The awesome authority of prayer

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)


“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:18-20)

These are almost frightening words! They reveal to us the most attractive yet fearsome thing about prayer, and that is its authority. Prayer is a powerful force in the world of men and has done a great many things including:

  • Dividing seas and rolling up flowing rivers, 
  • Quenching flames of fire, 
  • Muzzling lions and disarming vipers
  • Bursting open iron gates
  • Conquering the strongest devils
  • Commanding legions of angels down from heaven
  • Bridling and chaining the raging passions of men and 
  • Destroying vast armies of the proud.

Jesus Christ said in Verse 18 that prayer is an authority which operates in mystery:

Binding and loosing — what our Lord is unquestionably saying here is that it is possible for quite ordinary humans like you and me to exercise extraordinary power. The extraordinary within the ordinary reminds me of Clark Kent who wears his Superman ensemble underneath his street clothes, which lends itself to easy transference, allowing Kent to rip open his shirt and reveal the familiar “S” insignia when called into action.

Heaven and earth — And we can exercise this power to such a degree that heaven would endorse what is done on earth, that we would be put in touch with a world invisible to us and beyond the commonplace world of our senses.

This would be tough to embrace if we consider our standard thinking of heaven as being “up there” and earth as “down here.” But heaven and earth are not up and down like a toilet seat! Heaven is the silent, invisible, spiritual kingdom which lies all about us, encompassing us, enclosing us, embracing us, waiting for us to recognize it. Earth, as opposite to heaven, is the visible world of the five senses. Heaven is equally real as earth. It parallels our familiar physical world.

Jesus is saying that the doors between these two worlds are open.

This verse says there is a correspondence between heaven and earth. The outer world of time and space and events and history with which we are so familiar is but a reflection of that inner world, that invisible world which lies all about us, which is God’s spiritual kingdom. In other words, earth is a reflection of heaven. With our physical senses we cannot see that inner world. All we see is its reflection in our outer world. Heaven is somewhat like the back of your head, which you have never seen but in a reflection when looking in mirrors.

The amazing thing that Jesus is saying here is that the invisible things that take place in heaven, which are reflected in earth, are determined not in heaven, but on earth, in the heart of a praying Christian. “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” Whatever you bind in the visible world are determined upon in that invisible world and will find its reflection again on earth in the things of this life.

None of us can understand exactly why it is God waits till we Christians pray before he begins to do what he has intended all along, and even announced that he will do, but the fact remains, indisputably, that that is what he does. He waits till someone prays before he moves. In the book of Jeremiah, the Babylonian captivity was about to reach its close, having run the predicted course of seventy years, the captives of Israel did not begin to return until old man Daniel prayed! Similarly, James said, “You have not because you ask not,” (James 4:2). It is that simple. 

It is that simple. God waits until we ask before he moves.

Jesus is telling us here that God has granted powers of binding and loosing to every believer, and until we act upon them, nothing happens. There are powers of binding and loosing given to us, and in the realm of our personal lives they are almost absolute. God has said that we have power to bind every form of evil in our own lives. There is nothing that needs to have dominion over us. “Sin shall have no dominion over you,” Paul said, “for you are not under law but under grace,” (Romans 6:14). By grace we have power to bind every evil force, every contrary authority, within us.

Furthermore, we have power to loose the full flood of the Spirit’s resources in our own lives. There is not one of us that has any excuse for not being all that God intends us to be, not one. Someone has well said that we are as triumphant as we want to be. No matter what we have been, no matter how weak, how failing, how faltering, we can be as victorious as we have wanted to be, for there is granted to us power in Jesus Christ to bind every contrary force, every evil motive in our life, and to loose the flood of the Spirit’s power through us — and not only in our lives, but in others as well.

This is the meaning of intercessory prayer. Others can be helped tremendously by another person praying for them, to either stand or fall, as the case may be. When we pray for others, there comes a total change in the atmosphere around that person for whom we pray. That is why Paul says, “Pray for me, that the word of God may speed on and triumph as it did among you.”

As we look at these words about binding and loosing, we can see that though we do not understand all about them, nevertheless it is apparent that prayer is authority: an authority which operates in mystery. It is the link to that invisible world which is the control center of all human life. We stand on the frontier between two worlds when we pray. Therefore, as James says: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

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2 Responses to The awesome authority of prayer

  1. Toni Petrella says:

    Such an amazing Catch today really discussing deep the power of prayer and all it can do. Take care, God Bless, and have a great weekend. Hopefully millions will be praying for just about anything that matters.

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