I want to encourage you and challenge you to take your role of prayer seriously in these chaotic days! God wants to move in fresh and powerful ways to produce beauty from ashes, order from chaos, and hope from despair.
The Bible opens up with these words:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2 NIV)
Dutch Sheets, in his powerful book “Intercessory Prayer,” points out that the word used for “hovering” (Hebrew: rachaph) means “to brood over.” The Amplified version translates it “moving, hovering, brooding over.”
The English word “brood” has interesting implications. It has to do with progeny–what is produced, as in a family line. A sister word is “breed.” You get the point. The moving of the Holy Spirit is a procreative action! This life-giving ministry began in the first two verses of the Bible and continues throughout scripture.
With this in mind, here is a great quote from the outstanding book “Intercession” by Dutch Sheets:
“In 1 Kings 18, Elijah prayed fervently seven times for rain. We are told in this passage that the posture he maintained while praying was the position of a woman in that day giving birth.
The symbolism is clear. Elijah was in travail. He was birthing something. Without any question, the posture of Elijah is to symbolize this for us. Why else would God give us the position he was in while praying? And please don’t miss the implication of this passage. Even though it was God’s will to bring the rain and it was also God’s time for the rain, someone on Earth still had to birth it through prayer.
In this example, travail released literal rain. We could take the story to its fullest symbolic picture and say that our travail releases the rain of the Spirit. I’m sure that would be valid because the physical drought pictured Israel’s spiritual dryness, and the rain pictured God’s ability to bless again after the purging of the idolatry earlier in the chapter.
Our prayers can and do cause the Holy Spirit to move into situations where He then releases His power to bring life. We do have a part in producing the hovering of the Holy Spirit. The power that created the universe through His “rachaph-ing” has been deposited in the Church—while untold millions await their births into the kingdom of God.
Like Elijah, we must take up our position, believing that the prayers of mere men can accomplish much. We must release the power of the Holy Spirit through our intercession to hover, bringing forth the fruit of what Christ has already done. We are an integral part of the Father’s birthing process into the kingdom of God.
As I said while coaching my wife, “Come on, Church, push!”
~Sheets, Dutch. Intercessory Prayer (p. 140). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.