Saturday, July 21, 2012
Mass killings in Colorado: Impacting Our Violent World through the Power of Prayer
Donna Brennan interviews GPCWC keynoter Craig von Buseck
By Donna Brennan
Special to ASSIST News Service
LANGHORNE, PA (ANS) -- It's easy to become fearful, angry, or cynical when watching the news, especially following the shooting rampage at the “Batman” screening in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater Friday that killed 12 people and left 58 wounded -- 11 critically.
Shortly after the killings, James Eagan Holmes, 24, originally from San Diego, California, was arrested in the theatre parking lot for allegedly for perpetrating the largest massacre in American history.
When we hear of horrendous incidents like this, it can make us want to retreat from the larger world or to stop watching the news altogether. But Craig von Buseck, Director of Ministry for www.CBN.com and one of the Keynoters at the August 1-4 Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, offers us another option: intercessory prayer.
I contacted Craig to ask him questions about his book and his Keynote Address, “Praying the News,” Thursday, August 2, at 7:30 pm in Chatlos Chapel on the campus of Philadelphia Biblical University in Langhorne, PA. (The community is welcome to come free of charge.) Here are his answers.
Question: What do you mean by “praying the news”?
We live at a time in history when it is critical for the Church to learn to be led by the Spirit in prayer. God wants to raise up a company of intercessors to pray the news - which is to watch, read, or listen to the news, then to intercede for God's will to be done in the issues we face today. God desires for His people to be so in tune with His Spirit that we are actually praying His will in advance of world events. By cooperating with God in prayer, we are actually helping to shape those events in the spirit realm. God is seeking prayer warriors who will agree with Him in faith to make an impact on the course of history through their intercession by walking in the Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote of the privilege and importance of the believer to live in the Spirit in Romans 8: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14, NASB)
Far too often, the Church has been reactionary in our prayers. A tragedy or a disaster happens and believers react with 'catch-up prayers.' But we serve the God who sees the end from the beginning. He desires for us to become so in-tune with His Spirit that we are praying His perfect will in a circumstance before it ever occurs in the natural. But this sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit only comes by maintaining a daily, intimate relationship with our Father and our Lord.
Question: I'm just one person. Can my prayers really make that much of a difference in political decisions, crime levels, and major weather events?
Question: If I pray for one kind of result and my neighbor across the street prays for a different result, aren't our prayers just canceling each other out?
All prayer comes under the sovereignty of God. We don't dictate to God. Instead, we pray as Jesus taught us: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done.” When we take an issue to God in prayer we leave it in His hands and He decides to answer that prayer in His way and in His timing.
Question: What are some important components of intercessory prayer? Does your book suggest concrete ways to do this?
As we put the First Commandment first; to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength - He then empowers us by His Spirit to fulfill the Second Commandment; to love our neighbor (and our city, our nation, and this world) by being led by the Spirit in intercession.
It is this kind of heart that God is seeking in His people today - a heart that cries, “I want to know You, God. And I want to serve You, my Lord.” By walking in this type of love relationship with God, we position ourselves to be used by God on the earth. This is especially true in the realm of intercessory prayer.
Question: If I'm not a pastor or a prophet, what authority or right do I have to pray these intercessory prayers and expect results?
That is why we pray, “Thy kingdom come.” By doing so, we are placing ourselves in agreement with God's plan for the earth. By praying the news, we stand up in the Spirit and declare, “thy will be done” in every issue that we face. C. S. Lewis referred to this kind of intercessory prayer as being “God's fellow-worker” in the world. When we enter into the ministry of praying the news, we become “God's fellow-worker” in this ministry of reconciliation. Lewis explains that to enter into intercession is to go from being a suitor - one who prays on his own behalf - to being a true servant of the Lord. “...the vast majority of the time, Jesus, who is our example, plays the part of the servant, interceding for others.”
This intercession is part of the Priesthood ministry of Jesus that continues to this day: “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24-25, NKJV). God invites us to join with him in this ministry of reconciliation. And we too have a role to play as priests before God - standing as representatives of fallen man, crying out to heaven for mercy.
Question: Can I “Pray the News” from the privacy of my own home? Or does it sometimes require something more?
Scripture directs us to “...pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17, NASB). Does this mean that we have to stop all human activity and just pray all the time? No, the Apostle Paul is encouraging us to always be ready to pray when the Holy Spirit moves on our heart to do so. The Bible says, “Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:21, NASB). That is how the Holy Spirit leads us in prayer. So it doesn't matter where you pray - just be obedient to intercede as the Holy Spirit directs you, and you will see God move as a result.
Question: In your recent book, “Netcasters: Using the Internet to Make Fishers of Men,” you talk about ways to reach others for Christ through the internet. Can some of these same methods be used to find fellow prayer warriors to join together in prayer?
Absolutely. The Internet has become a 21st century Roman road. But it is also a worldwide marketplace, a theater, front porch and backyard fence, and an office water cooler. The World Wide Web can be like an electronic train terminal connecting you to intercessors around the world and providing the crucial means for people to agree together in prayer.
One of the most powerful aspects of praying the news is the power of agreement in intercession. Jesus declared, “If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you” (Matt. 18:19, NLT). As people watch or read the same news story around the world, then pray for God's will to be done in that situation, tremendous spiritual power is released. The Internet can aid in this process, first by bringing awareness to news stories, both through traditional news outlets and through person-to-person contact, then as a communication platform allowing people to agree in prayer.
Question: Of course we all know stories of how prayer impacted events in Biblical times, but what are some examples of ways prayer has made a difference in newsworthy events in recent years?
During one of the darkest moments during World War Two, in May of 1940, the Nazis had trapped 400,000 British and French troops between the cliffs and the sea at Dunkirk on France's north coast. If those troops had been killed or captured, Britain would have fallen to the Germans. All of Europe would have been under the iron rule of the Nazis before the United States even entered into World War Two. At this critical time, God raised up a man named Rees Howells of the Bible College of Wales to lead intercession in Britain. Howells took the initiative to organize nightly intercessory prayer meetings with his students. He instructed them: “God will not do a bit more through you than you have faith for. ... You are more responsible for this victory today than those men on the battlefield.” He added, “I feel tonight that whatever the Nazis do, they cannot escape the Holy Spirit.” Soon prayer meetings were being held across Great Britain in response to Howells' leadership.
Howell's group poured their hearts out to God for hours every day, and soon much of the nation joined in. Parliament recognized the need for God's intervention and called for a national day of prayer. Suddenly there was a change in the course of the war. Instead of wiping out the troops as he could have, Hitler held his army back, content to bomb Dunkirk instead. During that time, ships, yachts, and even rowboats evacuated 338,000 troops across the English Channel - as the water remained miraculously calm. Hitler's behavior made no military sense. It was clear that God intervened in response to the prayers of believers.
We also share a more recent story in the book of how God changed the town of Manchester, Kentucky, as a result of united prayer. Community leaders had enough of their city being overrun by drug dealers, so they called for the people of the community to come together to march through town to intercede. On that day, several thousand citizens marched in prayer, singing hymns and praise songs. In what many believe was the key to the success of that march, pastors from every denomination stopped in the city's park and repented. They asked God to forgive them for being more concerned about their buildings and programs than the Kingdom of God and the people. “Lord,” one minister prayed, “as pastors, as churches, as Christians and citizens, we have too long hid our heads in the sand and not stood up to the evil and the poison of drugs in this county and this community.”
The moment the pastors and people repented, something in the Spirit broke in Manchester, Kentucky that changed that community forever. Drug arrests went up by 300 percent in the first year. Drug dealers started getting saved and coming to church. Corrupt politicians were arrested or voted out of office. The story of Manchester aired on The 700 Club, inspiring other towns with the same problems to hold their own marches. Thousands of people e-mailed, called, or literally showed up at Community Church in Manchester saying, “This is where I heard I can find hope.” Suddenly, the town that had been hopeless was giving hope.
Note: Craig will also be teaching a two-part workshop on Narrative Nonfiction on Thursday and Friday, August 2-3, at 1:00 pm. This exciting new genre lets your true story read like a novel. This is the style Craig used when writing his upcoming narrative biography on Holocaust survivor, Nina Morecki.
For more information on the August 1-4 conference and to register for the workshops (the keynotes are free of charge), please visit www.writehisanswer.com. Mention this blog when you register online or at the door and take $10 off the price that increases July 22. And please consider coming to the Thursday Special, “A Culture in Peril,” from 10:00 am to noon, August 2. Rather than a traditional lecture, this is a forum where we will grieve for our nation's ills and encourage each other as God's warriors to defend biblical principles. It will be led by Rick Marschall who writes regularly for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net ).
Donna Brennan was a technical writer for over ten years. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group. Her short stories and short non-fiction pieces have been published both online and in print. Donna is the current Conference Chair for the Write Stuff Conference in Allentown, PA. She blogs at donnabrennan.blogspot.com when not working on her novel or getting her four kids to their various activities. Her e-mail address is: email@example.com
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