Christians spend a lot of time and effort learning about PRAYER. But sometimes this can often seem like a waste of time. UNANSWERED PRAYER can be a huge source of frustration with many believers. Part of the problem is the misunderstanding of the way that PRAYER works.
Misguided prayer is a major cause of distress and one of the most serious problems at hand… is that Christians often pray trying to change God’s mind. They are concerned about a problem in their society and ask God to act and change the situation. If nothing changes, their prayers turn into pleading and in some circumstances, even begging.
In PART I, I pointed out Our God-given AUTHORITY when we pray. I also pointed out as Christians, we have different spheres of AUTHORITY. Also, the effectiveness of authoritative praying can RELEASE ANGELS and DEAL WITH SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL. I gave SOLUTIONS to three problems; the evidence of how the devil can gain AUTHORITY here on earth.
ONE KEY TO THE KINGDOM:
JESUS spoke to Peter about the keys to the kingdom in the gospel of Matthew:
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
JESUS was not giving Peter AUTHORITY over the church but explaining the way PRAYER AND AUTHORITY work hand and hand. He repeated these words, so they must be important and not just to Peter.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven.
Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:18-19 AMP).
I wrote a blog sometime ago regarding “binding and loosing” with a title: BINDING and LOOSING is like Eating Soup with a Fork. I believe now, that here in these last two verses quoted, JESUS adds to the meaning with–TWO or THREE people on earth coming to an agreement over something going on; in giving their Father in heaven AUTHORITY to do it!
BINDING and LOOSING; this is the KEY TO THE KINGDOM. It is how we use the binding and loosing in prayer. It doesn’t make the prayer more convincing by just saying the words.
We can BIND up heaven by failing to pray, as without our AUTHORITY God cannot act. On the other hand, by praying correctly, we can release the POWER of heaven to work on earth. My new found understanding of “binding and loosing” became an eye-opener to me personally.
JESUS CONFIRMS THE NUMBER – (verse 20).
JESUS confirms the number of people needed to release God’s power on earth. Two or three people, gathered together in agreement can and will give God AUTHORITY to act. We do not need hundreds of people praying, trying to persuade God. We just need two agreeing with what God wants to do. They have sufficient authority.
I like the Amplified version of Matthew 18:20 when they add: harmonizing together, make a symphony together. Have you ever heard of a symphony of two or three? Well, now you have it!
Simeon and Anna.
These two people in the Bible had sufficient authority to allow God to send JESUS as Messiah. You don’t like that example? Well, try the next example.
Eli’s Agreement with Hannah.
AGREEMENT gave God AUTHORITY to open Hannah’s womb; for Samuel to be born (1 Samuel 1:17).
SOMETIMES STRONGHOLDS GET IN OUR WAY:
The enemy’s suggestions will be made by a person with authority in our lives such as a parent or a teacher.
He will never amount to anything.
When we buy into the devil’s lies and start declaring it in agreement, the devil has established a STRONGHOLD.
When growing up into an adult, I heard my mother confess: “My grandmother had mental problems, my mother had dementia and I will too.” At the age of 92, my mother died of Alzheimer disease. She had all her life declared in agreement with a lie!
The GOOD NEWS!
We can prevent negative thoughts; which then become spiritual strongholds by speaking words of truth to nullify their power.
God loves me and created me
for a unique purpose.
The most powerful stronghold of the devil is the LIE; that he is still the “prince of this world.” This WAS TRUE before the CROSS, but JESUS’ death and resurrection destroyed his power on earth:
“Now the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world shall be cast out (expelled).” ~ John 12:31.
“The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].” ~ 1 John 3:8 AMP.
PERSISTENCE Is The KEY to Successful Resistance.
PERSISTENCE will never persuade God to change His mind. BUT it will wear down the enemy and force him to surrender. When we reject the enemy’s first attack on us, he will come back with another: doubt with more and more doubt; unfaithfulness with more unfaithfulness. If his first suggestion does not cause us to worry, he will just try something else. Satan had three going against Jesus in the wilderness before he gave up. So with us…he will keep going on for quite a while against us.
We don’t need PERSISTENCE to change God’s mind on a given matter. Like JESUS, we will have to persist in the TRUTH; the Word of God to wear down the enemy.
Do you find yourself, as you read this blog in the wilderness?
SUBMISSION IS ESSENTIAL:
Now a lot of people have a difficulty with the word SUBMIT. Have you noticed in marriage ceremonies today, the words of submission have been considered antiquated?
SUBMISSION is very important to the Christian life. Unfortunately it has become a tool for Christian leaders to control their people. The real purpose of submission is different from what we normally understand.
God has made us free, so another person can only have AUTHORITY in our lives if we give it to them. We give another person AUTHORITY in our lives by submitting to them. This is so important for effective prayer. By submitting to each other, Christians are giving other Christians authority. Ephesians 5:21 states: “Be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
When we SUBMIT, or as the Amplified translation says, “Be subject to…” we are giving them AUTHORITY; it’s enabling them, letting them pray to God on our behalf in releasing the Holy spirit to work in our lives. It also allows them to resist evil on our behalf.
The more I submit to Christian friends or elders, the greater spiritual authority they will have to resist any evil that may be attacking me.
The RELATIONSHIP Between Spiritual Authority and Submission.
This concept is sometimes hard to understand. We often ask other Christians to pray for us but it doesn’t seem to have much effect. The REASON is–they lack the authority in our lives. But they can’t have AUTHORITY if we don’t give it to them!
Modern day Christians want to be independent and become unclear about what it means to be in SUBMISSION. I know this all to well down through my work life, parenthood and my Christian experience.
By being ambivalent, it leaves us vulnerable to spiritual warfare; because no one has authority to stand with us in resisting the attack of the enemy.
IDLE WORDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF SUBMISSION:
We should be careful in speaking to others about people who have submitted to them. If people with authority speak NEGATIVE WORDS about a person who has submitted to, it gives evil forces permission to attack that person.
By agreeing with lies from the enemy, Christian leaders can give the enemy power. If the leader says to his wife, “Bill has always had a problem with authority in his life, and he always will!”; his words give a spirit of rebellion, permission to attack that person.
Careless Words Are Serious.
They’re serious because they become PERMISSION SLIPS! Many Christian leaders, elders and parents would be embarrassed on that day when they realize the effect of their casual words they spoke about another; about those who were submitted to them. They will be shocked when they see how evil spirits used their words as permission to attack someone who TRUSTED in them. I’m sorry to say that I am one. And I have sincerely apologized to my adult son for the words that I spoke about him in his teenage years. At the time, I had given the enemy power to attack him which became a greater impact on his life.
“WAS THIS STUDY JUST ANOTHER STUDY ON PRAYER?”
I certainly hope not. For praying in the WRONG WAY in our prayers won’t be answered. I’ve presented two parts on the RIGHT WAY and the WRONG WAY to prayer. Praying in the wrong way isn’t a problem if it occurs occasionally, so don’t be too hard on yourself. But it’s dangerous if it happens too often.
Frequent Failure In Prayer Leads To Disappointment.
It tarnishes the human spirit and if we don’t deal with it, it will develop bad attitudes which then destroys our FAITH IN GOD.
When fervent prayers go unanswered, we get offended and start saying negative words about God:
God does not care about me.
God cannot heal everyone.
Miracles don’t happen to me.
THESE STATEMENTS ARE NOT TRUE!
They may be an expression of our pain and disappointment, but if we keep speaking in this way, we are insulting God’s character. When JESUS came to Nazareth, people were amazed at Him, but their amazement soon changed with expressions of doubt:
“Is not this the Carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here among us? And they took offense at Him and were hurt [that is, they disapproved of Him, and it hindered them from acknowledging His authority] and they were caused to stumble and fall” (Mark 6:3 AMP).
Their statements were true, but it represented a distorted view of JESUS. They gave too much emphasis to their own experiences and too little to God’s promises. JESUS didn’t meet their expectations and were disappointed in Him.
The Scriptures say they had taken offense:
“And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people [and] cured them.”
And He marveled because of their unbelief (their lack of faith in Him). And He went about among the surrounding villages and continued teaching.”
Mark 6:5, 6 AMP.
Offense led to unbelief which shut down the POWER of God.
Learning How To Pray Effectively:
We don’t want to fall into offense, so learning how to pray correctly is really important. Instead of pleading with God, we should learn about AUTHORITY and how we can use what is God-given and use it to set the POWER of the Holy Spirit free! THAT, my friends will accomplish God’s purposes on earth!