"Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV)
We were standing on the edge of a lookout overlooking the bay area of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in California. It is a beautiful sight to behold where you can see the endless trail of cars streaming across the majestic bridge, the rushing rivers of current within the ocean bay below, the mound of Alcatraz island in the middle of the bay, and the far stretching hills of San Francisco in the distance.
Nate and I had been traveling up California from Los Angeles, partly on a mission of prayer from God and partly on a family holiday (although I'm not entirely sure it could be called a holiday when you have a very determined two-year-old and a limit-testing five-year-old in tow). As I surveyed the beauty of San Francisco before me, my heart grew suddenly sad. I began to feel the weight of the Father's longing for this state and this city.
I want to stop here for a moment, because this is where many people get stuck. They feel the pain of the Father's heart over a person, city, or region and pray from that place of pain; or rather, they pray what they see with their natural eyes. What do I mean by that?
It is good to feel the pain of the Father's heart over a situation—that is the mark of intimacy and even intercession—but here is where we get to lean into Him further and ask Him what His intentions are. I like to ask Him, "What do You see beyond this current pain I see, Father? What is Your heart intention for this person or place that You love? What was the picture You had in mind when You created them?" We must learn to pray into the answers He sees. When Jesus was prophesying His betrayer at the last supper, it says:
"Then Jesus was moved deeply in His spirit. Looking at His disciples, He announced, 'I tell you the truth—one of you is about to betray Me.' Eyeing each other, His disciples puzzled over which one of them could do such a thing. The disciple that Jesus dearly loved was at the right of Him at the table and was leaning his head on Jesus. Peter gestured to this disciple to ask Jesus who it was He was referring to. Then the dearly loved disciple leaned into Jesus' chest and whispered, 'Master, who is it?' 'The one I give this piece of bread to after I've dipped it in the bowl,' Jesus replied." (John 13:21-26)
It is the lovers of God, those who lean in close to Him, who are the ones entrusted to ask the questions and are given the secrets of His heart. John could have made an assumption and pointed the finger at any number of the disciples, but instead he asked. John was one of the three who was taken up to the mountain where Jesus was transfigured before their eyes. Even though Peter was with him, Peter evidently still had issues when it came to trust. If he hadn't, he likely would not have ended up in the situation where he betrayed Jesus with his words just hours later.
John was the one disciple who endured the horrors of the Cross, remaining at the side of Jesus to the end. Why? He had become accustomed to abiding in His presence, and in doing so he had grown confident in his identity as a son of God. As a result, he was comfortable to lean on Jesus and confidently ask Him difficult questions. This kind of boldness is necessary if we are to effectively walk in prophetic prayer and release His solutions in the earth.
"So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy's kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness." (Hebrews 4:16)
Abiding in His presence gives us bold courage to come before Him, not in timidity. I used to do this—I would come before Him timidly and beg Him to help me. "Oh, please help me. Please help this situation I am in. Please do something." While there is nothing wrong with asking for His help, I believe God's design for us is not to pray as orphans begging Him to do something but as sons and daughters who are confident in His faithfulness that He has solutions for the problems we face. (Photo via Pixabay)
I have seen many individuals pray the pain of the problem over a situation: "God, rain down Your fiery judgment over this evil city." When we know mercy's kiss for ourselves, we know how to extend mercy's kiss in our prayers. When we perceive that God is a God of fire and brimstone, our prayers become plagued with the very thing the enemy wants—death and destruction.
Notice the verse [in Hebrews] says, "We come boldly where love is enthroned..." We receive the answers of His Kingdom in His love. His answers are always built on the foundation of love, so why, under His New Covenant, would His answer for a sinful city be to destroy it? The same principle applies for people. This is why abiding in His presence is the foundation for the solutions of God. We must know His heart; we must be able to receive His love and His mercy in our own lives before we can adequately extend it to others and the world around us.
His Kingdom is both love and justice, but under the reign of the New Covenant, the Cross and resurrection, the covenant of grace, mercy, and redemption, Jesus becomes the kiss of mercy to a dying and hurting world. He invites us to come and sit with Him at His mercy seat, and there we can boldly ask Him the answers that are on His heart for that which grieves Him.
It is easy to look at a person, place, or situation through the eyes of judgment, but it is even easier to ask Him, "What do You see?" and partner with His heart, where His mercy triumphs over judgment (see James 2:13). Rather than praying over the problem and begging God for a solution or calling down His judgment, we get to boldly come before Him and have Him share the secret solutions that are stored up in Heaven for the problems around us.
This is why in John 15:15 Jesus says, "I have never called you 'servants,' because a master doesn't confide in his servants, and servants don't always understand what the master is doing. But I call you My most intimate friends, for I reveal to you everything that I've heard from My Father."
In abiding in the habitation of God, we grow in intimate friendship with Him, and it is in this habitation that His secret solutions for the earth are revealed. When that secret is revealed, He doesn't just show you to give you a piece of information, but He expects you to do something with it. This is where prophetic prayer is released. It is conceived out of intimate love and friendship with the King of all kings and it is birthed into the earth through your love for Him.
As I stood overlooking the sun-glistened city of San Francisco and feeling the grief of His heart, I quietly asked Him, "Father, what are You wanting to do here? What is Your heart for this city and state?" It was a quick moment, a glimpse of a second, because I was holding my wriggling toddler and trying to prevent her inquisitive little eyes and hands from climbing up and over the cascading rock face below us.
As I set her back down, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the edge of a giant brown wing. I flung around to see what it was, and as I looked up, not ten feet above us were three enormous eagles that had descended upon the area where we were standing. They were circling in perfect unison above the car-park and were swooping down, almost as though in a dance, much to the initial delight, turned shock-horror of ourselves and the tourists around us.
People began picking up their children, myself included, because the sheer size of these birds was both awe-inspiring and terrifying. I kept envisioning my little toddler being picked up in one of their talons and being carried off into the sky above. That might sound like an impossible scenario, but they were evidently hungry and I was not about to find out the likeliness of that imagination. Nate and I quickly made our way to our rental car with both girls in tow, and once they were both locked safely into their car seats with snacks to occupy them, I was able to sit outside the car door for a moment, taking in the beauty and sheer enormity of these eagles.
It didn't immediately strike me that these birds were a prophetic answer to the question I had just asked God. Yet as I took photos, I knew something about this was profound as they continued to circle around and around, just above the Golden Gate Bridge. Sometimes, it felt as though they were close enough to touch, and after about five minutes two more eagles joined the three. Something felt significant about this. All the tourists at this site were no longer looking out upon the views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, but rather, their eyes, like mine, were to the sky, watching these five eagles encircle us.
As we got back in our car and Nate drove us toward Redding, I browsed through the pictures of the eagles that I had just taken. Being from Australia, I wasn't familiar with their species, so I zoomed in and began looking up their identifiable features.
As it turns out, they were golden eagles, and I later had them confirmed by multiple sources. When I realized they were golden eagles I recognized the profound, unmistakably prophetic place that we were standing. We were overlooking what is known as "the Golden City," at the Golden Gate Bridge, in the "Golden State" with three and then five golden eagles encircling us. I began to take the pieces of this experience and ask the Holy Spirit what He was saying in response to what I had asked. (Photo via Needpix)
It Is the Glory of Kings to Search Out a Matter
All too often, we write off moments like this as a natural coincidence. I want to encourage you that as you open the doors wide to the secret place of His presence, to also ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see the miracles and messages within your day-to-day that many, otherwise, miss. God is always speaking. Always. We often think He is silent, but as I have learned, it is in the silence of familiarity where He wants us to discover other ways that He is already speaking to us. The Holy Spirit is fun and adventurous. Jesus said this important statement to His disciples in Matthew 18:3-4:
"Learn this well: Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about Heaven's Kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, you will never be able to enter in. Whoever continually humbles himself to become like this gentle child is the greatest one in Heaven's Kingdom realm."
I love that phrase—learn about Heaven's Kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child. This journey of releasing the prophetic solutions of His heart into the earth is not meant to be a boring, serious one, but rather a fun, adventurous discovery of the Father, His purposes, and His ways.
Have you ever had to get somewhere quickly with a child in tow? You will know that they don't take the normal route that us boring adults usually do. They stop and find the details. They jump up on the sidewalk, they skip, run, and play to their destination rather than just walking in a stiff, straight line. I could be rushing to load groceries in the car to get back home in time for an important call, and my two daughters will notice the ladybug in the bush next to our parked car and cause me to stop and pause with them for a moment. They see the details of God. They stop and notice. I believe the Father is calling you and I to stop and notice His whispers.
"God conceals the revelation of His Word in the hiding place of His glory. But the honor of kings is revealed by how they thoroughly search out the deeper meaning of all that God says." (Proverbs 25:2)
God conceals the revelation of His Word, which is the revelation of Jesus, in the hiding place of His glory. Here we have it confirmed again; the secrets and longings of His heart, the revelation of His answers, all that He is, and all that He has is revealed in the secret place of His presence—His glory, His habitation. When we begin to search out and open our eyes to what He is speaking, it becomes the honor of our life to find and release the answers of His heart into the earth around us.
With these eagles, I began to search out the Scripture and found that the eagle can prophetically represent a prophet or one who prophesies the answers of God into a situation. "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself" (Exodus 19:4 NIV). This verse spoke to me of San Francisco and the Golden State of California, how it has been held in the grips of slavery (referring to the Israelites in slavery in Egypt) under the tyrant rule of the enemy.
Next, I researched the Hebrew numbers of three and five, which were the numbers of eagles that encircled where we were. The number three in Scripture points to the Godhead, completion, perfection, divine fullness, and resurrection. Number five prophetically points to the grace of God, His abundance, His favor, and redemption.
What was God speaking through this encounter? As the eagles encircled, it was a picture to me of His Spirit hovering over the waters of the earth in Genesis 1:2. He was showing me He was hovering over the state of California and the city of San Francisco, waiting on the prophetic word to be released.
He is longing to carry them on His wings and bring them unto Himself. Through prophetic prayer, God was going to encircle the two with Himself and bring them into a state of perfection, completion, divine fullness, and resurrection.
His heart for California and San Francisco is to pour out His grace in abundance upon their wounds, revealing His favor and bestowing His redemption. This state, this city, was aptly named the Golden State and Golden City for a reason, it is the golden state in His eyes. I believe the California gold rush prophetically declares another gold rush to come—a weightier gold rush of His glory.
Putting Together the Puzzles
You may have had similar experiences, or perhaps you haven't yet, but I can guarantee that you will. What I hope to open your eyes to is that through the key of intimacy with God (more on this in Chapter 7) you can unlock spiritual doorways of promise for your life, your family, the culture around you, and your nation. I want to encourage you to get yourself a journal or set aside a section in your phone where you can begin to take daily notes of what you believe God is highlighting to you. Ask yourself some of these questions that may help you to determine the areas God is highlighting that He wants to release His solutions into. (Photo via Unsplash)
1. "What around me needs divine intervention?"
Then ask the Holy Spirit this:
2. "Holy Spirit, what is Your desired outcome for this problem and what is Your solution to see it restored?"
I think the first question can be easily answered. There is always something that needs divine intervention, but what is it specifically that is pulling on your heart? For example, is there increased homelessness in your city that you simply can't ignore? Obviously, I am not suggesting that we are to just pray and then do nothing else.
Prayer requires both a natural and a supernatural response. If homelessness happened to be the situation God wanted to use you to release His solutions into, you will likely find that He will release both a supernatural strategy and a natural one into your hands. Both of these strategies may come by the way of dreams, visions, a spoken prophetic word, a stirring in your heart, even a thought. It could also come through a repetitious number that you might see.
Whatever it is that is highlighted to you, it is an invitation to search out more—the glory of kings to search out a matter. I can only give you my own process, which is to search out every little detail. If it is a repetitious number that I see, I will search out the Hebrew meanings of numbers. I will look up Scriptures correlating with those numbers. If it is a specific animal that God puts in my path, like the eagle, I will search out its unique characteristics and traits.
As though I were working on a puzzle, I begin to put the pieces together—finding the outlines and the corners first and then working my way inward, I finally begin to see a pattern emerge. Prophecy is an invitation of discovery. When you do the same thing, you will begin to see the full picture emerge. Once I see His message coming forward, like I did that day when I discovered the Golden Eagles at the Golden Gate Bridge, I always then study the Scriptures to find that His Word is confirming what I believe He is speaking.
When I know what His solution is, more often than not a strategy is also revealed. Simultaneously as I pray, in some cases a part of the divine solution requires me to physically go to that place and pray over it; sometimes it is to sow a financial seed into a ministry there. Other times, God has required me to actively engage in political processes, while continuing in prayer, to see a situation overturned.
Prophetic Prayer Key
Pray with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is always speaking. Have you been seeing signs and clues in your daily life that maybe you hadn't realized were in actuality God speaking to you? What are some of the signs you have been seeing? What are their meanings? What are the solutions and answers they speak into a problem you are seeing? As you begin to write down what the Holy Spirit is revealing to you, search out what He is saying and inviting you to prophesy into. (To purchase Christy Johnston's recent book: "Releasing Prophetic Solutions: Praying Heaven's Promises Over Your Home, Family, and Nation" click here for¬†Book¬†and here for¬†E-book.)
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(Used by permission via¬†Destiny Image)
Christy Johnston¬†was born and raised in Australia. After living the majority of her life plagued with insecurity and fear, she came to learn the power of her identity in Christ. She now lives with the mandate to breathe fresh hope and life into God's sons and daughters through her passion of writing, uncovering the truths of living in grace and freedom through our identity in Christ. Nate and Christy have two daughters, Charlotte and Sophie, and currently live on the Gold Coast in Australia.¬†She is the author:¬†"Releasing Prophetic Solutions: Praying Heaven's Promises Over Your Home, Family, and Nation" - click here for¬†Book¬†and here for¬†E-book.
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