Thank You for not only being the God Who releases captives (Isaiah 42:7), but the God Who sent Your Son specifically to release them (Luke 4:18). Your desire has always been that mankind can be fruitful and subdue the earth, not to have that which is earthly subdue us (Genesis 1:28).
I come to You today Lord on behalf of one of the captives. (Food, drugs, alcohol, pornography, narcissism — you fill in the addiction) is holding (name of individual) captive and I come to You on behalf of this enslavement.
Breaking this addition is like a dream to him/her right now, but You are the bondage breaker. You are stronger than any “strong man” of addiction that has (name of individual) bound and guarded (Luke 11:21-22). Spirit of addiction, in the Name of Jesus Christ, we press our foot down upon your neck for all the misery you have dealt our friend (Joshua 23:10). In fact, we turn the tables on you, spirit of addiction, commanding that you become the captive — to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). God of peace come quickly to crush this enemy as we hold him underneath our feet (Romans 16:20). Arise, O Lord and shatter the teeth of this enemy, that it loses it’s bite (Psalm 3:7). May I persevere in prayer over this until this addiction is beaten as fine as dust in the wind (Psalm 18:42).
Lord, in my prayer weakness, do the fighting on (name of individual’s) behalf as I simply trust You (Exodus 14:13-14; Psalm 138:7-8).
Father, I ask Your Kingdom to come fully into (name of individual’s) life so that Your desire will be done within them, according to the pattern You already have planned for them in heaven (Matthew 6:10; Ephesians 2:10; Exodus 26:30). Lead them out of this captivity by Your very Hand (Psalm 126:1). How giddy with joy they will be when they look back one day to see Your work (Psalm 126:2). We look forward to the day when they can help others find freedom from this same oppression by saying, “It was the Lord that did this marvelous thing. It was all His work!” (Psalm 126:3).
Reset the button of (name of individual’s) life, Father. Reset them back to that time when they was more excited about life itself than their addiction. May Your work pour out so abundantly that it’s like a rushing stream pervading all their whole life (Psalm 126:4). I realize that right now, there may still be days of tears ahead, but grant them the insight to see that You are collecting every tear (Psalm 56:8). As the tears fall, help them see how they are transformed into precious seed that You use for even more life. I claim Your promise that the tears You sow will sprout up as joy (Psalm 126:5-6).
Father, grant a holy anger for this addiction to take hold of (name of individual’s) heart. Grant them the ability to hate the addiction more than they desire it. We realize that it is only through the death of a seed that true life sprouts. When he/she is tempted to cheat, may they call satan out as the liar that he is (John 8:44) and want You more than they want the substance. Reveal to them the littleness of the addictive morsel and the largeness of abundant life You have ahead of them.
Granted, when self control is left up to self, there is little control. But, we are asking You to be their self-control. You promised that You would grant self-control as evidence of Your Spirit inside (Galatians 5:22-23).
I stand here with the claim check for the abundance You have promised (name of individual). Fulfill the order according to Your promises. We believe in You, Jesus, Amen.
“Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each. And with it you shall make incense, a perfume…salted, pure and holy” (Exodus 30:34-35 NASB).
I stopped and read again the names of these spices that I had never smelled. Stacte. Onycha. Galbanum. Frankincense. Each an essential element for incense — a sweet fragrance which the Revelation calls “the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8 NASB).
But just what are these five elements of fragrant prayer? Today, let’s explore the first two.
Stacte – “the finest myrrh” (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 68). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.). Myrrh sources from the resin of a knotted and hearty tree grown in dry, desert conditions of the Middle East. Because of the harsh and windy environment, the trunk of the Commiphora myrrha is typically twisted and gnarled in response to it’s surroundings.
In order to gather resin, gashes must be cut into the bark of the myrrha tree to release the sap. The myrrh resin dries on the trunk before harvesting and the resulting droplets are said to resemble tears. In fact, the Hebrew word for stacte (nataph) actually means “drop.”
Indeed, tears are a vital part of prayer. Of course in public, some people contrive them while others avoid them all together. Yet, when it is simply between you and God, we find that our experience mirrors many of the best examples in God’s Word:
“She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly” (1 Samuel 1:10).
“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears (Psalm 39:12);
“‘Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears” (Isaiah 38:5).
“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).
If we have such a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, why do we think we should never have to cry when we pray? Sometimes we cry over our own confession and other times we cry over those still in need of confession. These “droplets of myrrh” are an essential element of our incense before the Lord. My “prayer sister” Jo Woolsey reminded me of a recent Sarah Young quote: “I can bring beauty out of the ashes of lost dreams. I can glean joy out of sorrow, Peace out of adversity”. After all, it is only “Those who sow in tears (that) shall reap with joyful shouting” (Psalm 126:5).
The second incense element is onycha – “a powder obtained by scraping the horny shell cover of certain clam-like mollusks found in the Red Sea” (Stuart, D. K. (2006). Exodus (Vol. 2, pp. 646–647). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers).
Sourced from a shellfish in the Red Sea, onycha is secreted by small mollusks as a seal of protection around their opening during dry periods. It hardens to resemble a fingernail and is scraped off and pulverized to release the aroma embedded in the shell.
Our lives often include dry periods, in which we throw up a protective shell from further pain and heartache. Granted, there are times where we must distance ourselves from destructive relationships, but stiff resistance should never be our attitude toward God.
For prayer to be a dialog between me and my Maker, I must realize that He only connects with “the contrite and lowly of spirit” (Isaiah 57:15). “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Prayer doesn’t always have to involve a blaze of emotions, but the essence of my “onycha” offering must include a willingness to listen.
Years ago, I heard a pastor ask God to “make him willing to be willing.” What a great prayer example for this young intercessor. I have prayed to be made willing many times over the years when my own resistance wanted to harden against the Lord.
My problem is that I often question why the dry spells have to come at all. “Couldn’t the Father keep this difficult situation from happening?” But as my daughter Hannah pointed out to me recently, “The Creator, Who foresaw the coming of the drought, prepared a way of escape for the mollusk. This secreted shell becomes not only a protection for the clam, but also a provision for someone else (the perfumer).”
Although I cannot fully understand Christ’s prayers for me from within the heavenlies nor the Holy Spirit’s prayers for me from within my heart (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:26), I can respond with willingness to follow. Herein is the essence of faith — responding to the unknown sigh of my spirit rather than the understood sight of my eyes.
“Father, teach me to pray. Connecting to You takes not only a willing heart, but sometimes one that agonizes before You as well. May I come to You with both. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Ready for the next ingredient? Click here for a study on galbanum.