Prayer

Deliverance Ministry and Disciple-Making

deliverance

We looked down the path and saw him there. A young man lying on the ground, thrashing back and forth. His body out of control with some kind of seizure. Was it epilepsy? A demonic manifestation? What was going on? What should we do? Casting out evil spirits was something Jesus instructed His followers to do. Was that what was needed here?

In this case it was. Laying our hands on him gently, we commanded the demon to leave. As we prayed in Jesus’ name, he calmed. His eyes focused and he looked up at us. We shared with him and his relatives that Jesus Christ had set him free and invited Him to learn more. read more

5 Important Things In An “Extraordinary Prayer” Plan

extraordinary prayer

Suppose you had to choose one consistent characteristic. One thing found in every movement, that you absolutely must do regularly. What would that one thing be? The answer is clear. It would be extraordinary prayer.

Ever since church multiplication and movements began to be spoken of, prayer has been identified as a major cause. Wherever you find a DMM or CPM, you will also always find a foundation of extraordinary prayer.

This was evident in the early church – the first Jesus movement that spread rapidly around the world. read more

“Inspire All” An Interview with An Indian Movement Leader

movement leader interview

Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down for a conversation with the leader of a growing movement in India. Knowing my readers would not have that same opportunity, I decided to record our conversation and share it with my readers.

C. Anderson: How did you begin your disciple-making work?

Movement Leader: We began by doing prayer walks, visiting the many unreached villages nearby. For three months all we did was pray. We then began to distribute tracts and share the good news with those who expressed interest. read more

When Spiritual Warfare Threatens Your Disciple-Making Efforts

spiritual warfare

One after another the problems came. It was an unending stream of difficulties. Moral failure in a team member. Sickness and near death in a key leader we were mentoring. Unusual conflicts between spouses and children. It was soon clear. This was not just normal life, we were facing an all-out spiritual attack.

This is the final article in this series on obstacles to Disciple Making Movements. See the full list of barriers I’ve addressed in the blog.

As we contend for the release of a movement, we must learn to discern when we are facing spiritual blockades. They are put there by the enemy to discourage, causing us to pull back in defeat.

Spiritual warfare can be a major movement killer. Sometimes we face it and are unaware. We respond in the flesh instead of by using the appropriate weapons in our spiritual arsenal.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Recognition of the spiritual battle we face is the beginning point. Winning this war means taking an intentional stance. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. It is foolhardiness. We face a very real spiritual enemy when we attempt to launch a rapidly multiplying Disciple Making Movement (DMM). This is especially true when it is in an unreached place or among an unreached people group.

We can not ignore this factor if we want to be successful in our endeavor. Instead, we must take actions to be on our guard. Through discernment, steadfast prayer, and wearing our spiritual armor, we fight. We do battle against forces of darkness in order to gain ground for the Kingdom of God.

Demons At My Gate

Some years ago, we were doing abundant seed sowing with a certain people group. We invited Create International to help us make a contextual film in the local language. This mega people group had almost no media resources in their own tongue. This was hard to believe when their population was well over 80 million people! We enjoyed making the film and finally, the day came for it to be introduced to those in our city.

Below is an excerpt from my soon to be released book, God Encounters in the Wild Places.

“About a week before the showing, I began to get threatening calls. A local pastor had gone to one of the church matriarchs of our city. He had convinced her that she must stop me from airing this film. She came to visit and I listened to her. I tried to show honor and respect, but I knew deep inside that we had not done anything that wasn’t Biblical.

In fact, we had followed the leading of the Lord and made decisions as a group each step of the way. Our goal was not to please the local Christian community with our film. Instead, our desire was to make something that would touch the hearts of unreached people. We wanted to give them a chance to hear the gospel message in a way that they could easily understand.

On the morning of the first showing of the film, I was having my quiet time. It was early. The bell for our compound rang. A group of men was at my gate. I dressed and went out to meet them.

As I walked toward the gate, I felt the Presence of Jesus strongly within me. I sensed Him warning me not to welcome them inside.

Opening the gate, I stepped out. Before me stood a group of about 4 or 5 pastors. One of them was the man who had been causing all sorts of trouble for us.

Discernment took over. I immediately understood somehow that several of these men were being influenced by the demonic.

I could not see the demon with physical eyes. But with my spiritual eyes, I “saw” a tall dark presence standing behind two of the men. It is a bit hard to explain. I turned though and spoke only to one of the pastors on the far right. He didn’t seem to be influenced as much by the dark presence.

“You can not show this film!” they demanded.

Crying out to God silently, I asked Him what to do. Clear direction came through a still small voice within me, “Don’t negotiate with demons.”

I was not to engage or discuss anything with them. I was to honor the men, but stand firm and strong against the demonic realm. The enemy wanted to hinder the showing of this gospel movie.

Thanking them for coming, I listened a bit. Then I politely disengaged. “We will pray and do what God tells us to do,” I quietly stated.

As I walked back into my house that day, I thought about the verse in Ephesians.”

“Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6:12 NIV

God had made it so very clear to me! These pastors were not the ones who were trying to stop the spread of the gospel. This film was a key tool God wanted to use. The enemy clearly wanted to stop it!

Don’t Be Confused

The spiritual warfare we face is not always as clear as it was for me that day. Often it is under the surface. It is rare that you actually see (even with your spiritual eyes) the demonic forces you are up against. But as you ask God to release discernment, you can begin to recognize spiritual attack for what it is.

Don’t be confused by the fact that spiritual warfare is often mixed in with other factors. Most of the time, in my experience, the difficulties we face are a combination of things.

They include:

  • our own sin (the enemy will capitalize on our areas of weakness),
  • the fact that we live in a fallen world,
  • spiritual forces that are coming against us.
  • read more

    What is a Lost and Saved List?

    Lost and Saved List

    Do you have a favorite tool for gardening or working in the kitchen? At our house, we have a favorite knife. It is sharp and the handle is just the right size. It works well for chopping about anything. If my husband and I are both in the kitchen, there sometimes is a competition for who gets to use that knife! Tools are important in seeing progress and becoming effective. The T4T Lost and Saved list is one of the best tools I have used. It will help you train people to start Disciple Making Movements.

    What Makes This Tool Powerful?

    What is a T4T Lost and Saved List? How does it work? What are the benefits of using one? The simplicity and power of this tool is amazing. It helps us identify people in our lives who we already have relationships with, but they do not know the Lord. The list also shows us who we could begin to train. Using this inventory of people we already know helps to shift our mindset from thinking of ourselves only as a trainee. We begin to think of ourselves as a trainer of trainers. It also gets us started with a regular habit of prayer that will deeply impact our disciple making.

    My Lost And Saved List

    On one side of my list are the names of my neighbors. The name of the girl who works at the coffee shop I frequent once a week is on my list. My language helper’s names are there too. On the other side of the list are names of movement leaders and people I have trained. Every day I spend time praying for these people. I pray for their children and for their health issues. I pray that their hearts will open to the gospel. Boldness and faith for the movement leaders, as well as protection from persecution, are other things I pray.  I keep this Lost and Saved List in my Bible and also on my computer. The daily habit of praying for these people makes a big difference in my heart attitudes. It has affected my fruitfulness too.

    “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Rom. 12:12- NIV

    Learning to Make A Lost And Saved List

    I first learned about making a Lost and Saved List from Ying Kai, the man who started T4T.  I am so grateful to him for teaching me about this tool! Ying came to our region and ran a seminar for us about T4T. One of the first things he had us do was to make a two-column list on a piece of paper. On one side we were to write down a list of “Lost” people we knew. On the other side, we were to write down a list of “Saved” people we knew.

    Lost and Saved List
    Ying and Grace Kai of T4T (Training for Trainers).

    It was actually kind of hard for me at that point to write down very many lost people’s names. I was able to list three or four. I realized that I didn’t have that many relationships with people who didn’t already know Jesus!

    My right-hand column, the “Saved” List, was easier. I wrote down the names of 15 or 20 people.
    Then, Ying challenged us to pray daily for these two lists of people in a detailed way. That was the starting point- regular, daily prayer for them. As we prayed, we were also to choose 5 people from each column that we would take an action with.

    For the “Lost” people, we were to choose 5 people that we would share our testimony with that week. We might have 15 or 20 names there. Every day, he encouraged us, we should pray for each person.

    But we don’t stop only with prayer. As we pray, we also share the good news read more

    How to Develop the #1 Habit That Releases Movements

    Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution and then failed to do those things? Most people have. We say, “I’m going to lose 10 kilos.” Or we might say, “I’m going to start exercising.” We make resolutions, we set goals- then we go back to our old ways. Sometimes this makes us not even want to set goals! The problem isn’t with goal setting. If a goal is to become a reality though, you have to change your behavior. There is one regular practice that will make a bigger difference than any other. It is the development of a daily intercessory prayer habit.

    Habits Matter

    We are creatures of habit. Habits are not things we think about. We just do them. I don’t think about if I will drink coffee in the morning. I just do. I don’t think about brushing my teeth either. It happens automatically. When I meet someone, I always say, “How are you?” Another habit.

    There are many important habits we need in our life if we want to release movements. Sharing your testimony freely needs to become a habit. Praying for the sick should become normal behavior. Making room in your calendar to focus on discipling new believers – it needs to be a typical thing for you.

    The most important habit to develop, out of all of these, is the habit of regular prayer and intercession.

    How can you develop this habit? How do you make intercessory prayer a regular, natural, normal part of your life?

    “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV

    Keystone Habits- One Change That Creates Others

    “The Power of Habit”, a popular business book by Charles Duhigg, describes what he calls keystone habits. A keystone habit is a new behavior that once it develops, catalyzes change in many other areas of our lives. The habit of regular intercessory prayer is a keystone habit for a disciple maker. It makes evangelism easier. You will see the release of the anointing you’ve been wanting. A powerful passion to reach the unreached around you will grow.

    intercessory prayer habit

    5 Things You Can Do To Develop This New Habit

    1) Make a fresh decision to develop an intercessory prayer habit.

    This is hard if you have wanted to prioritize prayer in the past but haven’t. It is difficult to try to do something again and again but fail. Don’t let the enemy’s lies tell you this isn’t important enough to try once more. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says, “I’m not really an intercessor. That is a gift for other people.”

    The Father wants to help you become like His Son. Jesus regularly went away and prayed. If it was a habit in His life, it can become one in yours. Start with a fresh decision to try again.

    2) Write down 5 reasons why developing this habit will help your ministry.

    Knowing your “why” is key to moving forward in anything new or difficult. A lot of us don’t like to take time to write things down. You may like to talk more than pick up a pen. Maybe you even hate journaling. Recording things in written form, however, makes them clear. It helps us to commit. Take a minute right now. Jot down 5 benefits to your disciple-making efforts if you started interceding daily.

    3) Choose a time to start. Mark it on your calendar and set a reminder.

    Now you need to commit. We put our good intentions into practice by marking our calendars. A lot of people are not very calendar oriented. I understand that. Perhaps you are someone who has a diary somewhere, but you can never find it. Using a calendar is another important habit. I’ll write about it in another post sometime! But for now, at least set a reminder on your phone every day for a month. Choose a specific time you will intercede daily. Don’t start with huge goals. Start small. Maybe it is only 10-15 minutes a day. Later, you can increase this if you want to. Consistency is more important than quantity when it comes to habits.

    4) Find someone to join you.

    Encourage a friend, spouse, or colleague to take this journey with you. Share your new habit with a like-minded person and set goals together. We are much more likely to succeed when we have a partner in our journey. Who can you talk to this week about developing a stronger intercessory prayer habit? Ask them today to join you. Set up the first time you will check in with one another about this.

    5) Decide now what you will do to celebrate when this becomes a habit. read more

    Key #1 DMM Breakthrough Growth: Praying With Faith

    praying with faith

    In the next few blogs I want to share some keys to seeing breakthroughs that lead to a Disciple Making Movement.  The first one is praying with faith.

    Let’s start with a funny story to illustrate.

    A journalist was assigned to the Jerusalem bureau of his newspaper. He gets an apartment overlooking the Wailing Wall. After several weeks he realizes that whenever he looks at the wall he sees an old Jewish man praying vigorously. The journalist wondered whether there was a publishable story here. He goes down to the wall, introduces himself and says: “You come every day to the wall. What are you praying for?”

    The old man replies: “What am I praying for? In the morning I pray for world peace, then I pray for the brotherhood of man. I go home, have a glass of tea, and I come back to the wall to pray for the eradication of illness and disease from the earth.”

    The journalist is taken by the old man’s sincerity and persistence. “You mean you have been coming to the wall to pray every day for these things?”

    The old man nods.

    “How long have you been coming to the wall to pray for these things?”

    The old man becomes reflective and then replies: “How long? Maybe twenty, twenty-five years.”

    The amazed journalist finally asks: “How does it feel to come and pray every day for over 20 years for these things?”

    “How does it feel?” the old man replies. “It feels like I’m talking to a wall.”*

    Frustrated With Prayer?

    Do you ever feel that way about prayer?  Ever feel frustrated and like it isn’t making much difference, so why do it? Ever feel like it is something we do first before we get to the “real work” of church planting?

    There have been times in my life when I felt like prayer was a duty and a chore more than a joy.

    That has changed a lot for me in the past few years.  Prayer is now a great blessing to me. Prayer is my first priority.  It is now some of the most meaningful kingdom work in my life.  I have repeatedly seen God use prayer to dramatically impact the amount of fruit He releases.  I’m sure that all those who have seen disciple making movements truly multiply would say the same.

    Not all prayer feels that way or produces those results. What makes the difference?

    Jesus And The Fig Tree

    In Matthew 21, there is an unusual little story of Jesus and a fig tree.  Jesus is hungry.  He sees a tree without fruit.  A bit frustrated (it seems), He curses it and it withers.  His disciples are amazed at His power and comment about it.  He then tells them, this is nothing…

    “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matt 21:22)

    What makes the difference in our prayers according to Jesus?  Faith. 

    When we pray with faith, amazing answers are released. read more

    In The Beginning- Prayer Cells or Training Groups?

    prayer cells

    Many disciple makers hope to see God do something great among the unreached, but they follow a strategy that eases slowly into evangelism and discipleship. They start with beginning prayer cells.  People they meet are invited to attend a worship time of some sort and to receive prayer.  As God begins to answer their prayers, they are more interested and slowly they begin to believe.  This is not a bad model, but it is not the model to use if you want to see a Disciple Making Movement.

    Why? You may ask.  It seems good.  People encounter the love and power of God.  This approach doesn’t scare off interested seekers.  “No one seems to persecute us if we are just praying for people in a new place,” you may say.

    prayer cells
    Prayer cells without evangelism do not bear fruit.

    Why Prayer Cells Are Not Best

    There are a few reasons why a prayer cell strategy is not the best approach if we want to develop the DNA that leads to movements.  A movement’s DNA refers to the values, systems and ways of doing things which are followed.  It is important to have the right kind of DNA in the very beginning if multiplication is a goal for your ministry.

    1.Our goal is to make disciples, not gather seekers

    Many prayer cells meet for months or even years, taking up the disciple maker’s time and energy without ever becoming a church that reproduces. 

    Seekers who feel comfortable receiving prayer but are not being challenged to make a decision tend to stay uncommitted read more

    Prayer- A Leader’s First Ministry

    prayer and leadership

    A Disciple Making Movement (DMM) leader’s most important role is to intercede for those they lead.  Leader’s who accomplish much, do so on their knees.  It is in the place of prayer that we hear His voice, gain direction, strength, perspective, encouragement and where ultimately the real breakthroughs happen. Prayer in leadership is essential.

    Prayer Can Not Be Delegated

    The work on our knees can not be delegated to others. It is the responsibility of every Christian leader to pray themselves.  We need to lead the way in prayer.  That is not to say that we don’t also mobilize and raise up many others to intercede.  We do.  We must.  There are others who may spend more actual hours in prayer than we do, or who may carry the work of intercession in very significant ways.  As leaders, delegation is an important skill.  This is one that you cannot delegate away though.

    Biblical Leaders Prayed

    In scripture we find many examples of leaders who saw prayer and intercession for their people as one of their most important tasks.  We read of Moses and the way he interceded on behalf of Israel.  We read of King Hezekiah’s prayers of intercession.  Paul prayed much for those among whom he planted churches.  Of course, the greatest example is Jesus.  He not only prayed for His disciples, for Jerusalem, and for the multitudes but even now He, our great Lord and Leader, still prioritizes making intercession for us (Rom 8:34).

    Prayer Is Real Work

    I often find in missions efforts, that church planters see prayer and intercession as something they do in the mornings or at certain prayer meeting times, but then they go on to do their “real work” after that.  Prayer is part of our ministry as leaders of movements and as trainers of trainers.  We must pray much for those we train, coach and lead.  Intercede for revelation, for protection, for anointing, for breakthrough.  Lift up those you are training and sharing Christ with.  Cry out to God for the lost around us and the lost around those we have trained.  We pray for revival and outpouring of God’s spirit in each and every life, in each and every house church that is started.

    These days I find myself crying out often throughout the day “Lord, send your Spirit.  Visit your people once again.  Come and let your Presence be felt in our lives again.  Set us ablaze.  Send fire from heaven to rest on each church planter.  Overflow from them and spill over to touch the lost around them.  Raise up radical, obedient disciples of Jesus who passionately share good news and make disciples everywhere they go.  I want an outpouring like we have never before seen, Lord.  This I boldly ask You for!”

    Join me to intercede for breakthrough and revival.  God promises to respond to our heartfelt prayers.

    What better way could a leader spend their time and energy than in prayer?