Editor’s note: Over the past years, China Partnership has dedicated itself to intentional prayer for the church in China. As CP increasingly emphasizes prayer as part of our calling, we have worked with John Smed of Prayer Current to hone our prayer muscles. He shared this urgent call to prayer with Chinese leaders and pastors at a recent gathering. The following has been edited from transcriptions of the original talk.
Prayer transports you to the throne room of Christ. You do not live here. I know it sounds strange, but by faith we read in the Bible that we live somewhere else. Colossians 3:3 says, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” In Colossians 1:12, we read that he has “transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son!” Ephesians 2:6 says, God “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus said in John 17:24, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.” You are in the throne room, but faith is awakened to realization by prayer. When you approach God in prayer, you ascend in prayer and realize you are already in the throne room. Your eyes are opened and you realize, “I am a resident with the king.” This is the answer to Jesus’ prayer [for those who belong to him].
Let me illustrate the difference it makes. A few weeks ago, I was flying into Toronto. We were at 35,000 feet and I looked down. I saw clouds all over and I said to the man beside me, “Look! It’s overcast in Toronto.” He smiled and looked at me and said, “No! It’s under-cast.” If you are at 35,000 feet, you are above the clouds. You are not living life on the surface below the clouds.
In prayer, you ascend above the clouds, above troubles and pain and sorrow. The clouds are there, but you are above them, in the presence of Christ. When you don’t pray, life is overcast. All you can see is clouds and pollution. When you pray, God lifts you above and you see the light of his glory.
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Not only does prayer transport the believer to the throne room, but there is more. We share Jesus’ ascension power and authority. Jesus rules heaven and earth. But you know what? He is not selfish, and he shares his rule with you. When you bow your knees in prayer, you enter the power and authority of Christ. Listen to what Paul says in Colossians 2:10: “You have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
Here is what happened. Jesus disarmed all rulers and authorities. Colossians 2:15 says, “He disarmed [them] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them.” Christ rules everything. What many believers do not realize is that we rule with him right now. He did not conquer with swords, guns, and missiles. He does not wage war that way. He rules with prayer, with love, and with sacrifice.
Listen! Revelation 5:10 says, “You have made them a kingdom and priest to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” This is not just heaven; his ascension power and glory is ours now.
Let me tell you how a Roman war worked. Before modern communication technology, the king came with his great army and fought the other army in a field battle. After defeating all his enemies, he would make the other generals kneel before him. He would put his foot on their neck, indicating they were vanquished and were in subjection. Then he would send messengers on horses to every realm in that kingdom, saying: “This is a new kingdom. You have a new king. Be prepared. He is coming. Bow your knees before him, or you will be destroyed like that army.” Then, how did the king execute his rule? He said to one of his generals, “You take five cities.” He said to another, “You take ten cities.”
The king shares his power and authority, delegating his rule to his servants. The present rule and reign of Christ is enacted as we pray. Ephesians 1:19-22 says it all: I pray you will know “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
Paul is effectively saying, “I want you to know the immeasurable greatness of Christ’s power at work in you now, because Jesus has ascended! Prayer is about ascension power.”
In response, let us say, “Lord, we know you have ascended. Lord, I believe I am in the throne room with you. We want to receive your power and your authority for your purposes. Amen!”