Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Book of the Semi-Month Club

Spoiler alert: Instead of MG or YA fiction, I'm talking adult nonfiction today. After all, it's required reading and in these frantic days even I don't have a novel going. (Feel free to come at me with the thermometer and aspirin.) I'll be back to normal next time, especially since the library now has a few more well-anticipated novels waiting for me. Should I be able to get them read. I was packing up dishes last night at my mother's and realized that between this move and the rest of my life I'm going to be solid busy, morning-noon-and-night busy, for the rest of this month if we're going to pull off this move and still manage to pay the movers for only two hours. But I'll spare you the whining, since who's not busy?

I mentioned a month or so ago that I'm enrolled in a ministry school class on prayer. One of the books I have to read is The Prophetic Intercessor by James W. Goll, published by Chosen Books. I was first introduced to the concept of prophetic intercession around 2003, and if you're anything like me it sounds confusing at first. What does foretelling the future have to do with praying on another's behalf? Well, my two answers are "it's not about foretelling the future" and "a lot."

Remember Jonah and the whale? (Although the Bible calls it a fish, and as we all learned in elementary school science, a whale is not a fish.) Jonah got swallowed because he was running away from God. He was a prophet, and God had told him to go to the city of Ninevah and preach in the streets about its wickedness, warning the people to repent. He wanted so badly to avoid this that he jumped on a ship to elsewhere and was caught in a storm at sea. Anyway, once he got out of the fish, Jonah went to Ninevah and announced, "Forty more days and Ninevah will be destroyed." But the people repented and changed their ways, God had compassion, and canceled the destruction. This very likelihood was what had made Jonah angry in the first place. He said, in effect, "I went out and made a spectacle of myself telling them their city would be destroyed, and it didn't happen! I look like a fool!" So -- does a prophet foretell the future? Not exactly. Not even most of the time. A prophet speaks the word of God, as either revealed to him or her or gleaned from the Bible. People can respond or fail to respond to that word and either bring it to pass or change it.

Now it becomes easier to see what Goll means by prophetic intercession. The intercessor can speak what God is saying (what the Bible has to say on the subject, what the "still small voice" is telling him or her, or both) about the situation in prayer, knowing that this is God's will on the matter. In this way, the intercessor truly becomes a go-between -- not just "an attorney" representing the need before God, but as someone who can pray more accurately because of the two-way communication. And God wants the communication more than we do. Goll writes, "Just think: He lets us ask Him to do what He wants to do for us. What a mystery and a privilege!"

Unlocking more and more keys to answered prayer in this class has been exciting. It's halfway over. In about six weeks I'll post my take on the whole, unless I have more to say before then. :)

1 comment:

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