Colorado Springs is currently fighting a fire in our Waldo Canyon area. We are so grateful to the firefighters, police officers, volunteers, and others in our community who are working to provide safety and provision in the affected areas.
Wherever you are in the world, we deeply appreciate your prayers during this time. We want to share how you can strategically stand with us in faith, and to do so, we’d like to share about a similar situation that occurred 10 years ago. A testimony previously shared in John’s book Extraordinary, we believe it will equip you to confront adversity in the authority of God.
If you live in or around Colorado Springs and either need or have a place for evacuees to stay, please visit waldofire.com.
In 2002, Colorado had its worst wildfire in recorded history. Named the Hayman Fire, it consumed more than 130,000 acres in the span of one month. It was a catastrophe of enormous magnitude.
During the worst part of the fire, I returned from ministering out of state and headed straight to our office building. Just beyond the line of small peaks half a mile west of our building was a terrifying sight: massive billows of smoke and soot were rising to the sky, and ashes were falling on my windshield. It was like driving into a war zone.
I gathered our employees in our meeting room, opened my Bible to the gospel of Mark, and wrote these three verses on the whiteboard:
Have faith in God, for assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (11:22-24 NKJV)
As I shared with my staff, these words in our Bible are in red letters. This means Jesus spoke them—not any teacher or preacher of our day or even of the past. So we need to keep in mind they are straight from the mouth of God.
Now, did Jesus say we are to ask God to remove the mountain? No. We are clearly commanded to speak directly to it. We know that other Scriptures in the New Testament ask us to do this in Jesus’ name, but it is still our responsibility to speak to the problem.
I told my staff, “Not only are we to ask God, but also we need to speak directly to this adversity. We must speak from our authority of being one with Christ, joint heirs with Him, ruling in this life through the abundance of grace.” Let’s look at Psalm 8:
For you made us only a little lower than God, and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things. (5-6, NLT)
As God’s ambassadors, we are to bring life as it is in heaven to earth! It’s not God’s will for our city to go up in flames. Jesus clearly states, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10, NLT). This is the dividing line of all matters. If anything has to do with killing, stealing, or destroying, it is of our enemy.
“This fire is not of God,” I continued that day. “Its destruction is not of God. We are not going to just let our town burn to ashes. We are going to stand up and command it to stop!”
We outlined everything we wanted to occur: a shift in the winds, a downpour of rain, and finally, that the fire would die. Whether by lack of oxygen or fuel or the introduction of water, it would cease!
Now the staff were excited. I could see faith and anticipation replacing the fear and defeat on their faces. “Okay,” I said. “There’s one more thing we need to discuss. When will we receive what we ask for?”
It seemed the logical answer was “when the fire ceases.” But instead, look at that verse one more time: “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Jesus makes it clear: when we pray and command it to be done, that’s when we believe and receive what we’ve asked for. As far as we are concerned, what we ask will be done the moment we speak it forth. It doesn’t matter what our eyes see or our senses tell us: we have a more sure report to believe—the Word of our God.
We all walked out to the parking lot. We prayed and thanked God for the beautiful city He had given us. Then the time had come to speak to the fire: “Now Holy Spirit, thank You for backing us up as we stand in the authority of Jesus’ name and speak to this adversity.”
We all pointed our fingers in the direction of the large columns of smoke and soot rising above the mountain to the west. I led the way and all the staff repeated in unison. We shouted, “Fire, we speak to you in the name of Jesus Christ. We command you to stop in your progress. You must die! We speak to you, wind, in the name of Jesus—you must change direction. We command you to blow from east to west. We call in a rainstorm to dump water on you, fire. We declare this all in the name of Jesus Christ!”
Everyone was praying passionately, for faith had arisen in our hearts. We were all in one accord, having one mind, united in purpose, and would not be stopped. We knew heaven was backing us.
All of a sudden, the wind changed. For many days, it had blown rapidly from west to east. Now, just like that, it was blowing steadily from east to west.
That night, I stood out on the back deck of my house and watched a thunderstorm coming in from the west. The rain fell heavily, and within a few more days, the fire was completely out. It truly was a miracle.
We continue to pray over our city in this manner as we face the Waldo Canyon Fire. We know that “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results” (James 5:16, NLT). Please stand with us in the authority of faith to see destruction cease and fullness of life manifest in Colorado Springs!
Adapted from Extraordinary: The Life You Were Meant to Live (Waterbrook, 2010).