Amazingly, some corporate prayer groups base their entire prayer time on emotions. Hebrews 11:1-2 (NKJV) tell us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it [faith] the elders obtained a good testimony.” It is faith that moves the heart of God, not emotion.
By faith the elders obtained a good testimony. Yet some of these giants of the faith were tortured, jeered at and flogged, while others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, sawed in two and put to death by the sword (see vv. 35-37).
Most of these mighty men and women didn’t flinch when they were mistreated, misunderstood, persecuted or left destitute. Hebrews 11:38-39 (NIV) says of them, “The world was not worthy of them...These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.” Their mind-set was one of faith, not feelings.
God knows I am emotional. Eddie calls me radical. In his recently released book, Help! I’m Married to an Intercessor (Regal) he describes me in his own terms:
“Alice is radical about everything! This woman would rather watch the Houston Rockets professional basketball team play than eat. She was a cheerleader in school when her father was the football coach. Alice is a Dallas Cowboys football fanatic as well. When the Cowboys game is being televised, everything at our house comes to a screeching halt.
“Now, I like football. I tend to watch the game casually from my recliner. I drink coffee, read the paper and talk on the phone during the game.
Not her! Alice watches the game on her feet—even in our living room! Pacing, lunging, warning and encouraging the players and coaches, my radical wife is not bothered at all that they can’t hear a word she’s saying!”
Being radical is not bad as long as you work to maintain balance in all areas of your life.
3. Inappropriate behavior. Intercessors have a responsibility to represent the Lord both inside and outside the prayer room. We need to learn that that which is biblical is not always appropriate. Ongoing “weird” activity in the prayer setting is likely to be soulish, if not demonic.
An undisciplined mind confuses soulishness and spirituality, allowing the soul to rule over the spirit. An unruly mind has to be “renewed day by day.” The apostle Paul reminds us: “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18, KJV).
To be filled with the Spirit is to exercise the qualities of the Holy Spirit. What are they? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
Egrates, the Greek word for temperance, is translated “self-control.” The Holy Spirit will not control you. You must control you!
One form of inappropriate behavior I am concerned about is an alarming manifestation I will call “ecstasy.” This manifestation is misdiagnosed as travail, but it is not genuine godly travail. When it occurs, a glazed expression forms on the intercessor’s face, and he or she voices utterances resembling expressions of sexual gratification. I have actually seen intercessors positioned in a manner that suggests a sexual act is happening.
Beware, women! We must ask the Lord for spiritual discernment concerning such matters. Proper travailing prayer will not cause physical arousal.
Dutch Sheets makes an interesting point about travail in his book, Intercessory Prayer (Regal):
“First, I believe biblical travail is an important, if not essential, part of intercession for the lost. Second, I don’t believe it is defined by groaning, wailing, weeping and hard work. Natural travail certainly is, and spiritual travail can include these things. I do not believe, however, it must include them, and I’m convinced it is not defined by them.”
Dutch goes on to define travailing intercession. It is “a form of intercession that releases the creative power...of the Holy Spirit into a situation to produce, create or give birth to something.”
Not long ago at a conference, I called for repentance by all intercessors who had ever experienced false travail such as I have described. One woman who came forward for prayer told me that she was a seasoned intercessor who had been praying for over 20 years. But recently she went to a conference where a person laid hands on her for impartation. Impartation is right!
After that incident, whenever she tried to pray she would see Jesus as her lover and experience a physical orgasm. She had opened herself to a false spiritual experience she did not ask the Lord about first. At the conference she received deliverance from the evil spirit that had seduced her.
It is clear that we must be discerning. Eph. 5:15-16 tell us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (NKJV).
Evil or not, these are exciting days in which to live, for spiritual awakenings are being seen throughout the earth. I pray we see one here in the United States! To help bring this about, we must be committed to maintaining our credibility in prayer. Decide now to keep a spiritual eye on what’s going on in the prayer room and be a Spirit-led—not a flaky—woman of prayer.
Alice Smith is prayer coordinator for the U.S. Prayer Track of the A.D. 2000 & Beyond Movement. She is also a conference speaker and author of the 1997 book, Beyond the Veil, published by Regal.
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