“Today during the end of the service I saw a picture that I didn’t feel led at the time to share with the church:
I saw heaven open. I could see this bright glorious light pouring down through the opening onto the church people. Around the edge of the opening I could see Angels looking down eagerly watching for what was happening with God’s children. As I was watching this unfold, I felt a strong desire to start to speak God’s truth over the church. A desire to speak out against the lies and bondage of the enemy. I didn’t feel like this open heaven was something far off in the future it felt like something now. A time of revelation of the truth of what it means to be God’s children.
I was thinking and praying about this picture later on today asking God what it all meant. I really felt a strong desire for intercessory prayer, a deep cry from my heart to hear and speak God’s truth over the church. I was wondering if you knew anyone in the church who was strong in discernment and had a deep desire for intercessory prayer? I would love to pray with others…”
This was an excerpt taken from an email that I wrote to a Pastor in a former church in 2015. I was new to this church and didn’t really know much about it. I had a really deep hunger and was alive with the wonder and love of God. I just wanted to know him deeply. The Pastors response was for me to organise a prayer group just before the service started. So I did.
The initial numbers were great. I encouraged people to seek God’s heart to bring their heart before him so that nothing interfered with their ability to hear him. I encouraged them to partner with God; praying and declaring his truth. I was innocent and I had no idea the storm I created by stating this. The response was silence and long stares. What had I done wrong? Eventually the people bowed their heads and started to pray… “God bless our service today, we ask that you be with us and speak through us today”… “God give us ears to listen”… “God bless our week and we ask that you be with us and use us”… “God we pray for the lost that they would find you”… The people prayed prayers that can be common in many church services. No one prayed anything other then what would be considered normal, safe and (if I dare say) rote prayers. I grew up as a pastors child, I knew these prayers well. In fact I remember praying them. I knew this was not what God was saying when he gave me that vision. The prayer time finished and everyone went into the service. As I was going to the service someone approached me very angry. They said that what I had suggested was wrong and that they didn’t pray like that in this church. Their comment shook me. I remember sobbing through the service. However, as I discovered, this event would be the first of many. Over the next few years I would experience more and more moments like this, where doing what God prompted me to do would result in offence. From that day on-wards, while I was in that church, I prayed ‘alone’. I turned up to the church prayer service and most of the time I was the only one in the morning prayer meeting. Sometimes one or two joined me, but many times it was just me on my knees crying out to God, bringing my heart to him and asking for his heart. Sometimes I didn’t enter the prayer room, I just sat in the church hall and listened to the musicians practice and prayed. Where-ever I prayed the presence of God was amazing; so deep and intimate. During this time he shared visions and revealed his heart. As best as I could, I met his heart and prayed his truth.
The Pastors encouragement for a prayer meeting limited my prayer life to the church service. I tried to invite people to pray with me at home or walking together, but no-one was available. In truth I wasn’t really encouraged to pray beyond church. Well I was, just as long as it didn’t interfere with what the church required. This thinking caused problems for me as I continued in this church. There were many times I was asked to do something in a program. In the past I would have said yes, sure. However, every-time I was asked I felt unrest. This unrest prompted me to ask God. His response was always the same. “Cheryl I only have one thing on my heart for you.” He then would show me a picture of me speaking out his words in prayer. In this picture I was in his presence looking at him. I was focused on the future God was showing me. I could hear him speak; he was ushering in the new. My heart was burning like fire and I was immovable from what God was asking me to do. Out of my heart came prophetic words, declarations and intersessional prayer for mercy. Every time I saw this vision, I knew that I had to say no.
It was impossible for me to do anything else. God’s heart out-ranked any other suggestion. Even if I wanted to, I just couldn’t be distracted by anything else, it wasn’t possible. There was this fire within me, an indescribable fire. An ache and deep longing within my heart that focused me on what was on God’s heart. I had to say no to people’s requests as God had something else on his heart for me to do. It came with consequences. It didn’t fit what the church wanted me to do, which then resulted in my rejection and subsequent loneliness. By the end of my time there, I was accused of not having community in the church because I didn’t do anything.
It was hard, however, whether the church or I liked it or not my hunger for intercessory prayer just increased more and God gave me more in response. In fact, while in that church, my prayer life expanded from the church walls into my home and everyday life. I spent many hours laying on my bedroom or lounge room floor seeking him. God would speak to me while I cooked dinner, put the clothes in the washing machine, drove, shopped or even while I slept. God gave me his heart in my times of devotions as well as everyday life. In fact, as I look back at the words and visions that God gave me during that time and the amount of hours I dedicated to intercessory prayer I am amazed. He really did open heaven and I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it. I guess the fact that I was often alone (particularly in the beginning of this journey) was a blessing in disguise. God was my best friend and I was blessed with time. In the secret place, God would reveal his heart. Some of it he would prompt me to share, other words I kept private. God would lead me to pray for a person or a church. At times he would ask me to send texts, emails or make a phone-call and tell them what he had put on my heart. I was led to many churches (other then the one alluded to above), often sitting silently listening to what God was saying/revealing and praying and interceding. Sometimes he would say go to that person and share this with them, often total strangers. I would go and speak what I heard, their eyes would go wide with amazement and often they would say, “How did you know?” Sometimes God would say go to a place and on the way he would show me what was about to happen. I then would be sitting there speaking to someone and what I had just seen or heard from God would happen. Truly amazing and humbling at the same time!
I had these little glimpses of amazing things in God, but I was terribly lonely. Fortunately I didn’t spend that whole time alone. God opened doors, although not in places where I thought he would. Events would happened (that I can only describe as God arranged) that resulted in me meeting with beautiful woman outside the church ‘walls’ who loved God, were seeking him and were hungry for more. Some on the phone, as they lived in other states. Others in local cafes, parks and homes. ‘My church’ grew outside the walls. It wasn’t big, but it was enough. We strengthened and built each other up. In a lot of ways our worlds unraveled around us, but our love and deep hunger for God grew stronger and with it our passion for prayer. We were like hidden warriors. To the church we were strange, looked like outcasts and misfits, but to God we were his daughters deeply bathing and soaking in his love. Our lives were under attack, but we were armed with God swords attacking lies and strongholds as God moved upon our hearts. Mighty warriors of God unwilling to back down. When we met together we would impart wise words, laugh and cry as we shared stories about our deep brokenness, funny nothings and God’s love and faithfulness.
Now after this long difficult journey, I find myself at a pause. I have time to look back and reflect. Frustration grows as everything seemingly stops. The season is changing I can hear it and know it to be true. I am uncomfortable as I don’t know what it looks like. The new is being ushered in, I am seeing glimpses of it. The transition is difficult as the old is dying and the new seedlings start to peak through the ground. Spring is upon us, I smell it. The many hours hidden away praying has been worth it as I start to see all of those prayers that I and my fellow intercessors prayed start to unfold. Promises are slowly being answered. Yes it is only a glimpse of the victory that we prayed for for so many years, but a glimpse is all I need to see to know that it was all worth. God was and still is hungry for the new that he is ushering in. He is wanting to partner with anyone who was seeking him. Anyone who is willing to step out of the normal, the safe; the religious rules. Come and join him, don’t hold back. Come and dine with him. Feast on his faithfulness! In him is the greatest love you will ever know. Don’t be satisfied with less.