My family ancestors came to America in 1620, right after the Mayflower. I am the 14th descendent of Robert Burrows, a Puritan farmer who came to America, to be free from oppressive land seizures by the English Crown, and to find freedom of religion. This family heritage has made me have more than just a casual interest in the prayer and intercession life of George Washington, our country’s first president. This led me to this true encounter with America’s rich history.
In 1779, during the midst of the American Revolutionary War, a Puritan minister was making his way near Valley Forge. Off the side of the road, through the forest, he heard a deep groan and moaning coming from the mouth of a soldier he presumed had been wounded in battle. The Puritan minister knew he could not join in the battle, for he was a conscientious objector who refused to kill another, but he also knew it was his divine assignment to save soldiers’ lives who could be nearing death.
At the time Britain had completely outflanked the American forces and America was on the precipice of defeat. In the Puritan minister’s mind, he was only thinking of helping the poor lost cause and saving a man’s life. When he entered the small clearing he was shocked to see that the soldier kneeling upon the ground was general George Washington, the commander of the American army.
The general was weeping, groaning and moaning, and speaking a language that the Puritan minister could not understand. What this Puritan minister saw was the spiritual battle that actually won the American Revolutionary War and birthed this nation. A lesson that history has taught us well, is that the real battle is not fought on the field of war but with the people of God in their intersession in the realms of the Spirit.
About two months ago God called me to an intensive time of intercession. In the process I ran into my brother-in-law, whom our family calls uncle Charlie. He is a software engineer and an intensive student of the Greek language, especially as concerning the Bible. I asked him if he would do some research on the biblical word for intercession, and when I saw him this week he told me the Puritan story concerning George Washington. He then mentioned the Greek definition of intercession. It comes from a Greek word, “ὑπερεντυγχάνω hyperentygchanō,” which means, “to come from lofty heights and hit the target dead on.” To put it in modern terms, intercession is a smart bomb.
The U.S. military has discovered that terrorists can hide their bombs and missiles in schools, in the midst of innocent children. That way if the US attacks a school, the terrorists could claim America was intentionally killing innocent children rather than trying to remove terrorists. But today a young computer wiz in Colorado can, through his computer and satellites, direct a drone helicopter that can closely monitor schools in the Middle East. Through the use of facial recognition software terrorists are identified precisely. The U.S. military merely waits until the children leave the school and then destroy only the terrorist and his operation. This is the function of the smart bomb.
You and I do not know how to pray as we ought but the Spirit itself makes intercession. When you turn over the sounds coming out of your mouth, the Holy Spirit takes control if you let him run “everything”. This means no action on your part, only obedience:
“The Holy Spirit takes control of everything. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
This is why the apostle Paul wrote in Hebrews the fourth chapter, God is still waiting for us to enter into rest in Him. Faith is the only spiritual element that can usher you in to this level of obedience.
Through intercession, which requires faith, you can have access to the cleverness of the Holy Spirit, which is a type of the young computer whiz in Colorado, to wait for the right moment to take out the terrorist. And that is when the innocent people escape and the Holy Spirit removes the offending terrorist problem “surgically,” so no one else is hurt. Only the offending problem is eliminated.
Let me now give you the rest of the story concerning George Washington and his intercession that was done in the forest of Valley Forge. At the same time that George Washington was interceding, the king of England was receiving a report that his kingdom had gone bankrupt. The king jumped up from his throne, grabbed the record keeping books, tore the pages out and threw them on the floor!
A young sculptor, who was doing a bust of the king, grabbed one of the offensive bankruptcy papers with the king’s seal on it, put it inside the bust of the king, and sent it to America and General George Washington. When the document was discovered and sent to France, she saw England was nearly bankrupt and they joined America and we won the Revolutionary war!
Intercession is just like that. It is a spiritual smart bomb that can go in and find the exact target ~ if it is a sickness in your body, a job that is lost, a child that needs to be found, a husband who needs to be located ~ whatever the impossibility is. The Holy Spirit, through the process of intercession, can answer any situation.