Several weeks ago, upon seeing pictures of an Appeal to Heaven flag being waved over the plains of Nineveh—the location of the first known transforming revival—I was extremely excited. I quickly sent the picture to one of my friends whose immediate response was, "Our prayers have tapped into the root of awakening in the earth." For the past year, connecting my personal testimony with the profound history pertaining to our nation's founding, I have been rallying the church to make "an appeal to heaven."
In the midst of dismal circumstances, countless believers have responded to this call. Based on what the Holy Spirit spoke to my friend, I believe the appeals to heaven have been heard and we are now moving into the next phase of this new era—a Third Great Awakening that will impact the world!
We must be mindful, however, that successfully stepping into a new season calls for inquiring of the Lord concerning what we must do differently. Change will be necessary in order to come into proper alignment with the season, preparing us for what He wants to release to us and through us in this kairos time. One of the things I hear the Lord saying is that in this new season, we must pray differently.
Keys for Kingly Intercession
Isaiah 22:22 and Matthew 16:18-19 are essential passages of Scripture for shifting into this new aspect of prayer. Both mention "keys" as a way to illustrate the believer's authority in the spirit realm. These keys are indispensable tools God is highlighting for igniting a prayer movement that will bring about a righteous turnaround in this nation.
"The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder. Then he shall open, and no one shall shut. And he shall shut, and no one shall open" (Is. 22:22).
"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:18-19).
Using our authority to open and close spiritual doors is an aspect of prayer I sometimes refer to as "kingly intercession." My understanding of this facet of prayer, which I will also call "governmental intercession," began with an unusual comment made to me by a prophet in the late 1980s and culminated with a statement the Lord made to me in 2002.
"God is going to bring the church into the fresh age of the Melchizedek order, and you will be a part of initiating it," declared the prophet. I had no idea what this meant. Fast-forward approximately 15 years to October 2002. I was praying for America, primarily concerning the judicial system, when I heard the Holy Spirit say, "You will fully shift the government of America when the prayer movement fully shifts from priestly intercession only, to kingly intercession as well." Suddenly, I remembered what the prophet had said to me years ago. And finally I understood "the fresh age of the Melchizedek order." Grasping this revelation will expand our understanding of governmental or kingly intercession.
Understanding the Melchizedek Order
Melchizedek was first mentioned in Genesis 14, again in Psalm 110, and then once more in the book of Hebrews. He was a "type" or picture of Jesus in several ways, one of which was that he was both a king and a priest. At the time, this was unheard of. Zechariah 6:13, a messianic verse describing Christ, refers to Him in His King-Priest role, "Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices" (emphasis added).
The function of a king was to rule, representing God's authority to people; the role of priests was to serve, representing the people to God. As our High Priest, Jesus represents our needs and desires to God. As the King, Christ represents and releases the rule, authority and will of God from heaven to earth. His kingly role is God-centered, while His priestly responsibility is human-centered; one releases power and authority (king), the other love, mercy and grace (priest). The priestly role is petition or intercession-oriented; the kingly role is declarative, decreeing God's word and will.
As co-laborers, partners with and representatives of Jesus Christ, we have become extensions of His King-Priest role. Most Christians, though they may or may not think of it as priestly activity, realize that we are to offer up worship and prayer (petitions) from earth to heaven.
Almost none, however, have understanding or involvement in God's plan concerning our kingly representation of Christ (decrees). We are not only priests, we are a "royal (kingly) priesthood" (1 Pet. 2:9), who have been given the keys of kingdom authority in which to bind and loose, forbid and allow, close and open.
As Holy Spirit re-emphasizes these prophetic words and Scriptures to me, I sense that He is calling His ekklesia to step fully into our responsibility for kingly intercession. The Lord is calling us to shift from merely petitioning the Father, to also making decrees (official orders, edicts or decisions), declarations (announcements or formal statements) and proclamations (the process of binding and loosing) as we are prophetically inspired by Holy Spirit to do so.
The power of God's decreed word is extraordinary! It releases His creativity, His salvation, and yes, His judgments! He rules through His words, and so must we. Consider these verses of Scripture:
"How forceful are right words!" (Job 6:25).
"You will also declare a matter, and it will be established unto you; and the light will shine upon your ways" (Job 22:28).
"Now, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant" (Jer. 1:9-10).
"So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army" (Ezek. 37:10).
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Prov. 18:21).
The Time Is at Hand
Even as I have heard God's clarion call to wield the Isaiah 22:22 key in the governmental arena once again, (which you may read about here) I sense that He is calling His ekklesia in America to pray with greater fervency and diligence concerning our national government, especially for the election in 2016. With several Supreme Court Justices reaching expected retirement ages over the next decade, new nominations to the bench will be forthcoming.
The next president, especially if re-elected for a second term, could have a crucial influence on the future of the Supreme Court (the president appoints the Supreme Court nominees). This will in many ways determine the future of our nation.
We must fill the bowls of intercession in advance for these choices (Rev. 8:3-5). The Lord is inviting us to take the keys He has made available to us and fully shift our national government. The American church must go beyond asking and petitioning the Lord only, to also decreeing and declaring His will and purposes into the earth.
We must move from merely presenting our case before God as priests, to decreeing the rule of Christ into every situation and circumstance. It's time to wield the keys of kingdom authority and shift into kingly intercession.
Our appeals to heaven truly are being answered. But let's do even more. It's time to agree with and boldly voice heaven's decrees in order to establish heaven's government on earth. I am persuaded that we can turn the tide in America through effective governmental intercession. The Lord's will can be accomplished in our land, and righteousness can be restored to the White House, Congress and the judicial system.
America, the time is now. God is bringing forth the fresh age of the Melchizedek order. Be a part of it!
Dutch Sheets is an internationally recognized teacher, conference speaker and author of The Power of Hope. He has written more than 20 books, translated into over 30 languages. His first work, Intercessory Prayer, sold nearly a million copies and is being used to empower believers worldwide for passionate prayer and societal transformation. He and his wife, Ceci, make their home in the Dallas area.