Four years ago around this time, we had felt the Lord lead us to come to back to my hometown to pastor a church that had been without a pastor for two years.
Whenever the idea had been presented to us before we shot it down quickly. We weren’t small town people. We weren’t ready to be lead pastors. Our family seemed so young. We had loads of excuses.
But the day that God himself spoke the idea to our hearts, something began to shift. There was a desire that started to be stirred up.
We finally reached out to our district director, who was overjoyed and felt this was a great fit. He started the process of contacting the church only to find out they had a serious candidate who they were considering for the role.
My heart was crushed. Why would God place this on our hearts so clearly, challenging all the things that we thought were our hopes and dreams and breaking our thinking out of the box? Was it just a test to see if we would be willing to go?
After one moment in prayer I realized God had called us there and because I believed this was his will, I had permission to contend for it to happen.
I prayed very specifically that the pastor candidating would feel on his heart not to come back and speak the next Sunday because God was leading him somewhere else.
The first time I said it out loud it felt too audacious to even pray. But I had this sense deep down in my heart, call it a prophetic word if you like, that this was where the Switzer family was supposed to be.
For two days I prayed into this and declared that there was a better fit for this other family somewhere else and that the process would not be delayed.
At the end of the two days we received a call that the pastor and his family felt that church was not the right fit and they had somewhere else they would be going. I danced and cried all over my house because God’s will had been accomplished and it truly did turn out to be the BEST of everyone involved, not just for us.
Prayer is a tricky topic because it’s a conversation with God. Who can tell you how to talk to God? Who has the authority to state his preferred type of communication?
These things are true. I have heard stories of God intervening in terrible situations at the slightest utter of the name of “Jesus.” He is greater than any method and far above any type of formula that humans would try to put in place.
However, through situations like coming to pastor the church, God started to speak to me on something that I have since called “arrow sharp prayers.” This is the type of specific prayer that I declared in those two days believing for the pastor to move on somewhere else.
Here is what I mean when I say an “arrow sharp prayer”: it prays specifically. It gets to the heart of the issue. It looks beyond what we see on the surface and asks for God to intervene at the core of the problem. It uses the gifts of prophetic, wisdom and word of knowledge to receive understanding and then seek a supernatural intervention through prayer.
I have found these to be guiding principles necessary to praying arrow sharp prayers.
- You have to lay down your agenda. If you are going to see clearly into the Spirit realm and uncover the truth behind a situation, you have to be able to release all of your opinions and biases to see with God’s perspective. I did not want to go to a small town. I did not want to come back to my home town, so when my heart changed in a sudden and intense way, I knew it was God. I laid down my desire to stay in a city. I would not allow any prayer to come from my mouth asking for that, because I wanted to be in complete agreement with God’s location.
- You have to be reading the scriptures. It is vital that we pray prayers that line up with God’s word. Scripture is powerful and when we lay down our agenda and declare scripture that is in agreement with the heart of God for that specific situation, entire spiritual atmospheres begin to shift. Often times the Holy Spirit highlights a scripture in my morning devotions and I know instantly this is a prophetic word to be declared over a specific situation that I am facing or will face later on that day.Sometimes the verse is one that we use over and over again. Hebrews 10:39 is a constant weapon in my hand when I’m tempted to make a decision based on fear instead of brave faith.
- Ask God questions. We are allowed to do this! You can ask God for clarity. The disciples were constantly asking Jesus to explain what was going on. You can ask questions like:“God, what are you trying to show me?”
“Would you reveal to me the deeper issues at play?”
“Lord, help me not to simply see the obvious in this situation, show me how you want to change this.”
I shared in my last blog post how on Father’s Day in church I was overcome with a desire for another baby. What I didn’t share was I overcome with regret for my decision not to have anymore biological children. It seemed weirdly intense to me. So right in service I asked: God, why am I feeling this way? And he spoke very clearly to my heart: I’m preparing you to adopt.
This released me to pray specific prayers for my baby to come and that Friday were contacted by our brave birth mama.
- You have to pick up God’s agenda. I am not one who believes that we can sit back and complacently wait for things to just happen. Everything does not simply fall into place. I believe that if God instructs us to wait, then we wait with as much purpose as if told to act. And if he instructs us to act then I pick up God’s agenda with holy passion that leads me to fight until the battle is won. God would not have given us his armour if we were not intended to war alongside him!
Prayers that hit the mark are specific, focused and zoned it. If you have been seeking him for a breakthrough, it might be time to ask God for the strategy. To look behind what you see in the natural and partner with God’s will in the spiritual. He loves to give wisdom to those to ask for it and discernment to those whose hearts are open.
Even if it looks like you have lost a battle, we must remember that Jesus has already won the war and we need to keep our ear tuned to him because he is releasing a new strategy that we get to partner with!
So don’t give up! Psalm 130:7 reminds us to:
“keep hoping, keep trusting, and keep waiting on the Lord, for he is tenderhearted, kind, and forgiving. He has a thousand ways to set you free!
He will never be out of options! He has so many ways to breakthrough on our behalf. Let’s join him in battle with our arrow sharp prayers!