Intercessors AriseAs I read Debbie Przybylski’s latest book, Intercessors Arise (Navpress, 2008) my first reaction was not what I expected. A few chapters in, I was asking “Where is the fire? I’m interested in this subject. As a believer, I want a more dynamic prayer life. But this book is, well, uninteresting.” I’ve heard the anecdotal stories before, and felt I should pray more than I do. However, I already know this stuff. The book was missing the proverbial trigger. Debbie didn’t pull the trigger on how to make the reality she described a part of my life.

Debbie is the founder of Intercessors Arise International, and has spent decades on the mission field with Operation Mobilization. She’s an acclaimed writer, and mentor, teaching on the subject of prayer and intercession across the globe. So her experiences suggests that she must know about prayer. Yet I spent half the book asking where is the fire? Where di I find the kind of life she is describing?

I would like to pat myself on the back and say “And then lights went off . . . ” No, my final analysis of Debbie’s book demands that I humble myself rather than disclose some grand revelation. Debbie’s book will tell me the 5 points to a better prayer life. Intercession isn’t a spectator sport that one can learn from the bleachers of Christian life. Indepth intercession like Debbie describes doesn’t follow a formula. It is learned on one’s knees, discovered through utter dependence on God.

Intercessors Arise is a manual to be poured over slowly. I recommend taking 2 or 3 months to digest and apply the lessons. This book can be a wonderful resource for a group of friends who seek to improve their prayer lives. Intercessors Arise is not and cannot be formulaic, as are many modern Christian titles. Intercession is not a formula where I insert currency and like a gum ball machine, God turns the crank and rewards me. From her deep experience Debbie describes that intercession require a person’s commitment to their God – a broken open, unfaltering, humble-and-willing-to-wait for an answer commitment which is too often absent in today’s modern church.

My confession is that I didn’t get much from her book the first time through because I was looking for a formula. My own attitude and shallow expectations were the roadblock. Intercessors Arise is not a book. Rather it is a tried and proven field manual that encourages Christ followers to pray big, dream big, and then depend on an equally Big God. In response, God often starts by creating brokenness and dependency, a humbling process that creates intercession from self focused prayers.

I recommend this book highly, and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day.

As my wife and I settled in for movie night, the romantic comedy He’s Just Not That into You unfolded on the flat screen. We followed the somewhat interconnected relational missteps of nine people for 129 minutes. As the credits neared, the narrator, or narratress as the case may be, finally divulged the movie’s thesis.

Finding true love is the exception to the rule, the unexpected twist in life’s third act” It seemed that this romantic tragedy which have been theatrically reproduced is the norm, or so we were told. “Maybe we are so focused on finding a happy ending, we can’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell those who want us from those who don’t, the ones who will stay from the ones who will leave. Maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a wonderful guy. Maybe it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over . . . maybe it’s just moving on.

Or maybe the happy ending is this. . . knowing that through all the unreturned phone calls, broken hearts, blunders and misread signals, pain and embarrassment, you never gave up hope” With the narratress’ final thought ringing in my ears, the music score surfaced and ended poignantly.

Save me”

How does this statement on 21st century love and life fit on a ministry blog? Glad you asked. This picture of dysfunctional love and life is on daily display, front and center in the main gallery of our culture’s lifeflow. To a great extent, what Christian’s would call broken life has become normal life of the dominant, post-Christian, post-modern social order we call contemporary. This new normal is the culture we, as Christ followers, are called to engage.

As Christ follows we are called to disciple the nations, not to separate ourselves from this emotionally damaged generation. For when we do, we thereby communicate that we are somehow better, and by comparison the hurting person is somehow less. This isn’t the way Christ interacted with his world . . . the woman at the well in Samaria, Mary Magdalene, Simon the outcast tax collector.

Yet even in the movie’s sadly narcissistic and slightly damaged conclusion, the writer sowed a small seed of truth. Life isn’t about the happy ending, or about what you get out of a relationship. Life is about finding wholeness. After that pearl of great price is unearthed and understood, a person is ready to share that life, and his or her own, with another. Thereby we become a blessing, instead of demanding to be somehow fulfilled and completed by another. Before we can give we have to receive.

As Christ followers, we know, and have the source of that blessing in our midst. We know personally the One who will genuinely love and never leave. We meet in closed circles to discuss Him, learn about Him, and make sure we are really part of His group.

Yet the world is still wondering, wandering, lost and needing to be saved.

Will we break out of our comfort zones? When will those outside the walls of our churches hear that real love is not the exception th the rule. When will they see? When will we go and tell them . . . with our lives, our actions and our words?