Praying from heaven.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
The prayers that most glorify God by their effectiveness, are not those which rise to heaven…but those which come from heaven! (Col.3:2,3). It is in discerning the voice of the Spirit, that we can begin to see how heaven sees and what we see is the magnitude of Christ’s victory and the scale of Satan’s defeat (Col.2:15). Such a heavenly perspective allows us to cease praying to victory and start praying from victory! (1John.4:4). The prayers that shake the Kingdom of darkness are those that proclaim its demise, not those that list its achievements! (1Cor.15:55,57).
Let us pray from the revelation that whatever the Spirit leads us to come to the Father for, has already been given in Christ, for in Him are not all the promises of God Yes and Amen? (2Cor.1:20). In Christ, have we not already been gifted every blessing in the heavenly realm? (Eph.1:3). This is why Jesus instructed His disciples in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Hannah had cried out for years for a child. Through a word from Eli, the priest at the temple, revelation came and she saw her child as already given and her countenance changed and she went home and conceived (1Sam.1:12-19). In believing that she had already received…she received. Note Hannah’s faith was not in her prayer, but in the Word from God and even that faith was a gift that came by hearing! Let’s pray that many of us across the church, experience a fresh revelation of our union with Christ as already given, that we may conceive great fruit from that revelation. From the mind-set of union (the mind of Christ), we can begin to understand that the Lord is not asking us to do one thing for Him, but everything with Him. Let it be so too when it comes to prayer. Let us not come to Him saying “Listen Lord, we are speaking”, but rather “Speak Lord, we are listening!” (1Sam.3:10)
What is the mind of Christ on prayer? Listen again to what Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “When you pray, pray believing that you have already received what you asked for and it will be yours.” How could Jesus pray like that? Because He prayed knowing His Father. He didn’t pray in ignorance, He prayed in faith and faith can only operate when the will of God is known. How can someone be praying in faith, if they are in doubt as to whether what they are asking is in the will of God or not and so doubting whether He will give or not? (James 1:7). Because He knew His Father, when Jesus prayed, He would pray from a place of thanksgiving (John 11:42). This is the place we must pray from. It helps to live there!
Imagine if we believed that the only place we could pray from, the only place acceptable to God, was a certain building, on a certain street. Eventually, to save us the trouble of travelling to that building multiple times every day, we would consider moving there. How can we continually pray from a place of thanksgiving? Move to there! Start living from the place God prepared for us, this place called IN CHRIST, this place called UNION (2Peter 1:4), of ONE MIND with God. (1Cor.2:16, 1Cor.6:17)
How could Jesus always pray from a place of thanksgiving? Because He and the Father were of one mind entirely and so whatever Jesus asked for, was already as good as given. This meant that when Jesus prayed, He prayed believing that He had already received what He had asked for (Mark 11:24). When we pray from our spirit, joined to God’s Spirit, we are only ever asking what it is the Father’s will that we have! To bear fruit in prayer, we only need to remain, to abide, rooted and connected to the mind of Christ, through the Spirit (John 15:4.5). Apart from thinking the thoughts of God, we cannot speak the will of God and this is precisely why we have been given the Spirit who knows all things, even the mind of God. It is that we may think the thoughts of God and pray the prayers of God. Listen to how Paul described the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the Corinthians; “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, [e]combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (1Cor.2:12,13) So, the best way to learn to pray, is to learn to think the thoughts of God.
This way of thinking is taught by the Spirit of God through “ascension ministries”, the ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. The ministry gifts are of Him, to raise up a people who would live in Him. The Apostolic Church is known for believing in ascension ministries. But those gifts were not given that men and women may believe in ascension ministries. They were given that men and women would live in ascension life. What’s the point of believing in food, if you never eat.
What’s the point of believing in teachers, if you never grow in understanding. If believers are not rising into the mind of Christ, it is usually because the mind of Christ is not being communicated to them. How is a child to feel like a son, if he is continually spoken to as an orphan? How is a bride to think of herself as a wife, if she is continually spoken to as one separated from her husband? How is it possible for believers to grow up into the head, to start to live from our position of union with Christ, if we continue to think of ourselves as separated from God by our sins? (Eph4:14)
In that same passage that proclaims that our words are to be taught by the Holy Spirit, through the renewing of our thoughts, the apostle Paul warns that to speak or pray in this heavenly manner can only sound foolish to the earthly minded man. “But [f]a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually [g]appraised.” (1Cor.2:14).
I have often heard very impressive sounding prayers, where the believer praying is passionate, emotional, full of zeal ….but praying as if the life, death and resurrection of Christ achieved nothing. They pray as if the intent of their prayer is to get God to move, to bless us with some blessing that we have not yet received. Here is the gospel; God moved! As the song goes, He moved from heaven to earth, from the earth to the Cross, from the Cross to the grave and from the grave to the sky and then He moved again in the pouring out of His Holy Spirit into the spirits of every generation of the Church. Believer, God moved. He moved to you. Your move!
Only it is no longer your move alone, for now, because of the Cross (Col.3:3), every believer, everyone joined to the Lord, is one spirit with Him. This means that it is no longer you alone, but you “together with” God, you “hidden with” God in Christ (Eph.2:5-7,Col.3:3) who prays.
This is how the body of Christ is to pray; as Christ prays, “of one being, one mind, with the Father”. When challenged as to the key to His effectiveness in ministry, Jesus pointed to the fact that He was not speaking “on my own”. He was thinking and so speaking from a mind in union with the Father. In John 8:28 He declared, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me,'” Again in John 12:49,50 He repeated this truth; “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
What those two scriptures and others establish, is that Christ and the Father were of one mind, so if we are to pray as the body of Christ, then we must pray as Christ prayed, we must pray from a place of union with the Father.
In your life and mine as believers, the place of union with the Father, is our spirits.
“He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1Corinthinans 6:17) So, when our prayers are spirit led, they are always prayers of faith and thanksgiving, for we can say as Christ said; “Father we know that you always hear us” (John 11:42)
But if we have not learnt to think from, see from, speak from, the place that the Father has placed us in; Christ; the divine union, one mind, how can we expect to pray from that place?
- If we don’t pray supernaturally, as people joined to God by His Son, then we will pray naturally, as people separated from God by our sin.
- If we will not regard ourselves after the Spirit, then we will regard ourselves after the flesh.
- If we don’t pray as New Covenant believers, then we can only pray as Old Covenant
- If we will not see that it is because of Christ’s obedience, His holy life, His prayer, that all God’s promises are Yes and Amen for those of us in Christ, then we will pray as if the answer to our prayers depends on our obedience, our holy life, our prayers.
As spirt-filled New Covenant believers, we don’t pray that God would change. We pray that we would change, in that our vision of who God is and what He has done would grow and grow. We don’t pray that God would come down. We pray, that we rise up, to see from God’s perspective just how much was accomplished when He did come down. We pray that we may see, truly see as Christ sees; God as “our father.”
The prayers that most glorify God are not the prayers that rise to heaven, they are the prayers that come from heaven and the Holy Spirit desires to pray those prayers through us. This is why He is continually witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God (Rom.8:16), that we might pray as children of God, so that the voice of our Father and the knowledge of Him would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.