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Shedding the Old Wineskin

Intercessor are often referred to as “prayer warriors.” They believe they are doing a lot of good as they pray for our church, the congregation, even cities and nations. A lot of these good-hearted people get “burned out” from the continued spiritual warfare and begin to wonder when if it will ever end. Some claim that it is because they are on the front lines, but that is not what our Lord tells us.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will [ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. (Matthew 11:28-30 AMPC)

If you are working with the Lord, He will carry the burden and you will feel refreshed. When you are working in the flesh, you will feel drained by your efforts. Often, the ineffectiveness of the prayers has us continually searching for a new prayer as we think, “if I can only get the right word or have enough faith, it will work!”

New wineskins are supple, they stretch and give. This is how we need to be concerning revelations from God. When we listened to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that is when we will get a breakthrough. Using prayers written in books became “formula” prayers.

  • The definition of a formula: a set form of words for use in a ceremony or ritual.

  • The definition of spell: a spoken word or form of words held to have magic power.

When we utter words given to us by man without the urging of the Holy Spirit and expect a certain result, this is akin to witchcraft. Another name for formula prayers is “witchcraft prayers.” We are relying on our knowledge and words spoken instead of being guided by the Holy Spirit.

Learning from the prayers of others is great. Sometimes the words of others can help us voice what we need to say, but there is no magic phrase or prayer that will give us what we want. That is saying we don’t need the Holy Spirit to guide us in our prayers. In some cases, prayers can even open the door to an attack of the enemy. For more information, please see the “Traps for Intercessors and Prayer Warriors” class in the Removing Attacks course.

Concerning operating in the Courts of Heaven, we must remember to shed the old wineskin and rely on our Counselor, the Holy Spirit. He should be the one to guide us in our prayers. To pray without the Holy Spirit is pride. It’s saying I don’t need you because I already know what to pray and I prefer the prayers man gave me. This includes asking Jesus if we can enter into the Courts of Heaven instead of barging in or relying on what we learned from a book or what we think we know.

After the Holy Spirit reveals our sin, either inside or outside of the Courts, we need to confess our sin (see it the way God does), this includes turning from that sin (repenting), then the blood testifies for us against the adversary, and we win the battle every time. The key to victory is not a specific prayer or entering into the Courts. It is finding out what the enemy is using to gain the right to attack us.

In order to operate fully in the new wineskin, we must let go of formula prayers. It is crucial to keep in mind that the enemy may have legal rights in the Courts of Heaven where the charges need to be removed before we take authority over anything. By acknowledging the blood of Jesus after repenting, not only is all sin removed from all records in Heaven, but every time we repent, we acknowledge what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Being led in our prayers by the Holy Spirit quickly puts an end to spiritual warfare. We must never go back to the old wineskin. We must never attack the enemy where we have no legal right to do so or we will receive personal backlash in the areas of finances, jobs, health, and both our marriage and our children.

Most of the time, the battle is because there is a charge against us and the solution is to repent. The blood cries out and takes care of the rest. It washes us clean. We have no need to attack the devil and start binding and loosing unless directed to by the Holy Spirit. That is time-consuming and takes away the focus from listening to the Holy Spirit.

When you give up the old wineskin, you will walk in peace, and you will not feel the need to yell when you are speaking to God. You will show respect and honor when you are before the Great and Mighty Judge. Prayer is not performance. God is not a robot; He is a person. He is our King, our Savior, and He deserves all the honor.

…that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:29 AKJV)
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ… (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 AKJV)

We must not fall back into old habits and start praying formula prayers. That is the flesh and may bring an attack upon us. If we realize something is wrong because of the backlash, we need to take a good look at ourselves first, to see what we might need to repent for, not begin waging war against the adversary. This is very dangerous. We need to humble ourselves and listen for instructions from the Holy Spirit. We need to understand that the new wineskin means letting go of all our old ways of doing spiritual warfare; letting go of teachings that are not exactly scriptural so that God can pour new wine in us. Christians are many times called on to pray for others. Keep these things in mind before you begin praying:

  • When someone asks you to agree in prayer because of a situation they are struggling with and you are struggling with the same sin, you must repent for your own sin first before praying for them. We must always have a clean heart before God.

  • Do not agree in prayer with anyone, unless the Holy Spirit releases you to do so. Saying “Amen” makes you responsible for every word said.

  • Don’t just pray with a person because you don’t want to disappoint them. We have been misled to believe we must agree with them as an act of kindness only to get backlash because we had no authority to do so.

  • Prayer must come through your spirit and in unity with the Holy Spirit to be fully effective with no backlash. If you don’t know what to pray then pray in your heavenly language only.

Shedding that old wineskin is not easy. We have old habits we have to break. We may slip back from time to time, but God gives us grace.

But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in Him. (1 John 2:27 ESV)
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10 NASB)

The anointing that God gives us is the power to pray with results; the power to heal and the power to set prisoners free. This will happen when we remember that the ultimate authority is in the Courts of Heaven and when we understand that the enemy may have a legal right to afflict someone until the matter has been dealt with in the Courts. We must partner with the Holy Spirit every day and nourish our spirit with fresh manna (bread) and new wine.

This is the New Wineskin

  • We must always look to the Holy Spirit and do only that which He tells us to do.

  • Formula may be removing the Holy Spirit from the process; just because we received a breakthrough with a certain type of prayer last week or last year doesn’t mean that’s what we pray for again. We must patiently wait and listen and be respectful of the fact that we are before God.

  • King David was the most successful warrior in Israel, a man after God’s own heart. He always inquired of God before going into battle, “Which way shall I go this time.”

  • Once we ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom concerning a situation, He may choose to instruct us to go into the Courts of Heaven to present the case before the Mighty Judge where we will hear instructions in the Courts.

  • When praying with someone in the CoH, we may be told that the person needs to repent for something, forgive someone, or renounce something that happened in their generational line. Our role is to do what the Holy Spirit tells us even if we don’t understand it all. Waiting quietly for instructions is the key.

  • Upon hearing instructions, obey and remember that the powerful blood of Jesus has conquered it all. We wait for the judgment/verdict and then do only what we hear the Holy Spirit saying, nothing more. There’s no drama involved.

  • When there’s a breakthrough, we should never take credit for the results of prayers. We must humbly thank the Mighty Judge, the Holy Spirit our Counselor, and the Lord Jesus Christ who is our advocate who shed His precious blood for us. We must give all the praise to Jesus for all He has done and continues to do for us.

  • Thank Him with praise and worship.

I pray you are now prepared to shed the old wineskin and receive the new one that God has for you. It can be painful to our flesh to release the old, but through prayer and fasting, if necessary, you will have the strength to move forward and will never want to go back to your old ways. The new way is so much more peaceful. It’s giving God back permission to lead you beside still waters. He will prepare a table before you in the presence of the enemy.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 AKJV)

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