NATIONAL PASTORS' PRAYER NETWORK
INNER ~ VIEWS #003
Eddie & Alice Smith, US Prayer Center
“TELL US ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY - HOW DID GOD GET YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?"
Alice: I grew up in a Christian home where the entire family went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. Although I was always in the church, my life was not changed until I was 15 years old. My spiritual journey has a lot to do with Jim Bob and Louverl Griffin (my youth directors), and Rev. Johnny Beard (my pastor). They were people with passion and love for God. Their passion made me hungry for the same. I realize many of the decisions I make, were first taught to me by these spiritual leaders.
Eddie: Actually, I was reared in a pastor's home and born again at age 6. I attended a Christian college and served as a chaplain's assistant in the U.S. Navy. We traveled 16 years in full-time evangelism and served local churches for 14 years. Most of that work was as music ministers. In 1993 we began the ministry of the U.S. PRAYER TRACK at the invitation of C. Peter Wagner.
“YOUR ROLE AT THE U.S. PRAYER TRACK GIVES YOU A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE. HOW DO YOU ASSES THE PRAYER MOVEMENT? ITS MATURITY, DIRECTION...?"
Alice: I am encouraged with how the Holy Spirit is drawing people from every stream of Christianity into the prayer movement. Yes, it is in the infancy, but unlike when I was learning intercession over 30 years ago, today there are many resources to help any person become an effective intercessor. The prayer movement will continue to swell if we do not act foolishly with this unique opportunity.
Eddie: I believe the prayer movement is in its early stages. There is a growing interest and a lot of immaturity yet in the movement. I'm not discouraged by that. It is a necessary stage. However, I believe the prayer movement itself is one of the best signs of revival. To say that every revival was preceded by a great prayer movement is like saying that a tadpole precedes a frog. Fact is, the tadpole IS the frog! I believe the prayer movement that God is mobilizing is the embryonic stage of revival.
“WHAT CONCERNS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE PRAYER MOVEMENT IN NORTH AMERICA?”
Eddie: The prayer movement can get sidetracked when its participants get caught up in excesses, distracted with nonessentials, or its leaders become enamored with power. We must exercise the fruit of the Spirit, self-control. We must keep our attention on Christ alone. And leaders must accept the fact that this is God's movement...not ours.
Alice: I agree completely with Eddie's comments.
"HOW SIGNIFICANT ARE PASTORS' PRAYER GROUPS TO THE PRAYER MOVEMENT? WHAT DIRECTION SHOULD PPGs BE HEADING? ANY WARNINGS?”
Alice: Thank God for pastors who are willing to pray with other pastors. And the Father is doing around the world. Pastors' prayer groups are critical to a potential sweeping revival, because preaching isn't enough. If preaching were the answer to revival in America, we should have experienced an awakening decades ago. The throne of God is to be exalted above the pulpit, and when this occurs, hang on!
Eddie: Pastors who pray together must invariably demolish the walls that prevented their praying together in the past. It is vital that the walls of division come down. However, it is possible for this to be a religious exercise rather than a relational existence. God said, in Psalm 133, that it is good and pleasant for us to DWELL together in unity. Frankly, it's easier to pray together regularly than to dwell together. When we dwell together, I know your kids and you know mine. When we dwell together, and one of us has a need in his life or his church, another will know it and meet the need.
"A NEW PARTNERSHIP IS EMERGING - THE PASTOR AND INTERCESSORS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS TEAM? IS IT NEW? BIBLICAL? HOW SHOULD IT SERVE THE BODY OF CHRIST?”
Alice: Pastors and intercessors have been completely in the dark on how to work with each other. One of the primary problems is that both pastor and intercessor have vision, purpose, and motivation. But instead of joining together to fulfill the vision of both, they are often critical of each another. Pastors need to learn that intercessors are fighters! And they will fight with or without the pastor! So it is to the benefit of pastors to sign up these kinds of intercessors for the future battles they WILL BE HAVING! The reason for this important partnership is SOULS! Everything we do is about souls!
Eddie: In our new soon-to-be-released book entitled "INTERCESSORS AND PASTORS:The Emerging Partnership Between Watchmen and Gatekeepers," we address this issue in depth. As long as "the watchmen" (intercessors) can see the spiritual things approaching the city but have no meaningful, functional relationship with "the gatekeepers" (pastors) the church and the city are in danger. The gatekeeper simply can't see over the walls. They must be reconciled and rightly related for the church's spiritual integrity can be reestablished.
“WHY SHOULD A PASTOR PURSUE THIS PARTNERSHIP?”
Alice: When spiritual bullets are aimed at you, your family and church, the anointing of a warfare intercessor who can fight the battle in the unseen realm, can literally save your ministry or personal life. I believe God is trying to warn pastors of their need for this kind of partnership and those who do not heed the warning, might suffer great loss in turbulent days ahead.
Eddie: A pastor should pursue this partnership because his very life may well depend upon it. The first illustration in my book "Help! I'm Married to an Intercessor" points this out graphically. A pastor should pursue this relationship because the coming revival may very well rest on it. He should pursue a meaningful partnership with intercessors because prayer is foundational to every other ministry in the church.
“WHY SHOULD AN INTERCESSOR PURSUE THIS PARTNERSHIP?”
Alice: Because every mature, godly intercessor wants and needs accountability, training and encouragement. Most pastors are patient and encouraging, two things every intercessor needs!
Eddie: Intercessors should pursue this partnership in order to have a sense of personal fulfillment and to serve the body of Christ as God intended. They need the balance that a good working relationship with a godly pastor can afford. They need the encouragement that a grateful pastor offers.
“TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST BOOK AND HOW IT CAN HELP STRENGTHEN A PASTOR/INTERCESSOR PARTNERSHIP?”
Eddie: We feel it's too late to "pull the punches." Our new book gets down to the nitty-gritty, where the rubber meets the road. We've been in the trenches. We know the rough edges that both we pastors and intercessors have at times. We know the love that will be required for us to be reconciled to each other and walk together into the purposes of God. This book is a labor of love based on years of interactivity with pastors and intercessors.
"PLEASE SUGGEST A FEW RESOURCES (INCLUDING YOUR OWN!) THAT WOULD BE ESSENTIAL READING FOR PASTORS AND FOR INTERCESSORS WHO WANT TO PURSUE THIS PARTNERSHIP?"
We've written our new book precisely because of the lack of material available for this purpose. One of the few books on pastors and intercessors has been Peter Wagner's "Prayer Shield."
> Pastors and Intercessors should read Alice's "Beyond the Veil: Entering into Intimacy with God Through Prayer" to get a better understanding of the ministry of intercession.
> They should both read Eddie's book "Help! I'm Married to an Intercessor: How Spouses, Pastors and Friends Can Understand and Unleash Intercessors for God's Glory" for a better understanding of intercessors (those who are called into the ministry of intercession).
> They should order our newest book "Intercessors & Pastors: The Emerging Partnership Between Watchmen & Gatekeepers" for a better understanding of each other and suggestions on how to build the partnership.
These materials and many others are available on-line at our website:
“PLEASE WRITE A PRAYER THAT THE ENTIRE NPPN NETWORK CAN PRAY 'TOGETHER' AS WE READ THIS INTERVIEW...
Alice: Father, each of us are necessary to accomplish your kingdom work. With our hands joined, and our hearts knitted together in love, may we step over our preconceived ideas of what this partnership will look like, and give us the courage to just DO IT! We are in a desperate hour, and every minute counts! We humble ourselves and ask for your divine wisdom regarding these issues. In Jesus name, Amen.
Eddie: Father, give us eyes to see and ears to hear what you are saying to us today. May we be willing to lay aside every weight that would hinder our running the race you've set before us. May we embrace those things and those people who you've graced our lives with to equip us to win the prize! In Christ's name...Amen.
Connect to Eddie and Alice Smith >>>
EDITOR'S NOTE: See the Smith's article "The Battle is the Lord's" in the December 2002 issue of Charisma Magazine, pg. 84.
--->Copyright 2002. However, permission is granted to freely redistribute to those who will partner in praying for and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone in our nation and beyond.
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