When we started the 40 Days of Prayer for Penn State, we felt it was important to say what God was saying. That’s why we designed the 40 days the way we did—40 days of prayer centered around four things we believe God is saying:
“My eyes are on the brokenhearted.”
“Worship Me alone.”
“Turn your sex lives over to Me.”
“Look at the plank in your own eye.”
But why say what God is saying? Why does it matter?
I want to share three tangible results of saying what God says.
Do you remember the Tower of Babel? This story is told in Genesis 11. These people are the first generation after the flood, God’s fresh start on humanity. At the time, there is only one language.
Using their common speech, the people say, “Let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly. Let’s build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.”
Do you catch that? Their common goal, spoken in their common language, is to make a name for themselves. But God says, “Worship Me alone.”
So God confuses their common tongue and scatters them across the earth.
Contrast that with Matthew 18. Jesus tells his disciples, “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.”
The people from Babel want to make a name for themselves. The people in Jesus’ teaching want to come together in Jesus’ name.
This verse is often misunderstood that when two or more are gathered, then Jesus is there in presence. As if he’s not there with the single individual. But Jesus already said he will be with us to the end of the age. God already promised He will be with us. Being in Christ means he is in us and we are in him.
So I don’t think Jesus is talking about his presence. I think he’s talking about agreement.
Coming together in his name is a lot more than closing the prayer with, “In Jesus’ name.” It means to legally represent Jesus because his blood is flowing in us. It means to speak for him because he has put his words in our mouths. It means to be called by his name because we abide in him. It means to be a people set apart for God.
Let me show you three results of saying what God says. We’ll look at Luke 10 as an example. In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 72 disciples to towns and villages. He tells them to go two-by-two. We don’t know their names. They represent the Body of Christ: there is no one greater than another, we’re called to labor together, and we’re called to obey Jesus.
Result #1: Obedience shifts the spiritual climate.
Jesus charges the 72 to go to the places and say what he tells them to say. He instructs them with three messages: “Peace to this house”, “The Kingdom of God is near you”, and if the people reject them, “Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.”
The 72 disciples, who represent the Body of Christ, obey Jesus: they gather two-by-two, they go where Jesus tells them to go, they say and do what Jesus says to say and do. And the result? They return with joy and say, “LORD, even the demons submit to us in your name.” This means people were healed and experienced the kingdom of God.
Obedience shifts the spiritual climate.
Result #2: Agreement with God builds the Kingdom of God.
Notice that Jesus tells the 72 that if people reject them, they should still say, “The Kingdom of God is near you.” That’s because the 72 are obeying and bringing Jesus to the disobedient. That’s because the 72 bring the Kingdom of God through their agreement with God. This is a great reason to persist in obedience even around disobedient and rebellious people and places.
When Jesus teaches in Matthew 18 about agreement, he says, “If two of you on earth agree.” Tell me, why does Jesus say “earth”? He’s talking to his disciples. Of course they’re on earth. Could it be that Jesus is making a point? That something spectacular happens when we on earth agree with God? When we do, Jesus says the Father will do whatever we ask for. This is because we (God and us) are speaking in a common language.
Agreement with God builds the Kingdom of God
Result #3: Submission to God weakens Satan’s kingdom of rebellion.
What happened to Satan’s kingdom when the 72 went out? The demons submitted to them, according to Luke 10.17. But that’s not all. They submitted to “Jesus’ name.” This is an important point. At the name of Jesus, all demons must bow. But not just at the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus with the spirit of agreement behind it.
Remember the story of the sons of Sceva in Acts 19? They were the sons of the Jewish chief priest, pastor’s kids. They invoked the name of Jesus over a man possessed by demons. But the demons said, “We know Jesus, but who are you?” Then the man overpowered all seven sons and left them bleeding.
It’s not enough to invoke the name of Jesus. It must have the relationship behind it. When it does, Satan’s kingdom is weakened. His kingdom is based on rebellion. Created as an angel, Satan rebelled against God and brought other angels with him, forming the kingdom of rebellion. His goal is to build his kingdom, composed of those who reject God. That’s why every act of rebellion strengthens Satan’s kingdom.
But submission to God weakness Satan’s kingdom of rebellion.
This is why we’re saying what God is saying in this hour. We want to change the spiritual climate, we want to build the Kingdom of God, and we want to weaken Satan’s kingdom of rebellion. We want the Lion of Judah to roar over this land.
God, make Your name famous. May your Kingdom come!