The Still Small Voice

Strategic Listening: Authority in Prayer


Chapter Eight, Part Two


Authority in Prayer

The Transfiguration shows us that the ultimate seat of authority resides on the courts of Heaven. But Scripture also reminds us to pray for the seats of power around the world, imperfect though they are.

It is no coincidence that so many of the prayers in the New Testament take the form of commands.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, He promised the disciples that they would see ‘still greater things.’ When He stilled the storm with a word of command, and raised Lazarus from the dead, we see these words coming true.

In John 14:12, Jesus looks forward to the day when His disciples would exercise the same authority. Heeding the Still Small Voice, and moving in the power of His Spirit they would cast out spirits of divination, restore the dead to life and heal the sick – just as Jesus Himself had done.

The powers of darkness understand the power of prayer much better than most Christians do. After all, they have had centuries of being defeated by praying saints. That is why they do all they can to prevent us using the authority that is rightly ours in Christ Jesus.

Have you experienced the sort of authority Suzanne Pillans exemplified in the passage we shared in the opening chapter when she was praying for the sick in Africa? Many years ago, at a meeting in the Cotswolds, I felt the Lord warning me that the IRA were planning to detonate a bomb. As everyone cried out to God together, the Lord gave me one prayer above the hubbub: ‘Lord, defuse bombs tonight!’ Some hours later an IRA bomb was discovered in London and defused safely.

It is so important we do not dismiss such stirrings of the Spirit within us as coincidence. The Lord uses the prayers of His servants in such ways to lessen – though necessarily to avert entirely – many judgments and disasters. Two weeks before the Twin Towers were destroyed, the Lord told David Wilkerson to stop all activities in his church in Times Square, New York, and to focus exclusively on prayer. We will never know how many more people might have lost their lives had the congregation not interceded.

More recently, following the terrorist bombs in London on 7/7/05, Ros felt a nudge to pray that other bombs would be found intact. It sounded a tall order, but four deadly devices were safely dismantled just two weeks later in the London Underground and on a bus. All the government could do was to declare that we had been extremely “lucky!!”

As we have been hinting, the Lord wants us to be as concerned for nations as we are for individuals, and to be equally at home in praying for either. What impressed David Watson most when he met Corrie Ten Boom was the natural way in which she turned to the Lord, lifting everything from missing car keys to international crises to Him.

Such authority works at every level. From time to time I experience in my own body some unusual symptom as I am praying with someone, in order to point me in the direction where they are hurting. I was praying on the phone the other day for someone who had been plagued by a sore throat for several months. Suddenly, it felt as though I had a kilo of sand in my own throat. Such sensations have a wonder way of making us pray full-on. It lifted as I prayed, and my friend’s throat was completely healed as well.

There are times when simply committing something to the Lord does not appear to be enough. We need to exercise the spiritual authority the Lord has given us.

A few months ago, I injured my back lifting a box that was too heavy for me. I was in extreme pain, so much so that it was taking me five minutes to lower myself into bed, and considerably longer to get out again. We were due to go away for the weekend, but there was no way that I was going anywhere unless the Lord did a miracle.

If ever there was a time to exercise authority in prayer this was it. Ros took that authority, and, within minutes, eighty percent of the pain had disappeared. The Lord developed such important relationships that weekend that I shudder to think of all that would have been missed had she not done so.

For Reflection and Prayer

As we considered on before, there is a fine line between exercising genuine spiritual authority, and straying wide of the mark into presumption. We will by no means always get the balance right – but nether should we allow our fear of overstepping the mark to hold us back from praying with the authority the Lord gives.

Lord, may Your Still Small Voice lead and direct our prayers.

Keep us from presumption, and release Your authentic power into many situations – starting with the ones I bring to You right now . . .