By Steve Rees, Special to the ASSIST News Service
LONGMONT, CO (ANS – June 17, 2015) — Take hundreds of self-described “untrained, uneducated men who’ve spent time with Jesus,” add 15 years of weekly intercessory prayer meetings, mix in thousands of “house calls” with the Holy Spirit – and you get?
Untold numbers of restored marriages, prosperous businesses, saved souls and miraculous healing when SWAT “officers” arrives at your home or office on a mission to set captives free and bind up broken hearts.
Like medical doctors who make house visits or uninformed officers who enforce the law, SWAT ministers to peoples’ needs and brings heaven’s rule to earth in tangible, verifiable ways, say hundreds of men who’ve been breaking strongholds as intercessors since 1997.
The Spiritual Warfare Attack Team conducted its first SWAT call in southern California about 30 years ago, converging on an engineering business that was about to go under.
Loosely affiliated with the Full Gospel Businessman’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI) and an affiliated ministry, 12 spiritual warriors stormed the engineering office, praying over phones, desks and conference rooms.
The result was a complete turnaround for the business, plus a write-up in The Voice, the FGBMFI’s monthly publication; the magazine featured one of SWAT’s members, Brad Tuttle, and details of his testimony of deliverance from New Age spirituality.
For the business, the SWAT call set in motion its move from near bankruptcy to becoming a profitable engineering enterprise.
Tuttle, a Colorado mortgage banker and veteran spiritual warrior, participated in that first SWAT call within months of his becoming a born-again follower of Jesus Christ in 1985 while living on the Pacific Coast.
A leader of what he calls a ragamuffin band of misfits who nevertheless honor each other as part of their prophetic culture, Tuttle believes every community needs a SWAT force made up of Godly men who pray boldly and flow in words of knowledge, prophecy and wisdom – gifts of the Holy Spirit.
And, Tuttle says, SWAT will go wherever there’s interest in training other men to become priests of their home under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“I want every city and community to have a SWAT,” says Tuttle, the unofficial leader of men from a variety of work backgrounds and eight different churches in northern Colorado, where he’s known as the leader of two tribes – those from his congregation and others from a variety of denominations.
“Our goal – whether intercessory prayer as a group or on a SWAT call – is not to criticize, judge or condemn; our call is to love, build up, edify and set captives free,” Tuttle says.
A number of pastors and churches, which have intercessors of their own, frequently call on SWAT when the need is critical, like a sick missionary or members whose marriages need divine help.
Revival within churches is another reason pastors invite SWAT to pray for their congregations.
When nearly a thousand men from different denominations gathered for worship and prayer in the Rocky Mountains this spring, Tuttle was honored by the retreat’s hosts for leading SWAT’s intercessors.
Based on biblical values of honor, preference, spiritual gifts, humility and strict prohibitions on gossip, SWAT is so popular that, during one 10-year period, calls were booked for months in advance.
Visions, impressions, words of knowledge and wisdom, along with gifts of healing are common among SWAT members, who credit the Holy Spirit with helping them minister in hostile environments.
Like the time SWAT team member Tony Sanchez saw a vision of a filly with a broken leg during the group’s prayer for a husband and wife whose marriage was on the rocks.
Sanchez says the Holy Spirit told him the filly represented the wife whose leg was re-broken every time her husband demanded sex.
When Sanchez spoke out the vision, another SWAT member brought a basin of water to the man. He began to repent of his sexual aggression, asking his wife’s forgiveness, as he washed her feet with tears and water.
The marriage was restored and the woman’s sexual brokenness healed, thanks to a vision and a word of knowledge by the Holy Spirit, Sanchez says.
Other SWAT members, like Tom Martinez, say that house call proved to be prophetic fulfillment of the Holy Spirit’s words to him.
“God told me you’re going to come alongside (SWAT) and work to clean up debris from men’s lives,” says Martinez, a locksmith by trade and spiritual warrior on behalf of businessmen like himself.
Traditionally the domain of women, intercession and spiritual warfare make men better husbands, fathers and “ministers,” says Martinez whose boldness in prayer and exercise of the Holy Spirit’s gifts were “learned in the (SWAT) laboratory.”
There, he listened for the voice of God and spoke out what he heard the Holy Spirit saying during years of “practice” at SWAT’s weekly Monday night meetings.
A number of Crisis Pregnancy Centers have requested SWAT calls through the years and, recently, the men were led by the Holy Spirit to tell a Fort Collins facility that saving souls was as important as rescuing babies from abortions.
Mark Weaver, a charismatic believer who was with SWAT when it prayed at the Alpha Center, thinks that word of knowledge will eternally impact mothers and their children.
Salvation of a 10-year-old boy was one highlight for SWAT in 2014 when a family requested a call to deal with physical and spiritual issues in their neighborhood – a climate that wasn’t good for the two children in their home.
During SWAT’s intercession, the then nine-year-old boy walked into the room with an old, torn Bible in hand, telling his parents and the men that he wanted to receive Jesus.
Ron Mallett, who says he’s been on too many SWAT calls to remember, was so moved by the experience that, a week after the boy asked Jesus into his life, he purchased a new study Bible as a gift from the team.
Mallett recalls the time SWAT was called to a hot-tub business and, during an intense time of prayer for the struggling owner, felt cold sensations moving from his feet upward. Fearing for his own health, Mallett verbalized the frozen feeling in his extremities.
Believing the experience was spiritual rather than physical, Tuttle and Mallett discerned that the cold was emanating from one corner of the hot tub’s inventory warehouse.
“I want you to drive it back into that direction until it’s gone,” Tuttle recalls, pointing to a wall in the storeroom.
When SWAT members returned to the owner’s office, the Holy Spirit revealed to one of the men that the businessman’s integrity was lacking, and that running his firm like a family would boost hot-tub sales. The man agreed, confessed his error and, when asked about the wall, said a gay bar was on the other side.
“As God is my witness, within one month’s time, the gay bar went out of business and the hot-tub owner made as much profit in a month as he had during the previous year,” Mallett says.
Weekly intercessory prayer meetings of SWAT stand out from all other men’s organizations with which Mallett has associated himself over 20 years.
“All sessions, sometimes lasting up to three hours, are fully motivated by the Holy Spirit’s leading, with a total focus on replicating the ministry of Jesus in reaching out to God’s hurting kids,” Mallett says.
Corey Gingras, a new SWAT member, says he connected with the group because of the positive outcome of a call to his home, where the family had come under intense attack, division and rebellion.
The spiritual climate of his home changed so dramatically that the marriage is better than before the SWAT call, and Gingras’s wife is grateful that he is now part of a team of prophetic intercessors who are blessing businesses and families.
“What was stirring in me was the desire to be closer to God, and the SWAT members as a team and as individuals demonstrated a deep relationship with Jesus,” Gingras says.
Tuttle says those outcomes make SWAT’s existence worth it all.
“Every time we have a SWAT call, riding home in the truck and talking, we’re more blessed than the people we prayed for.
“And when a marriage is the focus of our ministry, many wives tell us after the SWAT call that they’ve got the kind of man they prayed for.
“It really builds our faith when we see a change after we pray, and hear reports of saved marriages, souls, healed bodies and businesses that are prospering after a SWAT call,” Tuttle says.
A Vineyard ministry team leader for 20 years, Bob Kraus says he particularly enjoys the camaraderie among SWAT team members, the freedom to minister without fear of rejection or condemnation, and seeing demonstrable results.
“It’s so satisfying to see positive outcomes, especially a change in countenance when we pray for people,” Kraus says.
If cities and communities have SWAT teams armed with physical weapons, ballistic suits, tactical vests and body armor for crowd- and anti-rioting control, they also need spiritual warriors suited from head-to-toe with the armament found in Ephesians Chapter Six, Tuttle says.
That is loins girded with truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
For more information about SWAT or forming a team, Brad Tuttle ccntact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo captions: 1) Tom Martinez with Bob Kraus in the background. They intercede for God’s favor on a NoCo SWAT Team outreach. 2) Mark Weaver (left) and Bill Groves (background) lead a SWAT Call praying that Minister Elena de Porras (seated) will receive God’s funding for her new church in Juarez, Mexico. 3) Brad Tuttle. 4) Steve Rees
About the writer: Steve Rees is freelance Christian journalist who loves the church and writes about how it engages the culture and works toward fulfilling the Great Commission. He lives in Longmont, Colo. and attends Resurrection Fellowship, a nondenominational, missions-driven church that honors all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the five-fold ministry offices. The church is in Loveland, Colo. Rees formerly worked as a newspaper reporter and was among the first journalists who wrote about Promise Keepers before it spread nationwide from Boulder, Colo. He can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com
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