2009 Myanmar – Yangon – John-Michael Becker

Pray It Through

John Michael Becker
August 2009

I was the mission team leader for a group of nine sent by New Philadelphia Church in Seoul to Myanmar from July 25 – August 1, 2009. The names of the other team members were Brady, David, Marcus, Kevin, Myung Hwa, Caroline, Diana, and Lisa. We were sent to visit four cities (Myitkyina, Mandalay, Pyinoolywin, and Yangon) to hold revival services, visit orphanages, and meet with native pastors to encourage them. Myanmar is a country that has a strict, oppressive military government and is also deeply rooted in idolatry.

From the beginning when God first led me to commit to leading the team, one of the main prayers I felt heavy on my heart was that the prophetic ministry be strong in our team. I knew that going into such an oppressive country the team would have to be led by the Spirit. I told God that if I am to lead this team, He must grant me eyes. I prayed fervently to God that He would release more and more of the prophetic in the team.

As other church members met and prayed for the mission teams being sent out, one of them received a vision of the Myanmar team. She saw an eagle come out of the team and fly over some mountains. The interpretation of the vision was simple. One of the chief symbols of eagles is the prophetic ministry (Exodus 19:4/Hosea 12:13, Revelation 8:13). There was an understanding that prophetic giftings would in fact be used in our team. Where it would usually take man in the natural a long time to cross the mountains, with the help of the Spirit’s prophetic gifting we would be able to see farther and move quicker.

I also sensed from the beginning that the Myanmar team would have to take consecration to a higher level. Spiritual warfare is not something to be taken lightly and I have witnessed friends and ministers enter dark countries like Myanmar and come out of them discouraged, oppressed, and some of them needing hospitalization for their sicknesses. I did not want to lead a team in to fight and then to return to Korea beaten down. I know that in Christ we have complete victory. A book called “Blessing or Curse” by Derek Prince encouraged me greatly. In it he shares how to be protected from any curses, just as the Israelites were protected from the curses of the witchdoctor Balaam in Numbers 23-24. Here is what he shared…

1. The people of Israel were moving according to God’s plan for them.
2. They were supernaturally guided, day and night, by a cloud and a pillar of fire. This corresponds to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
3. They were a nation submitting to discipline and to authority, with God-appointed leaders and God-given laws.
4. Their relationships were carefully ordered according to a divine pattern. They had unity within them.
5. Much of the above was due to the fact that a whole generation of unbelieving and disobedient Israelites had been purged out from among them (see Numbers 26:63-65). In other words, they were now walking in holiness.

I was led to begin to challenge the team in memorizing Scripture weekly, claiming their identities in Christ, fasting, and confessing and cleansing themselves of secret sins. I didn’t want there to be any hole in our armor for the enemy to attack. For the month of July I also encouraged the team to do a media fast and only watch or listen to Christian media. Past sins of idolatry and of the occult were also confessed, repented of, and renounced. I knew that we had to be pure and strong if we were to be of any use by God in Myanmar.

Another word the Lord had put on my heart was 1Samuel 14. In it is the story of the Israelite army being without weapons and fearing battle with the Philistine army. King Saul’s son Jonathan though shows no fear and goes with his armor bearer to attack a small Philistine outpost. He prays, receives the word that he needs, and then attacks the outpost, slaughtering all the twenty men there. While the battle seemed small, it changes the whole atmosphere. Suddenly the entire Philistine army is seized with fear and panic. Despite the Israelites being small in number and having weak weapons, they are then able to attack the Philistines and rout them. What had seemed impossible had become possible through one man’s faith and obedience to God’s prompting. I sensed that our team was not to win the war in Myanmar, but that we were to identify specific kinks in the walls of the enemy and attack those areas. I sensed that as we are faithful in these little areas, the enemy will be sent into confusion and that the native pastors will be able to continue the battle to victory after we would leave. My hope was that we would be able to encourage the pastors the most, because I also knew that the fire of the Holy Spirit can only be maintained if the leaders support it and are encouraging their members in it.

God blessed our preparation and we went to Myanmar with a focus on prayer and giving God glory. During our layover in Bangkok we prayed. During the van ride from the airport to our hotel in Myanmar we prayed and praised God. During our meetings each morning and each night we prayed. During our flights or bus rides we were nearly always keeping focused in prayer, praise, or reading the Word. A theme of our trip became, “Pray it through.” We weren’t going to give Satan a chance to steal any blessings. Throughout the week different team members, including myself, endured physical attacks. One night excruciating pain seized my back after a long day of ministry. Other team members had stomach problems, headaches, fatigue, or other sicknesses. Each day we would lay hands on whoever was sick and nearly every time the team member would end up healed. My back pain was healed after prayer and a firm, back rub from one of the brothers. Our battle was clearly in the spiritual and we kept our guard up all throughout our stay. Every morning when we would wake up the first thing each of us would do was pray the blood of Jesus over ourselves and put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6). I couldn’t be prouder of my team’s faithfulness and determination.

All our prayers and preparations turned into powerful ministry. From our first service to the last (about 12 in total) we made sure to lay hands on people each time. The presence of God came was thick and the people we ministered to were touched by the power and the love of God. Even when we entered a church rife with idolatry the team kept focused. The Spirit of God did not move as much during our ministry time in the church, but through prophetic word we were able to confront the pastor and both lovingly and sternly exhort him. Despite it being a hard, discouraging evening, the team remained prayerful and continued to praise God. And just the next day the Lord would move in a mighty way at the next place we visited. God’s presence was so thick during the prayer times that both young men and young women would be crying and crying as the Lord’s touched them. After services the native pastors would come to our team and thank us sincerely for, “Bringing God’s presence in such a powerful way.

God spoke to certain team members about this early in the trip. We sensed that God was sending us as “friends of the bridegroom” to invite Jesus to wherever we would be. We invited His presence in every meeting and it was beautiful to see Him come and touch the people around us, including our own team members. Our prayer was not that they would receive a one time touch though, but that they would continue to seek the Lord and allow the flame of God within them to grow. I knew this could only happen if the leaders of the church desired this intimacy with God. Thankfully, God answered these prayers. In every place we ministered, except for that one church, the pastors were hungry for more. They too would humble themselves and come receive prayer from my team, despite my team being much younger in age than any of the pastors we would meet. We also had the privilege of ministering to a number of Bible college students in two different cities. These would be the men and women who will soon be pastoring churches around the country. I was amazed at how God answered our prayers to be able to encourage the pastors. During our last day in Myanmar we were able to meet with seven native pastors in Yangon, a city where Christianity is strictly controlled by the government. We took time to pray for each pastor and his wife separately and then share prophetic words we received for each of them. Tears came to some of the pastors’ eyes as the words we shared with them were just what they needed to hear from God. One of the younger pastors we prayed for was so deeply touched that he remarked to me afterwards, “I have never met such loving people in my life. You all are like angels.” God is good! We even had a five hour prayer session for a sick pastor that resulted in a powerful move of God. God was faithful to our prayers from the beginning to the end of the trip.

During the trip God demonstrated time and time again how He truly is faithful in all His promises and hears us when we call Him. God taught me more about leading a team of believers into battle and working more with the Spirit and the prophetic ministry. God clearly showed me the power of asking for His love to come and fill me and work through. It truly was God’s love working through us that enabled so many people to be touched so deeply. While the team could take as many steps possible to prepare well and be fully protected going into the trip, by our own efforts we could not conjure up a love and compassion for the people we would meet. Only God could give us this love. And we found that as we prayed and cried out to God to open our hearts and let His love for the Myanmar people fill us and overflow, He was always faithful in answering. God’s love is amazing and is able to break down every lie, every curse, and every stronghold of the enemy. I was blessed to see every member of the team come out of Myanmar stronger in the Lord. We know that even greater battles and even greater demonstrations of God’s love and power are to come. We are excited!

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