We have had some years of “feeling stuck”.
Several years ago, God gave me this scripture as a “family scripture”.
Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. -Isaiah 58:11
Basically, I felt God tell me that we will build a foundation for generations…we get to help people establish a firm foundation in Christ Jesus. And that we will get to help repair breaches and even safety to the streets. God reminded me of this, this past weekend at the prayer retreat.
It was in a moment of grief.
On the way to the retreat, I adopted a young lady (yes, I adopt people…I adopt kids, dogs-although I am trying really hard to turn that into a foster situation- and people of all ages) on the bus. It’s funny but she was sitting next to me and she was carrying a purse that I also own (I knew she had good taste). She was brave (signing up for a retreat where she didn’t know anyone – I would TOTALLY do that). Turns out she is a young mother of two boys 3 and under. And she was so hungry to learn about prayer.
As the retreat started, they mentioned that there were about 180 women in attendance. As I looked around I would estimate that 2/3 of them were 50 and older. I love older people! They are rooted and grounded. They are solid. I met Ruth and Irma and wanted to hang out with them and hear their testimonies. Miss Ruth started speaking to me in Spanish (I’m not even a good “Tex-Mex” Spanish speaker), I had said, “No habla espanol.” I loved these two ladies, we ate several meals with them and had a chance to pray with them.
Our little group of five…it was four, one of my sisters, Judy, Candace (who I have written about) and Jennifer (my friend who is leaving next month to become a missionary to Macedonia) but I made everyone adopt my bus buddy so we were five. We are in our 30s…except for my 25 year old bus buddy and myself. I’m 29. haha. No comments on that please. Mom, Dad, I’m talking to you.
There may have been 10 women under the age of 30 and one looked forced to attend and two were leading worship.
I was praying and asking God, where are the young, praying women?
Let me backtrack a little. Several weeks ago, I started re-reading for the 10th time, Cindy Jacobs’ book, “Possessing the Gates of the Enemy”. There are study questions at the end of each chapter but after reading chapter 1 the only question ringing in my spirit was, “How do we convert worshipers into intercessors?” Why? Because the next generations heading our way are great worshipers. They have a passion to praise Him. They love music and the arts. However there are few intercessors. There are people who will pray for themselves but who is standing in the gap for someone else?
Reminds me of Ezekiel 22
29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. 30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.
I love the worship that is coming out these days but where are the pray-ers?
Back to the prayer retreat…
The woman who spoke at the Prayer retreat is a pioneer and giant of the faith. Her name is Ruthanne Garlock and she is in the DNA of a little place called, “Christ for the Nations”. She has written a series of books on Prayer. She has missions in her blood and has written so many books on prayer and spiritual warfare. And she is a grandmother of the faith. I admire her greatly and pray that when I am “old” that I will continue to burn with a consuming fire of faith. She didn’t mince words. She didn’t sugar coat things. She was funny. She was insightful and she is a full on woman of God.
I’m pretty sure one reason the generations coming up aren’t interceding is because there is no respect or places of honor for our elders. That’s another post.
Back to the word.
God reminded me that we are called to lay foundations for many generations. I could not remember where the scripture was found. I was turning that over in my mind itching to look it up. Incidentally, we had no service on our cell phones at the retreat center (some people did but mine was nil). I had limited access to my Bible app and the search features on it are not great. Normally, I used Biblegateway.com but again, no service on my phone meant no internet. It’s good to disconnect. I had to go old school and use my concordance. Thankfully, I took my Thompson Bible that has a concordance. After giggling with my girls and being asked to break our “prayer meeting” (someone used some sarcasm on us), I was laying in bed looking the scripture up by FLASHLIGHT! We sure where roughing it.
I found the scripture in Isaiah 58 which most people know as “the fasting chapter”. As is my custom, I like to read the context of a scripture (lots of things have gotten confused when reading out of context). As I scan up, I find some If yous. That means…”If you” do this then.
And here is the nugget.
Isaiah 58:9, “If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness….”
Immediately, I felt two things…First thing is we have to seek freedom. We have to seek to remove the yoke from our necks; active participation. The Second thing (because as you have witnessed in this post, I’m a question ask-er) I asked, “What is the yoke?” While each person struggles with different things, I felt clearly that the yoke the church is facing today is yoke of religion. We have replaced Jesus with a form of godliness…Paul described it in 2 Timothy 3 as “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof”. We profess Jesus Christ but do not believe/have faith in His power. He’s just a guy from a long time ago who died and maybe rose again and said some cool stuff…it’s not enough. We have to forget religion. There is NO POWER in religion. There is power is Jesus; He is LOVE, He is WORD, He was flesh and dwelt among us.
If you have been feeling stuck, it’s time to take off your yoke, get FREE, stop pointing fingers at everyone else, deal with your stuff, speak life and start to live in ALL the promises of God!!!