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Intercessory Prayer

4 Things to Know about Generational Healing

Generational healing prayers are among my favorites. Why? Because I have seen such powerful changes through these prayers.

Consider this: Because of the power of Christ, you have the ability today to stand in for entire generations of your family and repent for generational sin. God can bring redemption and realignment to your family line, so your entire family can begin to walk in the calling and blessings God has given to you.

That's pretty powerful. 

Here are 5 helpful things to know about generational healing:

1. Numbers 14:18 tells us how generational curses pass through the family line. This verse also tells us of God's love and mercy. He wants us to be healed and He has made provision for our healing through Christ. Read Isaiah 61 about how Jesus has come to set the captives free.

Generational sin opens the door to these generational curses. They pass for 4 generations (10 generations for sexual sin – see Deuteronomy 23:2). This passing of the curse to 4 generations actually shows God's restraint (He could have made them pass longer). But if nobody repents, the sin keeps moving down the family line, becoming generational iniquity. Iniquity means a propensity to bend. It means the family has an inherited tendency toward that sin.

2. The Bible tells us to "bind the strongman" (Matthew 12:29, Mark 3:27, Luke 11:22). The strongman is the enemy who has plundered the generational blessings of each family. Read all of Luke 11 for insight into how the enemy plunders a family and how he is overturned by Christ. When we identify the strongman (e.g., addiction, pride, fear, sexual sin, violence, jealousy) and repent on behalf of the generations of our family, we invite Jesus in to set us free.

3. Generational sin is based in repentance. Through Christ, we have the ability to humble ourselves and choose to repent for the sin that has brought curses to our family. We forgive our ancestors who opened those doors to generational sin. We repent of the ways we personally have engaged in that sin. Then we stand in restitutional repentance on behalf of our entire family line. We ask God to restore the generational blessings He intends for our family. 

Often, we can identify those blessings because they are the direct opposite of the generational sin we have experienced. A family mired in generational fear has a blessing of power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). A family cursed with generational violence has a generational blessing of peace (Luke 8:26-39). A family that has been ripped apart over the generations by jealousy, strife, and contention is called to a generational blessing of love (1 Corinthians 13:4). The enemy tries to steal our gifts and blessings. Where he strikes us is the exact opposite of who we and the generations of our family are really supposed to be.

4. With generational repentance, the enemy will be silenced. He will no longer have such a strong hold on your family to compel each person into those generational curses. This doesn't mean the enemy will stop trying to trip people up. John 10:10 tells us he will continue to try and thwart God's plan for our lives. However, with generational repentance, he doesn't have the rights and the degree of force he had before. It gives people in your family a chance to come to their senses and hear the truth from Jesus. The generational truth becomes louder than the lies. 

Because of free will, family members may continue to choose to engage in a particular sinful behavior. The doors to sin that are open in a person's heart are complex. Jesus is the only one who can show each person how to heal and turn from those sins. But the difference, after generational repentance, is that the enemy won't have the same generational power as before to compel that behavior. I liken it to Jesus removing a megaphone from the enemy's hands.

This is where your prayers of intercession become so important. If a family member continues to follow in the old ways of the generational curse, you can intercede from a place of healing, truth, and blessing. You can't change that person's heart – only that person can do that, because of free will. However, you can pray for the Holy Spirit to help that person hear truth: that they are not a prisoner of fear, but rather they walk in power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7); that they are not an addict, but rather they are adopted by God (Romans 8:15); that they are not a victim of generational strife and jealousy, but rather they walk in God's love (1 Corinthians 13:4).

As you walk in your generational healing, and take ground from the enemy (Ephesians 6:13), you will be inviting the Holy Spirit to work more deeply in your family line. Your prayers of generational repentance, your generational healing, and the ways you choose to walk this out with Christ will have a powerful effect on your whole family.

Today is a great day to repent on behalf of yourself and the generations of your family. It's a great day to step into God's generational blessings.

Thank You, Jesus, for healing us. 

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Are You Feeling Someone’s Grief?

We all feel for others. When a loved one is down, we feel down as well. We even feel pain for people we don't know. A news broadcast might show a family that is grieving after a tornado destroys their home. We feel that pain as if it's our own. Human empathy is a beautiful gift God has given to us, so we can comfort and support each other through life's hardships.

For intercessors, especially those with a burden-bearing gift, this feeling can be even stronger. We can literally pick up on emotions from others – even when they are not around us and we don't know what they are going through. The pain that person is experiencing can literally overcome us, body, soul, and spirit. God might be allowing us to feel a part of their grief, so we can invite Him into that place with His comfort.

Yesterday, I was suddenly overcome with grief. It just descended like a cloud. I literally had to go to bed in the early evening as I was overcome with sadness. There was no apparent reason for this. Nothing was wrong with me and I was having a good day. Then I received a text about a friend who had just learned some tragic news.

Barely did the news process than I started wailing. Deep anguish took over me and I just wept and cried out. This went on for a while, as I prayed, and then I was able to get up and go about my evening, albeit subdued at the thought of what my friend was enduring. I continued to pray a lot until it was really time for bed.

Burden bearing for an intercessor can look and feel that way. It's important for you and your family to understand what it is and how to move through it. Otherwise, you can feel as if you're losing your mind.

When emotions come over you out of nowhere, and you don't know why, stop and ask God, "Is this mine, or is this for someone else?" He will show you. If what you are feeling is for someone else, ask Him to lead you in prayer for that person. You might not even know who the person is; that's okay, because God knows. Follow His lead in prayer.

As you pray, invite God to come into that place of pain and lift the burden. This is important. You are not the one to carry the burden, nor can you. It is for Jesus to carry. He allows you to feel part of the burden so you will invite Him with your prayers. Especially in situations of grief or recent trauma, the burden can often be too heavy for the person going through it. As an intercessor and friend, you have the privilege to invite God to lift that portion that they cannot bear. Jesus Himself will bear it for and with them.

Be sure you pray through this, giving all of it to God. Don't try and bear these burdens on your own strength. They are very real and can affect you in ways God does not intend. It's important to learn how to bear burdens rightly. Once you have prayed through each burden, ask God to lift the burden from you and cleanse you, so that you don't take it into your own flesh. Ask Him to seal what He has done, and thank Him.

I can recommend two excellent books that will help you know if you are a burden bearer and how to use this gift in the right ways:

Sharing the Burden by Christa and Dirk Luling – This book takes a practical approach to the personality and daily life of a burden bearer. It teaches about what burden bearing looks like and how to live in a healthy way as a burden bearer. This book is especially insightful for parents of burden-bearing children and teens. But it will also help burden-bearing adults recognize and learn how to live with this gift. 

The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity by Carol A. Brown – This book takes a spiritual approach to the gift of burden bearing. When you recognize yourself in these pages, you will feel like a light has come on. You are not crazy. You're not alone. It's a gift.

Burden bearing is a beautiful gift from God. If you have this gift, or if you see it in your children, it is important for you and your family to learn everything about it. Learn to use it in the way God intended, and you will have the privilege to come alongside others and God, to invite His comfort and healing in life's difficult situations.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

 

 

Season Your Church Ministries with Intercessory Prayer

When intercessory prayer is woven into the fabric of your church, your ministries can stand strong and do exactly what God calls them to do. Every ministry of your church, from worship to hospitality, from nursery to seniors, from Bible study to softball, has the opportunity to incorporate intercessory prayer. Not only does this help the ministries to grow in healthy ways, but it also allows more opportunities for church members to grow in their prayer lives.

What are some ways you can season your church ministries with intercessory prayer? 

  1. Open and close your ministry's meetings and gatherings with prayer.
  2. Invite the folks participating in your ministry to share prayer requests through the week. Pray together each week (or at each gathering) for those prayer requests. Remember to include Praises of how God answers those prayers.
  3. Designate a volunteer "prayer chaplain" for your ministry, who can follow up on those prayer needs, and who will help your ministry stay prayerful.
  4. Whatever Bible verses you use in your ministry, invite your participants to begin praying those Bible verses together. Do a quick mini-teaching of how to turn a Bible verse into a prayer.
  5. Encourage different individuals in your ministry to lead the group in prayer, so everyone can have experience in praying out loud. Not everyone feels comfortable praying out loud, so don't pressure them and don't put them on the spot. But make it very easy for them to try. (I offer a free, self-paced online class that helps folks get past this fear of praying out loud.) A small-sized ministry group is often the perfect place for people to practice praying out loud.
  6. Get to know the person who coordinates intercessory prayer at your church. Let that person know the best ways to pray for your ministry. You might write out a few "prayer points" that your church's prayer leader and prayer team can pray for your ministry on a regular basis. You can also post these prayer points in your ministry's location, in your written materials and website, or on a church bulletin board. Even better, ask your church's prayer leader to set up a bulletin board where all church ministries' "prayer points" can be listed. (Remember: These "prayer points" are about your ministry in general. These are not the confidential prayer needs shared by your participants, which should only circulate to the group and possibly confidentially to the pastor and prayer leader of your church.)
  7. Ask participants in your ministry to be praying for the ministry at home during their family prayer time. This means not only praying for the people in the ministry, but it also means praying for the ministry itself. Ask them to share with you what God shows them as they pray.
  8. Choose a Bible verse that reflects your ministry in each season of the year. Encourage your ministry participants to pray that Bible verse together through that season. Post the Bible verse publicly in your church so everyone can join you in praying that verse.
  9. Assign "prayer partners" among your ministry participants. This connects two or three individuals or families so they can pray for each other. 
  10. Choose another ministry of your church to pray for. It should be a ministry with a completely different focus than your own. Ask that ministry's leader how you can pray for them. Lead the participants of your ministry in praying together for that other ministry. Watch what God will do. Even better, encourage your church's prayer leader to coordinate all ministries of the church in praying for each other.

Don't be overwhelmed by this list. It's called "seasoning" for a reason. Try one of these first and then add others as you are ready. Mix and match through different seasons of the year. Follow God's leading. But find ways to season your church ministry with intercessory prayer.

What are some ways you have included intercessory prayer in your church ministry? Would you share them with us in the comments below?

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healng. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Ask for a Prayer Strategy

Your prayers are powerful. Because of that power, you want to be sure you are praying in a way that aligns with God's will.

That doesn't mean you can only pray, "Thy will be done." I know folks who feel most comfortable praying this way, and I understand it. I honor their desire to be careful in what they pray. But we can be more specific with our prayers, as long as we align these with God's will. We need to ask God for a prayer strategy.

In Romans 8:26, God lets us know the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don't know what to pray. He is there to guide us. God wants to direct our prayers. When we pray, we are inviting Him to do what He already desires and intends to do. So He knows how to lead our prayers. 

That's where we ask Him for a prayer strategy. It is the same thing as saying, "God, I am inviting You do to what You want to do. Please tell me what to invite. What do You want to do in this situation?"

In John 14:13-14, Jesus reveals a lot about how to ask according to His will. As you read those verses, expand your reading to all of John 14. Jesus reminds us that He is the way, the truth, and the life; that He works in us by our belief in Him, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, for God's glory. He reminds us that if we keep His commandments, this is a sign of our love for Him. It is in this context that when we ask in His name, HE will accomplish what we ask.

So if we live by His will, then we will ask according to His will, and He will do what He already intends to do. That is what our prayers invite. And that is why, when we are living according to His will, we can ask Him for a prayer strategy, so we pray in alignment with Him. If we are living in alignment with Him, we will have peace that we are praying in alignment with Him. The Holy Spirit will prompt us if our prayers are off base. The more sensitive we become to His Spirit, the more we can feel this and change course.

The prayer strategy God gives us will always line up with His Word and His nature. That's the best way we can check to be sure we're hearing from God.

If you feel uncertain of how to pray in a situation, begin to pray God's Word. John 3:16 is a great verse to pray in any situation. For "the world," substitute the name of the person you are praying for. Psalm 1 is also a great Bible passage to pray for someone, claiming that God has created that person to be that tree planted by water bringing forth fruit. Psalm 139:14 is also a great verse to pray for everyone.

As you start to pray God's Word, and attune your heart to His, you will begin to sense other Bible verses to pray. 

And you can always pray by inviting God to come and do what He desires to do in any situation: "Lord, come and do what You intend to do." That is the same as praying, "Thy will be done," but it is a very active way to invite Him, and this will help you begin to move your prayers in rhythm with His heart.

What are your favorite Bible verses to pray? For what kinds of situations?

Has God given you a prayer strategy where you had peace that it was from God? Did you have a situation where you weren't sure? How did you resolve it and find peace?

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Symbols of Prayer

If you've ever tried to teach about prayer in a church, you have probably encountered the challenge of teaching about something that is largely invisible. Prayer is not something you can see. We know it works, just like we know gravity works. But we can't see the process with our natural eyes.

Have you thought about creative ways you can teach prayer using symbols? While symbols don't replace the power of prayer, they can offer a visible way to focus on an invisible process.

Also, symbols draw our attention. They elicit questions. They make us curious. 

Like the symbols I just saw in our town square. There is a display of war veterans' crosses and flags. Usually we see these lining our streets on national holidays. But here just a few are displayed, not on a holiday. It might be a Pearl Harbor remembrance, but I'm not sure. Even though I don't know the specific reason, the display drew my attention. It caused me to ponder and explore.

What kind of symbols might you display in your church to help people ponder about prayer?

For a season, our church had a candle displayed in a window. The electric candle, which stayed perpetually lit, represented our prayer vigil for the healing of cancer. At the base of the candle, people could write names of people they were praying for. Whenever someone received healing, they could mark "Healed" across the name.

Not every person interacted with the candle. But people saw it as they walked by. They might have stopped to read what it was about. It was something to keep them thinking about prayer.

Prayer stations are another way churches can use to visibly represent prayer. You arrange an area with items that symbolize prayer. Perhaps include a card that invites prayer or lists some scripture verses to pray. Churches often use prayer stations during special seasons, like Lent. But what if you kept a prayer station up all year? Maybe change out the items to mark the seasons. That's a powerful and visible way to keep people remembering and engaged with prayer.

In prayer leadership, it takes time to get people involved in learning about prayer. The placement of a few symbols around the church can help prepare fertile soil.

What kinds of prayer symbols have you used at your church? What other ideas might you try? Feel free to reply and share your ideas, so others can learn. I would love to hear your creative suggestions about using prayer symbols in churches.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Community Prayer Starts with You

Prayers for a community are powerful. Ideally, you want your whole community covered in prayer. Even better, you want your whole community praying.

It takes time. And lots of prayer.

If community prayer is your heart, then it starts with you.

Our community is blessed to have many prayer groups, some who have been active for decades. I also know of prayer groups who met here historically, so we are built on a bedrock of prayer.

Even if your community is newer, and doesn't have a deep history of prayer, I guarantee you God has already been at work preparing the soil. When you respond to His call to pray, He will bless and flourish the prayers you sow into the community.

For several years in our community, we had a group of intercessors meeting each month to pray together. We came from all different churches. We listened for how God would have us pray, and we prayed in unity. Folks in our community saw fruit of what God had led us to pray. (Remember: Prayer is inviting God to do what He already desires and intends to do.)

This summer, I felt led to start praying with others for the community again. We meet once a week at a sidewalk cafe and pray as God leads us. Sometimes we prayer walk around the streets of downtown.

We pray for our schools, health care, highway safety, law enforcement and first responders, businesses, elderly, people living in poverty, students driving for the first time, and other requests that arise with our community news and daily interactions. Our community prayer group meets right before another group of us goes into the jail for ministry, so we pray for the people in the jail as well.

We also declare together that Jesus is Lord over our community. We invite Him to come and have His way in our town. 

If you have a heart to pray for your community, see how God would lead you to respond. Do you feel led to start praying with others? It only takes a couple people to get this started. Don't feel discouraged if you are the only one at first. Spread the word and show up to pray. Often times, the person who starts the group will pray alone for a few weeks. That's okay. Be faithful and obedient. Before long, others will join you, and it will be amazing.

Keep track of your prayers. We write ours down and take them home to pray during the week. Notice when and how prayers are answered, and thank God together for what He has done. If people want to join you but can't come at that time, send them your prayer notes so they can join you in prayer from home.

I pray that God will bless your community prayer group immensely and multiply the fruits from the seeds He sows through your prayers.

If you have a community prayer group, I would love to hear about it. Please share with us in the Comments below about what you are doing, so others can be blessed.

If you haven't been able to get people to join you, let us know that as well, so we can pray for you.

Here are some ideas of what a praying community looks like. I would love to hear your suggestions of how to add to this list.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Prayer Lessons from God’s Heart

A week ago I returned from a surprise mission trip to Guatemala. What a blessing, in countless ways, many of which I am probably still not aware of.

God used that time in Guatemala – away from familiar surroundings and language – to teach me a lot about His heart for prayer. I am so grateful, and I am trusting Him to work these new lessons and changes through my heart.

Meanwhile, I would love to share with you some of my reflections on prayer during my time in Guatemala. I was able to post these at our team's blog site:

Treasure in Jars of Clay

I would love to know your thoughts, and to hear similar stories of how God has taught you from His heart of prayer.

God bless you.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Praying Family - background

Small Steps to Prayer

The weekend is here, and that means it's time for me to post a "weekend warriors" prayer request on my website and on Twitter.

What is weekend warriors? It's where I share an opportunity for folks to pray for a child who lives in extreme poverty. I share the first name, male/female, age, and country. All I ask it that everyone who sees that post take a moment to pray for that child.

Does this really help? I believe it does. Every time we pray for someone, God moves in response to our prayers. I believe that child experiences the benefit of those prayers, and God's heart is touched, because He loves that child beyond measure.

So often, we tend to overcomplicate prayer. Really, it should be very simple. We pray, and God moves. As a friend put it once, "Prayers go up, angels come down."

As someone who wants to encourage others in prayer, I look for simple ways. Just some small way to help all of us pray a little more during our day. Weekend warriors is one way. There are infinite other ways.

What is one very simple way you could inspire folks to say a quick prayer that will touch someone's life? I know you will come up with amazing ideas, and I would love to hear what you feel led to do, to encourage others to pray.

God bless you.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Surprise Trip to Guatemala!

Countryside

I'm heading to Guatemala today on a mission trip. What? You didn't know I was going? Neither did I! Many of you don't know the story so I'll share, because it's always good to be reminded God can do the impossible.

Hearts for the Children ministry has been part of my heart since my first visit in 2009. I love those people! I've been praying for this team that was leaving today but, as a missionary of prayer myself, my funds are at an all-time low so there was no thought of being able to join them. I've been doing a LOT of praying but staying close to home.

Imagine my surprise to wake up Wednesday morning and learn of an extra paid-for ticket. Three days later and I am packed and ready to leave tonight. AMAZING!!!!

It's in the "little" details where God shows up even more – my passport is within 30 days of the cutoff; my school professors both gave me an immediate excused absence, which almost never happens. Every little detail came together so quickly.

My heart leapt when they said they were wanting intercessors to pray with folks in a village. I've been already praying for these folks from my living room, having no idea God would send me to pray in person.

This has been the toughest year of my life and I need God to revive me. He has pulled out all the stops.

I share all this to say, first of all, please pray for us – our team of 14 plus 3 missionaries who live there – June 11-18, and pray for the precious folks who will receive ministry, encouragement, medical help, food, and love.

And also I share it to say that for God, nothing is impossible. You have no idea what wonderful and amazing things He is doing right now on your behalf that He will soon reveal. It will be tailor made for you, even to the finest details.

Love you all! Thank you for your prayers.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Village

The End of the Story

Intercessors don't often get to hear the end of the story. We pray in faith that God has done whatever He intends to do, in whatever situation He prompted us to pray. And we thank Him for the privilege.

Today, I met a lady I had never met before. She began to share with me about a ministry event God had orchestrated in Israel that took several years in the planning. When she told me the month and the year she received the vision and began to move forward with the planning, and when she told me the nature of the event, my heart began to pound.

As it turns out, I was in Israel at exactly the time the Lord began to germinate this vision with her. The type of event that transpired, several years later, was exactly what He had laid on my heart to pray.

I was excited beyond words to learn how the event had transpired, and the lives God had touched. She was grateful to hear of how God had orchestrated intercession, even with someone she didn't know at the time, an intercessor who "happened" to be visiting Israel for the first time in my life.

Intercessors often don't get to hear the end of the story. What a sweet and amazing God, that He allowed me this day to hear this story.

If you are an intercessor, be encouraged. God moves mountains in response to your prayers.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Israel