Did You Know Charles Wesley Wrote Prayers to Sing? A Prayerful Look at Intercession Hymn #1 “For All Mankind”

In 1758, Charles Wesley published his collection of 40 Intercession Hymns.

These hymns are examples of intercessory prayers set to music. Music is a good way to remember words, and singing helps people have words of prayer and scripture on their hearts and tongues throughout the day.

Although Wesley’s collection of Intercession Hymns represents an era different from our own, many parts of these intercessory prayers are timeless, especially given their biblical foundations. All of Wesley’s hymns are steeped in scripture, and his Intercession Hymns are no exception. Even portions of hymns that are specific to Wesley’s day can be adapted for current situations.

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Jesus. Brings. Life.

Jesus brings life and inner healing
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:6a NIV)

Jesus says:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19 NIV)

Recently, Jesus has brought His words to life in my heart. Since my youngest days, I have struggled with a fear of death. I read Jesus’ words in these scriptures, but couldn’t get the truth into my own heart. I believed these words for others, but not for myself.

Over the past few weeks, Jesus has brought these words home to my heart.

Now, I believe!

First, Jesus reminded me of the healing work He did in my life a few years ago. After 27 years, I was finally able to find peace and life in the memories of my dad, who I had lost suddenly as a teen:

God’s Not Going Away

That testimony prepared my heart for what came next – an inner healing session in which Jesus obliterated the spirit of death’s hold on me, right before my spirit eyes:

Who’s Afraid of Death?

The changes in my life have been tangible since then, and I look forward to walking this out with life overflowing. Thank You, Jesus, for bringing abundant life. Thank You, God, for Your goodness and love.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” (Matthew 28:5-7 NIV)

Jesus brings life and inner healing

Honor is Not the Same as Tolerance

When I was growing up, my mom would often vent to me about her bitterness toward people. My mom was not the kind of person people would think of as bitter. In public, she came across as quiet and kind, and a little bit quirky and eccentric.

What people didn’t realize was that her compassion came from a very sensitive heart. Her heart got stepped on quite a bit, and she was easily hurt. She held in her bitterness, which grew into resentment. Her only place to vent was talking to me. I would come home after school and hear about whoever made her feel hurt that day.

From age three, when I started attending Sunday school, I had been taught to “honor my mother and father.” I was told this was a very serious thing that Jesus wanted me to do. I took it to heart. Unfortunately, I was only given the platitude. I was not taught what honoring looks like in real life.

I came to believe that the best way I could honor my mother was to quietly and submissively allow her to say all kinds of bitter things in front of me. I would just nod my head and try to muster great sympathy. Her bitterness would grow because I kept helping her nurture it.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I learned what honor really means. To honor someone is to value that person at her true God-given worth. It means holding that person up as who God created her to be.

If I had truly been honoring my mom, I would not have tolerated her bitterness. I would have let her vent, but then I would have said, “Mom, let’s pray to forgive those people and ask Jesus to take away this bitterness. Because bitterness is not who you are. I want to honor who you are. God made you loving and compassionate with a sensitive heart. I’m so sorry people have taken advantage of that and trampled your heart. That hurts me to see you hurt. But bitterness is not the answer. It is just hurting you more. Let’s ask Jesus to lift that bitterness.”

That kind of confrontation didn’t come easily or naturally to me. I avoided speaking like that to anyone. I tried so hard just to be nice. But as I have come to learn, and as a friend of mine has written so compellingly, “nice” is not a fruit of the Spirit. “Nice” elevates tolerance over truth. In my situation, “nice” dishonored my mom.

Once I realized my sin, I had to repent for how I had dishonored my mom all those years. And I had to repent for the ways I had judged her as “bitter.” Because even though I tolerated her behavior outwardly, in my heart I resented her bitterness. (You can see how easy it is for this kind of pattern to continue generationally.) I asked God to forgive me.

When I finally did have that conversation with my mom about bitterness (in my early 40s), I was terrified. But the outcome was something I couldn’t have imagined or expected. My mom’s heart softened. I may have been one of the first people to acknowledge her sensitive heart and apologize for how people treated her. We prayed together, and she said she felt better.

Our conversations after that were more peaceful. She was still bitter sometimes, but I just invited her to pray with me, and she did. She always said she felt better. I got to see a new side of her during the final years of her life, and she had much more peace. Through that experience, I learned what it meant to honor my mother for who God truly made her to be.

 

4 Things to Know about Generational Healing

Generational healing prayers are among my favorites. Why? Because I have seen such powerful changes through these prayers.

Consider this: Because of the power of Christ, you have the ability today to stand in for entire generations of your family and repent for generational sin. God can bring redemption and realignment to your family line, so your entire family can begin to walk in the calling and blessings God has given to you.

That’s pretty powerful.

Here are 4 helpful things to know about generational healing:

1. Numbers 14:18 tells us how generational curses pass through the family line. This verse also tells us of God’s love and mercy. He wants us to be healed and He has made provision for our healing through Christ. Read Isaiah 61 about how Jesus has come to set the captives free.

Generational sin opens the door to these generational curses. They pass for 4 generations (10 generations for sexual sin – see Deuteronomy 23:2). This passing of the curse to 4 generations actually shows God’s restraint (He could have made them pass longer). But if nobody repents, the sin keeps moving down the family line, becoming generational iniquity. Iniquity means a propensity to bend. It means the family has an inherited tendency toward that sin.

2. The Bible tells us to “bind the strongman” (Matthew 12:29, Mark 3:27, Luke 11:22). The strongman is the enemy who has plundered the generational blessings of each family. Read all of Luke 11 for insight into how the enemy plunders a family and how he is overturned by Christ. When we identify the strongman (e.g., addiction, pride, fear, sexual sin, violence, jealousy) and repent on behalf of the generations of our family, we invite Jesus in to set us free.

3. Generational sin is based in repentance. Through Christ, we have the ability to humble ourselves and choose to repent for the sin that has brought curses to our family. We forgive our ancestors who opened those doors to generational sin. We repent of the ways we personally have engaged in that sin. Then we stand in restitutional repentance on behalf of our entire family line. We ask God to restore the generational blessings He intends for our family.

Often, we can identify those blessings because they are the direct opposite of the generational sin we have experienced. A family mired in generational fear has a blessing of power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). A family cursed with generational violence has a generational blessing of peace (Luke 8:26-39). A family that has been ripped apart over the generations by jealousy, strife, and contention is called to a generational blessing of love (1 Corinthians 13:4). The enemy tries to steal our gifts and blessings. Where he strikes us is the exact opposite of who we and the generations of our family are really supposed to be.

4. With generational repentance, the enemy will be silenced. He will no longer have such a strong hold on your family to compel each person into those generational curses. This doesn’t mean the enemy will stop trying to trip people up. John 10:10 tells us he will continue to try and thwart God’s plan for our lives. However, with generational repentance, he doesn’t have the rights and the degree of force he had before. It gives people in your family a chance to come to their senses and hear the truth from Jesus. The generational truth becomes louder than the lies.

Because of free will, family members may continue to choose to engage in a particular sinful behavior. The doors to sin that are open in a person’s heart are complex. Jesus is the only one who can show each person how to heal and turn from those sins. But the difference, after generational repentance, is that the enemy won’t have the same generational power as before to compel that behavior. I liken it to Jesus removing a megaphone from the enemy’s hands.

This is where your prayers of intercession become so important. If a family member continues to follow in the old ways of the generational curse, you can intercede from a place of healing, truth, and blessing. You can’t change that person’s heart – only that person can do that, because of free will. However, you can pray for the Holy Spirit to help that person hear truth: that they are not a prisoner of fear, but rather they walk in power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7); that they are not an addict, but rather they are adopted by God (Romans 8:15); that they are not a victim of generational strife and jealousy, but rather they walk in God’s love (1 Corinthians 13:4).

As you walk in your generational healing, and take ground from the enemy (Ephesians 6:13), you will be inviting the Holy Spirit to work more deeply in your family line. Your prayers of generational repentance, your generational healing, and the ways you choose to walk this out with Christ will have a powerful effect on your whole family.

Today is a great day to repent on behalf of yourself and the generations of your family. It’s a great day to step into God’s generational blessings.

Thank You, Jesus, for healing us.

The Praying Family

“Mommy, I want to pray.”

Katie’s mom turned to look at her for a long moment. The rice on the stove boiled over.

“Okay,” her mom said slowly. She set down the spoon and lowered the flame. “Where did this come from?”

“From VBS! We learned that God likes us to pray, because it means we talk to Him.” She grinned. “He likes when we talk to Him. Plus, when we pray, things get better.” She tilted her head as she looked up at her mom. “Don’t we need things to get better.”

Mom’s lips tightened like they always did when she was trying not to cry. “We sure do.”

“So let’s pray!”

Katie held out her hands for her mom to hold onto, which seemed to surprise her mom even more. Mom pulled up a kitchen chair and sat. She took hold of Katie’s hands.

Silence.

“Do … you want to pray, Katie?”

Katie nodded.

“Dear God. We think you’re really great. And we need help. Love, Katie and Mom.”

Her mom smiled but she was crying.

“Do we need to pray anything else, Katie?”

“That’s pretty much it. I learned that whatever we say, He knows what to do.”

The front door flew open, slamming into the wall. Katie jumped, as always, and Mom shook her head. Justine was home.

Katie smiled as her older sister stomped into the kitchen.

“What are you guys doing?”

“We’re praying.” Katie tried to stand taller.

Justine’s face softened. Her voice dropped to a whisper. “You are?”

“Yes.”

Justine nodded, which puzzled Katie.

“Awesome. Did you pray for our family?”

“Of course!” Katie said. “We asked God to help.”

“I mean the whole family. Like, everyone in our family tree?”

“Our what?”

Justine looked from Katie to their mom. “We learned at Youth that if we pray for our whole family tree, God can bless everyone. It’s called generational blessings. They get blocked a lot, like a river that’s got a dam across it. When we pray, God breaks the dam.”

“Cool!” Katie said.

Their mom looked at Justine for a long time.

“Justine … have you been praying for our family tree?”

She lowered her head and nodded.

Katie felt covered with chilly bumps. “I want to learn how.”

Justine shrugged. “We just ask God to bless our family tree.”

Katie reached out her hands again, this time one for Mom and one for Justine. She smiled when they took hold of her hands.

“Dear God,” Katie said, “thank you for helping us already. Help our family, and God bless our family tree.”

“Amen,” Justine and Mom said together.

“Now,” Mom said, “who wants some burned rice?”

“I do!” Katie said. “It’s going to be the best meal ever.”

Katie grinned as Justine walked to the stove to help their mom, something she almost never did.

***
How many lives did God bless through this one little family’s prayers? What do you think might have happened?

When we pray as a family, or pray for our family, including the generations of our family line, amazing things start to happen, in the lives of people you have never met. All it takes is to start asking God to help. He knows how to do the rest.

Someone Talked to Them

I’m continuing to research my ancestors. Tonight I added a few records and one was a census ledger listing the name of a great uncle I never met or even knew about, along with his wife. They lived in Alabama, along with much of the rest of my family at that time. There’s something amazing about seeing their names written on a ledger. Someone was sitting there, talking to them, taking down their information. It makes them seem real to me.

Of course, I know they were real. But until now, as I pray through generational healing, to break curses, to loose blessings, when I think of my ancestors, it’s more of an idea than a recognition of real people. Some people I know about, or I’ve long heard about from family members. They are clear in my mind, even if I don’t know much about them or their lives. But the others have always been rather nebulous … as I would fully expect to be myself, if uncovered some day by a distant descendent.

But something about seeing their names on the ledger … A clearer image comes to mind. Just a person, sitting there, talking to someone who jots down their information. Waiting to get this meeting over with so they can get on with their day. Loving their family. Working hard. Uncertain about some things in life; very certain about others. Dreaming of the future … or worrying about the future. Wondering what the next day will bring. Taking time in the evening to reflect. Maybe talking to God?

I don’t know how these individuals lived their lives. But now I know their names. And I’ve seen a ledger where another person – just as real as they were – wrote their names. There’s a connection. I can think about them. I can wonder what their lives were like. I can thank God for them. And I can pray that their legacy, and the blessings God poured into them every day of their lives will continue to flow through my family line, to all those who were meant to receive and walk in these blessings, even today.

Thanks, God.

They’re My Family Too

I’ve been depriving myself all these years. I have an entire family line that I’ve never recognized as my family.

My mom’s dad left when she was two and her brother was a baby. She never forgave him. All I ever knew growing up was that we didn’t speak about him, as if he didn’t exist.

As I got into my late teenage years and wanted to know more of my roots, I’d hint around to her that I was interested in a few details. She offered me one or two thoughts, and that was it. I didn’t realize at the time how painful it was for her to go there, and how she had blocked that part of her memory.

When my uncle, her brother, began to do family research, she made it clear to him that she was not interested in hearing the results. A cousin sent a batch of old photos, many of which included my mom’s childhood visits, once a year, to see her dad. I stared at them for hours, amazed to put a face to this man we didn’t talk about, to see this whole side of my mom’s childhood that I knew nothing about, and wanting to ask and know more. She asked if I would please send the pictures to my uncle, for his research, and not let her see them again. I regret now that I didn’t keep one or two photos for myself, but I honored her wish and got them out of our house.

I think from that point on, and especially as I grew older and discovered what it was like to have a husband walk out on a marriage (my own), I fell into line with my mom’s thinking of just letting the past be the past.

But today, as I go through Christian inner healing, I’m beginning to recognize how much I’ve blocked out a whole side of my family line. I need to forgive … my mom, for closing him out; my granddad for leaving his family; and myself (to repent and forgive) for buying into the family lie of “we don’t talk about him.” I have a granddad I never knew. And he has a whole family of siblings, parents, grandparents, and so many others from whom I’m descended, that I know nothing about.

I’m doing some research to learn what I can. I’ve missed out on a lot. I understand why, but it’s okay for that to change now. I want to know the generational blessings God has poured into this unknown side of my family. I want to know who these folks were, and to bless them in turn, to thank God for them.

It wasn’t until I began my ancestral research that I realiized the true extent of this blockage. Ancestry.com produced a report from my family input that identified this man as “Your grandfather.” I had never thought of him as my grandfather; merely as “the man we don’t talk about.” That really hit home, seeing him connected with me in such a close way. Then I realized that through him, I also have a great grandfather and great grandmother, cousins, aunts and uncles. I’m as much desended from them as from the folks on the others sides of my family.

Healing and restoration means accepting that, and not only accepting, but also embracing. I choose to embrace the family God has given me. And I will be blessed by anything God desires to reveal so that I can come to know these folks more.

God Stopped the Curse

In researching my dad’s side of the family tree, I discovered my 2nd great grandfather was a Civil War soldier. I never knew that.

In prayer ministry and in traveling around the Southeast, I’ve experienced visions of pain and fire and death. At the leading of Christ, I’ve prayed to close the generational doors. I had no idea these things came from the pain of one man during the Civil War. Wow.

He died early – not in battle, but I can only imagine the pain that affected his life every day after the war. His son died prematurely too, as did his son’s kids, and my dad … and I almost did as well.

A generational curse goes to the 4th generation (Exodus 20:5), and can recycle from there if it’s not stopped. The longer a curse stays with the family, the more likely the enemy will come and dwell. The only one who can stop a generational curse is Jesus Christ. No one else has that power.

Thanks to the power of Christ, the curse stopped with me, and I lived to give the testimony.

You might ask why did the curse have to travel this far to be stopped? Why me? Those are certainly questions God can handle. And I’ve asked them. Here’s what I believe He showed me. The real question is not, “Why did it take so long?” but rather, “God, what were You doing during this time? What angels were You sending, what mountains were You moving, what demons were You slaying in order to bring healing before it wiped out the family line completely?” It’s not “too late” that the curse came all the way to the 4th generation. It’s a miracle that He stopped it then. That He led me in prayer in time for me NOT to die prematurely. And the curse is broken.

This curse of premature death wasn’t just on my dad’s side. It was on my mom’s side too. I knew about that, and had dealt with it in prayer. But then I discovered dad’s side. That’s a double-bind from the enemy. It had a stranglehold on my life until I invited Christ to break the power of the curse  – not just for me but for the generations of my family to live in freedom and full life.

Here’s what the curse on my dad’s side looked like:

2nd Great Grandfather

Fought in Civil War age 42-45

Died age 63

His Son

Died age 46 (killed in a freak accident by a wild hog; come on, that’s just weird)

3 of Son’s Children

Died age 4, age 22, age 26

My Dad

Died age 66

Janet – Cancer age 42 – Four generations – THANK GOD FOR JESUS!!!

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lord intervened to break the curse and heal me from cancer, my book I Choose Life tells the story. Go God!!!

 

Got Family Stories? Someone Wants to Know

I’ve always loved history. In high school, I covered the walls of my bedroom with historical maps. It wasn’t about the dates, the who-did-what-and-where. It was about the people – the way they lived, their conversations, and the settings where their daily lives played out. When I visit an historical house, I usually spend most of my time gazing out the window, wondering how that scene might have appeared to the person who lived there, wanting to see the world through their eyes. What were their thoughts? Their greatest fears? Their hopes?

As I search through digital archives to find any indication of where my ancestors lived or worked, who they married and how many kids they had, I wish for so much more. I wish for stories. How did a husband and wife meet? What did they tell their children before bedtime each night? What was the conversation like around the dinner table?

I miss not knowing this.

The family I grew up in wasn’t much for passing along stories, and I was born a generation after most everyone in my horizontal line (my parents were old enough to be my grandparents, my sister old enough to be my mom, etc.). I don’t blame anyone – not anymore. God knows I did, for quite a while, but I’ve let that go as He’s ministered to the wounds of my heart.

But I sure wish I knew the stories.

Maybe I’ll find some, somewhere. But how I’d love to immerse myself, spend a day in the life.

I urge you to share what stories you know about your family. Write them down; record them; tell them. Make sure whatever you know gets passed along or documented somewhere, for someone to find who may be searching, wanting to preserve, to be a part, and to remember.

It’s not just the big events that need to be recalled and preserved. Even more precious are the everyday moments. The stuff that recreates life, so we can all partake.

What stories will you share, that someone will one day treasure?

Family Connections and a Slice of Grapefruit

It’s amazing how the simplest things can stir warmhearted memories that connect us to our families. Memories from deep in our hearts suddenly rise above the surface clutter.

My childhood relationship with my mom was never easy. It’s harder to remember the good than the bad. Despite all the healing and forgiveness, and the fact that at times she was my best friend, I’m just beginning to put the good moments into the photo albums of my memories.

Tonight I was slicing grapefruit. I’ve been craving it all week and decided to indulge. I’m usually too impatient to eat fresh grapefruit unless it’s already packaged in neat little sections. But this time, I bought the whole fruit and did something I’ve never done. I cut it in half and began to cut around each section, just the way my mom did when I was a kid.

The memories flooded back as the grapefruit spray hit my face. And though our relationship was as bittersweet as the fruit, all I could think was, “Wow. She did this for me.” Almost every morning in the winter. We lived in Miami so grapefruit was easy to come by. But she took the time to section it for me. Who does that? A pretty cool mom does that.

Just like the latch that secures a family photo in a precious frame, that realization secured me a little more in the heart of my family.

What are the simple things that bring good family memories to mind for you? Memories you might have forgotten. A few sweet, even bittersweet moments that might displace the bad, or strengthen the good. What are they? I’d love for you to share them with me.