Several years ago, I shared with many a word the Lord had spoken to my heart. He told me that Mary would soon be going home, and I would need to raise up a team of intercessors to take her place.
Mary Ruttan has been a mother of Israel and a woman of prayer for my wife and I since we first met her in 1984. She was a member in the first church we pastored. Often, she would open her Bible to show me our family picture, and the list of prayer requests that she laid before the Lord everyday. I have traveled to more than 35 nations knowing full well that her prayers have gone before me. I remember asking her a few years ago, “Mary, are you ready to go home?” She smiled only for a moment before saying, “Not yet. I have prayers that aren’t answered.” Mary’s prayers have been answered – or so I must assume, for the Lord has taken her on to her reward.
On another occasion, the Lord talked to me about the role of intercession in this ministry. He told me I was making the same mistake that Hitler and Napoleon made when they invaded Russia: they didn’t have the proper supply lines. In the early part of February, a pastor friend of mine called to ask how his people could be praying effectively for Teri and I. He reminded me about this need for spiritual supply lines, and it encouraged me to know the work of intercession they are making. Paul spoke about the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ coming as a result of the faithful prayers of others, (Philippians 1:19). This supply line of the Spirit makes all the difference in the world when it comes to meeting the needs of people supernaturally.
I want you to know how much we appreciate your prayers. I am in Moscow now [February 25, 2005], as I write this, and tomorrow I begin a preaching tour of six Siberian cities: Chelyabinsk, Tumen, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Noyabrsk and Abakan. Would you come with me in prayer? Ask the Lord to move by His Spirit, by stretching forth His hand to heal, that signs and wonders would be done in the name of Jesus. Pray God grant me boldness to preach His Word and that many will be saved! (read these verses and bring them before the Lord in prayer, Acts 4:29-31; Ephesians 6:18-20)
It encourages me to know I am going into the heart of Russia backed by the spiritual supply lines that I need to fully preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are strategies that can only be discovered in prayer and which can only be empowered through more prayer. The final analysis of all that we do is our obedience to God’s will. His will is revealed through prayer, but we often fail to realize that the ability to perform His will is also received in prayer.
It’s not enough to know God’s will, we need to know how to do God’s will. It is a process of revelation. I am convinced that if more time were spent in prayer, less time would need to be spent in every other area of life. The path from where we are to where God wants us to be is better revealed when we spend adequate time in prayer and personal preparation in the presence of God.
E. M. Bounds once said, “God’s cause is committed to men; God commits Himself to men. Praying men are the vice-regents of God; they do His work and carry out His plans.”
There is a spiritual supply, there is a measure of the Spirit, there is a way in which God planned for man to draw on heavenly resources. Prayer, faithful prayer, is the means God has given for man to draw down from heaven all that is necessary in this life.
Paul knew that none of his troubles were greater than the provision of God, but he also knew that they would not be supplied without the proper life of prayer, this joining of forces among God’s saints, which would result in a marvelous supply of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ.