“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matt. 21:21,22)
Strategic – Serving the ends of strategy (the planning for war) to reach the enemy’s home territory.
Story: John Robb of World Vision’s Mission Advanced Research Center writes, “The adults of Ethiopia’s Awash River area, two hours north of Addis Ababa were suffering through famines. In their suffering the people looked to a giant tree for help. They worshiped the towering giant tree, believing a spirit had given it divine powers. Adults would kiss its great trunk as they passed by. They spoke of the tree in hushed, reverential tones and the children said, “This tree saved us… One morning as the World Vision staff prayed together, one of Jesus’ promises struck them from Matthew 21:21,22. “If you have faith, you can say to this tree, Be taken up and removed and it will obey you.” Soon the whole community knew that the Christians were praying about the tree. Six months later, the tree began to dry up. Its leafy foliage disappeared, and finally it collapsed like a stricken giant into the
river. The people were astonished, “Your God has done this!” they said.
Within a few weeks, about a hundred villagers received Jesus Christ because they had seen His power displayed in the spectacular answer to Christians’ prayer.” (Perspectives, p. 145, John D. Robb)
Here are a few guidelines to help us pray more strategically for the
completion of Christ’s great commission and the expansion of His kingdom and righteousness throughout all people groups of the world.
1. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS POWER OVER ALL. Praise assures us that God’s purposes will be accomplished. Worship affirms our hearts that God’s plans will supersede all other human or demonic endeavors. Praising people are infused with a continual sense of God’s courage, confidence and hope. People who are on intimate terms with the Lrod always expect God to work all things together for good. (Rom. 8:28-38)Praise assures us that any human, demonic or organizational plot against God’s plans will fail. Praise helps us submit to God’s power, planning and processes. James wrote, “Submit yourself to God.
Resist the devil (stand firm against him) and he will flee from you. Come
close to God and He will come close to you.” (James 4:7,8)
2. PRAY FOR GOD TO REMOVE ALL OBSTACLES FOR CHRIST’S KINGDOM EXPANSION. Pray that the Lord will remove all obstacles (political, social, moral, emotional, personal, family, economic, spiritual, or people) that stand in the way of the Christ’s kingdom and righteousness. God delights to remove mountains to
prove His mighty power to people who only believe what they can see. Both the secular materialist and the animist are deeply touched by a demonstration of God’s mighty power over the material world. God told Zerubbabel, “Not by might or by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty. What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it!” God bless it.” (Zech.4:6,7)
3. CONFESS, RENOUNCE AND SEEK GOD’S FORGIVENESS. James wrote, “Recognize that you are sinners, get your soiled hands clean; realize that you have been disloyal wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts (of your spiritual adultery). As you draw near to God be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep over your disloyalty…Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you (He will lift you up and make your lives significant). (Jaems 4:8,9) The most effective praying happens when we approach the Lord with brokenness and complete yieldedness. Christ triumphed over all the forces of evil when He humbly went to the cross out of submission to the Father’s will. We are most powerful when we come against evil through confessing and renouncing all of our sins of commission, omission, negative attitudes and faulty assumptions about our responsibilities before God. Perhaps there are areas where we are still in
bondage to the ease, fears or selfish desires of our flesh.
4. ENLIST MANY INTERCESSORS TO PRAY FOR VICTORY. Jesus said, “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.” (Matt. 18:19) God blesses corporate prayer by using the intercessory prayers of His people to accomplish greater things than we can do by ourselves.
Illustration: John Robb writes about the power of intercessory prayer, “In 1994 a group of Cambodian Christian leaders told me about the intensity of their spiritual battle and requested support from a team of outside prayer leaders. The following March, I took a team to assist sixty Cambodian pastors and evangelists in prayer for their nation. We quickly encountered the influence of the spirit of murder, exemplified in the worship of Shiva, god of destruction and Naga the serpent god who was said to be the guiding spirit of the Cambodian people. On the second day of the conference, the Spirit of God spoke through one of the members saying, “Some of you have blood on your hands.” In the room, were former Khmer Rouge killers who had executed hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. Great weeping followed, with confession of heinous acts in the killing fields… This deep outpouring of emotion and confession of sin began a process of reconciliation that led, in turn to the formation of a national Christian fellowship. At this writing, the number of churches has grown from about 100 to over 500. In addition, the Khmer Rouge havee been badly weakened, if not destroyed, as a terrorist movement. …Our team and the Cambodian Christians were not praying alone. We were supported by thousands of people who interceded for us around the world.
5. ENCOURAGE LOCAL LEADERS TO PRAY WITH IDENTIFICATION REPENTANCE. Only when the locals leaders are willing to pray with according to God’s formula will there be revival, renewal and advancement of the kingdom of God in that community. 2 Chron 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgiven their sins and will heal their land.” God wants to bring liberty to the captives, healing of the hurting and deliverance from sin for all people in every place, let it begin with us.
6. DEPEND ON GOD FOR EVERY NEED, DECISION AND SOLUTION. Solomon once wrote, “A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory is in the hands of the Lord.” (Prov. 21:31) Do you part but realize that the battle belongs to the Lord and He is the one who will give the victory in His own way and timing.
7. PRAY FOR A COMPLETE MATURITY IN CHRIST FOR THE PEOPLE. Paul wrote, “Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him who is the head, even Christ.” (Eph. 4:15) Pray for a holistic change growth of the kingdom in the leaders, the social relationships, the culture of the people, and the spiritual qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Prayer that seeks to bring about changes that will effect people in every aspect of society shows the power of God through mulitiple dimensions and channels.
8. PERSIST IN PRAYER BY SPENDING TIME WITH GOD EVERY MORNING. Jesus said, “If you keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking (reverently) the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7) It may take months, years or even decades, but the Lord will respond to the prayers of those who will persist with God. Most people who do not see their prayers answered are just not persistent enough and patient to see God bring about His miracles. Those who fail to endure in prayer and be consistent with it allow the evil forces to encroach back in to areas that were previously taken by Christ’s soldiers.
Let us be like good sentinels who watch over the nation to see it win the
victory without being caught off guard. Otherwise, the enemy will take
advantage and cause division, decay and destruction.
Story: John Robb writes, “IN May of 1995 an all night prayer vigil was hosted for a few thousand people. 30,000 showed up to pray through the night for the transformation of Cali, Columbia, the center of the infamous Cali drug cartel. The primary purpose of the vigil was to take a stand against the cartels and their unseen spiritual masters. Both have been ruling the city and nation for too long. After humbling ourselves before God and one another, we symbolically extended Christ’s scepter of authority over Cali – including its bondage over cocaine, violence and corruption… Upon seeing the impact of the believers’ prayers, the mayor of Cali, Columbia announced, “This city needs Jesus Christ to bring peace. The believers in Cali decided to hold a second all night prayer rally. In preparation, they surveyed the political, social and spiritual needs in 22 administrative sections of the city. Then they prayed in specific terms about what they had learned. Again, dramatic changes followed. Columbian authorities launched an anti-corruption investigation – not only within the city government of Cali, but even up to the office of the nations’s president. Since that time Cali has grown economically with more than 25 percent improvement. The city authorities have provided sound systems and platforms for 22 concurrent evangelism crusades with 40 national and international evangelists. The churches in Cali have grown tremendously in a spiritual explosion. Peter Wagner writes, “Cali has become a cutting edge city, since its spiritual awakening is spreading to other cities. But a price for this has been paid in spiritual backlash. In the past two years, over 200 pastors in Colombia have been killed by guerillas or paramilitary forces. ” (Perspectives -p. 149,150, John Robb)
Conclusion: If we want to help complete Christ’s great commission we must pray strategically. Prayer breaks the stronghold that Satan has over peoples’ minds and hearts and lifestyles. Only prayer that is a part of spiritual warfare will prevail against the world, the flesh and the devil. Bold and persistent prayer is needed to dislodge the forces of presumption which are blocking the knowledge of God. Most of this presumption involves self-sufficiency, secular humanism and self-love over our love and submission to God. Ask the Lord to send forth laborers into His harvest fields that will engage in effective spiritual warfare and prayer ministries. Then we can expect to see some of the greatest removing of obstacles by the hand of God that the world has ever seen.
Paul J. Fritz
Answers2Prayer Subscriber [email protected]
Appearing Thursday, Jan. 16, 2003