Thursday, October 3, 2013
Blessing to cleanse and transform places
The cross overlooking the land at Ffald-y-Brenin Christian Retreat Centre, Pembrokeshire
BLESSING each other, and even blessing people we don’t like –“bless those that persecute you” (Romans 12:14) – is not too unfamiliar. It’s a reminder about doing what we know to do. However, blessing the land, unless you are from a C of E background with distant memories of Rogation Sunday and Beating the Bounds, is a step further removed. It shouldn’t be.
There is plenty in the Bible about being blessed in the land (Deut 28:8), blessing the land itself (Deut 33:13), a cursed land (Jer. 23:10) and polluted land (Numbers 35:33) – and fruitful, or formerly fruitful, land (Ps. 107:34).
GOD’S DESIRE TO HEAL THE LAND
God longs to see the land released in healing and wholeness. However, it is perhaps the most disregarded area of the ministry of blessing.
The familiar words from 2 Chronicles 7:14 include the phase “and I will hear from heaven and heal their land”. If the land needs healing, then it follows that the land can be ‘sick’.
Four main causes of ‘sick land’ come up in the Scriptures:
• Curses. The original curse that came as a result of Adam’s disobedience was dealt with at the Flood, but the giving over of land to occult practices and spirits puts its own curse on the land, then or now.
• Bloodshed and violence, usually from the past.
• Sin on the land – a wide category.
• Unfaithfulness, broken promises and idolatry affect the land – there remains a spiritual pollution until recognised and cleansed.
A Bible study on this (you can get the scope of this quite quickly using the links) will give many clues about what might be affecting the land, whether in an agricultural sense or a wider spiritual sense. An example that local readers will be familiar with is the contrast in spirituality e.g. vibrant churches, between the High Wycombe extending east, and High Wycombe extending west, and the connection to the level of occult activity in and around the latter region, both formerly and today.
IDENTIFY AND ACT
If we ask God whether the land is well or sick, because we want to bless the land, He will show us. Here are four steps – we need to:
1. Identify the possible causes of sickness through both research and revelation. What has been the pattern of life? What clues are there to what has gone on in the past? Has it been a sustaining place or a pattern of poverty, broken relationships, heavy for outreach, lacking spiritual vigour?
2. Deal with the cause of the sickness, from revelation and by means of identificational prayer and repentance. This comes back to our non-religious understanding of being a priesthood equipped to minister on behalf of others, and ‘others’ includes ancestors and previous generations not necessarily connected to us. We can acknowledge the sin and name it, say sorry and ask forgiveness for that sin.
3. Apply the appropriate antidote to the land. Reclaim for Jesus “every place where you set your foot” (Joshua 1:3) and bless it in the name of Jesus. In every area where blood has been shed, speak of the blood of Jesus and declare healing. Generally, speak of God’s favour and desire to bless and declare fruitfulness, especially speaking fruitfulness over any “barren land”. Part of our worship of God is releasing land back to what it was meant to be.
4. Bless the land. Speak blessing and peace to it in the name of Jesus.
If you have read this far, and you’re thinking that this is bonkers, let me remind you about the Transformation videos (I think the video is still available from Ed Silvoso’s organisation, Harvest Evangelism). There is a particular story about the relatively poor country of Guatemala in central America – and how this intentional blessing action resulted in stunning, bumper crops, and several harvests a year. I have an intercessor friend who has seen this at first hand. My own story is more back-yard. I used to live in a small town which people called ‘the village’ and many maintained village practices such as keeping large vegetable gardens. My friend, John Clark, was not a champion of the produce competitions but liked to grow his own – and he began to bless the seedlings as he planted them out and water them. In a way, no one was more surprised than him when his garden looked as if he had a secret source of fertiliser and his own sunshine!
There are many examples of when God promises abundance if we will put our lives in order. This has often been interpreted as a reward for works – an easy mistake to make, and much perpetuated by religious teaching. A more biblical way of looking at this is cause and effect. When we order ourselves aright, then blessing will flow.
A topical example of land to bless – even the land of persecutors and those who may declare themselves to be our enemies, in the case of extreme and probably ill-educated Muslims – is to bless them, and bless the land to welcome those whose feet bring the good news of Jesus (Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:15) in times when there are increasing accounts of the Holy Spirit bringing revelation of Jesus to these people who know of Him, and are coming to meet with Him personally
Prayer walking gives us opportunities to put all of this into practice, as the saying goes, praying on-site with insight.
Finally, Abraham shows us how it might be done as we read (Genesis 13:14-17) how he lifted up his eyes to see, and travelled across the land of promise that his as-yet-unborn descendants would inherit, including seeing a remarkable descendant – John 8:56.