November 2014 I had a herniated disc in my back. The centre of the intense pain was manifested in my right ankle, and I was often unable to walk more than a few metres without taking a break. We did not take too long to realise it was in some way tied to the land. One morning as I woke (I call them waking visions) I saw a man lying on his back across Spain. I traced the image I saw on to a map. The results were (and continue to be) revealing. Two aspects struck me immediately. The centre of the man’s back was over Madrid (where the herniated disc was), the right ankle was exactly over where we were living (where all my pain was). Further the spine of the man ran from the head in Bilbao directly to Gibraltar, the place that Franco called the ‘dagger in the spine of Spain’. Fuelled now to pray we saw shifts, improvements and a few relapses. The last relapse I had was immediately at the moment when Madrid made their verbal response to Cataluña’s referendum / opinion poll on independence. With no pre-throught as I heard the response immediately my back seized… and very soon the realisation came that the time had dome for there to be a shift. My back had mirrored Spain, now Spain was to mirror my back. I like that as in our hands we now had leverage for the land.
When Gayle and I first entered Spain we did so bare-footed from the aircraft, through the terminal and to the car. A few days ago we poured salt at a political party headquarters that has had all-but 7000 major scandals in 40 years of history. We called for corruption to come out, and one of the last politicians that would represent that older school resigned within hours. I believe this stuff. In a few days we will be 11 hours away from here distance-wise to seek to a) bring a correction to what is remembered, b) revive a true memory and c) seek to reverse something that relates to the first murder of a believer by other believers in collusion with state power. If we can do some of that at any level we are looking for that to open up the way to pray through the expulsion of Muslims in Spain, all the way back to their entry at Gibraltar in 711.
These posts are not about convincing anyone of the truth of my beliefs. I am not accountable for anyone else’s beliefs but to live consistently with my own. I still believe we have to take responsibility for what has gone on in history, to see ourselves as the channels through which healing takes place and a future is opened up. Some of the activity might prove to be as much for us as the situation, but there remains an element where the prayer is necessary, and however it is worked out, God is limited as to what he can do without our co-operation. Those beliefs are still intact, and a shout, a kick, a jump like a big frog, a bag of salt, a bottle of wine, even the blow of a shofar can all be pulled in to add to any words that are spoken.