I was newer to the church and did not know Alice’s story. One day I was working in the church nursery and she brought her two year old grandson in. It did not take me long to see that he was a handful. His misbehavior concerned me and I immediately felt that I had to take authority over any spirits that were influencing his behavior. Having learned to speak peace into a room, I did so, simply saying that I spoke peace into the room and commanding all demons that were influencing him to leave the room and the church in Jesus’ name. For almost two hours he was just a sweet little boy. When Alice picked him up, she asked how he did. When I told her that he was fine, she was surprised. Clearly, she did not hear this a lot. I explained to her how I had prayed. She was intrigued. I encouraged her to do the same thing at home. I also brought the book Intercessory Prayer to lend her the next week. I suggested that there were gems of helpful prayer strategies that may help her intercede for her grandson. She accepted the book. And I forgot about the whole thing.
Dutch Sheets is a champion for intercession for our world and country. He has traveled across the United States with Chuck Pierce and has prayed for each state. It is appropriate that he has written this classic work on intercession. Written in 1996, it is now 20 years old and is still in print. What is intercession? Dutch Sheet defines it; “It can be summarized as mediating, going between, pleading for another, representing one party to another.” Mr. Sheets teaches us how to intercede effectively and gives us strategies that move mountains. He tells stories that build our faith and motivate us. The book is hope-inspiring.
Some time after lending Intercessory Prayer to Alice, she approached me in church. She was absolutely glowing. I asked her how things were going with her grandson. Improved, she said. But I soon learned that the glow was from her very inner being. She told me briefly about her 20 plus year journey of what seemed like fruitless intercession for her alcoholic husband. She had read the book and started to use it as an instruction manual. She had implemented each strategy as she read it as the Holy Spirit directed her. For example, she prayed that the Holy Spirit would hover over her husband as he slept, as He had hovered over the vastness during creation. She asked the Holy Spirit to birth life into her husband. She used this strategy and others. She also learned some things not to do, and why.
Not long after Alice’s intercessory campaign was under way, her husband asked her to come outside. She curiously followed him, and he pointed to a wagon full of bottles that sat in driveway. He said that he was bringing it to the dump. He was done with drinking. He had never done anything like this before. He kept his word. The amazing thing is that she saw him “come alive” like he never had before. When the prayer team at church prayed for him, they prayed for his mind to be healed. He had begun to make comments like “Were our kids as cute as our grandson? I don't remember that. He is so cute. I never realized that before.” He started coming to church and was chatty and content to be by her side. He was a new man, and God was healing his mind. Alice’s joy overflowed. Not surprisingly, she bought copies of this book for friends.
I'm tickled that Alice saw fruit for her faithfulness. Still, I am sad for the delay. I seek to see this book in every open hand possible, the sooner the better. Can we prevent another generation of spouses like Alison from spending frustrating and discouraging decades praying the same prayers? I think we can. I have not peddled any other manmade book to the extent that I continue to peddle this one. In fact, I think it is time to read this one again. I have let some of this revelation slip and there is a lot to pray about. It is exciting to think about the answered prayer that will ensue! And as Alice’s testimony shows, her prayers, like ours, are of infinite importance.