Let me illustrate. In 1977, while praying about an upcoming journey to Guatemala, I heard the words: On this trip, represent Jesus to the people.
At first I rebuked the voice, thinking it was an evil spirit trying to deceive me. But the voice came again, this time adding the words: Be His voice, be His hands, be His feet. Do what you know He would do if He were there in the flesh. Represent Him.
Suddenly I understood. I was not going to represent myself or the ministry with which I was working. In the same way that Jesus represented the Father-speaking His words and doing His works-I was to represent Jesus. And if I really believed I was functioning as an ambassador or a sent one, then I could believe it wasn’t my authority or ability that was an issue but Christ’sI was simply representing Him and what He had already done.
A Galilee Jesus Became a Guatemala Jesus
Once in Guatemala I traveled with a team to a remote village far from any modern city. There was no electrical power, no plumbing, no phones. Our purpose in being there was to build shelters for the villagers whose adobe homes had been destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1976. It had killed 30,000 people and left 1,000,000 homeless. We had trucked in materials and were building small, one-room homes for them during the daylight hours. In the evenings we would hold services in the center of the village, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to them, explaining that His love was motivating us to spend our time, money and energies helping them.
We had been ministering for one week with very few people coming to Christ. The people were listening, but not responding. I was to preach on the final night of our trip. Just as the service was about to begin, a team member told me about something he and others had found on the far side of the village-a little girl, six or seven years old, tied to a tree.
Not believing what they were seeing, they asked the family that lived there, “Why is this small girl tied to that tree?” It was obvious she lived there, much like a dog, in the back yard-nasty, filthy, helpless and alone.
“She is crazy,” the parents replied. “We can’t control her. She hurts herself and others and runs away if we turn her loose. There is nothing else we can do for her so we just have to tie her up.”
My heart broke as the member shared what he had seen. It was on my mind as we began the service. A few minutes into my message, standing on a folding table under the stars, the same voice that had spoken to me before the trip began speaking to me again. Tell them you are going to pray for the little insane girl across the village tied to the tree. Tell them you are going to do it in the name of this Jesus you’ve been preaching about. Tell them that through Him you are going to break the evil powers controlling her-that when she is free and normal, they can then know that what you are preaching is true. They can believe that the Jesus you are preaching about is who you say He is.
I responded to the voice in my heart with fear and trembling. I believe the words were something like, WHAT DID YOU SAY???
Being the man of faith that I am, I replied, What is plan B? Rebellion and failure, came the response. Remember what I said to you before the trip began? Represent Jesus.
Faith began to rise. The emphasis is not on me in this situation, I thought, but on the One who sent me. I am simply His spokesman. I merely release what He has already done. He has finished the work of delivering this little girl; my prayers release the work. I’m only a distributor of what He has already produced. Be bold, sent one. Enforce the victory!
With new assurance I began informing the people about what I was planning to do. They nodded in recognition as I mentioned the girl. Expressions of intrigue turned to astonishment as they listened to my plans.
Then I prayed.
On a moonlit night in a tiny, remote village of Guatemala with a handful of people as my audience, my life changed forever. Jesus came out of hiding. He became alive: Relevant… Sufficient …Available! A “hidden” Jesus emerged from the cobwebs of theology. A yesterday Jesus became a today and forever Jesus. A Galilee Jesus became a Guatemala Jesus.
And a new plan unfolded to me. A new concept emergedJesus and me.
The Heavenly Pattern
For the first time I understood the heavenly pattern: Jesus is the Victor-we’re the enforcers; Jesus is the Redeemer-we’re the releasers; Jesus is the Head-we’re the Body.
Yes, He set the little girl free. Yes, the village turned to Christ.
Yes, Jesus prevailed through a sent one.
So the partnership goes on-God and humans. But the correct pattern is critical: My prayers of intercession release Christ’s finished work of intercession.
His work empowers my prayers-my prayers release His work.
Mine extends His-His effectuates mine. Mine activates His-His validates mine.
In Kingdom Enterprises we’re not in the production department. We’re in distribution …BIG difference. He’s the generator. We’re the distributors.
Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets, p.42-45. 1996, Gospel Light/Regal Books, Ventura, CA 93003. Used by Permission