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The Happy Intercessor

by Beni Johnson

The author, Beni Johnson and her husband, Bill, are the senior pastors of Bethel Church Redding, California. Beni is Senior Prayer Pastor.

I received this book as a Christmas gift from a dear friend, who knows my heart for prayer. I found Beni Johnson’s book to be real, level-headed and straight from the heart. There were certain areas covered that signaled a real jolt in me. Below is a summary of main highlights from each chapter as well as some direct quotes.

Chapter 1: The Journey

[MP: December 2009 while my sister was visiting, I had a revelation of a lie planted in my life when I was around 8 years old. Following that revelation I was at a study group. The speaker said, “Satan will come early in your life to plant a lie and take you out. Once planted, he doesn’t have to worry about you so much, because the lie does his job for him.” I resolved then to ask the Lord to expose the other lies that have robbed me of my true identity in Christ. So far as of today, two more have been revealed. This is a serious issue and more will be discussed in another post. I only mention it here as the same thing happened in Beni’s life…. something to think about!]

Beni believed the lie that she was shy. I noted a 5-step process: 1) she was told that she was shy, 2) began to think it herself, 3) agreed with the words, 4) received them as her identity, and 5) it eventually became a stronghold in her life. Beni actually wrote that she was “tormented.” She further stated that this led to depression and despair. (p. 19) Lifestyle Patterns: these are often a “familiar spirit” whereby we are familiar with the thinking or action. When the stronghold is removed and the devil tries to get us to agree, just say NO! (p. 24) A relationship with the Holy Spirit changed everything for Beni. She found she was no longer asking for things. She tapped into His Presence and began to pray what she saw. (p.25) Definition of being an intercessor: “Capturing the heartbeat of Heaven and declaring or praying that into my world. It’s true agreement with Heaven.”

Chapter 2: Praying From His Heart

In calling forth His desires, Beni just agrees with God’s plans. She becomes the “womb” of God. (p. 30) Listen to the heartbeat of God. (p. 31) Beni prays from a place of security: “God is on my side.” (p. 31) Don’t become distracted “when God gives us strategies to pray. Stay focused on His voice.” (p. 36)

Chapter 3:  An Offensive Lifestyle

Beni uses a football analogy throughout this chapter. In summary, God has already given us the ball. We are the offensive team and we pray from a place of victory. “Kingdom people know the plays of Heaven. The devil lost the ball at Calvary.” Make the plays God-calls. Do not partner with fear. (p.40, 41) “The devil has legal rights only if we agree with him.” (p. 42) Begin by praying the Scriptures and meditating them. Psalms are a good place to start. She gave an example of Psalm 126. Listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit. Beni drew attention to the sons of Issachar. They knew the signs of the times. As a tribe, they were free from worry or stress. Beni refuses to pray out of fear. “What I will do is just stop and ask God how to pray about the crisis and for His direction. (p. 48, 49) Keep to the plan! Beni highlighted King Hezekiah (2K 18-19) and how he dealt with crisis: 1. goes to the Lord, 2. consults scribes, elders, priests who go to Isaiah, 3. receive’s Isaiah’s word, and 4. does a prophetic act with Sennacherib’s letter and agrees with Heaven. (p. 50) “A lot of the time, our prayers as intercessors are done in secret. Then the prophetic acts that we go out and do are the fruit of our intercession.” (p. 56)

Chapter 4: Ownership

Beni takes ownership of the area of land where she lives. “If something has gone wrong, I see it as my responsibility to make it right through confession and repentance.” (p. 62) In otherwords, she believes in reconciliation and acts as a reconciler through her intercession. Beni has been called to pray the 5-fold government — not just local, state and national, but the 5-fold ministries of the Church. (p. 63) Like Apostle/Prophet Jane Hamon of Christian International, she too likes to watch the Weather Channel and believes it is “forthtelling.”(p. 67) Beni believes that there are certain times when we find an open heaven: new moons, full moons, and sunrises. She also likes to blow the shofar at these times. (p. 68) Beni spends some time on Genesis 26:3-5 as she discusses Isaac redigging Abraham’s wells and also his sowing in a time of famine. (p. 71-73) Something to note: because of Abraham’s obedience, Isaac tapped into the blessing. I wrote in my margin “my obedience can release blessing to my descendants!!!”

Chapter 5: Jesus, Our Example of Joy

“We believe, as a people of God’s power, that we are to bring Heaven to earth. Joy is a very big part of Heaven. Heaven is filled with joy. It is out responsiblity to bring that here on earth.” (p. 77) “What comes from Jesus’ completeness on the cross is that we can now fight from victory not for victory.” (p. 78) [I believe this a real KEY.] We shouldn’t carry the burden outside intercession or it becomes “unsanctified mercy” because it’s carried in human strength. (p. 79) Under her discussion about the fear factor, she states “A note about familiar spirit: they are familiar and at times they are the only things that can falsely comfort us. Therefore, we can feel good in a warped kind of way.” (p. 79) “As God gives you freedom, it is your responsiblity to keep it. You can’t go opening up old feelings and old thought patterns that you walked in under bondahge. When you do that, you give permission to the tormenter to come.” (p. 80 2 Cor 10:3-5) Beni likes to use her imagination when she reads the Word. She puts herself into the situation. (p. 81)

Chapter 6: The Three Realms

“One of the things that we have felt, in all of our travels, is the importance of carrying His joy wherever we go. That is our assignment from Heaven.” (p. 85) Joy is one of Heaven’s treasures… want more joy? Read Psalm 73. Pour your heart out to God. Find His presence and stay there until we feel Him and are changed. (p. 86) Beni poses a good question to ask: “What is God doing? NOT What is the devil doing?” (p. 92) I really enjoyed this section as I have been studying up on it this last year. Basically, 1st realm: what you see with your natural eyes. 2nd realm: demonic and angelic realm. 3rd realm: where the Glory of God is and where every believer should live. (p. 92) Beni notes that some intercessors get “stuck” in the 1st realm where they use logic and reason. Those who pray from the 2nd realm get hung up in the dark and demonic which can lead to hopelessness, doom and fear, which is a “defensive place.” (p. 93) When we pray or prophesy out of the first two realms, we are not praying according to Heaven. Most of the time, we are praying out of fear.” (p. 96) Always ask God, “Father, what are You doing?” Beni can tell when she’s not focused on the 3rd Heaven because “the problem begins to look bigger than the answer… I cannot afford to be impressed with the devil.” (p. 98) Bill Johnson says, “Look up before you look down.” (p. 99)

Chapter 7:  Airways

Beni really enjoys walking. On prayer walks, she’s led to pray about communication lines. “Those who take the airways own the atmosphere.” (p. 103) Blowing the shofar, especially at sunrise, releases a sound into the atmosphere that breaks up the demonic and brings confusion to the enemy’s camp. (p. 111) Beni spends a bit of time here discussing Moses as an intercessor and being the “wall.” (p. 112-115)

Chapter 8: Warfare Through Worship and Joy

The greek word for worship, proskuneo, means to kiss, close to God, focused on Him, which ushers His power and presence into intercession. Worship breaks down resistance. She especially believes this about dance and painting. (p. 120) Beni says to watch the children. Their purity is awesome. Beni spends a lot of time of 2 Chronicles 20. She particularly focused on verse 21 which calls the people to “praise His beauty.” Recently, I have heard to other lecturers say the same thing. This may be a very strong key to intimacy with the Lord. (p. 123-127) Satan’s world is full of labor and striving, which leads to burnout. In Beni’s early intercession, she used to look for problems and pray agains them. She calls this “looking away from Jesus!” (p. 128) “Joy brings excitement to the air and releases life. Really, it releases all of Heaven. We are releasers. We’re meant to overcome the darkness with light.” (p. 131) Beni believes joy brings confusion to the enemy’s camp. She quoted the merry heart, Proverb 17:22.

Chapter 9: The Rest That is Internal

“There is a mindset of performance that can grab hold of us and push us to do things for God that He is not asking us to do.” (p. 139) “So many of us have believed that we need to labor and perform for God so we can gain an identity, so that we might be accepted. But in the Kingdom we start off accepted. From there our identity is formed. As intercessors, we need to pray out of that new identity, that core belief that says, ‘I am already accepted! I am already loved! I already have favor with God!’” We must have a heart of rest. It’s a simple choice. (p. 139)

Chapter 10: Addressing the Issues

“The ministry of intercessory prayer within the church is a helping ministry.” — for the pastors, leaders, ministries to expand, be blessed, grow and for protection. (p. 148) See the way God sees. (p. 150) Don’t be offended. Deliver your word or unction, but let the leader decide to use it or not. (p. 151) Intercessors should be covered with authority. (p. 153) On prophetic intercession: “…because our intercessors wait on the direction of the Holy Spirit before they begin to pray, every meeting is different.” (p. 157) On witchcraft prayers: trying to control comes out of a fear of being controlled yourself. “There is a line that we can cross when we decide that we know best in a situation and when we begin to pray prayers that control…” (p. 159) Critical prayers: come out of the 2nd realm. (p. 160) “We are never to fear the devil. But we are also never to fight the devil on our own terms. If we let God direct and empower, there will always be advancement and victory.” (p. 161)

Chapter 11: Mystics, Mystical Experiences, and Contemplative Prayer

Mystics hear the heartbeat of Heaven. (p. 164) They get their life and their breath from the secret place. Beni highlights King David as a mystic. (p. 167) Beni also quotes St. Teresa as a mystic. Travail: physical acts that become prophetic; Brooding: sit on and ponder. The Holy Spirit “hovers.” Beni believes these are prayer assignments. Breath Prayers: soaking (p. 172) Contemplative Prayer is an inner prayer, a spirit-to-spirit prayer, a form of meditation, a dwelling on Him.

Although written as her last paragraph, I believe Beni actually gives the steps to getting to that place of intimacy where you can hear what the Lord wants you to pray. So, I’ve put them down as a list and in a way they represent a new way to pray. Remember, “8″ is the number of new beginnings! From p. 184 “When your day is done and you lay down…”

  1. Let the day fall off
  2. Begin to think on Him
  3. Mediate in your heart about His goodness
  4. Read a verse or
  5. Pick a word that describes Him
  6. Begin to connect your spirit with His
  7. Take some time and practice being still before Him
  8. Ponder the things of God

Epilogue and Q & A

“I believe that there are life assignments that God gives to each of us.” (p. 187) She also believes there are short-term assignments. “…travailing is not something I choose. It chooses me.” Beni uses her prayer language on her walks. The following statement really got me thinking: “It can be easy to speak in tongues and not engage with Holy Spirit. It can become just something we do with no life in it.” “I believe there are two ways to pray. One is petition, which is making a request and the other is the declaration, which comes frm a place of faith or belief that it will be done… Our focus needs to shift from the posture of making requests before God to a posture of faith and taking authority that is ours.”

Johnson, Beni, The Happy Intercessor, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA, 2009.  www.benij.org  $17.00