Happy Birthday today to my favorite brother, Tim Sheets!
On Monday, we began sharing somewhat on how to pray for protection. We will continue with this theme today. One of the meanings of the Hebrew word for "intercession," paga, is "boundary" or "border,” the point at which two territories meet or connect, the extent to which a boundary reaches. In Joshua 19, paga is used repeatedly in this way. When used in the context of intercessory prayer, paga is the establishing of boundaries or walls of protection, the marking of territory as one’s own.(1) Through prayer, we can set boundaries and build walls of protection around individuals.
Isaiah 26:1 and 60:18 speak of God's protection as “walls”: "In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: 'We have a strong city; He sets up walls and ramparts for security." "Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise."
We said in yesterday‘s post that as we learn to pick up on the promptings of Holy Spirit, He will alert us to strategic times (kairos) we need to pray prayers of protection. In her book Listen, God Is Speaking to You, Quin Sherrer tells of a friend who heard the warning of the Lord for her home and prayed during a kairos(2) time:
I was rooming with Ruthie at a Christian conference when she told me how God had protected her property. One night during the church service, she heard a voice: "Your house is being robbed." She tried to dismiss the thought. She'd lived in that house for thirty years, and there had been no burglaries in her neighborhood. But the more she thought about it, the more it seemed to her that the inner voice she had heard was the Holy Spirit warning her.
"Lord, if our house is being robbed, please send an angel— no, Lord, send a warring angel—to frighten the burglar off." Then she began to quote Scriptures, praying for protection: "No evil will come near our dwelling place.... No weapon formed against us shall prosper." (Isaiah 54:17)
Sure enough, when she and her husband arrived home, their back patio door was smashed in, and everything inside was in disarray – drawers open and stuff scattered everywhere. The next day, when the police officer came to get a list of the things they knew were missing, all they had to report was one pillowcase. He told them that's what a burglar usually takes to stash the valuables. "As far as we can tell, nothing is missing—not even my good gold jewelry," Ruthie told him.
He looked around at her china, silver, and gold vases. "With all these beautiful things, I don't understand why you weren't robbed blind. Something obviously frightened away the intruder. He left in a hurry," the policeman said.
Two other houses in her neighborhood were robbed that night. Ruthie is sure God sent a warring angel of protection, as she had prayed and asked Him to do.
That is paga! Protective intercession. Building boundaries of protection through prayer. You, too, can be used by the Lord in this way. One of the keys is learning to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Ruthie’s story reminds me of Psalm 27:1-4 from The Message:
“Light, space, zest - that's God! So, with Him on my side, I'm fearless, afraid of no one and nothing. When vandal hordes ride down, ready to eat me alive, those bullies and toughs fall flat on their faces. When besieged, I'm calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I'm collected and cool.”
The early church apostle Paul was a firm believer in receiving protective and deliverance prayers from others, in strategic as well as in general times of need. He frequently requested prayer from those with whom he was in a relationship. Romans 15:30-31 states:
“Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints.”
Again, in Philippians 1:19, Paul states his confidence in "deliverance through your prayers." Also, in Philemon 1:22, he says, "I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you." Paul was frequently persecuted and imprisoned for his preaching of the gospel. He placed his hope of deliverance from some of this in the prayers of his friends. He believed in the power of intercession not just for the furthering of the gospel, but also for protection.
The apostle Peter was protected through prayer from certain death in Acts 12. Herod had arrested James, one of the 12 disciples of Christ, and had him killed. When he saw how much this pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter also and planned to execute him, as well. This prompted fervent prayer by the church for Peter's release (see Acts 12:5).
The answer to their prayers for Peter's protection is one of the most amazing stories in the Bible. Angels visited Peter in his cell, caused his chains to fall off, somehow blinded the guards from seeing him, led him out of the jail, supernaturally opened the iron gate to the city, and then departed from him. The entire ordeal was so supernatural that Peter at first thought it was only a vision.
That is paga extraordinaire!
In my book, Intercessory Prayer, I relate the following story of protection through prayer:
Perhaps the most amazing example of kairos-timed intercession in my life happened on one of my journeys to Guatemala. I was one of 40 to 45 individuals traveling to a remote village on the Passión River in the Petén Jungle. Our mission was to build a combination clinic and outreach station on the river, construct two buildings, as well as preach in nearby villages.
Prior to leaving for the jungle, we spent our first night (Friday) in Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala. Months earlier, we had arranged for the Guatemalan airlines to fly us into the jungle the following day. Then, we were to travel to our destination by dug-out canoes. On our arrival at the airport Saturday afternoon, we were informed they had changed their plans and would fly us to our destination, not that day, but the next.
Feeling an urgency to go as scheduled due to the limited amount of time to accomplish our mission, our leaders pressed the airlines for THREE HOURS to honor their original agreement.
“No,” the manager said in his broken English, “we take you tomorrow.”
“But you agreed months ago to take us today,” we argued.
“We have no pilot available,” they countered.
“Find one,” we pleaded.
“‘What is your hurry? Enjoy the city,” they encouraged us.
And so it went for THREE HOURS - in and out of offices, meeting with one official, then another. Finally, in exasperation, one of them threw up his hands and said, “Okay, we take you now!”
That night, while we were 250 miles away, an earthquake hit Guatemala City, where we had been, and killed 30,000 people in 34 seconds! Had we stayed in the city another night—as the airlines wanted us to—some of our team would have been killed and others injured. We know this for certain because, upon our return to the city, we saw the building where we had stayed the night before the earthquake—and would have been staying in again had we not left on Saturday—with huge beams lying across the beds.
Later, we discovered that an intercessor from our home church in Ohio had received a strong urge to pray for us. For THREE HOURS, she was in intense intercession - the three hours that our leaders were negotiating with the airline officials.
We didn’t know that our lives would have been in jeopardy had we stayed another night in Guatemala City, but God did. This intercessor didn’t know it either. She only knew that, for some unknown reason, she had a strong burden to pray for us. She was alert, as Ephesians 6:18 instructs, perceived the kairos time, and her prayers created the protection and intervention we experienced.(3)
Pray with me:
Father, thank You for Your protection over us. And thank You for faithful intercessors. Your name is a strong tower; we are safe within (Proverbs 18:10). We will not allow our lives to be ruled by chance, and we certainly will not allow demonic forces or demonized individuals to rule over us. We will abide under Your shadow and wings.
We ask You for increased sensitivity to Holy Spirit, who is faithful to alert us when to pray, surrounding ourselves and loved ones with protective boundaries. You are our Shepherd; we hear Your voice, and we will follow Your leading. Just as You alerted the intercessor to pray for the team of missionaries in Guatemala, You will alert us when we need to pray.
In Christ’s name and authority, we ask and declare these things. Amen.
For today’s decree, I ask that you spend a moment or two and pray for your family, and/or anyone Holy Spirit brings to mind, decreeing God’s protection over them.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Today’s post was taken from my books, The Essential Guide to Prayer and Intercessory Prayer. Both are published by Baker Books.
You can find out more about Quin Sherrer and see more of the wonderful books she has written at QuinSherrer.com.
James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 6293.
Ibid., ref no. 2540.
Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), p. 102-104.