Successfully Interceding for Forty Years
We grew up in average families but both had their dark side. Tim’s mother was alcoholic and Faith’s father a gambler. We knew the meaning of trauma in our teen years with me bound by fear and Faith being suicidal. I took a disastrous turn at sixteen getting involved in drugs, wasting seven years of my life!
I could not get free of drugs but at twenty three God miraculously delivered me. I went into Church hooked on drugs and came out hooked on Jesus. The transformation was instant and complete. I did not go back to drugs but started a new life in Christ. Faith also had a miracle at the altar, receiving inner healing, set free from trauma and having new hope. We are grateful for a loving, merciful God who set us free and gave us new life with purpose and vision!
In 1996 there was a great leap forward in our ministry. We were fasting and praying for God to shake bondages over a city. For many years AOG and other organisations were ministering there, yet no church. We finished our fast and when dinner arrived on the table, the city shook with a 7.1 earthquake.
Eighty percent of the city was damaged but the demonic strongholds had been shaken. Within two years we planted the first church and later, through prayer closed the Red Light District. There are now many churches and ministries in the city.
Now we are seeing God move in another city of over six million, bringing down the crime rate, closing the Red Light District and removing corrupt officials, all through the power of prayer.
“Nothing is impossible to those who believe” Matthew 17:20.
We are ordinary people who struggle and fail in many ways but we know our goal, to be imitators of Christ. As we pursue Jesus with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, we see God moving in the nations. We pray our story will encourage you to “Stand in the Gap” for your family, friends and nation.
Tim and Faith were fasting and praying for God to shake the bondages over the city. When they finished their fast the city shook with a 7.1 earthquake. Within two years they planted the first church. (Sis L from Open Doors met the local brother who witnessed this event)
For twelve years Tim and Faith have consistently prayed for my family and company. I can honestly state that every need we have brought to them for prayer have been answered. We consider them dynamic, faithful, and effective intercessors. Bro. Mark
As you read our story take note of the principles; repentance, obedience to the Holy Spirit, perseverance and faith. These foundational principles work in all areas of life and are keys to fruitfulness in everything we do.
The Early Years
Rees Howells may be one of the greatest intercessors of all time. When the Second World War broke out, Rees Howells announced to the Bible College, “Prayer has failed, only intercession will bring us through”. Intercession is one of our strengths so we would like to share our story, to encourage you to intercede for your family, friends and nation.
After forty years of successful intercession we have seen our families change, a city that was closed to the Gospel now open up and has many churches. Our city of over six million is beginning to change with the crime rate coming down, brothels closed and the government becoming more righteous.
My (Tim) story began at the Queen St. AOG, Auckland. A few months after I was saved a brother invited me to the monthly prayer meeting. He said, “We fast three days and have a prayer meeting on Wednesday evening. Would you like to come?” I thought that was a good idea! I fasted three days, water no food, and went to the prayer meeting.
As I went in the door I could sense the presence of God. It was tangible. Most of the members attended the prayer meeting, maybe seven hundred people. Inside the church people were chatting and the atmosphere was exciting. We knew something was going to happen. From experience we knew New Zealand would change. The previous Sunday, Pastor announced what we would pray for. It was always something of national importance.
The prayer meeting I remember most vividly was when we prayed for the 1975 elections. God had spoken to Ps. Neville that it was very important for New Zealand’s future, that the government is favourable towards Israel. Unfortunately the odds were heavily stacked against the Party favourable towards Israel, the National Party. From memory, about 70% of New Zealanders were going to vote for the opposition.
It was going to be a huge challenge!
When the worship began we moved the chairs aside so we could walk and pray. As Bruce McGrail led worship we were lifted up into the heavenlies. Our spirits were filled with joy and the presence of God was powerful. For the next hour we would worship, going higher and higher in the spirit.
For the next two hours we would pray, mostly in tounges but always on the topic announced. We began praying and declaring the National Party would win the elections. It was a hard battle, there seemed to be resistance to our prayers but we pressed on, praying in tounges and in word.
Sometimes the Prophets would confirm the direction we were praying or announce a new direction, but always in harmony with the main topic. It was exciting knowing we were in God’s will, battling for the nation. At times the noise was deafening. The worship was loud, the prayers were louder. We were praying and worshiping, praying and worshiping. One time I looked up at the roof wondering if it would fly off!
We kept praying until Ps. Neville or the Prophets announced, “The prayer has been heard, the answer is on the way”. We went home rejoicing, knowing that the prayer would be answered.
The election date drew closer. The polls said the opposition Labour Party would win by a large margin. We were strong in faith, knowing what God had promised he would bring to pass. The polls closed three days before the elections, still reporting a large majority for the Labour Party. I kept declaring National would win as I am sure many others did.
What a test!
Then the election results began to come out. It was neck and neck for quite some time then National drew ahead. In the end National won with a large majority. Over those three days, a large number of New Zealanders changed their mind! We now had a government who was supportive of Israel. Interceding like this was an amazing experience, seeing with our own eyes God move on the hearts of a nation.
How many people pray until God answers? We have seen very few people pray like this and so many prayers are not answered. Jesus taught the disciples this truth, Ask, Seek, Knock, Matthew 7:7. It’s simple yet powerful!
It takes time and perseverance. It is hard work but when we think of the suffering around us, our short period of hardship is nothing compared to other people’s suffering. I grew up in this environment, where month after month I saw the power of intercession change New Zealand. This experience sowed the seeds of faith and intercession which continued to grow over the next forty years.
A National Crisis
Growing up in an environment of intercession impacted my life as a young Christian. Little did I expect, within my first year the Holy Spirit would move on me and avert a national crisis. It happened like this.
In 1975 New Zealand faced a crisis. The native Maori were grieved over land which was taken illegally or sold to the British government by unfair means.
The Maori decided to march from the top of the North Island down to the capital in Wellington and voice their grievances. The march was led by a very respected lady, Dame Winna Cooper. Unfortunately, amoung the marchers was a man trained in terrorism by Gadhafi from Libya. New Zealanders were very worried this situation could escalate into widespread disturbances or worse. The protesters began marching from the north towards Auckland. I arrived home from work as they came across the harbor bridge and when I entered my bed room, the most surprising thing happened.
Suddenly, I dropped to my knees and in great anguish of heart cried out, “When the Maori reach Wellington let a conflict come amoung them so this movement comes to nothing!” With those words the burden of the Holy Spirit left, I had an overwhelming joy in my heart and the presence of God filled my room. I was shocked! I got up off my knees wondering what had happened. As I thought about it I realized it was a God moment. It was one of those times when God moved sovereignly.
I concluded that the words I prayed, were the words of the Holy Spirit crying out through me. I realised God was going to cause a division amoung the Maori so this movement would come to nothing and avoid a serious conflict.
As the Maori got closer to Wellington I also realised, “Now I have to believe for this otherwise it will not happen”. I was worried. How could I do this! I began to encourage myself in the Lord, praying in tounges, declaring and believing a conflict would happen amoung the Maori.
Doubts flooded my mind. It was a constant battle to push them aside. I continued to declare and believe for what I prayed. As I pressed forward the doubts became less, the joy became more until no matter what negative thoughts came, I could resist them easily.
When the Maori reached Wellington there was a conflict and some split off from the main group and marched up the East Coast. The movement came to nothing!
“At the end of the march, though, Matakite collapsed as various factions sought alternative ways of continuing their protest.” NZ History Net
This is the power of intercession to change a nation. It was exciting to see. As a new Christian this encouraged my faith and gave me valuable experience in intercession.
I learnt, “If I pray until the burden lifts and the joy of the Holy Spirit fills my heart, my prayer has been heard and would be answered.” In Queen St. Pastor Neville or the prophets would receive the word, but either way we would keep praying until we got a word.
I remember one month the Church did not get an answer from God. When we came back the following month we continued to pray where we left off. This is persisting in prayer until we get an answer.
Sadly, very few people are willing to pay this price so prayers go unanswered, people suffer and situations do not change. Over the last forty years we have seen mountains move. It is exciting to serve a God who has all power and authority. If only we would be willing to put in the hard work of intercession, many lives and situations would be changed.
I would encourage you to spend time with him, crying out for your family, community and nation until God hears your prayer. Then stand in faith knowing what he promised, he will bring to pass.
Sometime after becoming a Christian I realized my family was in a mess. Six people living together but very little relationship, alcoholism, drug addiction and trauma. I asked the Lord what I could do to change things and this led me on the exciting and rewarding path of intercession, Rees Howells style. I saw my family revolutionized. It was an amazing thing to experience.
I had read the book “Rees Howells Intercessor” early in my Christian life but the second time I read it, everything was different. This time the Holy Spirit began revealing things to me. There is a huge difference between head knowledge and revelation.
Knowledge puffs up but revelation brings life.
As a young boy I grew up not knowing my mother was alcoholic. I sometimes wondered why strange things happened but it was only in my late teens that dad let us know what was going on.
If you know a family with addictions, spend time with the family members, supporting them, encouraging them. They live in trauma every day and you may just be the person who makes the difference.
The Holy Spirit showed me I was to intercede for my mother. He led me to give up some pleasures but most importantly, to endure her sometimes unusual behavior. At times her actions were unbearable, extremely stressful and in front of friends, hugely embarrassing. I endured them all.
For five months I persevered, enduring the pain. At one point I thought I would go crazy, it was so stressful. But I persevered knowing Jesus had given me the grace.
After this my heart was changed. I could bear with mother quite naturally and there was a deep peace and joy which upheld me. My heart had been purified by obeying the truth through the Spirit.
I had overcome in that area of my life and later, when I faced similar situations it was easy, even natural to endure. This is the process of sanctification which every Christian must go through. Once we have overcome in an area of our life, there is a place of rest which is not too difficult to maintain.
I saw in Rees Howells’ life this same principle of sanctification as he interceded for sickness, people and situations. Rees repented of sin or bad habits until God purified his heart so that he would naturally do what is right. Once Rees Howells overcame the sin, he had gained an intercession and the person would change.
Eight years after I interceded for my mother she came free of alcohol. It was a long hard test of faith but having interceded for one, I could now intercede for many. I have seen many alcoholics come free of their addiction.
Bob was such a man. He was a distinguished English gentleman, a dentist by trade, who began to suck on the bottle. In the end the bottle sucked on him. He lost everything; his family, his business and home. He was out on the streets!
“Who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, … because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” Heb 7:27 (NASB)
Once Rees Howells interceded for a situation, he could always apply that intercession a second, third or fourth time. He did not need to intercede again. This is different from prayer. When God answers our prayer for something, we must pray again when a similar case happens. Having gained a place of intercession for my mother, I could now apply that intercession to other alcoholics. I did not have to intercede for alcoholics again!
Bob was such a case. He was a very nice, distinguished old Englishman. He was a dentist by trade but unfortunately alcohol got a hold of him. He lost his family, his home, his business and was now on the streets. I first met him at the Anglican detox center where I worked and as time went on, I got to know and like this fellow. His story was typical of a skid row alcoholic.
One day I got news he had a stroke. One side of his body had difficulty moving, the corner of his lip drooped and speech slurred. It was difficult for him to talk. I visited him in hospital and in tears he asked, “Why did this happen to me!”. I said it was because of his drinking then shared the gospel. He accepted the Lord and then the Holy Spirit led me to apply the intercession for alcoholics.
The next day when I visited he was not in the hospital! I asked where he had gone and the nurse said he was out walking.
A few days later I caught up with him and he told me something strange happened. He could not stop walking. Each day he walked about 5km and he could not understand why, he had never walked so far in his life. I knew what happened! The power of God had gone to his feet.
Presently he was released from hospital and moved in to the Salvation Army hostel. He continued to improve. His speech got clearer, his walk steadier and his right hand was steady so that he could do simple sketches. By the power of God he was on the mend.
Just before Faith and I left for overseas I visited Bob again. He was working in the kitchen, his health had fully recovered and he was drawing beautiful, detailed sketches. Best of all he was leading an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting, bringing people out of alcoholism and giving them new hope. He had now come full circle. It was a blessing to witness.
This is the power of intercession. Once we have gained a place of intercession, we can apply it again as the Holy Spirit leads. Rees Howells gained intercessions for many sicknesses. It was costly and painful but after interceding for one we can intercede for many.
Do you know someone who is sick, in need or is not saved. Ask the Lord how you can intercede for them. You will experience the joy of seeing them come free of bondage and you can apply that intercession again later.
Begin with your family and friends. As you are led by the Holy Spirit, he will use you in a greater and greater measure.
The Anglican Church
Growing up in the largest Church in New Zealand, it was a shock to the system when I moved to my local, traditional Anglican Church. It frightened me. I immediately got accountability from some Christian friends.
Soon after arriving, I was invited to a prayer meeting led by Sister Francis. Francis was in her seventies and a faithful prayer. At the young age of seven, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tounges. The Anglican vicar did not know what it was! She had received the Holy Spirit twenty years after the Azusa Street outpouring and forty years before the charismatic renewal.
Francis announced the purpose of the prayer meeting. It was to “pray the Church into the charismatic renewal”. I thought this was a good idea, God always wants the best for his people and for them to reach maturity. I gladly joined and we began praying. Each Sunday afternoon we would pray from 2pm until 5pm.
Sometime later the vicar passed away and Francis suggested, “Let’s pray for a young vicar”. In the fifty year history of the Church they had never had a young vicar, only retired ones who passed away after a few years.
I thought Francis had another good idea so happily prayed along. Amazingly, a few months later we had a new vicar in his early thirties!
Nothing is impossible with God.
We were encouraged and things were looking up, for the moment. Soon afterwards, when helping move the vicar’s belongings into the Church house, I discovered a picture of many Buddhas. I was shocked. The vicar believed in a universal god.
A few months later I had some spare time and began to intercede. I began to cry out for this man’s soul, that Christ would speak to him and make himself known to the vicar. For three hours I cried out, fervently praying for his salvation. It was hard going, there was great resistance in the spiritual realm. He was a prominent figure in the Anglican Church and also amoung anti-apartheid activists. The devil would not let him go without a fight.
The more important the task, the harder the battle.
I prayed so hard that I pulled a muscle in my chest, which still causes pain today. I continued to pray hard, knowing God wants all to be saved and knowing if we were to become a charismatic Church, the vicar would need to be onboard. For three hours I pressed in and then I sensed the burden lift and the joy of the Holy Spirit fill my heart.
Intercession had been made, victory was assured!
The intercession was so intense that I was totally exhausted and had to rest for half an hour. Slowly my strength came back. I don’t recommend interceding this way. I prefer the Queen St. style of worship and prayer. Praying in God’s presence, like the Queen St. AOG, we are able to intercede for up to five hours without getting tired!
Two weeks later the vicar invited everyone to the elderly peoples home for the Sunday afternoon service. I went to support him, I’m glad I did. He opened his Bible and began to share from Hebrews 1. With great excitement he began to say, “Jesus has always existed, he created the heavens and earth”. Vicar had been born again by the Spirit of God. What a joy to see!
God is good and his mercy endures forever. Praise be the Lord.
Sometime later the young vicar left. Francis and I were not discouraged, we prayed for another young vicar. Presently we had a new vicar, a young vicar with family! Things were promising and we were still on track for our charismatic Church. A few years later there was another change of vicar. This time the vicar was Spirit filled and the Church became charismatic until today.
Many people criticise their Pastors for this and that. People want someone different, who does things another way. How many of us are praying for the Pastor, being Aaron and Hur for our leaders. None of us are perfect but if we pray for each other, as the Bible says, we can all grow together and become the people God intends.
Let’s pray for those in leadership at home, work and Church. This is what God calls every Christian to do and together we will all grow. Criticise and contend we will fall apart.
Later I went back to Queen St. AOG continuing to intercede as needed then interestingly met a young lady who prayed the same way that I prayed!
Just in Time!
After my encouraging experience with the Anglican Church, I returned to Queen St. AOG. They had moved into a new building and life was very different. With experience praying for Church growth, I began interceding for the Queen St. AOG. It was encouraging to see the Church move forward and grow over the next few years.
I began leading a home group and a young lady began attending. Within the first week I bumped into her three times in the city. What are the chances of bumping into someone in a city of 1.5Mil., but three times in one week, something was going on!
On the first occasion the Holy Spirit quickened to me that God was knitting our hearts together to serve him. Of course we got married! ‘And lived happily ever after’ Hehe
As I got to know Faith, I discovered she prayed the same way I do. She told me about her father who had leukemia. He was admitted to hospital for a routine checkup but the situation changed unexpectedly.
One night after work, Faith and her sister began praying for their father. Faith didn’t know why, but she had a tremendous burden for him. As I said, he was in hospital for a regular checkup so nothing serious. Faith finished work at 8pm then around 10pm began praying. The burden was great as they cried out to the Lord for dad.
Faith had been witnessing to him for fourteen years. She would leave tracts, bibles and anything that might interest him, at strategic places in the house. Next to his favourite chair, in the toilet, all to no avail. One time he responded, “I don’t have any friends in heaven, all my friends are in hell, I may as well go to hell.” He was a cultured man but refused to accept the Lord.
Faith continued praying through to midnight. Although she had work early the next day, she continued in the burden of the Lord and cried out to God for father. Into the early hours of the morning she kept praying, praying in tounges and in English.
Some after time 4am Faith suddenly blurted out, “Lord hang him over hell for five minutes”. At that moment the burden lifted and the joy of the Holy Spirit filled her heart. After a quick sleep she went off to work. Early next morning Faith’s mother visited dad in hospital. He shared with mother about a dream he had the night before. He refused to say what was in the dream, he just smiled, and asked mother for the Pastor to come and baptise him! He had been born again by the Spirit of God.
Three hours later (correction, it was the following day. My memory not so good!) he went to be with the Lord. He was saved “Just in Time!” What if Faith had ignored the burden? What if she had stopped praying for father at midnight? What if there had not been a breakthrough? Father would have gone to a lost eternity.
Father was saved by fervent persistent prayer until there was a breakthrough.
This is how we can bring even the most stubborn person into the Kingdom. Do you have loved ones not saved despite witnessing. Spend time in fasting and prayer until you get that word from God. He will turn the impossible into the possible.
Two years after meeting each other we had a simple wedding then moved overseas. For three years we traveled to five different cities. We helped some businessmen start a Church in a one city, had two home groups in another and helped different ministries where ever we went. It was an exciting but challenging time, traveling over rough roads and sometimes in great danger.
One day we were wondering why were there so many Christians and ministries in one city, yet no Church. The local religion was a mixture of Buddhism, considered a cult for many years, and a weird folk religion.
When the local priests do their animal sacrifice they remind me of witches. They have black pointed hats, long pointed noses and dance in circles as they scatter blood around. They really look like witches to me, very strange. We identified many demonic forces and bondages throughout the city. Some of us, including a local brother, decided to fast for the city. As we were praying several of us cried out, “God shake this place”. After prayer we finished our fast and went into town.
When dinner arrived on the table the electricity suddenly went out. This often happened in that part of the country where the supply is not stable. The light came back on. We were surprised! When the light came back on it was swinging! With that the restaurant began shaking.
It was an 7.1 earthquake!
The noise was deafening like an express train going through the middle of the restaurant. Faith fell over as she ran for the door. We did not know which way was up and which way was down. We completely lost our sense of direction. It was the most frightening thing we have ever experienced. By the mercy of God it was only lasted for a few seconds.
Everyone ran for open space. There we stood for what seemed like ages. As we processed what had happened, time seemed to stand still. At that moment the local brother (whom Open Doors met and confirms our testimony) said, “I just prayed God would shake this place!”.
At that moment we realized what happened. We prayed for God to shake the bondages over the city. God gave us a sign, the bondages had been shaken loose. It was an awesome experience, a God moment.
This is “Couple Power”.
When there are more Christians praying together there is an exponential increase in power. Within two years we had planted the first Church and now there are many churches. Orphanages sprang up, a Bible college and other supporting ministries. A few years later we prayed the red light district would close down. Within three months it had closed.
The city began to prosper. One sister travels throughout the country and overseas promoting the city’s tourist attractions. Within a few more years government people were coming to Christ. The sisters started a prayer center. God continues to move throughout the city, setting people free and bringing change. It is exciting to see.
A few years later we received a promise of revival. Although we have moved elsewhere, we believe revival will come in our life time. Our new city has seen the crime rate come down, the Red Light District close and a corrupt government removed, all through the power of prayer. It is amazing!
Recently, I was wondering how can two ordinary people change a city. We are not smart or talented but two cities have changed and I believe New Zealand will also change. I learnt several keys to successful intercession at the Queen St. AOG. We would fast three days and intercede for three hours, but the way we interceded was not the same as others. It was radically different! I have seen very few people pray the way Queen St. did but the results are amazing.
The prayer meeting would begin with worship. We would worship for 40-50 minutes, praising and worshiping with all our hearts. There was a strong presence of the Holy Spirit which filled the Church. It was amazing!
Then we would flow into intercession, fervently praying in tongues and English. We would flow from fervent intercession into worship then back into intercession. There was a natural flow from one to the other, almost like a symphony of prayer and worship. Our spirits would rise up and the atmosphere was pregnant with the presence of God. Truly an amazing experience.
The flow between worship and prayer is a key!
We only prayed for one thing when we interceded! The previous week Pastor Neville Johnson announced what we would pray for and it was always something of national importance. Most prayer meetings cover many topics but we only prayed one thing.
Praying for one thing and not many is another key to successful intercession.
We continued praying this way for the next two hours until Pastor or the prophets announced, “Your prayer has been heard, the answer is on the way”. Most people never pray until they have a word from God.
This is the third key to successful intercession.
I continued to pray this way for forty years and Faith also prays this way. This why we have been so successful in intercession. It is hard work. There is always resistance and a battle but the effort is well worth it. When we see people coming free of their bondages and suffering, there is a joy which money cannot buy. We are seeing increasing influence and change city-wide. Praying this way gets results!
Praying this way gets results.
A few years ago I was wondering where the Bible teaches this type of prayer. Everything we do should be in the Bible or agree with scripture. One day I was reading the book of Luke where Jesus taught the Apostles “The widows model”. It surprised me! This is the way we pray.
It is a very simple model which every Christian can use. It is not a method and it not just for Apostles! It is for everyone.
It was impossible for the widow to get justice from an unjust judge but Jesus taught us how to turn the impossible into the possible. Therefore the context of the widows model is, an impossible situation. All the testimonies I have shared before were impossible situations yet they have all turned around.
Other keys which Jesus taught:
- Cry day and night
- Do not give up praying
- Pray until you get the answer
- Be strong in faith
I have attached my sermon notes and power point which explains these truths in greater detail. I pray you will act on these in your own life and ministry. If you persevere and have faith, you will see the same results we have. Download The Widows Model Notes The Widows Model Power Point
We hope you enjoyed our story. We thank God who showed two young teenagers such mercy, setting us free and giving us new life. We are very ordinary people who struggle and fail just like everyone else but we serve a faithful God who has brought us through it all, giving us victory in our lives. We have followed simple principles of obedience, repentance, fervent prayer and faith. These are four things every Christian can do so I would encourage you to stand in the gap for your family, friends and nation. You will have the same results!
Do it with all your heart and you will see your prayers answered.
Love Tim & Faith
The Cost of intercession Part 1 The price to pay when interceding
The Cost of Intercession Part 2 The price to pay when interceding
Increase A Great increase in power and influence
The West Interceding for the western half of our nation
City Changes Big changes in the city
Red Light District The Red Light District closes
God the Winner Intercessions are always answered
Climbing the Mountain Complex intercessions require several stages before success
Tounges Speaking in tounges is critical when interceding
New Zealand The Holy Spirit calls us to intercede for NZ
Malaysia The Holy Spirit calls us to intercede for Malaysia
Very encouraged, may God’s favour continue in your service towards Him.
May God also teach me and help me to understand more about intercession.
Thanks Tim & Faith.