Agreeing With The Cloud of Witnesses
My journey regarding the Appeal to Heaven flag began as I spoke to the student body of a Bible institute in 2001. I was concerned that the institute was not walking in the fullness of what its founder, Gordon Lindsay, had established. To be clear, it was not an issue of sin; the school was not in an apostate state. The institute was full of good administrators, faculty, and students who loved Jesus. I simply realized that, just as happens to all of us from time to time, the school was experiencing less than what God intended it to experience and needed a stronger connection to its roots. In response to this burden, I chose to replace one of my teaching sessions with a prayer meeting.
As I led the student body in intercession, I heard the Lord whisper a phrase to me, “You need to agree in prayer with Gordon Lindsay.” That startled me; Lindsay had died nearly 30 years earlier.
“Lord,” I said, “is that really You speaking? He isn’t here; he’s in heaven.” In retrospect, it’s comical to try and explain something to the Lord, but I felt I needed to state the obvious. “He’s dead, Lord,” I reiterated.
The response was simple, “Well, his prayers are not dead.”
That really impacted me. If you had asked if I believed Gordon Lindsay’s prayers had died with him, I would have said “no,” yet I had never given the concept any real thought.
Holy Spirit continued, “Until this generation comes into agreement with what he asked me to do, I can’t answer his prayer.”
This greatly impacted me, as I realized God hadn’t said, “I won’t.” He had clearly said that without this generation’s agreement with Lindsay, “I can’t” answer his prayers and do what I promised him.
I began to ponder Hebrews 11, remembering the heroes of faith listed there along with some of their amazing exploits. Interestingly, however, the passage is also clear that some of those faith-heroes did not see the fulfillment of their promises. This has always seemed somewhat contradictory to me. When God searched history to accent greater lives of faith, He chose to list some that did NOT receive the fulfillment of their God-given promises. These people went to the grave with unrealized promises from God, yet they had truly believed, even making it into the great Hall of Faith. Clearly, they weren’t deficient in their walk of faith; why then did they die without seeing the promises fulfilled?
The last two verses of Hebrews 11 give us the amazing answer; they did not receive the fulfillment of their promises because God wouldn’t allow them to be “complete” without us. That is incredible! We, today, are a continuation of these individuals’ callings and assignments. The Greek word translated “complete” also means, “to finish; to mature; to reach the intended goal.” Think about the ramifications of this: without us, God can’t finish what He began through those saints; what He started through them cannot mature or reach its intended goal until we grab the baton and run our leg of the race. That is mind-blowing!
God gave these individuals promises, but He often didn’t give them timelines. He did not tell them He would bring the fulfillment into their lifetimes, although I’m sure most of them expected Him to do so. The eternal God, who transcends time, speaks promises that are sometimes more reflective of His nature and relationship with time than ours. At times, He makes promises to people, knowing full well He will deliver on those promises through their children, grandchildren, or spiritual descendants. I wonder what I may be finishing for some pastor or teacher from a few decades ago? Or perhaps for even some flag-waving patriot warrior?
The generations are far more interconnected than most of us realize. In God’s mind, accomplishing something through our descendants is the same as doing it through us. Our comparatively shortsighted approach assumes every promise He makes will take place momentarily, or at the very least before we die! Meanwhile, God feels no pressure and understands that if He fulfills His promises through our offspring (natural or spiritual), the accomplishments were for us, as well as for them.
Conversely, the opposite is also true. The actions and accomplishments of individuals in former generations are sometimes credited to those who follow. Hebrews 7:9 states that the descendants of Levi paid tithes through their great, great grandfather Abraham. I wonder what blessing we’re experiencing today that someone else paid for! There is an aspect of our spiritual walk that stretches beyond the boundaries of our window on earth. We can connect spiritually with past events before, and we can affect future happenings through our actions today.
But Holy Spirit wasn’t finished instructing me in this prayer session. He was about to use a seven-word sentence to rock my finite human mind. These seven words stretched my thinking yet again, and have resonated in me ever since: He said to me, “I need the synergy of the ages.”
“You need WHAT?” I immediately responded.
It is obvious by now that this prayer time was wreaking havoc on my preconceived concepts and paradigms! A 13-year journey was beginning with a series of theological brainteasers that, fortunately, were making me think outside of my God-limiting boxes.
What is the synergy of the ages? I quietly wondered.
Synergy is a fascinating concept. Basically, it is a multiplication of power or effect through a combined effort. In almost all cases in the physical world, one plus one equals two. But not when people work together. When two or more people combine their efforts and strengths, power is multiplied - not just added. God so loves unity and agreement that He created a phenomenon through which power multiplies if we will simply work together!
Synergy, however, not only operates in the natural realm, it also exists in the spirit realm. Prayer is one example. Spiritual synergy takes place when two or more agree in prayer. The result is that through multiplied power much more is accomplished than would have been had we prayed alone. Leviticus 26:8 teaches us about this power of multiplication, “Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before your sword.” Spiritually, that’s powerful; mathematically, however, it makes no sense. Think about it - if five of us can chase a hundred, that means each of us is responsible for twenty. At that rate, a hundred should chase two thousand, not ten thousand. But something unusual and supernatural takes place through agreement: synergy. When we agree in prayer, power grows exponentially.
Synergy also occurs when generations connect. Honoring our parents increases our years on earth (Ephesians 6:1-2) while disconnecting from them brings curses (Malachi 4:6). Spiritual mantles, another word for callings and giftings, multiply in effectiveness through generational synergy (2 Kings 2:9). God’s plan is always for the present generation to build on the strengths of the previous. This is the synergy of the ages - multiplied power and fruitfulness through generational agreement and honor.
In Al Sander’s book Crisis in Morality! he compares descendants of an atheist, Max Jukes, to the offspring of a well-known preacher of that same era, Jonathan Edwards:
Max Jukes...married an ungodly girl and among their descendants were 310 who died as paupers, 150 as criminals, 7 as murders, 100 as drunkards and more than half of the women were prostitutes.
Jonathan Edwards...lived at the same time and married a godly girl. An investigation was made of 1,394 known descendants of theirs. Of these descendants, 13 became college presidents, 65 college professors, 3 United States senators, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 preachers and missionaries, 60 authors of prominence, one a vice-president of the United States, 80 became public officials...and 295 college graduates, among whom were governors of states and ministers to foreign countries.
Could any testimony more powerfully make my point? Success, favor, and blessing can multiply down through the generations. But due to our ignorance in this area, we unknowingly break the generational storyline God is writing.
When Holy Spirit spoke to me that day, I was already aware of synergistic prayer. I knew I could agree in prayer with the person next to me and power would be multiplied. I just didn’t know I could agree with the generation behind me! Generational synergy - the synergy of the ages - was nowhere on my radar. Once God had awakened me to the principle, however, He wasn’t about to stop with a Bible institute. Before He was finished, Holy Spirit would challenge me to reach back to our nation’s founders, agreeing with what He had birthed through them.
And when He did, a forgotten flag would be an important part of the process. I’ll describe that notable introduction soon.
“Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. This testimony of faith is what previous generations were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2 TPT)
A prayer you can pray:
Father, as we contemplate the importance of an old flag and how You are using it today, we marvel at Your unusual ways. A part of understanding the flag is understanding how much You honor those who have gone before us. And also how much You require us to connect with and continue their legacy. We thank You for fathers and mothers in the faith, and in the natural. We thank You for the price paid by those who came before us.
And as we do so, we turn our attention to America. The great cloud of witnesses includes people who pioneered freedom and liberty for us here. We know they made mistakes and part of our history is evil. But we also know this can be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and believe much of it has been.
And as we now look forward, we ask for revelation of this incredible concept You call “the synergy of the ages.” As we embrace and honor those who have gone before us, we ask for a multiplying of Your power today. Let that translate into the fullness of Your purpose for America: being an incredibly powerful voice of the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth. And we boldly declare that no effort of darkness will stop this. America will fully turn back to You and You will accomplish through her all that You intended in this hour. We pray and declare these things in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen
We decree that the synergy of the ages is producing powerful and wonderful fruit in America today.
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book An Appeal to Heaven.