Let's be honest. All of us have prayers we have been praying for a long time, that we are certain are in agreement with God's will, yet they remain unanswered. The lack of seeming response from heaven to our cry can bring not just a desire lost but devastating consequences. They result in family destruction, financial ruin, loss of hope and even premature death. On a societal level, moral decay seems to set in with a vengeance that threatens the life we have cherished in our nation. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't the lack of prayer effort that is causing this. People are praying, but perhaps we aren't praying with enough understanding. In my opinion, we need a new perspective on the spirit realm we are seeking to navigate when we pray.
Most of us have either been taught or led to believe that when we pray, we step onto a battlefield in the spirit realm. Are we sure that Scripture actually verifies this? The thing we are certain of is that we definitely enter a "conflict" when we pray. But where is that conflict? I assert that at least initially the conflict we are in is not a battlefield, but a courtroom. This is a very important issue. The protocol of a battlefield is completely different from the protocol of a courtroom. In other words, if we behave in a courtroom the way we behave on a battlefield, we are going to be completely ineffective. We will not see the results we are after. We must discern "where we are" in the spirit realm as we pray.
To help understand this, we should look at Jesus' teaching on prayer. I am not talking about what He taught in regards to casting out demons or dealing with like issues. I am speaking of what He taught when He was questioned by His disciples about prayer. This occurred in Mathew 6 and Luke 11. The disciples simply ask Him to teach them to pray. In response to this, Jesus painted a picture of what is happening in the spirit realm when we pray. He said first that prayer is a child approaching a benevolent and kind father. He even said, we should pray, "Our Father who is in heaven." He would go on to state that if we, being evil in comparison to God's goodness, know how to give good things to our children, how much more so the Father who loves us. Approaching God as Father is a foundation to our prayer life. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane at the end, Jesus is still crying out to His Abba Father. We never outgrow this place of prayer. In fact, the greater our revelation of the Father heart of God, the more this realm becomes relative.
Jesus then went on to teach and paint a picture that prayer is also a friend approaching a friend. He speaks of one who has a friend come to him at midnight with a need. This friend then goes to another friend to get what is necessary to take care of the one who has come. He has to get the one he is beseeching out of bed. Jesus says that even though he wouldn't get up because he was a friend, he would get up and give him whatever he needs so he can go back to bed and sleep. The logic Jesus is using here is not to say He is a friend you must "bug" until He does what we want. His point is that if in the natural this could be accomplished with a "friend," how much more when we approach our real friend who is in heaven. Jesus said we were His friend and no longer servants. We have been elevated to a mutual position with Jesus that grants us great authority and privilege with him. He is our friend.
There is one more place in Scripture where Jesus painted a picture of what is happening in the spirit realm when we pray. It is in Luke chapter 18, verses 1 through 8. Jesus places prayer in a courtroom; not a battlefield, but a courtroom. In a courtroom there is a conflict. It is different from the conflict of a battlefield, but it is a conflict nonetheless. In this story Jesus speaks of a widow before an unjust judge. This widow keeps presenting her petition and case before this judge. She is asking for a judgment against her adversary. She is asking for justice. For some time this judge will not grant it, but eventually agrees to render a verdict because of this woman's persistence. Jesus says in this parable to hear what the unjust judge says. In other words, the logic Jesus is using again in His teaching is that if this woman can get a verdict from this unjust judge, how much more can we get a verdict from the just and righteous Judge, who is our Father. As we can see, Jesus places prayer in a judicial system and a courtroom. In none of Jesus' teachings did He ever place prayer on a battlefield. He painted a picture with His words of prayer being a child approaching a father, a friend approaching a friend and of one approaching the Judge who sits upon the throne. We can also see that we for our own life approach our Father with our own needs, our friend for the needs of others and the Judge when we are dealing with resistance and an adversary. This is a completely different model of "spiritual warfare" than perhaps we have understood before.
Revelation chapter 12, verse 10 tells us that there is an accuser of the brothers that is accusing us before God day and night. This word "accuser" is the Greek word kategoros and it means a complainant at law, against one in the assembly. This is the same word used to describe the woman's "adversary" in Luke 18. Satan's strategy to keep us from what God has for us and through us is to accuse us in the courts of heaven. His function is a legal one against us. To further emphasize this, 1 Peter chapter 5, verse 8 says we have an adversary seeking to devour us. This word "adversary" is the Greek word antidikos and it means an opponent in a lawsuit. Clearly, Satan understands that the battle and conflict is a legal one. We must understand it as well.
If we are going to get our "kingdom prayers" answered, we must realize we have to "win" in the courts of heaven first. The battle is a legal battle where we silence the accuser who has built a case to hold territory. We take the blood of Jesus and use His sacrifice to remove every legal right the devil has to resist us. This is a legal process in the spirit realm. Once this is done we can then march to the battlefield and win every time. Revelation 19:11 gives us the order that Jesus Himself uses to accomplish His will.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
Jesus "judges," which is judicial activity, and then He "makes war" which is battlefield. Once we have silenced the accuser and the adversary and gotten the verdict from our righteous Judge, then we march to the battlefield and win and advance the kingdom.
God is our Father, our friend and also the Judge. All three of these are necessary to our prayer life and advancing the Kingdom of God.
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