What Do You Say God?

Praying: 

At Capturing Courage International Ministries we operate at the root level of things. We do not work at the fruit level, rather, we ask, “What might be at the root of this trouble?” We facilitate conversations, a healing and a wholeness in confession and repentance, a changing of mind in the presence of the Lord and self. Prayer is always in the midst of this in a few different ways. 

  1. We inquire of the Lord, “What do you say God?” What might be the core sin? Is there something even deeper than we are observing? How might we loose this off? Is there something that you have for us in exchange? How might life come of this? 
  2. We enter into a common lament. There is something powerful when we are willing to sit in the pain and sorrow of something that has gone wrong. Instead of rushing to fix the difficulty it is important to, first of all, share the hurt in a way, to allow sorrow and to come on the inside of trouble in this way. As we show up and enter in, our spiritual authority is increased; we are invested and it matters what happens. 
  3. We take responsibility for what has gone wrong with confession and repentance. It is a great opportunity and a calling of the body of Christ to participate in ushering in the Kingdom of God by standing in the gap repenting of the sins of the community, regions, and nations. This is the work of Jesus Christ on all our behalf and we can undertake the same heart of God by our agreements. 
  4. We hunger for more of God, for self but then for others, for them, those ones. We lead in humility and repentance that brings strongholds to the cross of Jesus Christ where tears are dried and love covers over a multitude of sins. Then, out of this, religious strongholds are broken and we are made new creatures in the breath and movement of God. 
  5. We acknowledge, validate, with thanksgiving, and a releasing of people from what binds. 

Across Canada: 

It began, even before I left home, with a compelling of lament. It was a deep sadness that came over me, although separate from me. This, I recognize as the Lord, an agreement of spirit where the Spirit of God calls my spirit in a deep way; as deep calls unto deep. I do not try to get away from this, I do not thrash, I allow the lament of God to be voiced through my own heart and as a background tone to my days. 

The driving began. I understand that God uses me in a prophetic way in terms of my person being here or there according to the direction of the Lord. This showing up, as obedience, is its own kind of prayer. I am content, without needing to know exactly what God is doing through me. My job is to go and be as God directs me. It’s that simple. This is the core of the work, “Yes God, let’s drive across the country.” 

In the first weeks I was reading a biography of Samuel Flemming’s journey across Canada in 1872. In this account he speaks to the relationship to the indigenous peoples in various places, the different tribes and their characteristics, and the concern of what many people coming to the land would mean for the indigenous.

He spoke of schooling as a way of preparing them for success with the new systems, ways of living, that would be different. Of course, while his thoughts seemed to be of good intent, we know how badly wrong that thinking became, as others played out those thoughts with far different regard and heart. He may have had the right motive but a generation later and the spirit of that was gone, replaced by evil itself. 

Reading this and knowing the story from this side of history, I had many mixed emotions, to be sure. I could understand the concern but the fruit turned out very badly, to say the least. The following weeks I continued to inquire of the Lord, “God, what is the root sin below the surface of these atrocities perpetrated against the indigenous people?” This kind of inquiry takes time. It slowly came to me that it is paternalism. 

Paternalism: 

Paternalism: ‘The policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates’ supposed best interest.’ 

I don’t think that paternalism ever bears very good fruit. We are to bring strength to each other, not protection per se. When, for instance, entire societies organize themselves around keeping women safe instead of strong, those women are bound by this supposed ‘help’. They end up being kept like a pet, caged, so to speak within their own homes and within strong cultural taboo. This may sound extreme but there are, still to this day, cultures whereby this is the reality of many. Abuse can be recognized by a person or society pleased to justify constraint, rules, controlling behaviour, and domination, as necessary for the other persons best interest. 

Throughout history and in regards to those cultures that the western mindset has assumed less capable, we find paternalism. Instead of calling forth, trusting strength to rise within a people, we have often micromanaged the transitions we deem are necessary. We now know, that people are resilient. Folks are adaptable. Changes may be on the horizon but all have the opportunity to meet it, well and good. 

So, it came to me that paternalism is the core sin at the heart of the trauma’s and atrocities placed upon the indigenous peoples. I can repent for this. I can identify with this sin. For I too, if I think back over the years, can recognize times, situations, and circumstance, where I too believed that I needed to show up in a way that ultimately detracted from the strength of another or others with my ‘better’ thinking. This is nothing more than interference in the ability of a person or people to do well. 

Breaking Strongholds: 

In loosing strongholds off of nations, it is important that we understand the powerful stance of identifying with the core sin. If a dictator is hanging on to political power because they are afraid of a loss of control, we can say, “Ah, I recognize that sin. I too, at times, have felt a loss of control in my life that had me hanging on to power in an unhealthy way.” This we call coming on the inside in the identification of sin. This is what God through Jesus Christ did for all mankind. 

We see the Biblical precedent, a prophetic foreshadowing of Christ, in Daniel. In the book of Daniel, chapter nine, we read the confessions and the repentance of Daniel as he realizes the sins of his people. He confesses and repents of sins that were not his personally. Yet, he brings centuries of denying God out of the dominion of Satan, through repentance, and into the Kingdom of God whereby the authority of the enemy loses all power and things are made new in God. It is holy work. And we can undertake the same privilege of repentance on behalf of our nations. 

I am convinced that repentance is not only for those ‘out there’ but are opportunity for us to stand with Jesus, taking responsibility for what has gone wrong, standing in authority that releases and refuses to bind. We do not bind people or regions or nations to their sin, rather, we loose and release all from darkness and we release all into light and life, the shalom by which all peoples flourish. 

Confession & Repentance: 

“God, I come before you in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We lift our past stance with the indigenous peoples of Canada, confessing to a sin and stronghold of paternalism. In this, we have insulted First Nations folk. By this we established and kept them as weak. We did not trust the innate resilience and wisdoms of their culture or each person. We are sorry. We bring past, present, and future paternalism to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and we renounce it and its effects. 

We reach with the strong arm of our Lord Jesus Christ into the past where this paternalism first took root. We say, No more! We uproot all paternalism carefully and completely, with no ill-effects, leaving nothing behind in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We unwind all chains of paternalism off of the indigenous people and off of ourselves as perpetrators of such. And we declare severed every link of every chain in the name of Jesus. 

To all authority, assignments, and curses of Satan that have been in, over, and through all of our lives and this land due to paternalism, we say, No More! Enough. All of paternalism and everything attached to it, that the true Lord Jesus Christ sees, we send this day to the place where the true Lord Jesus Christ would have it go. You are done.

God, what might you have for us in place of paternalism? Regard. Freedom. Resilience. (What comes to your mind?)

Yes Lord, we receive and pour over this entire land and all her peoples, regard, freedom, and resilience. No longer will we seek to protect on behalf of some ‘great’ idea or ideology, some presumed need, but we will instead make way for strength and for things made new. We release indigenous folk out of paternalism and into strength and autonomy, resilience and full personhood, both individually and corporately. Amen.” 

Present Day:

This was my first main prayer while driving across the country. It took over a week, in silence before the Lord, to realize this core sin of paternalism in the history of Canada. It was like a dawning as I pondered and inquired of the Lord, driving through the provinces. Once seen, I could identify its insult but also the temptation for paternalism. I could understand the good motives from which it sprang but could also clearly see the horrific results it created. 

Paternalism is continuing to this day of course, in the strategies and policies and the over-reach of power of our present government in ‘service’ to the protection of Canadians. Supposedly. Certain goals are being ram-shod, the end justifying any means, unto ideas, policies, and governance, that will not leave us stronger but in the end weaker. We are reaping what we have sown. Therefore, we readily and with a hearty ‘YES’ have opportunity to confess, repent, and renounce paternalism at every level of our society. God help us. 

Would you pray out loud the above prayer of confession, repentance, and a breaking of the strongholds of paternalism within Canada. Let us stand in agreement together unto strength and autonomy, resilience and growth, rather than protection and paternalism that would keep us weak. 

Published by Cyndy Lavoie

Founding and Executive Director at Capturing Courage International Ministries.

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