Below is a narrative of a two-year journey of city-wide transformation through prayer. My name is Amy and my story begins in early 2017 as a newly commissioned missionary in a Muslim context. As a passionate intercessor, determined to see breakthrough within my Muslim community, I sought the Lord following a discouraging season of rigorous prayer with little fruit. It was at that time that the Lord invited me to lay down my own vision and receive something new from him.
In 2018, I had a dream in which a spiritual mentor of mine blessed me, saying, “You are called to confrontational praise, praise that changes the political systems in heavenly places.” Through this dream, God gave me an understanding that the spirits of darkness dwelling in our region first needed to be removed before a breakthrough could happen in the hearts of our Muslim friends. I particularly sensed the Lord inviting us to focus on the spirits of witchcraft and new ageism. As we began prayer walking the streets, we noticed things we’d never seen before: a palm reading shop, a new age sector, a store called “The Witch Next Door” run by a second generation witch, multiple drug dispensaries, a now-empty new age bookstore, a yoga guru studio, and the list goes on. We knew we were on to something!
In obedience to his word, I took my first step toward engaging in confrontational praise by leading a small team in worship at a local park. I picked up my guitar, closed my eyes, and worshipped with all that I had, uncertain of what might happen next. As our sense of God’s presence increased around us, an elderly Guatemalan woman approached saying, “I pray every day. I pray for the world. Today, the Lord told me to go to this park. I’ve never been here before. He told me people would be here worshipping today.” We all celebrated God’s gracious confirmation and joined together in united worship and prayer for our city. This was the beginning of a season of miraculous transformation.
Victory Over Witchcraft
We began focusing our prayers on the witchcraft in our area. One Wednesday afternoon, a friend and I stood outside the palm reading shop and lifted up our voices in worship. We decreed the victorious Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and bound a spirit of witchcraft operating in that establishment. As we looked up in the sky, we saw one small cloud resting above the shop in an otherwise perfectly clear sky. We sensed the Lord saying that his glory was beginning to rest there. Within a couple months, the palm reading shop had shut down. We were thrilled!
Our focus shifted to “The Witch Next Door.” One day, on a prayer walk nearby the shop, we ended up in a conversation with the witch and she was miraculously healed in Jesus’s name when we prayed for her. Within a few months, we found out that she was shutting her doors and moving away. She said, “the energy here has changed.” We were so grateful for such evidence of God’s Kingdom breaking in! Since then, we have established a house of prayer next door to the witch’s empty space, and are filling what was once a new age bookstore with the presence of God through day and night worship and prayer. Signs of God’s transforming presence continue to manifest!
Signs of a Harvest
Just weeks ago, we saw our neighborhood drug-dealer physically healed in Jesus’s name right outside our house of prayer. His marijuana dispensary has now been shut down, and he is engaging in spiritual conversation with our team. He’s hungry! Additionally, in recent weeks, a Muslim friend shared a supernatural dream she had had from the Holy Spirit about Jesus, and another young Muslim woman committed to a weekly Discovery Bible Study. We know we are on the cusp of something great!
Jesus longs to transform every city and prepare it for a harvest. While there is no formula for successful intercession besides intimate communion with the Holy Spirit, I have identified three key learnings from my journey that could be applied to any context.
Wait on Him
In all of my work in prayer the first year, nothing seemed to happen. But in my weak surrender, my waiting, my releasing, much seemed to happen. I recommend taking the following simple steps toward emptying your intercession of your own vision and receiving the thoughts of God for your city:
Find a quiet place where you can meet with God.
Worship and focus on connecting with the Holy Spirit.
Listen. Pay attention to pictures, feelings, and impressions. For example, you may become burdened for an individual, or be reminded of an area of your city.
Ask God why he is highlighting these people or places to you, and how he would like you to pray.
As we pray according to his revealed heart, we can be sure of a coming answer!
Whether alone or in community, bathe your times of prayer and intercession in worship.
Worship is where we gain an awareness of our authority in Christ. It is a space for us to meet with God face to face and to receive our identity from him. This empowers us toward bold intercession rooted in our God-given authority and rights as sons (Ephesians 2:6).
Worship grounds us in the victory of the cross and the heavenly reality that it is finished. From the place of worship, we can decree God’s victory in all areas of life, and go to battle from a place of victory, rather than towards victory (Revelation 5:9).
Bind and Loose
Successful intercession involves both binding (forbidding) and loosing (releasing). In times of prayer, remember to look for opportunities to release God’s blessings into the earth as well as to forbid the work of the enemy.
There is a war in the spiritual realm between our Father’s Kingdom and the kingdom of darkness. As intercessors, we are called to both offensive and defensive warfare. Offensive warfare looks like releasing the blessings of heaven over our communities (loosing). Defensive warfare looks like covering our cities in prayer, driving out the enemy’s influence, and creating a ready atmosphere that is ready to receive God’s blessing (binding) (Matthew 16:19).
As an example, God led us to pray for our Muslim context by first binding a spirit of witchcraft that was influencing the people in the land before loosing the Holy Spirit over the community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy and her husband live in the US. In addition to their ministry in a Muslim-majority neighborhood, they are members of the Prime prayer initiative within Novo.