THE LAYERS OF PRAYER-PT. 1
Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
In the verses preceding this verse we see the power of agreement again.
Matthew 15-16 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’
We see that witness and agreement brings with it an establishment. Both the witness of agreement with just 2 or 3 and the prayer of agreement with 2, is all that is necessary for the establishment to occur. One of the things we many times don't remember is that we have agreement with his Word, his Spirit, his blood, and the works of his cross and his Spirit is our witness to all of these things, even when we have no one around us to agree with.
Joshua 23:10 One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you,as He promised you.
God is the one who never leaves us even when we don't feel him. We must never negate his promises when we don't sense him. Even Joshua reminded the Israelite's prior to his death that God fights for them and with them and that each person has the power to chase off 1000 enemies at once with God backing them, as they follow and obey his commands. Later we see in Deuteronomy that 2 people can chase off 10,000. We too can experience such victories as we fight with God and with the people he gives us to agree with in prayer.
PRAYER IS PRIVATE AND BASED ON COVENANT
For a moment let's look at how intimate, private and personal prayer can be with God.
Matthew 6:6 "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly."
God sees us and meets with us in the secret chamber of prayer when we take the time to seek him. When we pray to God it is not only about getting our requests or needs met, it is about building relationship and intimacy with him. It is about us understanding the intimacy and love and protection of covenant. In this place of covenant conversation and communion we can boldly approach him and make our requests.
Hebrews 4:15-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are,yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
There is a place of true relationship where you speak with him and can be assured that he is listening as we come to him through the place of sonship and not as a stranger begging or asking him for something. Sometimes this is a place of fellowship where we can be open and honest before his presence, with conversations like...But God you said ....and it hasn't happened yet and I don't understand why, because you gave me this scripture and I want to hear what you to say about it. Or but your word says....but it hasn't materialized yet, and I'd like to know if I am missing something or if it is that you are requiring something of me etc.... These are just examples but it paints a picture of relationship. It is talking to your God and recounting his promises, remembering his faithfulness too in worship and also listening for his response and voice. The secret place isn't just prayer, but it is communion, worship as well. Because prayer is an intimate thing it is important to view it from a covenant perspective.
From this place of covenant we also understand that we should not be asking just anyone to pray with us or for us. All prayer is backed through the covenant we have with Jesus, that was provided at the cross and his resurrection, so when we ask people to partner in prayer with us, it is important that they are in agreement with that covenant. Then there is the fact that we aren't in covenant with everyone, so we probably shouldn't be asking those we don't know very well to partner with us in such an intimate thing as prayer. All the eternal promises of God are birthed through covenant, so as we approach God in prayer, on behalf of a covenant friend, we have a greater position to be heard. God is always viewing us and everything pertaining to us from a relational and covenant perspective and we must have this same mindset as well when we ask others to pray for us.
For example, my husband has great authority to pray for me because of our covenant of marriage. My mom also has a great authority in prayer for me as well because she is not only my mother but she also has been in a long standing covenant relationship with God. My children and other brothers and sisters and spiritual children also have authority in prayer for me as we are in covenant. We are meant to be in covenant with God and others and from this position of relationship, respect, honor and trust we can approach God on their behalf. Having a heart for someone and especially a heart of covenant gives us great positional power and authority to intercede in prayer for them.
Can you imagine having a lawyer representing you in court but not telling that lawyer everything, including the intimate details needed to provide a good defense for you? For years I willing went along with people who would reach out to me for prayer, because I love and care about people. Most of the time I would get this generic response when I asked them how I could pray for them- "God knows" or "its an unspoken request."
We see it all the time on Facebook and social media. I really believe people mean well, but we must grow in understanding how prayer works, if we are going to see his kingdom established on earth as it is in heaven. I was too afraid back then to hurt people's feelings by confronting their vague requests, but I have learned that we cannot afford to be timid when it comes to prayer and I refuse to waste my time swatting the wind in prayer for people, when I have no details or specific target to aim for and hit. This may challenge some of you reading this, but I hope it is a good challenge that births the covenant of prayer in your life. If Jesus was hated and misunderstood then we will be too. His whole life and message was new to the people of that generation. They were accustomed to experiencing God a certain way and he challenged their religious customs and beliefs about God. When change is necessary in our lives and God comes to establish order or something new, it can be a hard pill to swallow, but we must still take the medicine and SHIFT anyway if we are to experience growth and breakthrough.
PRAYER IS STRATEGIC AND MILITANT AS WELL
I have learned that it is so important to be strategic when fighting on the battlefield of prayer. If people don't give you specifics, ask for them, but don't pray blindly. It is our responsibility when asked to pray, to pray strategically and specifically. Also you will wear yourself out and get off course taking on every one else's issues-especially if God has not tasked you with that prayer assignment. I can't tell you how may times have I heard the younger generation say-KNOW YOUR ROLE! My Lord- this is the honest truth in so many ways but especially in prayer. We must know our roles and assignments in prayer and in God's Kingdom if we are to be effective in establishing his kingdom here. We pray from a position of sonship, but we also pray from our roles in the Body of Christ. Whether you hold a governmental seat (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher) in God's kingdom or not, you still have authority to pray in the name of Jesus through the covenant that was established on your behalf at the cross.
I have also learned not to accept every prayer request that comes to me. God isn't asking us to pray for everyone dearly beloved but he will highlight the people that he has purposed for you to partner with. If you try and war and intercede on everyone's behalf, it will cause unnecessary warfare in your life, especially when you are not in covenant with them. It will drain and distract you from the current assignments God has you on. We must be strategic in prayer my friends. Prayer should release the winds of heaven in your life, as prayer is something God established in our covenant with him. God gives us strength when he calls us to pray and when we are not given that assignment it opens the door to warfare and being drained both emotionally and physically. We must view prayer as necessary but very strategic, intimate and personal-thus "if any two agree..." There is power and unity released in prayer, but it is hard to find unity in prayer with large numbers of people. I believe it can cause delays when there is no agreement, focus or direction. I know we can get desperate at times and I never want to diminish or discount someone else's desperation, but I so want to see the Body of Christ mature in this very important role as his militant army in the earth. When we say just pray for me and we ask all our friends on Facebook to join in, it sounds good, but we are inviting confusion in the spirit. People mean well but they will pray their opinions, and all sorts of things, when we want them praying strategically through the covenant of God's Word and with very strategic prayer points. We want to route our prayers in a certain direction and we want people praying the same thing so that we experience that breakthrough against the opposition. We must always remember that our fight is not against people but demonic entities that rule in the heavenlies above us and we must know how to break through those realms to receive our answers.
Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
We have to stand in prayer-resolute in faith, commanding darkness to bow to Jesus as we ascend to his throne. This will look militant, and intimidating if you are not accustomed to this type of prayer, nevertheless I have learned that we are fighting for our faith and fighting is fighting, and there is no substitute for fighting evil forces, as we partner with God in the battle. Look at prayer from a military perspective that requires great strategy and direction, and authority. A private doesn't lead on the battlefield, generals do. Ask God for generals in your life and learn how to get in position behind them to assist on the battlefield of prayer.
God gave Joshua specific instructions at Jericho and we know how that story ended-they won the battle and the city. But that required everyone involved to be unified in order of rank position and tribe, following orders, with no exceptions. Any military person will tell you that you must follow orders and we must view prayer the same way, as God will give instructions, generals and orders on the battlefield of prayer.
Next week I will share on the topic of prayer- in the courts of heaven, Jesus our Great Advocate and Intercessor, angelic assistance and more on the topic of agreement in prayer.
Blessings to you!