The growing twins

God got my attention on Saturday 5th February: 5.2.11.  I wasn’t looking for it, but suddenly there it was…  How does He do that? It might only seem to be a co-incidence – though I did see recently that ‘A coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous’ 🙂 It might be unremarkable to anyone else, but for me it’s as if I catch a glimpse of something half-remembered and a door in my mind slowly swings open, the thoughts begin to form and I start to join the dots…  The signs are there for those who have faith to see them.

16.10.04: 76 months ago today!!

From 2004 until 2008 I was deeply involved in an intercessory prayer journey called ‘Mercy Cry’.  It was much more than 5 annual gatherings: it affected my whole life. Intercession is always rooted in someone’s life somewhere…  In fact I think it is still affecting my life now!  I was called by the word of the Lord in 2000 to “give a mercy cry” and to be honest, I am still doing it – a cry for the nation and for the new generation, out of the heart.

When a particular season is finally over it is best to put it behind us, or it will drag us back: Lot’s wife looked back to what had gone and she never moved again! Its so important to let go, to let things die, allowing the seed to fall into the ground at the right time – though there is often a mourning process to go through as we set our faces to transition into unknown territory and a new identity. That process certainly happened to me at the end of the last season of prayer during 2008-9…

But it is not a completely clean slate: the seeds are in the ground and what grows up now is certainly connected – perhaps all the way back as far as history goes, into all the prayers that have ever been prayed. Prayer is never wasted: Paul Simon calls it ‘the memory of God’.

So even when we cross over a watershed, and decisively leave the old behind, we still carry the ‘good stuff’ with us, all that God has done in one time built upon in the next – ‘glory to glory’.  In fact, someone pointed out to me this week that a watershed doesn’t even have to be a sharp dividing line, it is often a marshy bit of field you can’t really discern at all until later on… a bit of a mess and two gradually developing watercourses. Perhaps that is what a whole year as a watershed will look  like.  Anyway, that’s why I find it so important to ‘stand at the crossroads’ (20:20 vision) and take stock, determined not to forget, to keep tracking with the journey and looking for the fulfillments.

On Saturday 5th two events happened that reminded me of the Mercy Cry journey – to me both were events of ‘national importance’ in different ways.  Alongside those two was a third significant event for us personally: our own son, who is so symbolic for me of the generation I have been praying, calling, crying for over these years – my own Sam-son in his weakness with his hair just growing back – had gone down to London to see a ‘healer’. This American seems to think by laying his hands on Sam’s head he will get well… He is not Jesus and he is not obviously a follower of Jesus: he is a man with a ‘gift’ and faith in that gift.  And who am I to say God cannot use such a man? (see Balaam’s ass).

15.10.05: Hope's first birthday

The other two 5.2.11 events tie up with the actual number 52, which marked the Mercy Cry journey throughout. (I explained this in 10.10.10 so if you missed that go and read the story there in the 4th paragraph) Suffice it to say 52 signified to us, that we are witnesses (2) of His grace (5) and that is why ‘Mercy triumphs over judgement’; that is our HOPE.  So the ‘baby’ born through our intercessory travail in October 2004 was symbolically named ‘Hope’ and someone quipped that we would return for her first birthday in 2005 – exactly 52 weeks later! – to tell a few stories. In the top left corner of this photo you can see the poster with 52 and HOPE on it 🙂

By the second half of 2007 the news had been announced that Hope 08 was going to be launched all across the nation… a strategy for a year of concerted outreach by churches everywhere. As I heard the news I said to the Lord, ‘But how is she going to manage? She’ll only be 3 and a half!’  But as time has gone on it became obvious that Hope was growing and that there were going to be many more stories than we could tell! And ‘she’ is still growing  – see this news item from today’s date, Feb 16th last year about the national relaunch of HOPE under Roy Crowne’s leadership. (Ha! She would have been exactly 64 months old as that announcement was made = 5.3333333 years 😉 Grace with eternally repeating divine perfection perhaps… but certainly old enough to go to school, so its good her organisation is based in the famous educational town of Rugby!)

We shouldn’t be surprised about all this, knowing Hope was birthed in prayer. It is a God-initiative: Hope has been given back to the church.

13.10.07: Faith and Love

By 2007 we knew the Lord wanted to birth Faith and Love in the same way: they have to be twins because ‘If I have faith without love I am nothing’ (1 Corinthians 13v2). Amazing, amazing God… this too ‘happened’ as we wept and worshipped.  It seemed to us that Faith was then taken back up to heaven so that he could be released at the right time (Revelation 12v5. There are some interesting numbers in this passage, including ‘3 and a half’ in v14, and in 11v11!) Meanwhile a news story the same weekend of a newborn baby boy being left on a doorstep in the Heartlands area of Birmingham and taken in and cared for by a 17 year old man seemed to indicate that Love had to be given to the community.

In the wake of all that drama the Lord prompted me to watch out for the time when the twins reached 3 and a half – which would be the beginning of this year, 2011.  If you have read this far, you must want to know what those two events were on 5.2.11 – the ‘mercy cry’ in the watershed year, the opportunity to be witnesses of His grace again…

On Saturday 5th February I was asked to pray – and get others to pray – for a baby that had died suddenly in the night. Judah was 5 months old and his parents, visiting the UK from Bethel church in California (where they have a ‘school for the supernatural and raising the dead’) wanted to pray for him to be raised.  A big ask… yet I found faith rising to pray for this!  And so did a number of others around the country who picked up the call.  For me this was unprecedented – to actually have some faith to pray for something as ‘big’ as that, to feel positive and up-for-it – especially when we have been walking this tightrope over Sam, so determined not to presume on God or avoid the reality of his terminal diagnosis – holding onto hope in the face of death yet not knowing what the Lord may require of us.  But as intercessors and friends pressed in alongside Bethel church and those around the couple it seemed something was happening in the spirit that reflected the growth of Faith across the land.  It is 3 and a half years and this is a sign of that…

So where was Love showing himself? Also happening at the same time on Saturday 5th February was the biggest English Defence League demonstration ever, in Luton. I have friends there who have been deeply involved in co-ordinating the community response to this invasion, with 20 preparation meetings for all sections of the multi-ethnic community and the bringing together of the churches, Muslim groups and police.  As the TV news reporter said, Saturday would be the test of “whatever it is that holds this community together”.  In the end, there was no violence, no trouble, and the rally therefore provoked very few headlines: it seems Love was doing his work.

Faith and Love are growing!  They still have a way to go… Judah has not been raised and Luton still has many challenges ahead.  However my contention is that faith does not equal a miracle – in fact Jesus said it only takes a mustard seed to move a mountain and perhaps that might mean that a miracle requires less faith than pressing through and hanging onto God when we don’t see one!  It is clear from the end of Hebrews 11 that faith is not the miracle that puts everything ‘right’, because after his list of heroes the writer remembers to mention those who never saw deliverance but were tortured, flogged, stoned, killed, destitute and mistreated (v35-38). ‘These were ALL commended for their faith’! No, it is the trust and peace from the One we have faith IN that holds us secure when outwardly things are ‘all wrong’ and as we know so well in our own journey, this grows through the fire of testing as we continue to love and praise God and refuse to deny Him. If we are seeking for a sign we are in great danger – our motive must always be love alone; the child is rightly named Judah: praise must rise!

I finish with this amazing song. Can you face death with such humility and grace?

If my prayer be not humble make it so
In these last hours if the spirit waits in check, help me let it go
And should my suffering double let me never love You less
Let every knee be bent, and every tongue confess

And I won’t get better but someday I’ll be free
‘Cause I am not this body that imprisons me

I read the magazines somebody brought
Hold them to my failing eyes until my hands get hot
And when the nurse comes in to change my sheets and clothes
The pain begins to travel, dancing as it goes

And I won’t get better but someday I’ll be free
‘Cause I am not this body that imprisons me

If my prayer goes unanswered that’s alright
If my path fills with darkness and there is no sign of light
Let me praise You for the good times, let me hold Your banner high
Until the hills are flattened and the rivers all run dry

And I won’t get better but someday I’ll be free
‘Cause I am not this body that imprisons me

‘Isaiah 45v23’ by The Mountain Goats

That’s faith!

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About Sally Ann

True-story teller - words and pictures
This entry was posted in Prayer, Prophetic language, Something to say. Bookmark the permalink.

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