VII. THE OVERCOMER’S PRAYER
Scripture Reading: Matt. 18:18; Eph. 6:12-13; 1:20-22; 2:6; Mark 11:23-24
Authoritative Prayer—Praying with Authority
To be God’s overcomer, one has to learn to pray with authority by exercising Christ’s authority. In the Bible prayer is not merely a petition but a representation of authority. Prayer is to command with authority.
God’s overcomer must first be faithful to deny the self, the world, and Satan. We should first allow God to defeat us by the cross, that is we should allow ourselves to be defeated before God. Second, we must know how to apply Christ’s authority. We should exercise Christ’s authority to defeat Satan, that is, we should win the victory over Satan. Authoritative prayers are not petitions but commands. There are two kinds of prayer: petitioning prayers and commanding prayers. Isaiah 45:11 says, "Command me." We can command God to do something. This is a commanding prayer.
Commanding prayer begins from Christ’s ascension. Christ’s death and resurrection solved God’s four big problems. The death of Christ solved all the problems in Adam. His resurrection granted us a new position. His ascension seated us in the heavens, far above all rule, authority, power, lordship, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. Ephesians 1 refers to Christ’s ascension far above all principality and power. Chapter two refers to the fact that we are also seated in the heavens with Him. Therefore, as Christ is far above all rule and authority, we also are far above all rule and authority.
Ephesians 1 tells us that Christ’s position is in the heavens. Chapter two tells us of our position in Christ, which is that we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Chapter six tells us what we do in the heavenlies. We are to sit in the heavenlies and pray by issuing commanding prayers with the authority of Christ’s victory.
A common prayer is one that prays from earth to heaven. A commanding prayer is one that prays from heaven to earth. Matthew 6 is a prayer of petition; it is upward. Ephesians 6 is a commanding prayer; it is downward. We are sitting in the heavenlies issuing prayers of command. Amen in Hebrew means "definitely so." This is a command. Satan, at the beginning of all battles, tries to dislodge our position as victors in the heavenlies. To battle means to fight for our position, while to overcome means to occupy our position. In Christ we sit in the heavenly position and are able to pray with authoritative prayer.
The words "for this reason" in Mark 11:24 indicate that verse 23 is also on prayer. But verse 23 does not tell us to pray to God. It merely says, "Whoever says to this mountain," that is, commands the mountain. It is not a direct speaking to God, but it is still a prayer, a prayer of command. It is not to ask God to do something but to exercise God’s authority to deal with the mountain, the things that hinder us. Absolute faith comes out of absolute knowledge of God’s will. Only with this faith can we speak to the mountain. We command what God has already commanded and decide what God has already decided. We have faith through having a full knowledge of God’s will.
The Relationship between Authoritative Prayers
and the Overcomers
The one who sits on the throne is God, who is the Lord. The one who is under the throne is the enemy. Prayer unites us to God. The overcoming ones, the reigning and ruling ones, know how to pray and exercise the authority of God’s throne. (This authority of God’s throne governs the world.) We may turn to the throne and apply the authority there to call a brother to come. (Hudson Taylor did this before.) In order to rule over the church, the world, and the authority in the heavenlies, the overcomers have to exercise the authority of the throne. In England about ten years ago, there were some brothers who had applied the authority of God’s throne to govern the political changes. This is to rule over the nations. Spiritual battle is not only defensive but also offensive. We will not only rule over the nations but also over Hades and all rule, authority, power, and lordship. May God grant us to know how to exercise Christ’s authority. All things are under Christ’s feet. He is the Head of the church. When we exercise Christ’s authority, all things will be under our feet also.
Matthew 18:18-19 refers to praying. "On earth" and "in the heavens" in verse 19 show us that the prayer in verse 18 is a command. This praying is an execution, not a petition. It is a binding and a loosing, not a petitioning for God to bind and loose. There are two aspects to this commanding prayer. The first is to bind. We should bind the brothers and sisters who do not behave properly in the meetings. We should bind the world that frustrates the work. We should bind the demons and the evil spirits, and we should bind Satan and all his work. We can be kings and rule over all things. Whenever something goes wrong in the world or among the brothers, it is time for us to rule as kings. The second aspect to a commanding prayer is to loose. We should be those who can loose others. We should loose the brothers who are withdrawn. We should loose the brothers who need to free themselves for the work. We should loose men’s money for God. We should loose the truth of God. We are ambassadors sent by God. On this earth, we should enjoy our right of "foreign diplomatic immunity." We can call on heaven to dominate this earth.
(Afternoon, January 30)
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 11: The Present Testimony (4), Chapter 11, by Watchman Nee)