There's no question that many people are praying for this nation. Calls go out daily urging believers to pray for our president, his administration and the myriad of issues and threats that are before them. And yet, with seemingly so much prayer, little ground seems to be taken. Though there are measured answers and small breakthroughs along the way, the major hurdles to cross regarding abortion, sexual perversion and corruption in high places seem far off and out of reach.
What I see on social media is an assumption we just need more prayer. There's the idea that if we can just get more people praying, maybe these strongholds can be broken once and for all. I would like to suggest it's not more prayer we need, but better prayer. It's not the number of people praying, but how we are praying and our lack of the bigger picture that is causing a logjam.
Here are four issues that I believe may be holding up our prayers as the church:
The Church Is Not United in Prayer: A house divided cannot stand.
"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand" (Mark 3:24-25).
Not only is our nation divided; we as the church are divided. We are not only divided by our political views but by the very values we once held sacred. More and more believers are embracing inclusive theology and liberal worldviews, citing their conviction for mercy and tolerance. The counterfeit narrative fed by our spiritual adversary has hooked many believers, placing them under a deceptive spell. Our skewed opinions and personal doctrines are now becoming dogma, and it has split the church in two.
The Church Has Limited Corporate Authority: Personal authority is not the same as corporate authority.
"I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18b).
The principalities at work in this nation are in place because of corporate strongholds. These strongholds can only be broken by corporate authority. When believers are properly aligned with the leadership God has put in place, things can happen. When we come together as a "house" before the Lord—being together in one mind and spirit—things can shift (Isa. 22:22). The spiritual jurisdiction required to topple these principalities can only come from the people of God functioning together as the ekklesia, the governing authority on the earth.
The Church Has Limited Influence in the Public Square: We have no weight in the spirit where we have no influence in the natural.
"God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28a).
Our mandate from the very beginning has been to spread out to the left and right and fill the earth with His presence and power. This is not just about being a good witness but being a change agent in every sphere of our culture. In order to see the laws of the land established in kingdom truths, we must engage in the process and be a voice in the wilderness. Just as Daniel did, we must take our place in a godless society in order to raise the standard for truth with an excellent spirit and demonstration of kingdom power and authority.
The Church Has Limited Prophetic Vision: We can't be packing our bags to go up while being called to rule in the midst of our enemies.
"'Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.' The Lord shall send your mighty scepter out of Zion; rule in the midst of your enemies" (Ps. 110:1-2).
Regardless of a person's view of a Great Tribulation or rapture, Christ is coming for a glorious church that has learned to rule and reign in the midst of her adversaries (Eph. 5:27, Rev. 19:7). God's pattern throughout history has been to take His people through adversity, not rescue them from it (the Israelites at the Red Sea, Daniel in the lion's den and the fiery furnace, the persecution of His disciples, Jesus on the cross and so on). Though Jesus told us to be ready for His return, His main message was to occupy until He does by multiplying our influence and territory (Luke 19:13). Until we realize we are here to fulfill our commission together, we will be quarreling about the unknown and wasting precious time on lesser things (Titus 3:9).
How Do We Overcome These Obstacles?
- We must agree on what's most important. We will never all agree on doctrine. But we should agree on the basic tenets of our Christian faith and work together to assure these foundational truths and dogmas are secured in the laws of the land.
- We must pray together as a "house." We must make sure our prayers are in alignment with the corporate witness and those whom God has placed in fivefold leadership in the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13). When we connect with the local church and intercede in unity, our authority increases for greater impact.
- We must engage in the public square. Whether it's volunteering at our local school, supporting local candidates or building relationships in the marketplace, we must get better informed about the issues and be voices of truth to displace lies and counterfeits.
- We must have a unified vision for the future. We must know the "why" of our call and activities to be properly aligned with God's purposes in this hour and this season. Rather than focusing on the timing of His return, we must focus on the immediate need to engage in the mission and finish what He started.
As we continue to pray for the pressing issues of the day, let's make sure we see the bigger picture. God is using us as His bride to display His glory throughout the earth—and we need each other to do it.
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