FREEDOM IN PRAYER
Jeny’s Personal Reflections on Freedom in Prayer
Jennifer Joy, founder of His Glory Reigns Ministries and the North America Indigenous Peoples Prayer Shield, and I were dialoging (2012) about the prayer letters I have submitted over the last several months and she suggested that I write a little note for the group explaining why the prayer letters change from month to month in how I identify who I am praying to and how I demonstrate freedom in prayer.
I have included several points as well as Scripture references. Most references are from the Amplified version of the Bible. I certainly have not included all the relevant Scripture, but enough that you can set your own course for further study. On each point I could have gone into more detail or explanation, but again, I would like to encourage you to pray and seek His face, and come to your own conclusions. The following is just enough to explain myself and give some food for thought as you join me in prayer.
I personally pray to God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. When I call them by name, sometimes I say it in English, sometimes in Hebrew, and sometimes in Cherokee. Choosing which names I use flux with what is on my heart and how He guides me.
My spirit prays, my soul prays, my flesh prays, my heart prays and my mind prays. How I write out the prayer is often different than how I speak the prayer, which is also different than how I think the prayer out in my mind and in my heart. Even how I feel as I am praying may be different than what comes out in my writing. The ‘Who’ I pray to does not change. The ‘how’ I write and ‘how’ I say it does. That’s just how it is. My intension is to pray what God puts on my heart and write it out how He wants it written out.
(Genesis 24:45, 1 Samuel 2:1, Psalm 91:14, Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 52:6, Colossians 3:17)
When I pray quietly, for example, it is something like: Dear God, thank You Father. Thank You for Your Grace, Your Mercy, Your Love. Jesus, Lord God, You are Holy. Holy, Holy, Holy. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Name Above All Names. Hear my prayer, Oh Lord, God. Oh Lord, Lord, Lord. ….. and on and on and on and the specific points are sprinkled in. I can be praying these prayers quietly, while I am reading other prayers or speaking other prayers out loud. To me, as an under current to my public prayers, they are an anchor. My hope is that they do not become just a comma or a pause.
When I pray in tongues, only the Spirit knows what He is saying. Sometimes, as I pray, I am moved to make gestures with my hands, or touch things, or bow my head or get on my knees. Sometimes I am moved to pray with anointing oil or smudge (pray with smoke). Sometimes I am moved to walk, dance, play musical instruments or sing vocables (non-words). Sometimes I am moved to put a shawl over my head or on my shoulders as I pray.
(Genesis 24:63, Leviticus 16:13, 1 Kings 8:38, Psalm 5:3, Psalm 23:5, Psalm 35:13, Psalm 63:4, Lamentations 3:41, Malachi 1:11, Mark 6:13, Mark 16:17, Luke 4:18, Luke 7:38 & 46, John 9:6& 11, John 11:2, John 12:3, Acts 2:3, 4-11, Acts 4:27, 29-31, Acts 8:15-17, Acts 10:38 & 46, Acts 19:4-6, & 12, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28 & 30, 1 Corinthians 13:1,8, 1 Corinthians 14, 2 Corinthians 1:21, Hebrews 1:9, Hebrews 11:21, Colossians 3:17, James 5:14, 1 John 2:27, Revelations 8:4, Revelations 15:8)
When we pray, we are not just praying with our mind as we read other people’s words and we are not just repeating out loud what we read. The written word or spoken word is only a fraction of our prayers. They do not make up the whole, but are parts of a greater, more encompassing voice. As our spirit, soul, and body including our heart and mind come together in alignment, it is a sweet chorus.
When He prompts me to acknowledge His specific names, qualities, attributes, I will speak and write those names. When He prompts me to pray in such a way that I am proclaiming Christ’s authority, I may be more forceful and specific and using more phrases that are common practice among Christian intercessors. When He prompts me to pray with Christ’s authority, as a partner, I will make declarations with the confidence I walk in that authority. When I am overwhelmed or moved deep, my words may be few, but I’m not silent. In all the variety, the key is He is prompting me.
(Genesis 1:26, 1 Samuel 9:17, Acts 3:6, Acts 4:10, Acts 4:29-31, Acts 16:18, 2 Thessalonians 1:12)
When I pray in public from a podium, I pray different. When I am praying with patients at the hospital, I pray differently. How He directs me is not just about my relationship with Him, but also about how He wants to reach others. Am I leading pre-believers in prayer? Am I leading believers in prayer? Am I having a conversation with God and not leading any one else? When I write, who is the audience? Not because I am deciding how to pray based on what I see or know, but He is guiding based on what He sees and He knows.
(Exodus 9:16, 2 Chronicles 6:8-10, Isaiah 45:4)
Not only that, but you will also find that sometimes as I am writing out the prayers, they are from the ‘white’ perspective. Sometimes, they are from the ‘indigenous’ perspective. I just go with it as the Lord leads, knowing that it may be difficult for others to follow. Yet, this is how He leads me.
(Esther 1:22, Esther 3:12, Daniel 6:25, Acts 2:4, Acts 10:46, Acts 17 – Paul relates to different peoples; Acts 19:6, Acts 22 – Paul is both zealot and Christian, Roman citizen and Jew)
Sometimes I will be led to pray referring to water, fire, smoke, incense, plants, animals, etc. Coming from someone who appears to be a mainstream Euro-American contemporary Christian, this is generally accepted. However, coming from someone who appears to be indigenous, it is often questioned. Yet, Scripture is full of references to plants, animals, earth, water, sky, wind, etc. Whether they are descriptions or analogies or prophecies or parables, God is not threatened by reflections and observations of creation and incorporating them in prayer. His instruction is not to worship them. (Genesis 49:22, Exodus 19:4, Deuteronomy 32:11, 2 Samuel 1:23, 2 Samuel 2:18, Proverbs 6:5, Proverbs 18:4, Isaiah 11:7, Isaiah 13:14, Isaiah 40:31, Malachi 4:2, Romans 11:17-18, 24, 1 Peter 2:5)
Also, God does not want us using the phrases “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”; “In Jesus Name”; “By the Blood of Lamb”, “By the authority and power of Jesus Christ”, etc. to end or wrap up or conclude prayer points because of habit, fear, pride, ignorance, indifference, routine, doctrine or because of other peoples’ expectations. He wants us using them when He wants us to and how He wants us to. As Christ demonstrated, we need to say what the Father tells us to say, when He tells us to say it. (Exodus 20:7, 20:24, 23:21, 33:19, Numbers 6:27, Deuteronomy 18:19-20, Jeremiah 44:26, Matthew 6:1-18, Matthew 18:5 & 20, Matthew 28:19, Mark 7:13, John 5:17-47, John 10:25, John 14:13, John 16:23-27, Acts 2:38, Acts 4:30-31, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Ephesians 5:20, 1 John 3:23, James 5:10 )
Note that Scripture usually instructs us to take an action in God’s and / or Jesus’ name more often than literally close a prayer in His name. Meaning we move and breathe and have our being in His name rather than just talking about it. His name is not one-dimensional nor is it lineal. We actually dwell in His name as if His name is the air around us. His name is more than the word ‘God’. So as we function in His name, we need to consider all of His names and His attributes. (ie: YHWH, Elohim, Abba, El Shaddai, Adonai, Yeshua, Messiah, etc). When you study the Hebrew language, you learn that each letter has a meaning, as well as the word. When you put all the meanings together, a word can tell a story, give instruction, be prophetic, etc. As Believers, we are wrapped in all of it, not just the literal word across our forehead, but the meaning of each letter and the meaning of the word. “In His name” means being completely enveloped in fullness of His presence.
Another note is that Jewish and many other indigenous peoples believe you are not supposed to speak the sacred names of God out loud or write it out for it to be seen. There are many reasons, including protecting the sacred from evil spirits, demonstrating respect and honor for the sacred, and protecting the sacred from people outside the culture who would misuse or exploit it. In some cases the refraining of using the sacred name has become as religious a practice as the repeated use of the name has become to Christians. Again, we need to wait on the Lord and seek His face and hear what He says, even in the use of His name.
If we think that God will not hear us or the prayers won’t be answered because we don’t say them correctly, we are allowing fear. If we think every prayer with the key phrase gets answered the way we want, regardless, then we treat prayer like its magic. If we think our prayers are more effective because of the phrase than someone else’s prayers, then it is pride. If we say it and we don’t even know what it means or it is not from the heart, it is ignorance or indifference. Not only that, but if we lead prayers using certain phrases not knowing who we are praying with or praying for, we can cause people to stumble.
(Exodus 6:3, Jeremiah 29:9, Matthew 11:27, Matthew 12:7, Matthew 18:6, Mark 4:17, Luke 6:39, Luke 10:22, 1 Corinthians 6:10-12)
Our prayers are all connected. Each person has a piece of each prayer. Each prayer can stand on its own and is part of a bigger picture. That goes for personal prayer and corporate prayer. We may think each prayer has a distinct start and finish, however they are fluid. They do not complete their work according to man’s time. They continue to work out God’s will according to His time. They actually begin before any thought is formed and they continue past the last thought, spoken word, gesture or groaning. The Word is everlasting, the One who speaks the Word is everlasting, the people who hear the Word are everlasting, yet Scripture mentions the gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge will pass away. So it is wise to focus on the function of prayers, rather than the form in which they are delivered.
(1 Corinthians 13)
Each time I start to type or open my mouth or speak in tongues, I do not need to remind God who I am and who I believe in. He knows. I don’t have to remind Him that I have accepted Christ Jesus as my Savior and that I know Jesus’ name is above all names. He knows that. Likewise, I do not have to remind the spiritual realm who I am and who I believe in every time I start to type or open my mouth. The spiritual realm knows and I know. He wrote His name on me and He wrote my name in His book of life.
(Genesis 1:26, Exodus 33:12, 17; 1 Kings 9:1-8, Colossians 2:9-11, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 139:16, Isaiah 43:7, Isaiah 49:1, Jeremiah 29:11-14, Matthew 9:8, Matthew 10:1, Matthew 28:18, Mark 3:14-15, Mark 6:7, Luke 10:19, John 1:12, John 3:16, John 7:17-18, John 15:16, John 20:21, Acts 9:13-17, 1 John 4:4, Revelations 3:5 & 12)
In fact, I have noticed that the stronger my faith in Yahweh, God the Father, and Yeshua, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit, the less I find myself needing to remind Him, needing to remind the spiritual realm and needing to remind me. Yes, there are times God will prompt me to declare who I am and who I believe in. There are times that He wants me to recount my testimony or testify about others or testify about Him. But, as mentioned before, it is when He prompts and how He prompts, for His good purpose according to His perfect will.
(Psalm 9:10, Lamentations 3:25, Revelations 1:9, Revelations 12:11)
Also, we have to remember that on a conscious level and even on a spiritual level, no one knows the heart of man other than God. A man may declare Christ’s authority in every sentence, but not know Him. Likewise, a man may not declare Christ’s authority in public prayer, and have a strong relationship with Him. We are meant to pray and join in prayer out of our own relationship with Christ. Our ability to move mountains is not based on someone else’s relationship with God. Our ability to move mountains comes out of our relationship with God. He may choose to give us insight and discernment about a person, but it is based on what He makes known through His spirit, for His good purpose. It is not based on our looking in from the outside for our purpose.
(Jeremiah 12:3, Amos 9:9-15, Zechariah 13:9, Matthew 24:5, Mark 9:38-40, Luke 5:22, Acts 1:24, Romans 8:27, 1 Corinthians 2:11)
As we join together in prayer, month after month, we also develop a connection to one another on a spiritual level. The communication may appear to be one-way, but I have to believe that it is more than that if His work is being accomplished, and we know it is.
In the case of joining together for corporate prayer, we need to remember that the prayers provided through writing or recording or through a key note speaker or leader are a guide. Each individual is responsible to give the corporate prayer to God and seek His face on how to join in. We may be prompted to follow word for word, or we may be prompted to add or subtract, or it may be totally different. We each have individual gifts and callings. As I lead in prayer, I am leading out of who I am and the gifts and callings Creator has given me. Personally, in this setting, I am a lot more comfortable preparing a direction of prayer and allowing others to add their declarations of authority and power when and how God leads them, then suggesting they do it when I do and how I do.
(John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 12:28 & 13:9, Romans 12)
I hope this helps you all understand me better and understand why I write the way I do. It’s not necessarily a Native thing, it’s a God thing. In fact, many indigenous people can be bound by the same religious trappings of repetitive prayers and declarations as are found in other religions, cultures and even the Christian church. God created power through the written and spoken word. He created power through unity and uniformity. However, practiced under the spirits of control, manipulation, fear and a slew of other things, it becomes ineffective.
I haven’t mastered freedom in Christ, but I know the Master. Together we are all working on it, knowing we will not be made perfect until we cross over to the other side.
(1 John 5, 2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Philippians 3:12, 1 Corinthians 1:7-9, Hebrews 12:1-3)
Prayer for Freedom in Prayer
“Mighty Wonderful Father and Creator of All, You are a Great Mystery. You are Love, Mercy, Grace, Salvation and Justice. You are Author, Teacher, Perfecter and Finisher of all things natural and supernatural. You created us as spiritual beings and You have gifted us with human experience. Through our human experience and our belief and faith in Your Son, Yeshua, you lead and guide us, making us Your witnesses and prayer warriors. You are Author of Prayer and we are vessels of Your Voice. Mighty Deliverer, deliver us from all that binds us as we purpose to pray in Your Name. Yahweh, open our hearts, open our minds, open our souls and open our spirits to be aligned to Your perfect will, help us receive Your perfect will and give us Your perfect peace as we are released into Your freedom, experiencing fully our existence in the name of Your Son, Yeshua, by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Justice, empower us to be delivered from and to be risen above all religious and racial persecution. Mercy, rescue us. Love, heal us. Grace, release us. Faith, empower us. Provider, equip us. Sovereign, send us. Freedom, guide us. May we glorify You as we come together in prayer. Father, we pray for Your perfect will in our lives as Your children and prayer warriors. We pray for Your perfect will in the lives of Your indigenous people, that they as a people and as individuals, will experience all that You have done for us and more in the area prayer! Rise up Your mighty prayer warriors from every indigenous band, clan, tribe and nation and let them know Your Name, experience Your Salvation, be called by Your Name and be embraced and empowered by Your Freedom. May the indigenous people of North America turn this continent around according to Your perfect will and in Your perfect Power, so that Your Name, Yahweh, and the Name of Your Son, Yeshua, and the Name of Your Holy Spirit, will be securely set upon Turtle Island, and that all the people of Turtle Island will be covered under Your wings, will receive Your blessings, and will walk in Your beauty forever. Amen.”
Rev. Jeny Running Brook Covill
First Nations Monday
(Note: This is a study that was originally prepared in August 2012 in partnership with NIAP Prayer Shield)
Books Used in this 12 Month Study
The Holy Bible in the following translations: KJV, NIV, Amplified, NASB, CEV and The Scriptures.
“Church History in Plain Language” by Bruce L. Shelley
“Encyclopedia of Native American Wars & Warfare”. General Editors William B. Kessel, Ph.D. and Robert Wooster, Ph.D.
“This Day In North American Indian History” by Phil Konstantin
As with the First Nations Monday prayer and Scripture studies, I like to study with 5 translations. As you go through these studies, I encourage you to do the same. “The Scriptures” is a translation that includes the original Hebrew names and has the books in chronological order. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) is a translation that is written for ‘oral tradition’ peoples and it flows well while reading it aloud. The Amplified version is one where meanings of words and phrases are ‘amplified’ for better understanding. The King James Version (KJV) is the translation that works well with Strong’s Concordance. The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) is a great companion version that I find gives great insight.
First Nations Version Project
A retelling of the Sacred Scriptures for Native Americans and all English speaking Indigenous peoples.
Cherokee Bible Project – ONLINE – New Testament
Cherokee Bible Project – ONLINE – Old Testament
Cherokee Bible Project Titles in Book form:
(A joint mission of the Cherokee Bible Project and Four Rivers Native American Church)
Genesis in Cherokee
Haggai in Cherokee
Jonah in Cherokee
100 Days Of Indigenous Wisdom
Cherokee New Testament
New Cherokee Hymnal
Matthew’s Gospel in Cherokee
Mark’s Gospel in Cherokee
Luke’s Gospel in Cherokee
John’s Gospel in Cherokee
The Acts of the Apostles in Cherokee
ROMANS in Cherokee
CORINTHIANS in Cherokee
GALATIANS to COLOSSIANS in Cherokee
THESSALONIANS to HEBREWS in Cherokee
JAMES to JUDE in Cherokee
John’s Revelation in Cherokee
Pastoral Epistles in Cherokee (coming)
General Epistles in Cherokee (coming)