A Call to Arms! An adventure in Authoritative Prayer
Next week we are going to spend an evening waging spiritual warfare so I am preparing my heart and mind for the battle. Foster’s material on Authoritative Prayer from chapter 20 of Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is helping in that preparation. Let me share with you some of what I am learning. This is the kind of prayer where we “use the authority of God to command something done… [the kind that] God uses to invade enemy territory and establish his kingdom” (page 229). I must admit that I approach authoritative prayer with trepidation. Who am I to command anything? When I think of spiritual warfare I mostly think in terms of defense; I put on all this protective gear – this full armor of God. The only offensive weapon is the Scripture – the Sword of Truth. But, Foster reminds us that Jesus gave his authority away, and not just to the twelve or to the seventy. “’Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father’ (John 14:12)” (page 235).
But! “This is one area that has been horribly abused and misused today…This way of prayer can be extremely dangerous,” Foster warns (page 230). One of the ways to handle this authority with caution is to balance it with compassion. “Authority needs compassion to keep it from becoming destructive. Compassion provides the environment in which authority can function” (page 231).
The powers and principalities are stronger than we are. But not as strong as our God. “For greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). This comforting thought was also spoken by Elisha, 800 years before John wrote his letter. Elisha assured his servant looking over a vast enemy camp, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).
“Ole Hallesby writes, ‘the secret prayer chamber is a bloody battle-ground. Here violent and decisive battles are fought out’ But remember, we are told that the gates of hell cannot withstand the onslaughts of the church (Matt 16:18). The kingdom of darkness goes into full retreat when we take up the full weapons of our warfare” (page 240). We do not go unarmed into this war.
Stay tuned for Part II on Authoritative Prayer. Meanwhile, make plans to join us as we take up arms against great enemies.
See you next Friday, March 14th, from 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. in the Fireside Room at
Bethel Baptist Church 2625 Hoyt Ave, Everett, WA 98201