"I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but found no one." Ezekiel 22:30
"The Gap" commonly refers to a contemporary clothing store. It is rarely considered to be a perilous place to stand, unless it is a sale day during the Christmas rush. In our culture it seldom brings to mind a perilous position between two warring parties. In 1977, my father, Don Miller, launched his prayer ministry. He gave me a parchment paper poster with the above mentioned passage from Ezekiel superimposed with the words, "THE GAP." From that moment until now, I have associated those two little words with the call of God on my life to serve as a prayer warrior in His army.
35 years later, my wife, Dana, and I responded to God's call to begin our own ministry of prayer. We call it, TALK LESS! PRAY MORE! We have always known to associate prayer with the three words, "standing in the gap." For the past year and a half we have grown to appreciate intercessory prayer at a whole new level. We have always known prayer was something that we must do for ourselves. Recently we have grown to intensify prayer for and with each other. This kind of mutual prayer for one another serves to keep our marriage healthy, and replace panic with peace. It has also given us a way of expanding our ministry all over the United States and around the world. As we pray for others, we play a part in providing direction, protection and correction for those we love. It allows us to invest in the lives of people we know best, as well as those that we will never meet this side of Heaven. It turns the waiting room overwhelmed with anxiety into a war room focused on victory. It takes a sense of futility that comes when intimidated by the impossible, and turns it into a shout of victory that comes from seeing God do the HIMpossible.
"What is impossible with man, is possible with God." Luke 18:27
Standing in the gap gives us the capacity to Have Our Perspective Elevated on any issue that we face. This injection of H.O.P.E. into our lives at any time of the day or night sets us free from the intimidation of the enemy. When our conversation reveals we are overwhelmed by a crisis we face, we now stop the talk and we start to pray. If the enemy has hit close to home in the lives of our family and friends, or if we discover a need anywhere on the globe, we refuse to be conformed to the crisis. Intercessory prayer transforms our concern with any problem into a conversation with the Solution to every problem...Jesus.
Standing in the gap is simply, another way of expressing the call to intercede in prayer for people. All Christian soldiers are potential prayer warriors. The problem is that many of the are AWOL. Prayer is not reserved for an elite corps of disciples. Jesus modeled prayer, and provided prayer so that all of His followers could have intimate communication with His Father.
Prayer is available and accessible to all believers. It is impossible to become a believer without taking advantage of it as the way to call out to God for salvation. The way believers come on is the way they should go on. Prayer is the way to continue a conversation with Jesus. It should never begin and end with, "Lord, save me." Prayer is the beginning a beautiful friendship, and a walk down a long road. Enjoy the journey.
No doubt, there are those in this army of God who are a cut above the common soldier in their practice of prayer. Prayer warriors who have dedicated themselves to continuous conversation and consistent companionship with Jesus are the Special Forces and Seal Teams of God's army.
Intercession is a powerful weapon in the hands of these seasoned, battle hardened prayer warriors. They provide the "shock and awe" that terrifies the enemy and expresses the primary passion of the Glorified Christ. Prayer warriors who confront the enemy on behalf of others are the Special Ops of God's army. They are not content with standing guard at an embassy or marching in a celebratory parade. Both may be honorable service, but they are not crucial to the survival of or revival in the church. Standing in the gap and standing guard require different costs and have separate consequences.
Jesus promised His disciples that it was to their advantage that He go away, because He would send the Comforter to them, and He would be with them forever. After His death, burial, and resurrection, The Risen Christ ascended into Heaven. As The Glorified Christ, He took His place and was seated at the right hand of the Father. The Head of the Body of Christ, Jesus, lives to make intercession for His Church and for those who seek to draw near to God. Jesus is the Head of The Body.
Prayerless churches are made up of headless people who have lost their sense of direction and purpose. They have lost sight of the Head of the Body of Christ who lives for intercession. They will never get The Mind of Christ until they put on the Head of the Body of Christ, and think like He thinks and pray the way He prays.
Standing in the gap is intercessory prayer. It requires hand to hand combat with a persistent enemy for a prolonged period of time. There are no medals, citations, or ribbons given for service rendered, and most of the time it is done when no one else is watching or awake. Prayer warriors learn to use intercession as night vision goggles. They are often called on to pray when things are at their darkest hour.
The call for prayer goes out only when people have come to the end of their rope. This means that the enemy has been given time to entrench themselves in a situation and or a person's life. By all appearances they are safely hidden in their impregnable stronghold. Prayer puts a stop to the hand-wringing and the blame game. Prayer takes the attack to the enemy. At a time when enemy is most confident of victory and convinced they are hidden from view, prayer explodes in their faces, strikes them with fear, and puts them to flight.
Prayer warriors are tuned into the Commander. They are able to see through the dead of night, the movement of the enemy, and the helplessness of others in need. As they pray to God on behalf of the captives, God strikes fear into the hearts of the enemy, and reveals their position. The incoming prayers of the warriors terrify the enemy camp because they stir the heart of The Champion to take the field against them.
Prayer Warrior Mission:HIMpossible
- Attention: Pray!
" And the people came to Moses and said...intercede with the Lord...and Moses interceded for the people. " Moses (Numbers 21:7
"You can do more than pray after you have prayed; but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed." A. J. Gordon
- Hold your position! "Pray without ceasing." Paul, I Thess. 5:17 Standing in the gap is a way of life, not an hour in a prayer room. It is done while you walk, as you drive, at work, and in your home as a continuous conversation between the Heavenly Father and His child.
- Wait for further orders! "But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation." Micah 7:7 God's delay is not a sign of God's denial. God's silence is not a statement of his disinterest.
"God does nothing except in response to believing prayer." John Wesley
- Protect your supply lines! "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may with you forever." Jesus (John 14:6)
- Exhibit courage! "But I have prayed for you that your faith fail not..." Jesus (Luke 22:32) Courage is not so much the absence of fear, as it is faith under fire.
"Prayer strikes the winning blow; service is simply picking up the pieces." S.D. Gordon
- Focus on Jesus! "He always lives to make intercession for them." Heb.7:25 Never lose sight of the only one who has understood completely what the role of a prayer warrior is. Jesus is praying for you. Praying eyes can see Him.
- Follow the chain of command! "First of all I urge that prayer and entreaties be offered on behalf of all men...pray for those in authority." 1 Tim. 2:1-2
- Never surrender! "Pray without ceasing..." Paul (1 Thess. 5:17) Persevering prayer is a sign of strength to the enemy. They interpret prayerlessness are a prelude to surrender.
- Communicate on a secure line! "The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Romans 8:26 Never allow your enemy to overhear you talking about your fears. Pray about them, and the very thing that you fear the most, God will use to terrify the enemy. Talking is not praying. Talking is treasonous communication with an enemy that has tapped into your communication system and can hear everything you say.
- Complete your mission! "I have finished the work Thou hast given me to do." Jesus, John 17:4 The prayer warrior's mission on earth is fueled by the intercession of The Champion in Heaven. The prayer warrior continues on earth what Jesus did, and continues to do seated at the right hand of the Father. Intercession is the mission.
- Prepare for victory! "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil. 1:6 Avoid being the victim of friendly fire. Prepare for victory over the enemy. When those closest to you hurt you the most, follow the leader to victory. "Father forgive them..." Jesus, Lk 23:3
Don't settle for survival. There is not hope of survival without complete and total victory over the enemy. Make no room for compromise or negotiation with the enemy. You cannot negotiate with terrorists.
"And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary...while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people and especially to those who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:9-10
"Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival." Winston Churchill
Prayer Warrior Medal of Honor Recipients
- "Prayer is the intimate communication between the Heavenly Father, and His child." Don Miller
- "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." George Whitefield
- "Discernment is given for intercession, not faultfinding." Oswald Chambers
- "Its amazing what God can do with a broken heart, if you give him all the pieces." Samuel Chadwick
- "The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history..." Andrew Murray
- "The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless work, prayerless study or prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil,mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray." Sam Chadwick
- "Prayer is where the action is." John Wesley
- "Don't pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." Corrie Ten Boom
- "Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on his knees." William Cowper
- "You may as soon find a living man that does not breathe, as a living Christian that does not pray." Matthew Henry
- "Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer." John Bunyan
- "I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach." Charles Spurgeon
- "If i could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference, He is praying for me. " Robert Murray M'Cheyne
- "Prayer is the greatest of all forces, because it honors God and brings him into active aid." E. M. Bounds
- "I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything but it came in some time, no matter at how distant a day, somehow, in some shape, probably the least I would have devised, it came." Adoniram Judson
- "To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them." John Calvin
- "We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties." O. Chambers
- "Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian." A. Murray
- "Four things let us keep in mind: God hears prayer. God hears prayer. God heeds prayer. God answers prayer, and God delivers prayer." E. M. Bounds
- "As is the business of tailors to make clothes, and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray." Martin Luther
- "The true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer." Leonard Ravenhill
- "The battle for prayer is against two things...wandering thoughts and lack of intimacy with God's character as revealed in His word. Neither can be cured at once, but they can be cured by discipline." Oswald Chambers
- "Prayer wonderfully clears the vision, steadies the nerves; defines the duty, stiffens the purpose, sweetens and strengthens the spirit." S. D. Gordon
- "If the spiritual life be healthy,...praying without ceasing will be natural." Andrew Murray
- "Definite prayer for those in the prison house of sin is the need of the hour." Dr. R. A. Torrey
- "Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work." O. Chambers
- "It is not enough to begin to pray...continue in prayer until we obtain an answer." George Muller
- "Prayer can never be in excess." Charles Spurgeon
- "Listening to God is far more important than giving Him our ideas." Frank Laubach
- "Prayer is not learned in the classroom but in the closet." E. M. Bounds
- "Whole days and weeks I have spent prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer." George Whitefield
- "There is no power like that of prevailing prayer...it turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God." Samuel Chadwick
- "Prayer is the secret of power." Evan Roberts
- "There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer." A. T. Pierson
- "The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history." Andrew Murray
Prayer Warrior Field Manual
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you pray for people on a prayer list for prolonged period of time without any sign of an answer.
A: The last blow of the hammer always breaks the stone. You never know when the break will come. You are responsible to pray. God is responsible for the answer. He is the Sculptor. Keep expecting God to break through. He is using you. You are not using Him. Prayer puts you in the His hands of God. Be the hammer and give God some elbow room.
Delayed answers are a challenge for the intercessor and for the one in need. Sometimes there is not a victory in a single battle, but the struggle is an endless campaign. There are ups and downs and the wins and losses that come with any unresolved issue. Health, financial, or family issues can all bring on a weariness for both parties. Those who pray feel guilty that they do not carry the burden as intensely as they once did. Those who need healing begin to feel that they are becoming a burden to those around them. When greeted with a request for an update, they are often hesitant to admit their need. They have seen the eyes of people cloud over who may have been willing to wear pink during "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," but they don't know how to be supportive the other 11 months of the year. Both parties are going to have to release their burden into the hands of God, and allow His Spirit to be the source of peace in the midst of the storm, as long as it takes.
Q: How do you pray for someone who has never seen a prayer list they didn't want to be on?
A: People in need of rescue often become discouraged by their prolonged imprisonment. All they can hear are the voices of their enemy captors. They loose hope in their situation, convinced of their defeat. Their prayers to God are silenced. They believe the lie from the enemy camp that is repeated to them over and over. "God's delay means God's denial."
Delay tempts them to take small comfort in the celebrity status often offered to a victim. This is an attempt on the part of the enemy to keep them trapped in prison and give up hope of escape. Prayer turns a victim of circumstances into victor over them. When being prayed for becomes more important than receiving an answer to prayer, it is a signal that Satan has hacked his way into their value system. The virus must be removed by gentle reminders that the passion of a Christian is to have a prayer list, not to be on one. Be warned. Sometimes the cure is more dangerous than the illness. If some people had all their prayers answered, the shock might kill them. That being said, pray for them anyway. They may have the wrong motive in for asking for prayer. You need to focus on your own integrity, and pray with the right motive.
Q: How do you pray with genuine concern for requests that appear to to be trivial?
A: A bone in the throat and a grain of sand in the shoe are small things to be sure. They have the potential to become huge problems if they are not removed. Intercessory prayer is more about you focusing on the size of God than the size of the request. What seems trivial to you may be of great consequence to one of God's children.
"Does anyone dare despise the day of small things?" Zechariah 4:10 (The Message)
Q: How do you intercede with passion for someone you do not know?
A: Jesus interceded, "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word." John 17:20 Jesus lives to make intercession. When you pray for someone you do not know, you are aligning yourself with His mission. You never become more like Jesus than when you are praying for someone you do not know to come to the saving knowledge of Christ, or to receive the answer to their prayer at the throne of His grace.
Q: What do you do when your mind wanders when you are praying for others?
A: There is a difference between spending time and paying attention. Oswald Chambers warned prayer warriors that the battle is always about two things, wandering thoughts and lack of intimacy with God. If your mind wanders, it is being influenced by the enemy. Discipline yourself to stop in your tracks at the first sign of an intruder. Rebuke the enemy, gather your thoughts, focus your attention, and begin again. If you fall asleep when you pray, you might try standing up as you intercede. You will break the habit or the floor will break it for you.
"The battle for prayer is against two things in the earthlies; wandering thoughts and lack of initmacy with Gods character as revealed in His word. Neither of them can be cured at once, but they can be cured by discipline." Oswald Chambers
Q: What do you do when you don't feel like praying?
A: Pray anyway. You will never feel your way into a new way of praying. You must pray your way into a new way of feeling. Athletes are told to learn to play with pain. Christian soldiers will need to learn to pray with pain. Intercessory prayer is spiritual warfare. There will be resistance from the enemy. Expect to be hit where you will feel it the most. Remember, when you feel like whining, it is because the enemy knows you are winning.
Q: Why do prayers go unanswered?
A: The enemy is full of deceit and deception. This may be their most effective lie. In fact, all prayers are answered: Three of the most common answers are: Yes. No. Wait. The three greatest hindrances to prayer cannot be blamed on the deception of the enemy camp.
Prayerlessness: "You do not have because you do not ask.." Jame 4:2
Motive: "You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motvies."James 4:3
- Selfish, sweat drenched prayers that glorify the flesh do not pass God's smell test. There is a huge difference between my will and Thy will. Getting what you want and desiring to get with God reveals the motive of your heart. Do you want to get an answer from God or do you want to spend time with God? People who get what they want, but never get with God miss out on more than they can imagine.
Pride: "...not my will, but Yours be done." Luke 22:42
- God's waiting room is designed to conform you to Him, not for Him to perform for you. Jesus set the standard for prayer warriors. Those who pray like Jesus will always pray long enough to see "my" turned into "Thy." God's delay is not always a sign of God's denial. He uses prayer to conform you to His image, and His will. Pray long enough to come to the end of yourself, and the beginning of God. This is the true purpose of prayer. The prayerless always mock the "Tebow" but they defend their own ego. Prayer is more about listening to God than talking to God. It is not a way for you to give God instruction, but the means for you to listen to His direction. When you are talking, you are not learning. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
"Prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity...answer God's standing challenge: "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." J. Hudson Taylor
TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!