A well-known apostolic preacher states the plain truth that Christians must never use prayer or intercession to excuse themselves from actually putting their hand to the plow and doing God's will in their community.
Steve Schultz of Elijah List Ministries interviewed California-based minister Mario Murillo on Tuesday about several topics including the need for Christians to stop "passive intercession" and be relevant in warfare.
"What I'm saying in that is that when we pray, we should expect to get marching orders," Murillo said of passive intercession. "You know, when we intercede, we have to see the end result."
"What I've watched is several Christian events where thousands have gathered together to pray for something to happen, but then, at the end of it, there was either no altar call - and I can understand that part in some instances," he said. "Or there was no outgrowth of an intention to reach that city."
"So what becomes dangerous is the idea that prayer in and of itself replaces ministry, that it actually becomes the ministry," he explained.
Murillo provided an example to support his point.
He talked about the time when the Israelites were facing the Red Sea, and Moses was praying to God for help as the Egyptian army chased after them. Instead of defeating Pharaoh's army then and there for the Israelites, God told Moses that they should be the ones moving forward in faith.
"Moses is standing there, and he is crying out to God," Murillo said, "and God says to him, 'why are you crying out to Me? Tell the people to move forward'."
Murillo then shared what he believed about "true intercession." He said he believes in intercession "so deeply" and "so profoundly" that he agrees with Charles Finney, who had an intercessor known as Father Nash.
Nash is known for praying in places where Finney was going to have a crusade. When Nash died, Finney was unable to find a suitable intercessor to take his place in ministry. This led him to "promptly" leave the crusade field and become the president of Oberlin College. "That's how [Finney] felt about intercession," Murillo said.
Murillo then explained that conversely, Father Nash "would've been equally dismayed to have had no evangelist at the end of his intercession." He added "that's why Yonggi Cho was so correct when he said 'pray and obey'."
Thus, when it comes to intercession, Murillo says he is motivated by Jesus' words in Matthew 9:38, when He told His disciples to pray for God to send more more workers in the harvest field.
The fiery minister then shared a few personal experiences where some churches prayed for more laborers to work in the harvest, but didn't participate in the harvest once the workers arrived.
"We have invited churches and said, 'People are getting saved in your neighborhood. People are being born again. Come and help us!'" Murillo explained. "And they will say, 'No. That's not what God is showing us. We're praying. We're seeking. Don't worry about us. We're doing the right thing.'"
"And then I thought, 'Here you've taken intercession, those individuals specifically, and used it as a license to escape your duty,'" he recalled.
He then said that those churches should've "at least let us announce in your church that we're having these meetings." He noted how they "can't even abandon your own program long enough to understand" that Jesus already sent workers in the harvest field.
He maintained that it is impossible to be an intercessor while abandoning lost souls in one's own neighborhood since that is where the power of God's Spirit is released.
The California preacher also noted that while not all intercessors are the same, he warns that having the wrong attitude towards intercession can be a problem.
"Like anything else, the devil is just trying to turn a powerful gift (intercession) and make it irrelevant and imbalanced," Murillo said.
On the prophetic gift
Murillo affirmed the prophetic gift's importance to the Body of Christ, which the devil is attempting to undermine and invalidate. He feels, however, that there is a balance.
"I think the only way to balance it is the true test," he said. "It's when God starts answering your prayers, you can run to the front line and be part of the miracle."
The wartime pastors
Murillo also highlighted how many believers, depending on the example of their religious leaders, are locked in a pre-pandemic paradigm. These same pastors, he noted, are now returning to give the same sermons they spoke before the pandemic, reassembling the same conferences they did previously, and featuring the same speakers with the same message. They continue to do so although America's freedom is under threat from all directions.
"All of America waiting for the pastors to take a stand and make a stand against evil. And it's going to relieve their people. And I warn them that refusing to take a stand on moral issues is going to give the impression of your people that you don't care about them," explained Murillo.
"Because they still believe they're a peacetime pastor," he said. "The mafia had a thing. They called it the 'peacetime conciliatory and the wartime conciliatory and I kind of stole that. I said, 'You're a wartime pastor during the war, and your people need you to get in the pulpit. Show them how to stand against persecution and stay without being bitter. Show them how to answer those that asked them to have the hope that lies within them."
And, as he has continually preached and written on his blogs, the destiny of America will not be determined by a savior politician, but by God's faithful men and women who will pray and obey God rather than man.
"And it's an hour for the men of God and the women of God to wake up because we, as nation, are hanging in the balance, and we need to be that voice... And how can we not go and get alone with God and not feel his heart for America? To say, 'Wake up church?' It's time to act as a unit," he declared.