The Story of A Little Girl Tied to a Tree
To be delegated the authority to operate in someone else’s name is to “represent” them. But what does it actually mean to represent someone? The dictionary defines “representation” as “to present again.” Another way to say it might be “re-present” someone. A representative is one who re-presents the will of another. The dictionary also provided these meanings: “to exhibit the image and counterpart of; to speak and act with authority on the part of; to be a substitute or agent for.” 1
In 1976 I traveled with a team to a remote village in Guatemala, far from any modern city. There was no electrical power, no plumbing, no phones. Our purpose in being there was to build shelters for the villagers whose adobe homes had been destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1976. It had killed 30,000 people and left 1,000,000 homeless. We had trucked in materials and were building small, one-room huts for them during the daylight hours that would keep them out of the rain and elements. In the evenings, we would hold services in the center of the village, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to them, explaining that His love was motivating us to spend our time, money, and energies helping them. The entire village would turn out.
We had been ministering for one week with only one or two people coming to Christ. The people were listening, but not responding.
I was to preach on the final night of our trip. Just as the service was about to begin a team member told me about a situation he and others had found on the far side of the village - a little girl, six or seven years old, tied to a tree.
Shocked by what they were seeing, they asked the family who lived there, “Why is this small girl tied to that tree?” It was obvious she lived there, much like a dog, in the backyard - nasty, filthy, helpless, and alone.
“She is crazy,” the parents replied. “We can’t control her. She hurts herself and others and runs away if we turn her loose. There is nothing else we can do for her, so we just have to tie her up.”
My heart broke as the team member shared what he had seen. It was on my mind as we began the service. A few minutes into my message, standing on a folding table under the stars, Holy Spirit began speaking to me.
“Tell them you are going to pray for the little insane girl across the village tied to the tree. Tell them you are going to do it in the name of this Jesus You’ve been preaching about. Tell them that through Him you are going to break the evil powers controlling her - that when she is free and normal, they can then know what you are preaching is true, that the Jesus you are preaching about is who you say He is.”
I paused in my message and responded to the voice in my heart with fear and trembling. I believe the words were something like, WHAT DID YOU SAY???
Being the man of faith that I am, I replied, “What is plan B?”
“Rebellion...and failure, came the response. Remember what I said to you before the trip began? Represent Jesus to the people in Guatemala. Be His hands, feet, voice. What you know He would do, you do, in His name.”
Faith began to rise. “The focus is not on me in this situation,” I thought, “but on the One who sent me. I am simply His spokesman. I merely release what He has already done. He has finished the work of delivering this little girl; my prayers release the work, I’m only a distributor of what He has already produced. Be bold. Enforce the victory!”
With new assurance, I began informing the people about what I was planning to do. They nodded in recognition as I mentioned the girl. Expressions of intrigue turned to astonishment as they listened to my plans.
Then I prayed and in Christ’s name, broke the demonic powers controlling her. (I realize all mental disorders are not caused by demonic control. This one, however, was.)
On a moonlit night in a tiny, remote village of Guatemala with a handful of people as my audience, my life changed forever.
Jesus came out of hiding. He became alive: relevant . . . sufficient . . . available! A “hidden” Jesus emerged from the cobwebs of theology. A yesterday Jesus became a today and forever Jesus. A Galilee Jesus became a Guatemala Jesus.
And a new plan unfolded to me. A new concept emerged - Jesus through me.
For the first time, I really understood the heavenly pattern: Jesus is the Victor - we’re the enforcers; Jesus is the Redeemer - we’re the releasers; Jesus is the Head - we’re the body.
Yes, He set the little girl free.
Yes, the village turned to Christ.
Yes, Jesus prevailed through one representing Him.
This partnership is profound - God and humans. But the correct pattern is critical: Our prayers of intercession release Christ’s finished work of intercession.
His work empowers our prayers - our prayers release His work.
Ours extends His - His effectuates ours.
Ours activates His - His validates ours.
In Kingdom Enterprises we’re not in the production department. We’re in distribution . . . BIG difference. He’s the generator; we’re the distributors.
There are many wounded and hurting individuals “tied to trees” around the world. You work with some, others live across the street. One of them probably just served you in a check-out line, seated you in a restaurant, or served you food. Their chains are alcohol, drugs, abuse, broken dreams, rejection, money, lust . . . well, you get the point.
Plan A is for supernatural but ordinary people like you and me to: 1) wholeheartedly believe in the victory of Calvary - to be convinced that it was complete and final, and 2) to rise up in our role as sent ones, ambassadors, authorized representatives of the Victor. Our challenge is not so much to liberate as to believe in the Liberator; not so much to heal as to believe in the Healer.
Plan B is to waste the Cross; to leave the tormented in their torment; to scream with our silence, “There is no hope”; to hear the Father say again, “I looked, but found no one”; to hear the Son cry once more, “The laborers! Where are the laborers?”
Come on, church! Let’s untie some folks. Let’s tell them there is a God who cares. Let’s represent - let’s re-present Christ!
Pray with me:
Father, we have not done a great job representing/re-presenting You and Your will in our nation. Jesus clearly told us to command His kingdom rule into situations; to command His will to be done. He gave us His keys of authority and told us to bind and loose, forbid and allow (Matthew 16:18-19). We are maturing in our understanding of this and what it means to be Your Ekklesia (Your government in the earth).
With this understanding, we re-present Your will today that no one perish spiritually: we ask for and decree revival into the earth - 1 billion souls into Your kingdom family.
We re-present Your will that our children know and follow You; that all prodigals return to Your household of faith. We bind deception from them and break off all addictions in the name of Jesus.
We re-present Your will that the sick are healed: we release miracles, signs and
wonders into the earth. We ask for a new release of “gifts of healing” and the “workings of miracles” into and through the church - the gifts You spoke of in Corinthians.
We re-present Your will that those oppressed by demons are set free: we command a new release of delivering power into the earth in Christ’s name.
We re-present Your will that those who have been abused, wounded, rejected, and injured emotionally in other ways be healed. We release Your restorative power into this outpouring.
And finally, we re-present Your will for America. We decree over this land that we
will be a voice for the gospel to all nations. We will be a nation that models honoring You and Your ways. We will see revival. We will see a righteous government. We will see an end of abortion. We will see a return to morality. We release these things in the all-powerful name of Jesus!
We decree that the church will receive a fresh revelation of their calling and authority re-presenting HIM into the earth.
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book Intercessory Prayer.
1 The Consolidated Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary (Chicago: Consolidated Book Publishers, 1954), p 615.