One cold night, I felt led to pray for a minister from my church named Todd whom I knew only casually. I pulled the covers over my head and began whispering quietly the thoughts that came. "Lord, Todd needs healing, and he feels lonely and afraid. I pray that You will comfort him, heal him and let him know that he is not alone."
Then I attached an addendum: "God, I really would like some confirmation from You that these prayers I am praying are making any kind of difference." This cry came from my heart because suddenly, on that cold winter night, I felt rather foolish. I noticed that the clock read 3:10 a.m.
My answer came quickly. The next night at our Wednesday night service Todd stopped me before I went out the door and asked if he could speak with me. He said, "Cindy, not many people know this, but I have cancer. Last night I was awake in extreme pain. I felt so lonely and cried out to God, 'God, doesn't anyone care?'"
Todd said that God spoke to him at that moment and said, Cindy Jacobs is awake and is praying for you. The clock read 3:10. Needless to say, I was—to use a word a friend has coined—"awesomized." All the time I had spent praying those outlandish things for people around the world had made a difference! I found out later that Todd had been healed of cancer.
I was greatly encouraged by that experience, so much so that when God impressed me around 4:00 one morning to pray that an older man in our church would not get hurt at work, I prayed with great conviction. God seemed to have spoken so clearly that I actually went to Buster in person and told him that God was going to protect him from harm on the job.
The following week Buster was working high on the nose cone of a Boeing 767. He took a step, lost his balance and found himself falling some twelve feet, crashing down face first on the cement floor. He lay there for a few moments, stunned by the fall, then cautiously began to check himself out as his co-workers came running. To everyone's amazement, he was a little sore but fine otherwise. God's protection was a great testimony to his co-workers.
The next Sunday morning, Buster took me by the shoulders and told me his incredible story of God's mercy. Buster's deliverance from injury did a lot for him. But it did a lot deep inside me as well. I realized something: Intercessory prayer really works!
Waking up in the middle of the night was not the only unusual thing that started happening to me in phase one of my training in intercession. One day I was in a healing service, and a mother brought her critically ill little son in for prayer. As I watched the pastor lay his hands on the child, tears began gushing down my face. I realized my heart was breaking for the child as though he were my own. After a few minutes I put my head down on my knees and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. Mike was trying to comfort me. Neither of us understood exactly what was happening.
All at once, as quickly as the weeping came, it left! I took a handful of Kleenex, wiped my eyes, blew my nose and looked around to see if anyone had noticed my outburst. It had gone seemingly unnoticed. Then I realized that deep inside I had a sense of peace and wonderment. I knew that God had done something for that child. I was sure that he would be fine. I later read that Charles Spurgeon called tears "liquid prayers."
Other remarkable occurrences happened that were new to me. One day during a prayer meeting in our home, a group of us was praying about a job for Mike. He had been laid off from his job with an airline, and we desperately needed for him to find another one. Out of nowhere I began to laugh—loud! The more I laughed, the more I wanted to stop. Laughing seemed so irreverent—and besides that, some of the others were staring at me. It was much later that I found the Scripture that says:
When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them" (Ps. 126:1–2).
I am convinced that Mike's job was given in the heavenlies at that moment even though it was two months before we actually possessed in the natural what had happened that day in the Spirit.
Why was all this happening to me? It seemed that the Lord had taken me up on some rash prayers that I had prayed before any of these prayer experiences began. God began to remind me that, prior to these unusual experiences, I had said, "God, use me in the way You see fit. I will do anything You want me to do; go anywhere, anyhow." As I searched the Scriptures for direction, one in particular leapt out at me: "I sought for a man among them who would ... stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land" (Ezek. 22:30). I could see then that God had chosen me to be an intercessor.
Cindy Jacobs and her husband, Mike, are the founders of Generals International, working to achieve social transformation through intercession and prophetic ministry. This article is an excerpt from her book Possessing the Gates of the Enemy.