Series: An edited adaptation of the book Prayer, Power, and Proclamation by C.L.Peppler published by Chrispy Publications in 2009 (ISBN 978-0-620-43583-3). Part 2:
Before proceeding any further in this series, I must state some cautions.
We are dealing with a mystery. How God can listen to millions of prayers simultaneously, is a mystery to us. Why he appears to respond to some requests and not to others, is a mystery. What spiritual energy actually is, how we release it, and in what ways it is connected to prayer, is a mystery. Although we love to reduce complexity to simple categories and rules, mysteries cannot be simplified or reduced. They are, by their very nature, complex imponderables. The best we can and should do is to seek to understand the underlying principles involved.
Because of our sinful natures, we constantly attempt to control our environment, others, and even God. We are tempted to use spiritual power as a means to our own ends. This is sin, and we need to recognise it as such, particularly before embarking on a spiritual journey of discovery such as this.
Our latent desire to reduce and to control inevitably leads us to devise rules and laws. The three keys to power, the seven steps to answered prayer, the ABC of intercession, and so on. However, the multidimensional spiritual world just does not yield to our simplistic two-dimensional models, laws, and rules. Most of us are very uncomfortable with complexity, but the spiritual dimension is complex. If we intend interacting with it, then we had better learn to embrace complexity.
The name-it-and-claim-it brigade has muddied the waters of prayer and proclamation. Most conservative Christians are scared to drink from this well in case it poisons them (or they get drunk!). Yet, muddy water is still water. Instead of walking away and dying of thirst, we need to filter the water of its contaminants so we can imbibe and be refreshed.
I believe that we should always look first to Jesus for insight into the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Luke 9:28-43 records an event in Jesus’ life, which gives us the genesis of some sort of understanding of how prayer, power, and proclamation work together. The passage reads as follows:
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah’ (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.’ When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen. The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.’ ‘O unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.’ Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
Jesus went up a mountain to pray. As he was praying, he had a spiritual encounter and received an anointing, which caused him to radiate light. When he came down the mountain, he delivered a young boy of a demon and healed him with words of authority. Prayer – Power – Proclamation.
Jesus prayed. He communicated with his Father, who responded by speaking from the glory cloud. As he was praying, his face “shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2). The Matthew and Mark accounts both use the word metamorphoo, transfigured, to describe this phenomenon. 2 Corinthians 3:18 uses the same words, where it says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” The reference to the unveiled face is to Moses when he came down from the mountain after having met with God. The connections between this event, the transfiguration, and our experience of the Holy Spirit are reasonably clear.
After his empowering encounter on the mountain, Jesus came down and healed a boy whom his disciples had been unable to help. None of the accounts of Jesus casting out demons or healing record him praying for the afflicted person. He simply instructed, proclaimed, and declared. Jesus prayed in preparation for ministry. He received power from on high in response to his prayers. He went from the place of prayer and power, and proclaimed release, deliverance, healing, and life. So should it be with us!
To subscribe to Truth is The Word, click here.