1 Timothy 2:1-4 – « First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, 2 for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. 3 This is good and pleasing to God our savior, 4 who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. »
Every local church, regardless of its size or its denominational label, exists for basically three reasons: the first is to offer to God a collective service of worship; the second is to make disciples of all believers; and the third is to occupy its heavenly seat of authority.
The first two reasons are fairly easy to understand: worship God and make disciples. You can package that vision in a variety of ways, but it always comes out the same. What is less evident is the third reason a local congregation exists.
The Bible gives us ample evidence of the geographic reflection on earth of spiritual realities. The prophet Daniel, while living in Babylon, warred against the Prince of Persia. The recognition of the Church of God by cities in the New Testament also give us insight to the geographical nature of spiritual authorities. A demon, for example, can affect an individual. But a principality can influence a region.
So the spiritual authority that God gives to a local church reflects the geographical battle that exists in the realm of the unseen world. Imagine that the local church is a bit like a border patrol agent. He has the authority to prohibit any traffic coming into his jurisdiction that he deems illegal or harmful.
This is why it’s so important for the members of a local church to come together in the geographical location of the church facility to pray as one man and one house. As an individual in Christ, I have spiritual authority over my home. As a group of believers together, we have authority over the region where God has established us as a spiritual house.
When we come together as a unified house and pray with our spiritual authority for those men and women who operate in civil authority, God can move on their hearts in such a way as to facilitate the preaching of the gospel. Not only is this pleasing to God, but it is essential for the spreading of the His Word and His truth.
During these three weeks of prayer and fasting, we want to encourage everyone to do their utmost to attend the regular prayer meetings of your local church. This may put a lot of stress on your family. If you have young children perhaps one parent can come one week, and the other parent the next week. But we all need to come together and to pray for those who govern our nation. It is our heavenly mandate and it is one of the principal ways we « enlarge the space of our tent » and gain territory for the Kingdom.
Just this morning I was joyfully reminded of the power of prayer when the Lord spoke to me from His Word : Proverbs 15:29 – « The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. » And James 5:16 – « The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. »