This morning as I was making my son his breakfast, I put on a kid praise cd to get us dancing.
The first song resounded with a children's choir singing words about the protection of God, and how no matter what, He always protects us. I looked down at Moses excitedly and said, “Moses, did you know that God will always protect you?”
But the second the words came out of my mouth, I felt the pain.
The moment they crossed my lips, I felt the twinge of doubt. And I saw her face. I saw her missing skull. I saw my baby girl who died in my arms less than 4 months ago from anencephaly. Deep inside, a dark little voice whispered to my heart:
“Christa, you can't promise your son that God will protect him. Because He didn't protect your daughter.”
We've all prayed for something that God promised us in scripture, and His promise didn't manifest in the natural. We've all had things we've interceded for, labored for, petitioned for—and somehow, the prayer didn't seem to work. In the last couple of blog posts, I've laid a foundation for 1) what prayer is, and 2) what opposes our prayers. I know I said I wasn't going to write a book about prayer anytime soon, but these blogs have been a bit longer than expected—and I kind of did. (yikes!). But I made a promise to finish, and finish I did—even though it didn't turn out quite as polished and as edited as I would have liked.
Let's talk for a minute about what happened when you handed your life over to this Love named Jesus.
When you said yes to Jesus, your citizenship changed. You went from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, with full rights as a citizen of heaven. (Col 1:13) And just like our judicial system in the natural world, you're in a new system with a new judge and new law—the laws of the kingdom of God.
So don't you think it might be important to find out how the law over your life has changed?
As a citizen of heaven, the law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death. Friend, you're no longer under the law of sin and death anymore. Your sin nature was crucified, ratified, resurrected, and you've been seated in Christ's victory, with ALL AUTHORITY as a believer and co-heir with Jesus!
Imagine, for a second, being a citizen of a poor, depressed third world country. The laws of your world might be corrupt, brutal towards women, power hungry, and crooked. You might have a lack of resources and medicine, with poverty and pain around every corner. But because you live in this country and have citizenship there, you would be required to obey and follow the corrupt laws of the land or face the consequences.
But what if a first world kingdom came in and offered citizenship to anyone who wanted it.
What if your citizenship could immediately change, and you would have legal authority to carry out the new laws of the new kingdom you were apart of even though you never changed geographic location. What if you now had access to your new King's abundance, His provision, and His power? What if He had medicine, brilliant strategy, and access to solutions? What if He actually had an inheritance He wanted to give you for free! It might take some time to shift things in your third world—especially since poverty, lack, and pain is all you've ever known. It might be hard work to bring this new kingdom where there's been so much corruption, pain, and lack. But the more you understand the laws of your NEW kingdom, the more you gain authority to implement them in your old country.
AND THEN you find out you have the God of the universe, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the hosts of heaven waiting to help you implement this new authority and set up a new kingdom—overcoming evil with good by releasing heaven to earth.
This, dear friend, is the Christian life.
Right now, you might physically live in a world under the law of sin and death, but you're not under that law anymore.
-You live in a world with lack, but you're under a higher law of abundance.
-You live in a world with death, but you're under a higher law of life.
-You're in a world with war, but you're under a higher law of peace.
The thing is, you still have a choice. You can still choose to live and subject yourself to the laws of that third world country, acting like a citizen. But your heavenly citizenship gives you access to an inheritance that is yours for the taking. And this inheritance isn't just for you—it's for everyone you come into contact with. You can use the abundance available to you to feed the poor, to heal the sick, to bring peace, joy, life and hope!
Friend, as a citizen of of the kingdom of heaven with a co-heir status with Jesus, you are now under the authority of the God of the universe, even as you live on this fallen earth. You now have diplomatic immunity to walk into the kingdom of darkness and release light. Your new King and His new laws trump the law of sin and death—and He's given you the authority as a son and daughter to go about doing his business. And this is done through sonship. This is done through the promises. This is done through authority.
This is done through prayer.
THE COURTS OF HEAVEN
We are at war with a kingdom of darkness that still has power. Why? Because sin and death are still present in this fallen world. But as a believer, we've not only been freed from these laws, but we're also commissioned to set up a new kingdom.
In this natural world, I would be a terrible lawyer, and not because I'm bad at arguing. I would be a terrible lawyer because I don't really know the law. If you want to know your authority as a Christian, you better know the new laws of your King. You better know what's legally available to you in Christ. You would never go before a judge without using the law to prepare your case—the law is what will assure you win! Friend, there is a Judge, and he's a righteous Judge. The veil has been torn, you have access to the throne room, and your prayers are petitions can go to the courts of heaven any time you want.
Isaiah 33:22 says, “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.” And then in Hebrews 10:30 ”…The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people.” We now have access to a heavenly court system that is the highest law of the universe. Daniel 7:10 says “…the Judge was seated [the court was in session]” and in Daniel 7:26, “But the judgment shall be set [by the court of the Most High]…”
The judgments of God's heavenly court are legal, binding, and permanent. And because you are in Christ, you now have legal access to everything that is His.
Do I understand these courts of heaven? I'm actually just beginning to scratch the surface, but I know that they're there, as evidenced in scripture. God is a just God with a perfect legal system, and scripture says that the accuser of the brethren (Satan himself) is standing in the courts of heaven RIGHT NOW accusing you. He takes immaculate notes—all the places where fear resides, anger, bitterness, self-hatred, and sin. All the places where HE has access because of your agreement. And this enemy, this devil, is standing before the throne of heaven accusing you, asking permission for legal access to torment you, to steal from you, to destroy you.
And because GOD IS JUST, and because you have free will, if you remove your diplomatic immunity through your agreement, then Satan has your legal access to invade your world.
It's kind of like holding a gun that was given to you under the authority of heaven. Every time you agree that you're ugly, disgusting, shameful, that you'll never be free—coming in agreement with your old kingdom of darkness—you hand over your gun to the enemy. It's still your gun. And you still have legal access to use it—but if you hand it over, then the enemy can now use it.
The very weapon you were given with authority to fight is now being turned on you with one intention—to destroy you.
7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (RSV)
I'm obsessed with legal shows, justice, and watching the courts at work. I absolutely believe our world's obsession with justice is because that's what's mirrored in heaven, every day, over our lives and with our prayers. When we pray, coming into agreement with the legal system of heaven, we take this accuser of the brethren who accuses us day and night before our God, and we make our case in the courts of heaven. And we have a lawyer and a Judge who are constantly interceding for us:
“Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.”
Beautiful one, Jesus and God are interceding for you right now. Why would Jesus and God be interceding for you if prayer wasn't important to release something? If intercession is a priority to our God, then don't you think it might be powerful in your own life?
The great tribulation hasn't happened yet. The archangel Michael hasn't cast down the enemy as recorded in Revelation 12, which means, the enemy in the courts of heaven right now, legally accusing you. He's arguing his case against your addiction. He's arguing your case against your illness. He's arguing your case against your torment, your destruction, your generational line, and your annihilation. Agreeing with heaven through your prayers is taking back your legal authority as a citizen of heaven, and releasing that authority into your life, and into the lives of others.
(This is getting long, but I don't care. If you've read this far, you're really committed, and want to keep going.)
BINDING THE ENEMY
How many times in prayer sessions have you heard someone binding the enemy? This always confused me. Where was the rope? Did our prayers take invisible rope and tie him up? How long was he tied up? Was he able to untie himself? And how was he able to untie himself?
When Jesus was tested in the desert for 40 days in Matthew 4, we need to remember a few things:
1) He was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tested. Sometimes, the enemy coming against your life is led by the Spirit. Sometimes, it's so you can gain the spiritual muscles you need to learn your authority. And if the Spirit leads you into testing, you better believe it's out of love. God loves you so much, He knows what you need to become an overcomer. That's why, in ANY circumstance that comes against you, you must ask the two questions I learned from Graham Cooke that have saved my life on many occasions:
-What does this mean?
-What do I need to do?
I asked those question concerning the death of my daughter….and I wasn't being led into the desert by the Spirit. I was robbed. I was stolen from. Which means, dear friends, you've got a mama ready to fight with all her might. And legally, as evidenced in scripture, I have legal access to demand the enemy repay me SEVEN FOLD. You better believe I've been petitioning in the courts of heaven for the release of restitution over our lives!
2) Jesus bound the enemy by quoting scripture. The enemy didn't lose his power because Jesus yelled at him. He didn't lose his power because Jesus just raised his voice. Jesus always came against the lies of the enemy with one thing….the truth of the promises of God. He quoted scripture as His defense. Praying, declaring, and agreeing with the promises of God caused the enemy to lose all power in the circumstance.
Dear one, THIS is the power of praying through agreement. You want to know how to bind the enemy in your life? Sing scripture. Worship. Magnify God where His glory comes and kicks out the darkness. Pray in the spirit on all occasions. Mediate in the truth. Binding the enemy isn't about praying words that cast invisible rope. It's about coming into agreement with heaven where that heaven can be released, and the enemy must leave.
The enemy will leave where he has no legal grounds to stay.
3) Jesus didn't engage the enemy
In these passages of scripture, notice Jesus doesn't even talk directly to the enemy until the very end when he tells him to take a hike. The devil came at Him. STOP FOCUSING ON THE ENEMY. Stop talking to him all the time! We become overwhelmed with whatever fills our eyes—so if you're focusing on the enemy, then you're going to be overwhelmed by him. Jesus fought the devil by focusing on the promises. Jesus prayed by agreeing with the promises.
Prayer, dear one, is agreeing with all that God has promised you—especially when you're being attacked.
(Beth Moore has a perfect book reflection this type of prayer called Praying God's Word!)
IN CONCLUSION (I KNOW, FINALLY)
Remember back in Revelation 12:11, “for they loved not their lives even unto death.” I think as Christians in the Western world, we have grossly missed the mark, as have I. Does God care about your car, your house, and your job? You bet, and I've written blog posts about it. But the bigger picture is so huge with this war that we're in as citizens of a new kingdom, and I've been guilty of prioritizing prayer of circumstantial and trivial things just as much as the next guy.
But I'm reminded of the apostles. I'm reminded of Paul who knew his authority as a citizen of heaven more than any of us, teaching us about being seated in heavenly places in Ephesians 2 and praying in the spirit on all occasions. I'm reminded how many times he was put into prison, beaten, and eventually beheaded for the cross of Jesus Christ. I'm reminded of the apostle Peter who refused to be crucified like his Lord, and was crucified upside down—praying, worshiping, and loving his Lord, even until death. I'm reminded of the current persecution, torture, and murder of the saints world wide going on right now in places like China, Iraq, Africa, and Egypt. The persecuted church is praying, and yet still—because much of this world is still under the jurisdiction of the enemy through sin and death—sometimes things don't pan out even when we're praying in agreement with scripture.
I don't understand this, and I wish I did. I don't understand why the mighty apostle Paul, who prayed in the spirit on all occasions, was still beheaded for the gospel—even though I guarantee he was praying and believing for rescue!
Yes, there are miracles like Paul & Silas shaking the walls of the prison with their worship in Acts 16, which is why we pray. Yes, there are miracle after miracle reported in books like The Heavenly Man and There's Always Enough,, which is why we pray. And yet, even with their fervent prayers and their revelation of authority, Paul, Peter, Steven, and many of the apostles and believers were (and are) still murdered and are suffering for this gospel we have given our lives to.
So, why did my daughter die even though we prayed? Because we're in a war—and one that I'm far from fully understanding. She died because there is a legal system at work that I know exists, but I haven't learned enough about. There is an enemy who is accusing me, my family, my bloodline, and my destiny. Do I understand my authority as a believer? Far from it. Do I understand how to fully come into agreement with heaven when I pray? Far from it.
Does this mean I will stop praying just because my daughter died? Not in a million years.
I know my God, as evidenced in scripture. I know His will is for life, and life abundantly. I know that prayer works, as evidenced in scripture, and in my own life. So instead of getting angry that my prayers didn't pan out the way I wanted, I'm going to find out why they didn't manifest. You better believe I'm going to press in, learning how to pray. You better believe I won't stop until I know my authority as a believer, and pray that heaven to earth. Does it mean that every prayer will show up physically? Doubt it, but that's my goal, because Jesus is my goal—and that's how He lived.
The more I put on my armor through intimacy, righteousness, peace, salvation, faith, and the promises, the more I will know how to stand and withstand the accusations of the enemy.
The mysteries of prayer can be unlocked through intimacy, but they're hard to unlock when you're offended at God from past prayers not turning out like you wanted them to. So instead of moving into offense, unbelief, bitterness, or anger that something didn't pan out prayer wise, PRESS IN. Press in to truth. Press in even harder, putting a stake in the ground that the goodness of God will never come into question in your life. Move forward with boldness. Let Jesus hold you in your pain. Guard your intimacy. Learn your authority.
And through prayer, let's learn to be citizens of our new kingdom. Releasing that kingdom everywhere we go on this earth.