I am blessed to have several godly, like-minded, Jesus-following women in my church, many of which are around my age. We met this past summer in the park so our kids could play together and we could have a Bible study. It was so much more than that though! We created new friendships, prayed for each other’s needs, our husbands, and our children. God is creating this network of friends in my life right now, and I am extremely grateful to know that other women are holding me up and prayer as I hold them and their families up in prayer also.
A couple weeks ago, we met together and one of my friends shared some truths from Ezekiel 37, about the Valley of Dry Bones. She’s a crafty lady and even had visual aids and little bones printed on cardstock! She explained that the bones were for us to put a name on and pray for that person to come back to the Lord from being spiritually dead and dried up. (Mine’s on my fridge right now with a name on the front and on the back.)
As I was reflecting on the Bible study, our host’s key point was to KEEP PRAYING for situations that have had a turn-around. Even though we may see a significant breakthrough in someone’s life, they still need to be lifted up in prayer. There used to be bumper stickers and bracelets reminding Christians to P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens) I feel impressed lately that even though we may see evidence of God moving, we need to keep pressing on in prayer. We need to pray P.A.S.T. that point! We need to Pray After Someone Turns also!
Recently we witnessed a phenomenal turn-around in someone’s marriage from our group – and while we were ecstatic at the dramatic change we had all witnessed – and there is no doubt in our minds that God had literally spoken to the husband – our friend reminded us of a few things. She said that there is still a blindness to be dealt with, still a restoration to occur, and still some heart issues to be mended. It LOOKS like everything is back to normal, but she reminded us that many things are still hidden from the natural, there’s still a spiritual vs. flesh battle going on in their marriage, and that God still has work to do on both of them.
We get so excited when we see God at work in a dramatic fashion – as we should! We praise God for the literal restoration of this marriage. This marriage and family was one the enemy was dead-set against tearing apart. However, our good, good Father had different plans for this couple! Praise God for the miraculous intervention we witnessed being played out! However, we must remind ourselves that God has a work to do on this marriage – like in all marriages.
So as I mulled over Ezekiel 37, I re-read it, and felt compelled to write down these prayer truths.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve read it, I’d encourage you to read Ezekiel 37 here before you read what I’ve written, so you have a current frame of reference for it.
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.
6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
#1: Don’t give up just because in the natural the situation LOOKS better. They may look like a human instead of dry bones and still not have the breath of life in them.
SO WE KEEP PRAYING! Praise God when He has moved upon your need – but KEEP PRAYING – He has lots more in store!
#2: People can have breath and be standing and living – no longer dry bones – and not have vision. They can be living in defeat and (maybe) not even recognize it, just as people can be spiritually dead and not be discerning of it.
Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’
SO WE KEEP PRAYING! God wants to deliver us from so much! Apathy, oppression, fear, anxiety, blindness, hopelessness, bad attitudes, and countless other things.
Remember how the breathing bodies were standing, and yet they said, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!”? Their bones were no longer dry at this point! They were covered with sinew, skin, and had breath. But they still saw themselves as dry bones.
BOTH GOD AND THE PROPHET had called them ‘an exceedingly great army’ but they didn’t see themselves that way and were still hopeless!
God calls us according to what He knows we can be with Him, not how we see ourselves.
#3: If we don’t consult the Lord and listen to His guidance in our daily lives through prayer and renewing our minds with His Word, then we aren’t letting the Holy Spirit breathe life into us to change us from the inside out.
12 “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.
14 “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’ “
Now they were still standing, an exceedingly great army. But their mindset was still in the grave! They had a dead mindset.
‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’
Their mindsets weren’t going to get them anywhere in this new life God had given them! They saw themselves as cut off, but God wanted to bring them back into Israel to be with their people – because they were ALL His people.
God also wanted recognition that it was HE who performed the miraculous. He not only took them from dry bones to a breathless body with sinews and skin! He also transformed them into a breathing army; an army broken out from a destructive, hopeless mindset – a grave of seemingly their own making.
Reading further, we see this is a formerly fallen group of two peoples, Israel and Judah, that had been divided and slaughtered. God wants to rejoin them for eternity – from wherever they had wandered to around the earth among the nations (vs 21). He wants to rein as their King.
#4: God is calling back His children! The people who once stood as His child but fell back into destructive mindsets and behaviors – as well as those who have never taken their rightful place as Children of the King!
23 “They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”
So, if you are already walking in your identity of a Holy Spirit-filled Child of the King, make it your aim to pray for those who have never known their place in God’s kingdom – or who have stepped down temporarily from the freedom He provides. Once you see a change, praise God for it – but don’t stop praying for that person – or for yourself!
I sometimes struggle with praying for needs that have seemingly been met – but how often do things not appear as they really are?
- Maybe reconciliation happened, but there are still attitudes and matters of the heart that need healed.
- Maybe someone does know Christ as their Savior but they’re still walking around not completely free of the mindsets, additions, or just plain old attitudes of their former life before Christ?
- Maybe someone found freedom in one area of their life but are still defeated in another.
- Maybe someone has experienced a healing of their spirit man, but needs the faith to believe in a physical healing.
- Maybe we agree with the choice of elected official, maybe we don’t, but they still need prayer every day for safety and to do God’s will.
Is there freedom, healing, and complete restoration in Christ? Absolutely! Sometimes it takes time, and sometimes it’s instantaneous – but if we seek God’s freedom, He will always loose us from what tries to keep us under the enemy’s grip. Invite the Holy Spirit to breathe on you and your situation. Ask Him to renew your mind and mindsets – some attitudes and beliefs are so deeply ingrained in is that we don’t recognize them as lies. We need God’s Truth everyday to change us.
Let’s also remember – if we aren’t open about our past experiences, people may never feel the freedom to tell us about theirs so that we can pray for them. There is healing to be found in confessing faults (not necessarily every tiny sin – that’s for God to know and deal with), our shortcomings, ways we are sidelined in our walk, issues we struggle with and perhaps stumble over.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So, if you are that Spirit-Filled, empowered Child of the King, don’t just Pray Until Something Happens! Pray After Someone Turns to Jesus, too! P.U.S.H. P.A.S.T. that point!
If you need God’s life-changing freedom, pursue Him for it. Ask for wisdom from Him concerning your issue. If He leads you to ask for prayer from a trusted fellow believer, go for it! I’ve had so many personal breakthroughs just asking my mentor for prayer – and the Lord generally gives me advice through her too. I just have to be obedient to the calling inside to ask for prayer.
If the Holy Spirit has shown you insight into someone’s life, an issue they’re struggling with, pray about it! He’s given you the insight so you can join with Jesus in praying for that person!
Remember, don’t pray until something happens and stop. Pray After Someone Turns to Jesus also!