One of the fun parts of this ministry is that I get to meet all kinds of amazing people who love the Lord! One of my favorite people is Teresa DeMatos, who co-pastors the church I attend with her husband, Lee DeMatos. Together, they have experienced some powerful encounters with Jesus and - even more exciting - some very personal answers to prayer.
Teresa, in particular, is a prayer warrior who believes and practices the kind of pastoring described in 1 Peter 2:25: she oversees and shepherds the souls in her care primarily through prayer. While many leaders might feel overwhelmed by the pressing needs and burdens of the people they are called to, she has found that bringing these issues to God in prayer first makes her a powerful partner with Jesus, the chief Shepherd.
I asked Teresa if she would share with His Inscriptions readers what her prayer life is like on a day-to-day basis. Her stories will inspire you!
What first triggered your interest in prayer?
A big problem in my marriage.
For some people, prayer can feel boring or tedious. What do you do to keep things “fresh” in your prayer times?
I pray in the Spirit. Praying in my prayer language floods me with the river of living water and pushes out all the same old, same old. Sometimes it takes 30 to 45 minutes of just praying in tongues before I am charged up for the day. I sing in the Spirit and if any thought of negativity comes to my mind while praying in the Spirit, I release forgiveness to that person or situation.
How do you balance the busy life of being a pastor and pastor’s wife with the quieter, contemplative practice of prayer?
The Holy Spirit wakes me up very early. I love that time with Him and I miss it if I don’t get it. I have learned to get up and make coffee, and walk around the house in my pjs with a cup of coffee. This keeps me from falling asleep and it keeps it simple so that I will keep doing it. If I stay moving while I pray in the Spirit, it energizes me and before I know it, it has been an hour. The Holy Spirit will start to download revelation of how to pray in my natural language.
Lately we have taken in our nephew as a disciple living with us for a month. He is sleeping in our living room, so I have to adjust to praying at the church in the morning. There are always adjustments to our routines.
Could you share a story of answered prayer with us?
Yes! After I had been married to my husband for 5 years, we both surrendered our lives to Jesus while going through a big storm in our marriage. We had 3 children at the time: his, mine, and ours. We were immediately attacked by the enemy to bring division in our family. A custody battle rose up for my son.
My son's biological father kept him during a visitation he had and would not return him to me in Massachusetts. His father lived in the Midwest. I was a very new believer, but I heard the Lord say, “This is My battle, do not fight this in your own strength.”
My son was taken from me during a Thanksgiving holiday. When this first happened and I heard the Lord speak, I was filled with His powerful peace. It felt like a thick comforter wrapped around me. But as the days went by, the reality of an empty bedroom and Christmas music playing everywhere started to take its toll on me. I was praying, but depression was taking over. All I could do was read my Bible. I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed and barely made it to church.
One Sunday, about 3 weeks after this incident, I heard a message from a visiting preacher at our church. His message was to "choose joy." After the service, I knew that message was for me. I ran to the altar and chose joy! Immediately I was delivered of the depression. I had a revelation that joy was a choice.
The Holy Spirit then led me to a book store to find a book on prayer. Intercessory Prayer (by Dutch Sheets; click on title to see the book) stood out to me like a beaming light. I had never heard of Dutch Sheets; I just grabbed the book and read the back. It seemed to be everything I needed.
I inhaled the book. Through it, the Lord taught me to pray with authority and strategy. God also taught me to love the people and fight in the heavenly realm.
I interceded for my ex-husband and my parents, who were also involved in the events with my son. I did not fight in the natural at all. I resisted talking to my son’s father or my parents about the situation. I sent my son letters to maintain our relationship, but refused to put him in the middle of the conflict. This kept me going for about 5 months. Then, suddenly, all of the grace left me.
I began to have a temper tantrum with God. I started yelling “Why is this happening to me?! Even my own parents are against me! I have been praying and trusting You….Why do I feel like an orphan?!”
I had lost it! I was crying and crying!
About 5 minutes later, I heard a knock at my door. It was an Express Mail delivery. I opened the door and reluctantly received a thick envelope addressed to me from my parents. My first thought was: "What's this? Custody papers?”
I opened the envelope, which contained a 6-page letter from my parents, asking for forgiveness. My dad wrote that he had attended a men's retreat where the Lord revealed to him that both my parents had judged my husband.
Shortly after that, my son’s father called me and told me that he was going to send our son back to Massachusetts. He said he realized that he judged the situation wrongly also.
Only the Lord can do that! My son didn’t have to go through a court battle and be torn apart in two. It truly was the Lord’s battle and He came through… even though I had my temper tantrum and lost sight of Him. He sure keeps us humble, and He gets all the glory!
What do you do when you don’t see answers to prayers that are important to you?
Well, I have learned that intercession is like a birthing process. Things are in process and the Lord is doing so much more than my problem reveals. He is working all things together for good! I have learned to trust Him in the waiting place and to keep speaking to the tree (of unrighteousness; roots and fruit of the curse in our lives) to wither and to the mountain to move into the sea. I speak His promises, especially the prophetic words He has given me. (1 Timothy 1:18)
As a pastor, what do you wish people knew or understood better about prayer?
Prayer is intimacy with the Lord. When we pray in the Spirit, we are like a cell phone getting charged up with power, receiving upgrades, and receiving messages from Him. All of the apps or gifts are downloaded and empowered when we pray in our prayer language. Praying without ceasing is like having your GPS on all the time, receiving direction from Him. Acknowledging Him in all your ways. Prayer is not a last resort; it is the most powerful act we can do.
Like hearing from other pastors and intercessors? Check out these two related blog posts, which also contain free resources for prayer! Click here (pastor's perspective) or here (interview with an intercessor) for more.
Teresa DeMatos is founder and co-pastor, with her husband Lee, of Indian Lake Community Church in Worcester, MA. After giving her heart and her marriage to the Lord, Teresa became a new person. Her husband quickly followed her example after seeing the positive changes in his wife. Lee and Teresa are now beloved overseers of an apostolic network of ministries in the New England area under Dove Christian Fellowship International (including His Inscriptions). They (and their adorable little dog, James!) are actively reaching their inner-city community through lakeside water-ski outreaches, Sunday services, and ongoing children's ministries.
© Deborah Perkins / Teresa DeMatos; www.HisInscriptions.com. This article contains affiliate links.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.