God gave my good friend Don Ragland—and Don gave us—a powerful image that bears repeating as we begin our eight month commitment to daily prayer. This prayer is two-pronged. As a united congregation we are warring against Principalities of addictions, poverty, and religiosity—and battling for our friends and neighbors who are trapped in such bondage. Boldness comes in realizing that we are in this battle together, praying as One. Clarity comes as the Lord Himself brings to mind those He wants us to intercede for.
Our collective war against Principalities and Powers of wickedness will be incredibly effective because we are praying and standing together as an army of ONE. (It is important to note that the full armor of God passage in Ephesians 6 was written to the CHURCH collectively, not to individuals standing in isolation. We delude ourselves if we think we can stand alone as the Army of God!)
Our intercessory prayers, in this the year of intercession, will be incredibly powerful not only because we are warring in the Spiritual realm as One Army, but also because we are interceding with Spiritual clarity. As we “love our neighbors” with focused, crisp intercession formed as the Spirit shows us the “who’s” and the “what’s,” we will see victories like never before!
The picture God gave Don is of the Cross. Though we know we have been instructed by the Word to “grow up into Him who is the Head of the Body, Jesus”, we find that impossible until we can “speak the truth in love” to our neighbors. We cannot reach the “Crown” of the Cross until we pray in perfecting love for our neighbors. We cannot reach the Crown of the Cross without praying through the Crossbar of LOVING NEIGHBOR! Continued vertical growth (Loving God) is impossible without horizontal growth (Loving Neighbor). Finally, while we begin our Christian life at the “foot of the cross,” lets be clear that the crown is the only worthy goal!
One final word from my heart: I believe if we are faithful to pray TOGETHER for seven months, in ever-growing unity and obedience, we will see A GLORIOUS NEW BEGINNING break out by the eighth month! (Biblically, seven symbolizes perfection; eight, new beginnings.) December is coming! Yet the excitement of perfecting (maturing) Grace manifesting as we walk and war together in unity and intercede with supernatural accuracy in these first seven months is just as exciting!