INTERCESSION IN TIMES OF CRISIS – LESSONS LEARNED
February 9, 2018 | By Karen Vercruse, IFA mobilizer in Chico, California
SANTA ROSA FIRES: PRAYER TAKE-AWAYS
Often when major news breaks, the media does not cover the spiritual dimension of events. When we can focus on what the Lord is doing in the midst of crisis, and the role prayer plays in the course of events, we can glean wisdom and understanding about how we can be most effective to impact the spiritual realm and the crisis. Following are some main points recorded from interviews with intercessors who lived and prayed through what was arguably the most devastating fire in our national history – the Santa Rosa fire in Sonoma County, California, in October 2017.
- There were warnings from the Holy Spirit before the fire broke out. Those who had ears to hear took note and began to be led in prayer. One month before the fire, a young intercessor “saw” angels chattering among themselves, as if something was about to happen. Another saw angels in counsel over the city. Still another sensed the deployment of angelic activity around the city. They did not know the significance of this until after the fire, but took note and prayed into it at the time. One intercessor who is particularly aware of weather changes, was troubled by the reports of the coming 75 mph winds before the fire. He began praying and woke up to the smell of smoke before the news broke.
- It is crucial for intercessors to find each other and continue to persevere together through the crisis. We can often better pray on site with insight in a crisis when we work together. Rapidly changing circumstances and shifts in the wind precluded the intercessors gathering in Santa Rosa. Conference calls worked well – they prayed nine out of the first ten days, then three times a week for the rest of the twenty-three days until the fire was contained. For the last two months they have prayed two times a week. As they persevered, they realized that physical endurance was a real issue; not only for the prayer effort, but even for what practically needed to be done. They saw the need to be ready physically, emotionally, and spiritually for what was coming. They witnessed miracles as they were led by the Holy Spirit. They saw fires stopped, winds subside and shift away from the most vulnerable areas, close-call evacuations, and just-in-time rescues. One intercessor was led to go to all forty churches in the city and pray protection. All forty were spared amid block after block of total devastation. As they prayed for law enforcement they saw law and order maintained with no increase in crime or looting. Law enforcement remained safe, and intercessors sensed angelic intervention. They prayed for rain, and when it came, they prayed there would be no floods or mudslides. That prayer was answered.
- Information from news sources is often unreliable, especially in the early stages of a crisis. As local intercessors attempted to get informed, they encountered much chaos, confusion, conflicting news, and faulty reporting. Without the ability to hear the Lord’s still small voice, they would have been rendered much less effective and more vulnerable. They found that the local radio stations were the most accurate and up-to-the minute in their reporting. One local TV station was also most reliable because it could be at the scene in real time.
- Things have forever changed in the aftermath. One intercessor made the point that God’s insight didn’t come until they had the chance to reflect on their experience after it was over. There is now unprecedented unity among churches, with a new appreciation of their role in the city. There is a new level of co-operation between city government, agencies, and churches. There is a new vision for the future of the city emerging, and the church is finding its voice for that vision. One important development is the leadership of a former pastor who stepped up to be a bridge between the church, city government, communities, agencies, and businesses. He sees this as a critical time for a “re-set” in the direction of the city, with God’s purposes in mind. People are excited about the new opportunity a “blank slate” presents for a new direction of the city. There is also a new city-wide gratitude and humility to serve one another, exercise compassion, and be part of the solution. A new model of city building and city-reaching is emerging.
- There is a need for cleansing. One important spiritual and physical aspect in the aftermath is the evidence of toxicity in the land. The fires caused extensive pollution of air, land, and water. Urban fires were far more toxic than rural ones. Pollution has seeped into the soil and ground water, and will require much remediation. Agencies are very concerned about the spread of toxicity through run-off and storm drains. A parallel can be drawn in the spiritual realm. As we pray to heal the land, the Lord can give us guidance as to the root spiritual issues involved.
Much more could be shared, but hopefully this brief report will give others who find themselves praying through disasters, some help and insight. God, through our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, is always faithful to see us through and see His purposes accomplished in the earth.