The Still Small Voice

Strategic Listening: Identificational Repentance


Chapter Eight, Part Five

Identificational Repentance

Revivals must often start with an apology. God will not work strongly where His people are divided. Rapid spiritual growth will never come in a community with lingering resentment or bitterness . . . That’s why we need Reconciliation. (James Rutz)

IIdentificational Repentance (or I.R. as it is sometimes known) is increasingly being recognized as a powerful way to break certain types of spiritual blockages – perhaps, in some cases, the only way. At its simplest, it consists of asking forgiveness both of God and of other people (especially people groups) for sins that have been committed in the past.

This is no sentimental or deluded attempt to parcel out our personal or national blame or sense of shame: it is an entirely biblical way of tapping into the power of God to heal. In the process, strongholds that the enemy may have set in place generations ago will be challenged.

Nothing could better reflect the ways of the Kingdom, or take us further away from the self-serving spirit that characterizes the person who at heart is set on building his own empire.

Many have been inspired to go further along the intercessory road as a result of reading the testimony of Rees Howells. God called this Welsh miner to a narrow pathway of prayerful identification on behalf of the suffering and afflicted. He and his team of intercessors at the Bible College of Wales waged a spiritual battle alongside the physical conflict throughout the Second World War.

The story of the radical prayers that God led Rees Howells to pray is all but essential reading for those who desire to let develop a deeper discernment in interceding for wider matters. I will refrain from sharing more of his testimony here. Suffice it to say that they had a major impact on the outcome of the Second World War. Get hold of a copy of the book!

In all this, we are following in the footsteps of our Master. When the Spirit came strongly on the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He responded with ‘loud cries and tears,’ The Greek expression used here, krauge, is a very strong one. As William Barclay glosses it, it speaks of a cry which is wrung from someone in the stress of some tremendous tension or searing pain – such as torture.

This is burden-bearing at its most intense – and these are the times when breakthroughs occur in the Heavenly places. When we read in Luke 22:44 that Jesus ‘prayed more earnestly’ the NIV translation barely hints at what was really going on: the word literally means ‘more stretched-outedly.’ As the pressure intensified and bore down on Him, Jesus was at the very limit of His ability to endure, but His crying out to God produced eternal results.

It is only when we consider all that emerged from this intense agonizing in spirit that we begin to appreciate more fully the power of intercession. One important thing to notice: in our quest to be shaping history rather than just participating in it, we will scale much greater heights if we are linked with people who have a similar heart and spirit. It is together that we can make a real difference.

For Reflection and Prayer

Lord, make our hearts as soft as Yours,
so that we can experience more of Your compassion,
and cry out in prayer
until the power of Heaven breaks through.