By June 2006, I was more and more troubled with Mike’s California dreams. He still wasn’t convinced of a move but couldn’t deny the change in his dream life. He decided to drive out to California and visit his brothers for a couple of weeks. With the garden getting started, I needed to keep an eye on things at home. I was looking forward to some alone time with Holy Spirit. My hope was to get further instructions.
On June 10th, I sat down with my journal and pen in hand and cried out my fears to God. After a few minutes, He responded.
“Fear not, for I am with you. You are made in My image. You are fashioned in My love. Your self-image has been distorted by life and its trials, but I see you whole. You are My radiant bride. You are washed in My blood, without spot or wrinkle awaiting your long-expected Bridegroom.
“You look around and see others impact hundreds, thousands, and millions. When you see them, you feel less than. Each one has a purpose and a plan. You are fulfilling My purpose. Rest in Me. Find joy in Me.
“We are doing great work. You only see the back of the tapestry, and I see the intricate and beautiful design.
“Keep your eyes on Me and off the calendar. I set the times and seasons.
“Entrust Mike to Me and rejoice. I am beginning to open a door for the two of you that no man can shut. Beyond it is refreshment in the fulfillment of all, I have planned.”
I saw a door open with light pouring through. There were rolling green hills and flowers beyond. My hope was stirred.
Later that week I asked God, “Father, may I pray for a breakthrough?
“Yes, but breakthrough often comes bit by bit, day by day. Restoration is in My hand to bring as I see fit. You are doing the right things. You must trust me for the results.”
It had been ten months since God showed us His blueprints. At the end of June, I grew more anxious for answers. I sat down with Him pouring out my concern.
“Abba, Mike is having dream after dream about California. Is that where You are leading us? Why won’t You tell us? More and more I am feeling the urge to start sorting and packing. What is the holdup?”
“This time is about waiting. Waiting in joyful expectation for My plan to be revealed. You will receive it in sound bites, so turn up your amplifier and turn your attention on Me.
“There is death before resurrection. Fear not, only believe. I am leading you through the valley of death to your expectations and interpretations. What I have planned is far better than you have ever dreamed. Trust Me to lead you through this valley of waiting and death. Rest in My ability to carry you through. Rest in My ability to lead you in a timely fashion. There is much to be gained in the waiting.
“It is not a time of inactivity but rather one of preparation of the heart through exercising My will daily. Trust and obey. You will be there before you know it.
“I am preparing you for burial. Complete surrender means complete death to your agendas and desires, strengths. All must die for complete surrender to occur.”
“Lord, what must I do?”
“Allow death to occur. Don’t fight it. Complete surrender comes piece by piece until it’s complete. “It is finished.” The words I spoke on the cross were an end of a long chain of events where I surrendered My will for My Father’s will. There is a joy to be discovered in every step of surrender.
“Remember the scene in ‘Hind’s Feet for High Places?’ The water from the waterfall plunged with joy to the depths in complete abandon?
“Joyful abandon is part of the surrender process. It’s the adventure of looking for things to hand over. It knows with every relinquishment, you come closer to Me and My purpose. It’s a scavenger hunt in the Spirit.”
“Lord, what can I surrender to You today?”
“Surrender your need to be in charge. Let others choose and follow joyfully, knowing it’s My plan. Look for ways to hand over control, then let go joyfully.”
In the next few months, Mike started seeing that a move may be in God’s plans. The number of dreams he was having about packing up his truck or being on the road, amazed him.
One day in mid-November the two of us agreed that we needed confirmation. Proverbs 11:14 came to mind. “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
I’d only shared our struggles with my friend Lisa. None of our family or any of our friends knew we were considering a move. Lisa would be one I would approach for prayer and confirmation, but I knew there would be others.
I prayed and asked God to tell me who to contact. With His leading, I created a list of eleven strong intercessory friends. Only two of them were local to our area.
On November 20th, I wrote an email to them with the following:
I am writing to ask if you would pray for Mike and me. In August 2005, God spoke prophetically to Mike and me through a sister. God laid out a picture of a call for the two of us to minister as a couple. He also alluded to the fact that we would be moving out of our home and Mike would be moving out of his church.
When this word first came, Mike and I were not on the same page with it at all. We determined at that point to make it a matter of prayer, asking God for confirmation. Over time that confirmation replayed many times. Now, Mike and believe the timing for the move may be very close. God asked us not to tell anyone about this until He said so. It has been difficult to keep our mouths shut and in fact, we still must to a degree.
None of our children know either. We are asking that you keep this quiet until we give you the go ahead to share with others. Thank you.
Recently, I got hold of a wonderful teaching by Graham Cooke. It’s called ‘Crafted Prayer.’ Graham shares that there is a prayer God will always answer. It is the prayer based on His word to us. Graham has used this in a group setting many times and seen miracles occur.
The process is this. You set aside time to pray. Begin by worshipping. Then ask the Lord to share His heart with you about a particular matter. Listen and write down what you hear.
Later you take what you have written, look for the Biblical basis for what you’ve heard. If God’s Word doesn’t align, it isn’t God.
We would like you to go to God for us and this possible move. Write down what you hear and send it back to us. If you are willing to be part of this process, please let us know as soon as possible. Thank you so much.
Within the week, we heard back from every single one of them. Our team was ready to pray and report.
So, on November 23rd, I sent out another email. I asked them to set aside time on the following Saturday to pray and listen.
Here were my instructions:
We want to craft a prayer out of the insights God gives you. So, on Saturday, set aside time to pray as we mentioned before. Then write out what God shows you or tells you. It may even be something you sense. Please write it out and email us.
When we’ve heard back from you, we will ask Holy Spirit to help us. We will take sentences and phrases from your emails and create a prayer. It will be long enough to hit the high points and short enough to be memorable and not a burden to you in time. Once we craft the prayer, I will mail it out to each of you and ask that you pray it with us until we see completion.
Our verse we are standing on is 1 John 5:14-15. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us and whatever we ask, we know that we have the request which we have asked from Him.”
We waited. Little did we know what God was about to do. Over the next week, we received email after email. Each one shared their words of encouragement and prophetic insight. But, the most incredible thing was that in every single email there was a sentence, or a paragraph, close to verbatim to the original prophetic word Linda gave us over a year before.
After reading these over, there wasn’t any doubt that we were hearing from God. And from all we received, it looked like the Stockton, California area was our destination.
With confirmation and location settled, I crafted a prayer. I sent it out for the approval of the group. They sent back some additions or edits. Here in bold is the final copy we sent everyone:
“Father, as Your Spirit has gone ahead to prepare the way, give us eyes to see the next step You have for us to take.
(Even though we knew where our destination, we still needed God’s timing. We needed the day to day steps we were to take in preparation.)
Give places of oasis on the journey—people and opportunities to get refreshed.
(Over and over God assured us. Through the emails and our dreams and words that He’d already gone ahead of us. And He prepared rest stops and divine appointments where we would receive what we needed to go on.)
Fill us with supernatural strength and courage for ministry, which will include ‘feats’ of spiritual, emotional, and physical endurance.
(Again, there was evidence that God was planning to manifest Himself through us in many ways.)
Anoint us with joy for the adventure and blessings to share. And may the recipients be blessed, regardless of the results.
(We needed to stay in joy and thanksgiving regardless of the circumstances. We were going to be on His assignment, and He was responsible for the outcome as we walked in obedience to His lead.)
Reveal handholds on the rock face of difficulty. Show us You are still leading and have been there already.
(He promised we’d never have to be in fear. He said we would find evidence of His leading marking our path regardless of its difficulty.)
Join our willing hearts, with You, into one tightly braided rope that will lasso the lost, be a harness to the unruly and a lead to the newly broken.
(The oneness we’d seen in the spirit He was going to create and use to bless others.)
As the new becomes familiar and the familiar becomes second-nature, may Your words of life make each day an anticipation of Your Presence—ever new, again and again, as we follow You.
(The ones around the throne have been crying “Holy, Holy, Holy,” for centuries. With every new glance of Abba, more and more of God’s character unveils stirring praise. Stir the same in us God.)
While there were many specific details confirmed in the emails we received, we felt that the prayer needed to be open to God’s timing and direction. So, we included the repeated counsel and some exact phrases.
We were in the middle of the holidays when we sent out the request. We needed to pray over all the responses and hear God for ourselves. Because of these elements, we didn’t get the prayer sent out until February.
On February 21, I wrote in my journal. “Thank You, Lord. We finally have a crafted prayer for all to pray. Lord, while we’ve fashioned the words, You know the intent. It’s Your will we want, and You alone know the full scope of what that is. We see through the glass darkly. Thank You for these wonderful friends and their willingness to pray.
Father, I asked You about Your criteria for cleaning out stuff for the move. What I heard was, “Get rid of everything you haven’t used in the last six months.” Father, that is a lot.
“I’m paring you down for the journey. You cannot run or sail in the winds with too much ballast (weight). Only enough to bring balance.
“There is a race ahead of you to run, but you will run and not be weary, you will walk and not faint. Getting rid of all the stuff will help in that process.
“Do not fear. I will provide all that you need along the way. You’ve seen that in other’s lives. While the provision has not always met the criteria of their wants, it has never lacked to meet their need.
“Turn your eyes upon Me. Look full into My face, and the things of this earth will grow dim, in the light of My Presence.
“I will be, and I am Present with you. I am enough. You ‘need’ very little stuff to go forward.
“Rest, you don’t have to rush. Now you have an oasis of time before the travel begins. Daily what I’m asking you to do and rest in My ability to lead. There are many places of oasis along the way.”
With these instructions and our crafted prayer team in place, we gathered trash bags and boxes and started the cleanout. There would be more time ahead of us than we knew, but we did know God was with us and He was leading, and that was enough.
~~ How About You? ~~
Do you feel God is leading you to make a decision? Is He showing you something and you need more clarification? Ask Him about having others pray and listen.
Last night five of us sat around a table at the pizza parlor. We prayed in the spirit. We asked Holy Spirit to show us the cause for a brother-in-law experiencing a repeat of cancer. In less than five minutes, God gave us several pieces of information that bore witness of truth. Now we can address them in intercession. We believe this brother will be set free.
God wants us to function as a Body. Yes, our intimate times with Him are the priority, but we grow, and others grow along with us when we pursue Him together.
Of course, the bottom line litmus test is His Word. If the pieces of information received are not leading you in a godly moral and loving direction, they are trash.
Matthew 18:19-20 Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
1 Corinthians 12:26-27 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
I encourage you to join in prayer with others about God’s words over your life. There is power in agreement. And the eternal bond that occurs between prayer partners is priceless.
1 Hind’s Feet On High Places, by Hannah Hurnard
2 Crafted Prayer, by Graham Cooke, Brilliant Book House, 2003