Thursday, June 10, 2010

‘Intercessors Arise: Personal Prayer That Changes the World’ by Debbie Przybylski – Book Review

Buzz this
One of the most impactful and powerful actions that a Christian can take is to pray.  In ‘Intercessors Arise: Personal Prayer That Changes the World,’ Debbie Przybylski shares what she has learned in many decades of ministry.

Here is the synopsis of this book:

          When God’s Spirit Moves, Change Happens!
Prayer happens for many reasons, but no prayer is uttered by accident.  When we pray, individual lives change. Imagine watching whole neighborhoods affected, cities and nations touched by the power of prayer.
With the key concepts taught in Intercessors Arise, you’ll learn to release your potential in prayer through practical and personal application steps. Use it alone or with a group, and stand in the gap for a world in need of change.

Here is the biography of the author:

Debbie Przybylski is the founder and director of Intercessors Arise International, a part of the ministry of Elijah Company, Inc. Debbie’s passion is to see intercessors at work, stirring the nations and setting captives free through the world by the ministry of prayer. She believes that intercessors must be trained, encouraged, and released for the end-time harvest. She serves alongside her husband, Norman, at Elijah Company, Inc.
Debbie graduated with a diploma in Bible theology and a diploma in Christian education from Moody Bible Institute, and a master’s degree in missions with a certificate in counseling from Columbia International University. She and Norm have ministered in more than sixty countries.

With those credentials, I think Debbie can provide a lot of valuable insights on praying!  And indeed she does.

In the introduction, Debbie explains that some pray-ers are not necessarily born; they’re made:

Some people have said to me, “I don’t have the gift of intercession” and then have grown to be mighty prayer warriors. None of us is born a prayer hero. We become one through practice. Intercessory prayer is an extension of the ministry of Jesus through His church on earth. He works through the prayers of His people. Through intercession, we mediate between God and humans as His representatives on earth, standing between Him and a lost world.
God is calling the entire body of Christ to pray and to intercede. Jesus is our example as the greatest intercessor, and He invites us to join Him. This is both our responsibility and a wonderful privilege to partner with God as we pray. We bring people to God in prayer, asking Him to meet with them. With His authority, we enforce the victory of Calvary here on earth through our prayers. Now we must awaken to this glorious privilege.
If you want to grow in your personal prayer life and make an impact in your world through intercession, then this book is for you. God is calling each one of us to rise higher in prayer than ever before. It’s time for us to meet this challenge. It’s time to release God on earth through our prayers. I encourage you as you read this book to make a new commitment to steadfast, earnest prayer. (pp. 14-15)  

Mrs. Przybylski breaks the book down by categories: The Intercessors and Intimacy, The Intercessory and Faith, … and Character, … and Stillness, … and the Bible, … and Persistence, … and Purpose, … and Strongholds, … and Forgiveness, … and Revival, and finally, … and the World.

In the chapter on Intimacy, Debbie brought up a saint whom God has brought to my attention twice in the past month (in book form in Greg Boyd’s ‘Present Perfect’ – you can read my review here) – and that gentleman is Brother Lawrence, who was a humble cook in a seventeenth-century French monastery. He wanted to be present with God every moment of every day. Debbie explains his mindset this way:

Following Brother Lawrence’s example, let’s realize that worship should not be so much an event as a perpetual attitude. (p. 19)

Debbie suggests we use Breath Prayers:

Pray a brief phrase to Jesus throughout the day that you can repeat in one breath. You may want to pray phrases such as, “You can help me,” “You’ll promise to never leave me,” “I can do all things through Christ,” “Your joy is my strength,” “I love You,” and “Help me trust You.” Breath prayers, unlike regular prayers, are short with just a few words that you can quickly pray to God at any time. They will keep you more conscious of your relationship with God on a moment-by-moment basis. You become more aware that He is with you through all the joys and sorrows of daily life. You realize in a deeper dimension His companionship. As time goes on, it becomes a natural practice in your everyday life, and you realize afresh that Jesus really is your best friend. (p. 19)

I really love that suggestion! It is easy to remember to do it, and it keeps you aware of God at all times.  We need all the help we can get in this distraction-filled world.

Knowing the character of God helps us to be more intimate with Him:

When you and I know the emotions and feelings in God’s heart, we can better obey Him. We can walk obediently in His Word and live radically for Him because His love sustains us. We are able to obey God in the long term when we are linked to His power rather than our own weakness. We can live joyfully because we are living in a whole new realm. Psalm 16:11 says, “You will fill me with joy in your presence.” (p. 22)

In the chapter on ‘The Intercessor and Faith,’ Debbie points out that we need to be patient with God:

Jesus used delay in the interest of the greater good. Look at the story of the death of Lazarus (see John 11:1-44). The faith of Mary and Martha was tested. Jesus waited; Lazarus died. This was a seemingly impossible situation. What is more hopeless than death – not only physical death but death of all dreams, plans, and hopes? If God delays in answering your prayer, wait for Him. Waiting is not being lazy or going to sleep. It is not giving up. Rather, it is activity under command – being ready for when the command comes, and doing nothing until it comes. In His own good timing, God will give the command and break through all the obstacles. He will come and will not be late. (p. 34)

In the chapter on Character, Debbie answers some important questions:

How can we grow in godly character? How can the words we say and the way we live demonstrate holiness and humility? How does our character affect the way we pray? When we discover the beauty of humility and brokenness and learn how our tongue can bring grace into the lives of others, we also discover joy in the secret place that breaks through into fruitful and effective prayer. (p. 49)

She also says that we can live joyfully, regardless of our circumstances:

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not something we can create ourselves – it comes from God. It’s supernatural and persists in a deep, abiding way, even when we are in the midst of hardship. Joy is not the absence of pain or difficult circumstances. What could be harder than a Roman prison? But rejoicing always is learning to let God’s Spirit fill you with His unquenchable joy, regardless of your circumstances. If you’re joyful, your life becomes a testimony of Christ’s light for a world looking desperately for hope. (p. 59)

In the chapter on Stillness, Debbie makes a good point about waiting:

How many of us rush around without knowing the secret of waiting on God? In order to move with His direction, we must learn this secret. How much time do we waste when we go down the wrong road? In waiting, we will live an overcoming life as we wait to walk in God’s joy, peace, and contentment. When we wait, He will give us His secrets to kingdom living. By waiting for God’s wisdom and direction, we will accomplish the most for Him.
So we regard waiting as a burden? Perhaps. We should see it instead as a place of joy. When we wait, God tells us His secrets; He gives us our assignments. God wants us to walk in the Spirit, not in our fleshly nature. He is looking for those who can wait and let the flesh die so that the spirit can truly live for His purposes. Waiting on God in prayer brings forth His maximum purposes:
          Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
                   my hope comes from Him. (Psalm 62:5)  (p. 69)

I really appreciate her perspective on some consider as a waste of time – spending time with God:

The busyness of everyday life takes a huge amount of energy. Even a normal routine can be quite taxing. But why not add something to your schedule that will actually reenergize your life and lead you into a deeper dimension with God? If you integrate this into your life, it will be one of the greatest blessings you can possibly imagine. It’s simple, and it doesn’t cost anything expect your time. And your time will actually increase as your learn to listen to God in this special way because you will eliminate unnecessary things from your schedule.             
What am I talking about?
The blessing I am describing is calling soaking in God’s presence. The word soak means to drench, to wet thoroughly, to enter into the pores, and to be steeped in a fluid. Soaking in God’s presence is drenching ourselves with God, being with Him, letting Him enter our entire life, and saturating ourselves with His presence through stillness, rest, and worship. A wonderful transformation occurs as we do this. (p. 75)

In the chapter on Persistence, Debbie offers a list of Results of Burden-Bearing Intercession (p. 106):

·         You die to yourself faster.
·         You love God more and more in intimacy.
·         Your Bible comes alive.
·         You experience personal repentance.
·         Your conscience becomes more sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Another valuable list – guidelines to help hear God’s voice as you seek Him in prayer (pp. 125-126):

·         Bathe your life in prayer.
·         Believe that God does speak to you.
·         Find time to be alone with God.
·         Keep a journal of what God says.
·         Test what you hear.
·         Carefully check all guidance with Scripture.
·         Obey God.

In summation, Debbie explains the importance of prayer in our lives:

Each of us needs the personal touch of Jesus that we receive through prayer. Personal prayer is a powerful way to effectively help one another. A single prayer uttered by the anointing and direction of the Holy Spirit can actually change the course of people’s lives. Let us, therefore, be ever ready to pray for others. In traveling to different nations, praying for and with many people for their burdens and concerns, I’m convinced that personal prayer brings victory to the lives of others and carries great eternal reward. Let us neither forget nor neglect this simple ministry by which the Lord changes lives from distress to joy. (p. 181)

This book is terrific for individual study and reflection or group study. Each chapter ends with a ‘Personal Application’ page which includes individual application, help for others, plus ‘My Prayer to God.’ All of us, no matter where we are on our faith journey, can improve in our prayer life. I appreciate Debbie taking the time to write this useful tool, and I intend to return to it again and again.

You can order this book here.

This book was provided by NavPress for review purposes.


Wanda said...

Sounds like it's filled with a lot practical help. And prayer is always something we need to do more.

Andrea Schultz said...

Too true, Wanda!

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