The Response: A view from level 2

10:23 AM Posted by Lacey Bankhead

Yesterday was August 6, 2011.                                         (written Sunday, Aug 7, posted later)
Yesterday a cry went out from a people to their God.
Yesterday He heard, and Today is a new day.

Yesterday, Johnny and I attended The Response, a day of prayer and fasting for the nation, called for according to Joel chapter 2, by our governor Rick Perry.
     "'Even now', declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart'..."
     "'Rend your heart, and not your garment.'"
     "'Declare a holy fast.  Call a sacred assembly.'"
And that is what it was.

I'm not sure what we expected...but what we found was not politics, and it was not Christian 'fluff'.  There was no division, no agenda voiced, religious labels of all kinds came across the platform and filled the seats, but nothing was lifted up save the name of Jesus Christ.  Now THAT was a miracle to behold.

"They honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me." Matt 15:8
"They" who may have come in this condition either did not stay.....or changed.

I cannot recall everything, but I want to recount to you that which you may not find elsewhere.

As we walked in, 30 minutes late, the first thing that we noticed was a familiar worship leader on the monitor.  Occasionally we have attended events and services at the Encourager Church, and we immediately recognized their worship pastor.  I've not met him, but I know him to be anointed and Spirit-led, and part of a church body who, as far as I can see, as a whole, seeks the Lord in Spirit and in truth and bears fruit accordingly.

Honestly, my expectations for this event were low.  We had come because our governor called us to come, and because obedience to the Word can only bring about good.   Our doubts:  that this event potentially originated with compromised motives, that this event might carry a flavor of religious tradition,...that this may be simply an event.  But the sight of this worshipper meant that this 'event' was the real deal.  Even if our doubts were true, somehow the 'all in' crowd...who we know have no agenda but to see the risen Christ glorified and honored as Saviour and King... had the mike, which meant Jesus was gonna have His way.  Our expectations rose.

We were told the lower level was full, so we hurried up to level 2.  This ended up giving a bird's eye view of what God must have seen.

We entered to the people singing 'Lord have mercy'.  Now, I believe that mercy WAS given in the person of Jesus Christ.  It is ours NOW to receive freely.

We are to approach the throne of GRACE (not the throne of condemnation, judgement, and wrath, but the throne of GRACE!!!!!!  Favor we don't deserve!!!!)

with CONFIDENCE (in our accurate representation of Christ on earth?  in our sincere attempt at loving God?  in our having confessed and bitterly wept over every failure of our flesh? No!!  In the SHED BLOOD of JESUS, nothing less........nothing more.  nothing more.)

to receive MERCY and find grace (to find a disappointed Father?  to receive shame?  to find a closed door?  to receive further instructions?   ..... to find mercy.)

to HELP us in our time of NEED (when we are walking perfectly with God?  No!!  When we have NEED.)

So where does repentance come in?  Well, ultimately the first 'repentance' or 'changing of the mind' must be TOWARD Jesus for salvation.  Notice I said 'toward'.  Repentance is not nearly as much about what you are turning from, as what you are turning to.  In fact, simply turning from can never bring you into God's salvation or into His fullness.  You must turn fully to Jesus to personally receive for yourself, what He purchased for you on the cross.

But repentance must continue in the life of a believer.  Even as children of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, we all are led astray at various times and on all sorts of levels.  These paths are the very ones that God warns us about because they are harmful.   Saved or not, seeds are sown that naturally reap destruction in our lives.  But at whatever point we repent, or turn to refocus our faces toward Jesus, to walk in the light of His counsel, we leave the destructive ways and acts that lead to death, and find ourselves reaping life.  Repentance is not simply confession.  Repentance is an adjustment of our hearts and minds to correct our - accidental or willful - veering from the person and purposes of Jesus.

So this is the kind of repentance that took place yesterday.  There was a turning of a part of the body of Christ to re-face her Head.   Many were with us in the building, but many many more took part from their own homes and churches.  For 7 hours straight - no breaks - there was constant worship and prayer.  No fluff.  It was intense, and I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the end of it.

The first hour and a half was dedicated to personal repentance.  (We missed part of this but took part in the last hour.)

The next hour and a half was dedicated to corporate repentance.  Repentance on behalf of the church. We were told to divide into groups of 3 to pray.  Agreement was stressed often.  (Many in the room just watched, and many left at about this time.  The main speaker urged personal participation in both worship and prayer several times...no spectators...no easy listening to the person on the platform.  But soooo many did not actually participate.  My guess is that some were scoffers who eventually left because there was nothing to scoff at, that some had come for a political rally and were simply disappointed, that some were Christians in name who had never personally encountered Jesus and were caught off guard, and that some had pure hearts but were just out of their comfort zone.)  But let me tell you, there is no comfort zone in truly rending the heart.  It's not comfortable.  Not meant to be.  I certainly wasn't comfortable.  But the sincerity and necessity was evident, and many were drawn from their former states into a willingness they'd not known they had.  

The next segment of time was spent on the 1st commandment...loving God.  Mike Bickle of IHOP Kansas City led this.  If there is anyone who knows how to purely pursue the presence of God and then reverently steward His moving, it's him.  (If you google his name, you'll find that the enemy hates him fiercely.  But go to www.mikebickle.org or read this facebook post:  http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=117592184955831&topic=68  and judge for yourself.   I regretfully admit that his devotion to Jesus exceeds my own.)

Here is a portion of what he spoke yesterday:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1NlnmJXqbA
So after this, for another couple of hours we centered our worship and prayers on Jesus Himself, His truth, His standards, His love.  We cried out for a personal revelation of the love of God.  We prayed for the 400,000 churches in America, for a revelation of the love of God in every heart in every church, especially for the pastors.  I can't find worship clips from yesterday, but here is a link for "You Won't Relent" by Misty Edwards of IHOPKC, who led the worship, including this song, for quite a while.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0F109Acx14 (from 2007)

See, we don't have a clue about the love of God.  Scripture says that it surpasses knowledge...that it takes the power of God to grasp it.  But we cannot love God or love others without it.  However, with it we can be filled to the measure of the fullness of God!  Eph 3.  Folks, it is not selfish to cry out for a revelation of God's love....it is imperative!  Those protesters we passed and all of the haters whose rhetoric floods the internet...they are the way they are because Christ's church does not LOVE.  And we don't love because we have not been rooted and established in love.  The words we use to describe God's love cannot begin to impart the actual love of God to the hearer.  And they certainly do not fill us to the measure of the fullness of God.   No, we must individually open ourselves to that love that surpasses knowledge...to the love that requires power to grasp...God's kind of power.  It's not of this realm, and no manmade establishment can house it.  BUT it IS available to us.  Isn't that wonderful?  Because I need it desperately.

During this portion of prayer, and during the last portion spent praying for revival by God's definition, we spent much time singing of the blood of Jesus and the holiness of God. The old anointed hymns like "Nothing but the blood" rang out, the sound itself carrying the power of that very blood.  These hymns intermingled with songs of worship such as "Holy", led by Matt Gilman, also of IHOPKC.  (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dvi1WPcrG4k (clip of "Holy" live from 2007)


It was during this time that the entire atmosphere changed.  It was as if God Himself filled that arena, just receiving His glory.  There was tangible majesty, tangible joy, a tangible fullness that I cannot describe.  It was glorious.  I've felt His Presence that way many times during extended prayer and worship.  But this was different, because when I opened my eyes, everyone in the place had changed.  Everyone was aware of Him.  Where there had been at least a hum of distracted conversation the rest of the time, that hum was now silenced before a holy and worthy God.  "We Exalt Thee", a cappella, filled every crevice.  He is Holy.  He is Worthy.  He is Most Holy, Most Worthy.

And there in that stillness, joy unspeakable rose up.  We knew God had heard.  And we knew He was good.  And then nothing short of a Holy Ghost party broke out!  Jumping and clapping and dancing to shouts of praise burst out all around.  No offense, but even the old people around me were moving more than I'd seen them move all day!  Heaven is no solemn place!  In His presence is FULLNESS of joy!!!!  That means, as much joy as you have had and displayed ever, for any reason, here on earth....in His presence there is MORE!!!  

You know how you feel when you bite off more than you can chew?  Well, that's the sense that I got from Perry, but in a good way.  Of course this is just speculation, but I believe something happened to him in those 7 hours.  I believe something deeper was awakened.

Afterward we spoke with several of our friends who wished they'd known about it, wished they'd known it was the real deal, wished they hadn't forgotten, wished they'd participated, wished they'd been one of the ones repenting and praying and worshipping.   You may feel the same way.  I wish we had pushed this more.  I wish our churches had pushed it more.  But the good news is....you didn't miss anything!  

The time for repentance is always now.  Your heart, your mouth, right where you are.

The time for prayer and praise is always now.  God hears, and He inhabits your praise from your living room or your cubicle or the pasture just the same.

But if you would like to join in agreement specifically, the archives will be up soon at www.theresponseusa.com.  There is so much I left out.  The words of Tony Evans, David Barton, the old guard who repents for leaving the church in such a state, Hagee and Israel, the guy who spoke throughout whose name I don't know, the prayers of children, the many specific things we agreed on in prayer...  Set apart a day to watch it and participate by yourself or with your family or life group.

God is Faithful.  And I believe we can expect to see His goodness in the land of the living.

Knees, allergies, feet, back, eyes (10.26.10)

11:07 AM Posted by Lacey Bankhead

I have several new testimonies for you, starting with these two:

We had a visitor at life group last week (Ruby) who'd had knee pain and popping for a while that doctors could not help her with.  Both knees had pain completely and quickly go during prayer, and the popping decreased so much that she could barely still sense it.  Her rating of it was from a 8 to a 1.  (On a scale of 10, based on her perceived level.)  She left in faith that it would cease completely.  Thank You, Jesus! 

We also prayed for Malik's allergies.  They were severe enough to cause sinus infections and hives, and the medicine he'd been on was created worse side-effects, so his parents took him off of it.  Joann told me today that he's been allergy-free (no hives, no sinus stuff) since that night.  Praise God!

Preface to these next testimonies:
Mark 4:17 says that trouble comes because of the word.  Apparently the enemy knows when life-giving seeds have been sown and brings trouble in order to make the recipient doubt that word and give up.  He knows that the victory that overcomes the world is our faith. (1 John 5)  His highest (and only) hope in the midst of his deception is that we won't know or acknowledge Christ and that which He has freely given us...he hopes that we will not recognize him in a situation...he hopes that we don't call him on it and squash his attempts with the very word he attempts to steal.  I feel a heads up is needed, and let me explain why...

Nearly every time we send out a testimony, a very similar trouble arises.  Call it an attack , a lying symptom, a lie...whatever, it's a trouble.  I have some new testimonies to share with you, and this time I'm going to case them in the things that accompany them because I want you to pick up on this.  I'll put the new testimonies in bold so that you'll recognize them easily:

Last week, you received a testimony about Kevin's left foot being healed.  Well, just before his foot became swollen and painful (for no apparent reason), he'd prayed for his wife's left foot for a different type of injury.  The day after I sent the testimony of Kevin's healing, I woke up with a random bruise on the top of my left foot, and I was unable to walk on it without limping.  Furious, I quickly rebuked that pain or lying symptom or whatever, and I was immediately able to walk on it without pain.  I shared this testimony at life group, and the next day recognized a tinge of that pain.  Well, I've let that go for a while, but it just occurred to me that a tinge of pain is unacceptable.  It's not welcome.  It can only stay if I do nothing, so I've just stopped to pray over that, and it isnow completely gone.

Also last week, Mykal gave her testimony of being healed after 5 years of pain.  Fifteen minutes after she hit send, her back began to spasm and was so painful that she had trouble tending to her little ones.  She recognized what was going on and asked for prayer.  A couple of friends emailed their prayers, and she said that she could feel the pain decrease while she read them outloud and while her little girl prayed.  She was about 50% better at that update and is almost normal now. 

Yesterday (Sunday), Lacey had something wrong with her eyes.  She described it as her vision being cut in two, so she was seeing things in pieces.  We prayed, and her vision was restored immediately.  Today our son Cole had a vision screening at school.  He's never complained about his eyes, but he said that he failed the test in his left eye.  Both he and his friends said that he couldn't count fingers correctly with his right eye covered.  I didn't believe him, so I tested him.  Sure enough, from about 3 feet away, he was miscounting my fingers and complaining of blurriness.  I also noticed that when he covered his right eye, his left pupil dilated very big very quickly.  I didn't know if this was normal when you covered one eye, so I had him cover the left eye, and his right one eventually dilated very slightly.  Tried the left again, and again it dilated very big very quickly.  "Oh, I don't think so! (accompanied by a neck swivel and pointed finger, which I promptly laid on his eye...)  In the name of Jesus, eye, you are whole!  You have 20/20 vision...no oversensitivity, no undersensitivity, etc...  Be healed in the name of Jesus!"  And he was.  Just like that.  I watched the pupil go back down, and he said it wasn't blurry anymore.  I tested him by having him name a tiny variable I had written on the gridboard there in my classroom, probably 8 to 10 feet away.  He said, "y".  I said, "You're healed."  Thank You Lord, my babies are in Your hands!

Do not doubt your healing.  Do not doubt any benefit or promise of the Lord.  Do not doubt His words of encouragement over you, in whatever area they are.  Jesus overcame, and He is King.  God is good, and He's your Daddy.  He has a purpose He's set over you, and nothing can sway it as long as you only get your information from His voice, not from the liar who incites unbelief.

Whatever He's speaking to you, set it before you in stone.  Keep it before your eyes.  Keep Him, His fresh word to you, and the awareness of His faithfulness right before your eyes.  Because trouble will come because of that word.  Expect it, ...and use that very word to crush it.  Resist the enemy, and he WILL flee.  

And now, you'll better understand this next prayer request...  We testified of Johnny's boss's tests coming out with no trace of cancer.  Well they did more tests on a different area, and now they're saying otherwise.  It is of utmost importance that we shed the light of Jesus on that report right now.  The fear and doubt and disappointment that probably just raised it's head must be extinguished right now.  Where is Jesus in this?  ...the One whose stripes healed this man so long ago.  He's at the right hand of God making intercession for him.  He's doing what He said He would do.  He said ANYTHING we ask the Father in His name would be done.  "Father, in the name of Jesus we ask for any cancer and it's effects to be swept away like trash caught in rapids.  And now we command all tests to line up the will of God, in Jesus' name.  Because the Son only did what He saw the Father do, and He only said what He heard His Father say, and His words are "I am willing, be healed."  Amen, Lord.  Because YOU have said it."

No trace of cancer (10.20.10)

8:45 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead

Johnny's been praying for his boss's boss who was diagnosed with cancer...apparently the original test 'lit up' with cancer.  But now, the blood tests and biopsies show nothing.  No trace.  Hallelujah!

5 years of pain gone, Chip's miracle (10.19.10)

8:38 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead

from Mykal and Annette:

"I have been meaning to send this for a week or so:
 
I had terrible "charlie horse" calf cramps during my pregnancy with Nova, 2005. I would wake in the night and grasp the bed frame so hard my nails would break! I continued to have a knot and pain down into my heal  for 5 years until last month! I actually went to a chiropractor and had 3/wk PT on it in 2006 and it improved while under treatment, but never completely healed. It bothered me on a daily basis, but certain shoes would especially irritate it. Several weeks ago I was painting my toe nails and just decided to hold my calf and pray outloud for healing. Amazing! I just realized the other day that it had not hurt since! This wasn't keeping me from living my life. Surely not a life-altering prayer for healing, some might think, but our God cares about even the little things! He heard me and healed me! Hooray!
 
Mykal"
Psalm 103:2-3 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who heals all thy diseases"

Annette sent me this link, a testimony from a guy her friend knows, and I just checked it out.  It is an awesome testimony from within the past month.  While Chip is still in bad condition in the hospital, his wife is videoing him and speaking over him "Everyone will see this miracle, and they will know that it is the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, who did it.  Be healed in the name of Jesus."  And he is healed.  Check it out, and like Annette says...get your tissue ready.  

"A close friend of mine’s kid’s principal just went through an amazing ordeal…check it out on youtube.  Get your tissue ready.



Annette G. Terrell"

weight loss, foot healed, OCD (fear) gone, more (10.18.10)

8:36 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead


We have a small group of friends that we are very close with, like family.  We eat together, worship together, pray together, and help each other.  Whenever we see one another, if one of us has a need of any kind, we all (whoever of us is present), lay hands on that person and pray in faith over that person.  We honor Christ in one another, recognizing Him among us.  We are able to receive ministry from one another because we have made an effort to become more familiar with Christ in each other than with each other's natural man.  

Sunday a week ago, Destiny stopped a few of us after church and asked us to pray for miraculous weight loss for her...specifically 60 pounds.  (We'd all heard numerous testimonies of miraculous weight loss.)  So we laid hands on her and asked Daddy for the weight to come off swiftly.  Wow!  on Thursday I received this from Destiny:

"Hello my peeps!  Sunday 10/10/10, I felt led to get prayer for supernatural weight loss.  I've been praying for this for a while and felt led to get my peeps to lay hands on me too. ... Well, PRAISE THE LORD, since Sunday, I have been steady losing 1-3 pounds every day.  I've lost a total of 7 lbs since Sunday!!!  Without trying!  Without working out!  So thank you for your faith and being here for me!!!  I love youz guyz!!

7 down.  53 to go!  I am believing for this continued complete miracle!  I believe in miracles!  I receive my miracle of 60 lbs supernatural weightloss!!  Thank You Jesus!!!!  You are so good!
"

The last I spoke with her, this last Sunday (10.17.10), she'd lost 10.  That's 10 pounds lost in one week without trying!  Isn't it wonderful to not be able to credit man at all, but to receive straight from Daddy God's hand like a child!  
Another of our group had been having tremendous foot pain for about 3 days.  It began just itching randomly and quickly became very swollen and painful.  He was unable to bend his toes or put pressure of any kind on the foot. The foot could not bear his weight because of the pain, and he'd been on crutches for these days.  Here is his testimony that he sent to his family, (hoping to sway their beliefs on healing):

"We stopped our friend's house on the way home last night. We all prayed for my foot. Within 10 minutes the swelling had gone down by half and the pain had gone away to the point that I can stand on it and walk normally. It is still swollen and I have discomfort in my upper foot, but I know that will be gone today.  GOD is Good!!
Thanks, 
Kevin "
(He could also bend his toes after those minutes of prayer.)

We've all had plenty of long distance prayers answered, and it is great to have others praying over a situation, but this should never replace actually laying hands on one another for healing or any other need.  I have to continue to remind myself of this because it's so easy to just agree to pray rather than actually pray with a person...I'm sure the reason it feels that way at the moment has something to do with our enemy, who is fully aware of what happens when we pray as our Lord instructed us to in His word!  

Other progress in the past few weeks that occurred during the time of hands-on prayer... All glory to God!! Some of this healing was complete, some healing increased after prayer, some the relief came during prayer but pain returned afterward, and we are still praying for insights into these reoccurring things:
  • deliverance from extreme OCD, spirit of fear/anxiety (R.M.)
  • pain relief in right arm (A.T.)
  • headache, stress relief (J.R.)
  • vomiting ceased...in the individual and did not spread to family members (C.C.)
Please send me your testimonies!

Tyler's collarbone, Kerry's baby (9.28.10)

5:50 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead

 This healing came very soon after this request went out:

"Friends, please pray right now for David and Kerry Kersh.  Kerry is past the due date with their first child, and a fluid test on the baby showed that there may be a problem.  They've induced her this afternoon, and if not dilated, she'll go in for a C-section tomorrow.  Please pray 1)that the baby is whole now in Jesus' name and will be delivered healthy from head to toe, 2) for Kerry's complete peace and a sound mind (as per the Word), 3)for a peaceful birth with no complications, 4)for powerful, faith-filled nurses and doctors who operate in all ways according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We praise You ahead of time, Father, for the greater-than-we-can-ask-or-imagine outcome of this situation with your children! "
An hour or so later, my dad called to say that the baby was doing fine!  Days later I learned the baby was born and mommy and baby are well.


Praise!! Testimony of healing from Paula S. -
First and most important, on June 6th of this summer, Tyler made public his faith in Jesus' gift of salvation. He was baptized on August 15th. This is his freshman year in high school and he was the starting quarterback and defensive safety for the freshman team. They were playing in Kerrville and he tackled a guy while on defense and 
broke his collarbone right before the end of the half. It was heartbreaking to him. I don't know if you've been around anyone who has trained for an athletic sport but Tyler has worked more than three years to earn his position as quarterback. We saw the crack on the x-ray at the ER in Kerrville. Today, 17 days later, the x-ray showed no crack. This week is an off week for them (no game) so it gives him extra days to lift weights and condition but absolutely no contact. The coach said they will take good care of him and he will not get hit!! He will go back to the doctor on the 11th to x-ray again. If (when) the doctor releases him, he may be able to play in the last three games. Remarkable!

I know God blesses us with miracles each and every day which, sadly, go totally unnoticed. Hopefully, God answering Tyler's specific prayer and giving him the "desires of his heart" will have a dramatic impacted on his (and all of our) relationship and understanding of our Lord! Major prayer answered at age 15...PRICELESS!!

Blood condition (Julie's friend), Jeannie's back (10.7.10)

5:47 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead

I'd written earlier about Jeannie's back...she told me last night that she is now PAIN FREE!!  Praise God!!

Julie verbally told me a testimony two weeks ago that I will try to retell, although I can't recall all the details.  She'd prayed for a school acquaintance, and the lady was healed from a condition that had repeatedly caused miscarriages.  A blood test confirmed this change a couple of days later.  What stuck with me was that the lady told Julie, 'Much of my family and friends told me 'I'll be praying for you', but you were the only one who actually laid hands on me and prayed.'  Awesome, Julie, way to step out!  All glory to God!

Jesus said, 'These signs SHALL follow them who BELIEVE: in My name, they will LAY HANDS on the sick, and the sick SHALL recover.'