Tag Archives: abiding in the vine

Time for an Upgrade: Authoritative Prayer

1 May

Isn’t it grasping, to presume to speak on behalf of God?  Isn’t it above our status and pay-grade to think we have the authority of Christ?  When we exercise in such ‘high places’, aren’t we ignoring the more tangible disqualifying evidences of our ‘sinfulness’ in my life?  Trying to depart from all my learned traditions and dogmas feels so awkward!  Isn’t that a sign that something is wrong?  Won’t someone point an accusing finger at me and assign me with heresy?  Now I have to find the mind of Christ before I declare… it was so much easier when all I had to do was ask.  Isn’t this co-ruler-ship status reserved for when we have glorified bodies?

All are legitimate questions and comments.  But remember there is no shame in being like the noble Bereans who went back to the Word to see “whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  We must determine if our questions and fears are justified… or are they just the last vestiges of a passing age?

Without a doubt, we are in a birthing process which includes discomfort and trauma… in the transition between the ages.  Even Paul ached for his children as they experienced the rigors of birth, “…my little children, for whom I am again iPP_1080pn the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Gal 4:19)  Paul’s had a revelation and was laboring to see the fullness of Christ formed and perfected (Heb 10:14) in us.  That’s right, until we are in one-ness with Christ… even until “we are as He is in this world” (I Jn 4:17).

So among all the Christ-like-ness issues we could focus on, what does God think about our prayer posture?  What is the Modus Operandi of New Testament/Kingdom Age prayer?  Well, let’s evaluate and define two starkly different prayer patterns.

A.   Beggar, orphan and widow prayer – we only ask and petition… no need for faith… we ask out of our pain or need.

A misinterpretation of Lk 18:1-8 helped entrench our widowly asking, which has been the only acceptable posture for millennia.  We felt so distant from God… and so ‘beneath’ Him.  There was no authority position to be had.  God was the Authority… I was NOT!  No one even dared speak to Father… much less on behalf of Father (which is what caused Jesus so much trouble).  And since we were so sin conscious we could barely muster the courage to even approach Him.  We could only cry out in hope that He would relent and grant mercy-drop concessions to salve our need and pain.  And if we ever mustered the courage to speak with God or on His behalf, there were any number of ‘friends’ who would remind us that we are only unworthy sinful servants who must wait until glory-land for our full-fledged status and privileges of sainthood to be appreciated.  Such was the Old Testament prayer M.O..

B.   Co-heir and co-ruler prayer – we hear then we speak… we have faith to speak because faith comes by hearing (Rms 10:17)

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:13) Not only have we been brought ‘near’ but we’re now co-seated with Christ and His intention is that we would comprehend the magnitude of our inheritance that has been lavished upon us… and embrace co-ruler-ship with Him (Dan 7:27).   This dominion ruler-ship was abdicated by Adam, but legally restored by Jesus, and is now being more fully revealed in our day.  We are being “transformed by the RE-newing of our minds” (Rms 12:2)… made new again (as in the beginning)… purged of outdated paradigms.  We’ve been liberated into a ‘large place’ (Ps 18:19).  He is restoring to us all that was lost in the Fall… only now it’s better, we have Holy Spirit who labors with us.

Our posture now, is one of joining Jesus in ruler-ship.  So what kind of prayer is Jesus praying?  It’s something like this: “Be healed!”… “Come forth!”… “Arise!”… “Stretch forth!”… etc.  We could describe these prayers as; declarative, prophetic, release, proclamation, etc.  Then Jesus invites us to adopt the same posture in prayer… which is more in line with our current theology.  As long as we have truly heard, then faith comes by hearing, and faith is the substance that lets us declare a thing as being so.  We follow in the footsteps of God who “calls forth those things which are not as though they were” (Rms 4:17).

Disclaimer: Of course, when it comes to declaring prayer, if we don’t know God’s mind on a matter, then we always ask (Jms 1:5).  We’re not God… like Jesus, we “can do nothing apart from the Father”.Declarative prayer

Consider these Biblical examples of saintly authority, where God instructs or empowers US to ‘do the stuff’.  Note that He does not instruct us to ask Him to do the stuff.  In fact, He chides or corrects Moses and Ezekiel for asking.

1.  Don’t beg, you do it! – Ex 14:15-16 – God said, “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. “As for you, (You) lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and (You) divide it.”  My paraphrase: “Moses, don’t cry to me when I’ve empowered you to do the job!  You lift up your staff and you divide the sea.”

2.   Jesus empowers His 12 – Matt 10:7-8 – “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “(You) Heal the sick, (you) raise the dead, (you) cleanse the lepers, (you) cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.”

Jesus did not say, “If you preach, I will do the stuff for you.”  No.  He clearly says that THEY/WE are supposed to do the stuff.  No begging for God to do it, allowed.

3.   Anointed to ‘do’ – Luke 4:18-19 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of the sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”   

Of course, Jesus is quoting a fulfilled prophecy of Himself.  But we believe that He has given us permission to do the same things He did and even greater… right?  SOooo… we are to preach the Gospel, we are to declare release to captives, we are to give sight to the blind, we are to set free the oppressed, etc.  Who is supposed to do this?  We are!  Jesus didn’t say if you make loud appeals to me then I will do it for you.  Our theology says, He has empowered US to do all these things and more.

4.   You prophesy! – Ezek 37 – God asks Ezekiel a tough question; whether dry bones can live.  Zeke takes the humble route, “Only You know, Lord.”  God says, “No way, Jose!  You don’t get off with a response like that… that’s so far below your saintly status.  You can’t stay a baby forever!  Partner with me!  You prophesy!” 

We know that Moses and Ezekiel were Old Testament saints… right?  Then how much more should we New Testament saints move into this partnership with God… we have the finished work of the Cross and Holy Spirit!

One could say, “Well, God/Jesus spoke to them directly telling them what to do.”  And that is true… but we’repropheticprayerweb veterans of hearing the voice of the Lord, aren’t we?  So God’s M.O. for us is clear; we hear, we believe and therefore we speak.

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,” – II Cor 4:13

Of course none of this is possible without abiding in the Vine.  The Vine is our identity, life source and empowerment.  But we are abiding and we are hearing and we are believing.  So, in keeping with Scriptural precedent and mandate, we speak forth in declarative prayer what we know to be true.

So in prayer, if we now know the mind of Christ then it would be quite inappropriate to mindlessly default to asking again… and again.  Because of our maturing understanding of Father’s intentions for us, we now assume our rightful places as co-heirs and co-reigners… we prophesy, release, bind, etc… all from our Heavenly position of being co-seated with Christ

“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. – (Matt 18:18).

Did you catch that?  Any binding and loosing in earthly situations, gets done by us in the heavenly places.  Stunning!  Our incredible place of favor and authority is so big that it almost defies our believe-ability.  But we’re getting there!  And we might as well get used to it.  Guaranteed, focus on this topic will only increase in the future.

So are you ready for some homework: For one week, don’t pray default asking prayers… simply ask God what His will is about your situation, then declare, release and proclaim whatever He tells you.  It’s going to be a great ‘workout’ at the ‘gym’ this week.

What an amazing Father!  He really is preparing us to enter the Kingdom age equipped for the times.


For more related articles posted on Beyond the Map:

Luke 18’s Unjust Judge – God or Satan?
Our New Prayer Posture: Declare/Prophesy
The Three Eras of Prayer Posture
Intercession: From faithless beggar petitions to confident kingly prophetic declarations
Dual Realities of the Believer (No More Pickle Juice)


Autonomy… or Abiding in the Vine?

29 Mar

Occasionally people express concerns about my ‘fleece template’ approach to finding the will of God… or they offer alternative methods.  A common one goes something like this:

In the sovereignty of God, He gives us an ‘open area’ within which to make decisions on our own.   Somehow He will prevent us from making wrong decisions if they happen to fall outside of His ‘safe-zone’ parameter.  We’re permitted to make decisions on our own, as long as we stay inside this area.  We might make poor decisions within that area, but He uses these less-than-perfect decisions to teach us how much we need Him.

I’ve thought a lot about this subject.  And even though I heartily agree that God is so amazing that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rms 8:28), I believe Father’s heart would rather have us learn from hearing His voice rather than from convalescing after stubbing our toe.  So here a number of problems I have with this version:

  1. Jesus said, “I only say what I hear my Father say”… Not, “My Father said I can say anything I like as long as it’s within certain parameters.”

  2. Jesus said, “I can do nothing apart from my Father.”… Not, “My Father said He would leave it up to me… as long as I didn’t get too wild about it… or take it too far.”  Even though Jesus was God, He never even suggested that He was able to be autonomous apart from His Father.

  3. So who gets to define the parameters?  How far is too far?  What are the ‘widest’ parameters on each of my issues.  Am I supposed to use the trial and error method?  Or just use the ‘limit’ that somebody said was their limit?

  4. How would I know that I have accurate parameters? Did it come from a warm-fuzzy?  Did I find a good Bible verse?  Has my intellect alone established my never-exceed limit?

  5. How do I know that my parameters are not influenced by my AMBITION or my FEAR.  How do I know that my parameters aren’t skewed by a myriad of earthly/soulish influences?  How do I know that the devil hasn’t whispered into my parameter-setting process?

  6. What about the Biblical gold standard that says, “Let a thing be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses”? (Matt 18:16, II Cor 13:1)

  7. So how often would a person have to check in with Father God to get a fresh update on the current parameters that he is free to be autonomous within?  Or does this parameter-method even require that we converse with God.  Maybe we just trust that He will keep us from falling off the cliff as we go happily on our way.
  8. Saying, “I can do anything without walking in intimate relationship with Father”, seems to diminish my Father’s partnership and role in my life.  Wouldn’t He love to walk in relationship with me rather than just be a rule and parameter setter in my life?  As a rule setter (draw a line… this far and no more) it seems like we’re relegating Him to be our policeman… like saying we don’t mind living in His kingdom under His rules, but we don’t really want a personal relationship with the king of this kingdom.  “We can probably handle this job okay without Your help, God.  Thanks for setting the parameters, I can take it from here.  I’ll get back with you when I need an update on rules, policies and parameters in my life.”  Note: The Israelites had a similar response to God at Mt Sinai… but it didn’t work out so well for them. (Deut 5:27)

  9. Rather than exploring and experimenting with my own mind and then I find myself making a “good” or just “acceptable” choice (Rms 12:2), I’d rather walk in a closer relationship and at least take a stab at making a “perfect” choice in the will of God.  BTW, using my own mind’s ability to figure it out, is the same method that the rest of the world uses.  Shouldn’t we be functioning in a better operating system?

    I realize that in the process of trying to hear God’s voice I will likely mishear many times and make plenty of mistakes… but my hope is that I’ll make far less mistakes as I’m trying to hear, versus if I’m operating under a policy that says my mind is good enough to make this decision on my own.  I’d rather walk in partnership with Father in everything I do… and acknowledge that I’m nothing apart from Him… in keeping with Jesus’ confession, “I can do nothing….”  I don’t want to even hint to my heart, or to Him, that I’m sufficient without Him.  I don’t want to diminish my dependency upon Him.

  10. And here’s a reason almost no one will think of… but it’s more vital and more ever-present than most people care to acknowledge.  If I’ve made a decision with nothing more profound than my mind, then when the devil comes to test me down the road, I have nothing but my intellect to do battle with him.  My faith has nothing to stand on.  There is no, “It is written” to back up my decision, so I will likely waffle in my conviction… easily opt out… or be oppressed with discouragement… and just hope God hurries to bail me out.

  11. The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing.  And hearing by (or through hearing) the Word of God.” (Rms 10:17)  So in order to have true Biblical faith we MUST hear something.  And “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb 11:6, Rms 14:23)  So if I haven’t heard God’s voice on the matter before me, then it’s impossible to have faith to make the decision (except for the faith I have in my own intellect).  Not only is this not Biblical (IMO) but leaves me vulnerable to the devil’s attacks later on.

A maturing mode of living should find us pressed more into “abiding in the Vine” versus autonomy apart from the Vine.  “Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (Jn 15:4)  Hmm… fairly straight forward here.  Our very identity is in the Vine, and the Vine’s life-flow is our source, our safety and our success.

Now of course, let everyone “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12)   So if someone’s operating system is working well for them… if they have unshakable faith each time they make their decisions… if they are not fazed when the devil rattles their cage… if they are happy with their level of intimacy with God… and if they are seeing success in all of their decisions… then I’d encourage them to continue with their current operating system.  If it’s working, don’t fix it.

But, if their operating system leaves them dangling in uncertainty, ambiguity, failure, regret, fear, doubt or paying the consequences… then let me recommend another way, the ‘fleece template’.