The Lord STILL has me adding to this paper – so see the updated version…
You may be surprised how simply we can work with God and each other to see Jesus and His kingdom breakthrough in our homes, churches, local cities and nations. Many of these elements are already in place but this articulation of specific steps can help us join dots and identify gaps. Let’s step up – so we are aligned to receive and sustain God’s personal and community transformation.
Summary: 5 Steps to Transformation
Step 1: Establish Home Prayer Altars: Our Father’s loving transformation begins as we surrender to intimate relationship and communication with Him and pray in our home for our family and neighbourhood.
Step 2: Establish Church Prayer Altars: Our maturity and accountability grow as we join our local church to partner in prayer and evangelism for the salvation of people within the reach of the church members.
Step 3: Establish Community Prayer Altars: Jesus’ transforming power impacts our community when we stand together regularly, in our authority as God’s Ecclesia to pray and serve in unity for His kingdom to come in our town or local city. God’s Ecclesia in a community include people from multiple local churches, ethnic groups and spheres of society, working together as apostolic teams to serve their community under the Holy Spirit’s leading. Kingdom order flows when God’s appointed elders in each community, work together to discern and implement His will. Community elders include long term faithful pastors, intercessors, government and workplace leaders.
Step 4: Then God will demolish evil strongholds in your region. When we, as God’s Ecclesia repent of our sin and represent God’s righteousness in our homes, local churches and local region, the evil powers that hold the region in bondage lose their legal right to remain. Community elders and each of us have specific parts to fulfil so we can together align with our Father’s will and timing to demolish evil strongholds evil and release the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Step 5: Then you will see God’s transformation of your community. Transformation can be measured by how many are receiving Jesus as their Saviour and by measures of the social transformation of your local community. Once the barriers and blindfolds are removed from the people and the social structures, it is much easier for the love of God and the gospel of the kingdom to be shared by us and received by the people in our regions, and for kingdom life to flourish abundantly on earth as in heaven.
These 5 prayerful steps are based on liberating definitions brought by Samuel Hofmann, from the International Prayer Council. God has used Samuel’s prayer, with elders in their regions, to bring peace and salvation in the darkest war torn Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist places of the world. I first met Samuel in 2015 in his home base at the Jesus House in Herrnhut, Germany. This is where the Moravians prayed 24/7 for 100 years from 1727 and from where they brought the gospel to the world. Sam will be back in Australia later in 2018 and could meet with those who are implementing this.
We, at Partners in Prayer & Evangelism, earnestly believe there is a fresh grace right now to press into this – and we humbly seek to work with you to sequentially takes these prayerful steps, so together we see God transform our nation, one local city at a time. If you are moved to do this please contact email@example.com
How do you define prayer altars?
Again and again God led His people to establish prayer altars on Earth – as in heaven (371 references in ESV). We are to reconsecrate the Earth to God’s sovereign rule. (Psalm 115:16,18) God wants us to establish prayer altars – made of earth, not gold and silver. (Exodus 20:22-26) By this we mean, our Lord God Almighty wants us to meet with Him humbly, to let Him transform us rather than trying to earn or refine our own image by our efforts. God wants us to reclaim the high places – physical and social places of influences and establish altars of remembrance in our hearts, regions and society – so all may know our loving merciful Father as He is and be transformed by Him!
A prayer altar may be visible as a place of frequent sustained prayer, but we are not calling you to build physical altars. The true prayer altar is built by our commitment to be set apart in friendship – intimate covenant relationship and constantly discerning communication with God. (Psalm 25:14 TPT) The prayer altar is a heart space where we encounter the presence of God and hear what is on God’s heart – His secrets and plans. Do you remember the first thing you heard God say to you?
“Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer. In his shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me, for he hides me there in his holiness. He has smuggled me into his secret place…” Psalm 27:4-6 TPT
As children of God, we pray in agreement with each other and our Father’s will and host His presence.
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 19-20 “At that time Jesus declared, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.'” Matthew 11:25-26 “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50 “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
At the prayer altar we surrender ourselves to our Father’s will and unite with the continuous worship and prayer of heaven. The life and power of God’s kingdom is manifest in us on Earth, as we rest in what our Father has done for us. As His children, we reflect His likeness and transforming power and do what our Father is doing.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
The fragrance of Christ is evident on those who linger in His presence. God’s presence and power also becomes evident in places, even regions, where there is extensive prayer and worship. God’s presence inhabits our praise and submitted lives and creates an atmosphere in our homes, churches and communities that makes it is easier for the people around us to encounter Jesus and His kingdom. Through our prayer God removes obstacles that block people from receiving God’s salvation and transformation.
“Prepare the way for the people; build up the highway; clear it of stones [obstacles]; lift up a signal over the peoples.” Isaiah 62:10
Step 1. Establish Home Prayer Altars – Local Houses of Prayer
The first of the five steps is for us each to establish an ongoing commitment to personal prayer on behalf of our household (Joshua 24:15). The principal of two or three of you praying in agreement is applied here as prayer for your family and with your family or household. It is especially crucial that husbands and wives pray together daily – even briefly. The enemy will do everything in his power to distract and disrupt this.
Precious times of worship and encounter with God’s presence in our homes deepen our intimacy with God and each other. (Song of Songs 4:6 TPT) Home prayer bonds us, across gender and age differences, as we build each other up and grow in favour, joy and spiritual maturity – holiness. Praying together over real issues equips us, and our children, to discern our Father’s will and follow Holy Spirit’s leading.
As elders in our homes we need to practise forgiveness, repentance (changing our behaviour), and reconciliation. Our example and identificational confession will release our family, flatmates and neighbours from personal and familial patterns of sin (strongholds) into freedom in Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Seek the Lord’s perspective of your area – His purposes for the land and resources, His-story of the past, so you can appropriately appreciate and honour the First Peoples, the previous tenants and deal with curses, unfinished spiritual matters and release God’s blessings and plans. God’s revelations and answers to our prayers will build your household’s confidence in Jesus’ love, power and authority and enable you to see God’s supernatural intervention, His will done in our homes, neighbourhoods and the nations.
Our Father’s love moves us with His compassion for the lost and leads us to overflow His love to our neighbours so our home altars expand and extend their boundaries to include our relationships and immediate neighbourhood. Get to know your neighbours and pray for them regularly by name – talking to God about them before you talk to them about God – so you are aligned with Father’s heart and His authority and words, and God given timing and opportunities to hear their felt needs, bless them, help in practical ways, pray for them and share the gospel with them.
To reach our neighbours we need to go to them so it is vital that we prayer walk around our homes, local parks, schools – proclaiming God’s blessing and sovereignty over our whole local area.
“Put on the full armour of God – your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:10-20 “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16:20
We, at Partners in Prayer & Evangelism, can help you build your home prayer altar; and work with pastors as you support your congregations to do this.
- Read more about Prayer Walking your neighbourhood
- So you can receive and release the Father’s Blessing – we recommend resources and ministry times hosted by Family Foundations International and Father’s Heart Ministry ministry times and resources.
- We distribute Ffald-y-Brenin resources in Australia to help you turn your home to be a local house of prayer – anointing and blessing your family and neighbours, and your neighbourhood land, flora, fauna and economy.
- We invite you to register your home prayer altar in our ongoing prayer relayacross Australia.
Step 2. Establish Church Prayer Altars – Houses of Prayer for all people.
“My house will be called a house of prayer.” Matthew 21:13
Once we have built a strong home prayer altar, our next challenge is to build the church prayer altar. A church altar is only as strong the home prayer altars that support it.The enemy will do everything in his power to distract and disrupt this with other priorities in the services and in pastor’s and leader’s participation in church prayer.
Regular times of fervent sustained prayer & worship refresh us corporately – aligning us with our Father’s will and empowering us to do what He says. Is prayer the bedrock of your church service, decision making and calendar? We are called to gather in regular fellowship, to worship and pray in agreement, to pray for each other and for labourers for the harvest. The strength of the agreement of two or three at the local church altar increases when it includes people from many different families, age groups, genders, ethnicities and spheres of society.
At the church prayer altar we grow in spiritual encounter and maturity and are equipped to use our callings and giftings, working together maturely as one across age, ethnic and cultural differences. (Ephesians 4:1-16) Elders at the church altar train us to hear and obey the word of God and to discern and align together with what the Holy Spirit is saying. Our corporate agreement is powerful and crucial for authority in Christ and victory over the enemy’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:10-11, 1 Peter 5:8-9) that seek to entrap congregations: distracting our focus from Christ; keeping us too busy or divided to obey what Jesus asks us to do; draining our love for the lost; and immobilising us from sharing the gospel. See what’s happened in the two years since Ps Steve Ahern committed to lead prayer in his church three times a day!
From the church prayer altar, and with the ongoing backing of local church prayer, we are equipped, empowered and led by the Holy Spirit to expand and extend our boundaries, going as Jesus’ disciples into our local area, prayer walking and ministering to our neighbours, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and releasing God’s love, mercy, healing and blessing to the world. (Matthew 24:14, Luke 10) The church prayer altar establishes an enduring relational base for building spiritual authority and intervention in a local area and equipping and sending labourers to this area and across our nation and the nations.
We can help you build your church prayer altar.
- Discover how to host Spirit filled prayer meetings and see answered prayer.
- Consider hosting regular days of prayer & worship to keep the church focussed
and refreshed e.g. monthly Day2Pray.
- We invite you to register your church prayer altar in our ongoing prayer relayto draw others to pray at your church. You can use the map of praying groups and churches to find local churches you can work with to build a community prayer altar in your local city.
Step 3. Establish Community Prayer Altars – collaboration across the body of Christ and spheres of society
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7
How do you define a community?
Community prayer altars are built through relationships across our communities – so it makes sense to focus on linking in prayer for our local communities. Samuel Hofmann confirmed that ideally community prayer altars will be established in each town or local city (e.g. municipality) where there is opportunity for real relationship across the body of Christ – easy proximity, shared purpose and frequent connection. A city like Melbourne has 31 local cities within it. We need to build and hold the kingdom one local community at a time.
Community prayer altars are built through long term faithful relationships among intercessors, pastors, leaders and people from multiple churches, government and workplaces across the social spheres, who commit to meet regularly, as brothers and sisters in Christ, to prayer walk their community and communicate, pray and co-discern so they can pray in agreement. Together those at the community prayer altars can equip the saints (representing multiple churches and spheres of society) with frequent opportunities to prayer walk and gather to pray in agreement for their community and serve and reach out to their community.
How do you define agreement?
Community prayer altars are established through prayerful agreement between local churches and key leaders working as the ecclesia in their community. We are to work as one body with many parts, under the headship and leading of Jesus. The power of agreement (Matthew 18:18-20) at the community prayer altar includes agreement between leaders & people from at least two or three local churches, agreement by diverse people groups – from Indigenous tribes and multiple ethnic backgrounds, denominations, spheres of society, states/territories etc. Gerald Kelly from Bless Network UK, defines the eccelsia as “a group of concerned citizens coming together to discuss the future of their city.” (Endorsement, Sutton, 2017)
In Haggai 1, God called for a partnership between the church leaders, the governmental leaders and the people to build the House of the Lord. This was not just a tabernacle building, a house of prayer or a church. It was a call to work together to prepare the community for God’s inhabitation. The community was suffering drought, infertility, economic hardship and heavy workloads because the people were all building their own “house/lifestyle” rather than putting God’s indwelling first. The word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai and stirred up the son of the governor of Judah, and Joshua son of the high priest and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people to obey the voice of the Lord their God.
Across Australia, many mayors are working collaboratively with the local churches who represent a significant voting group, volunteer workforce and many community service initiatives. On Sunday 3 April 2018 at the opening of the Commonwealth Games, 85 churches spent the day in praise and worship together in one place and the Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate was publicly baptised.
Together representatives of the community will arise in their God given spiritual authority, to explicitly invite Jesus Christ to reign as Lord over their area and obey His leading so we release His kingdom – abundant life giving atmosphere over the people, flora, fauna, economy etc. When we are the Body of Christ – one church with many congregations – we can effectively evangelise and serve our community.
How do you define, form and maintain unity?
“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:23
“I… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 5:1-5
We are quickly united in one Spirit when we meet each other in the presence of God and see each other through our Lord’s eyes. This happens through authentic prayer & worship. We unite with God and find ourselves in unison with each other! This is harmony rather than uniformity – releasing each to fulfil their part. When we embrace and collaborate across gender, denomination, age groups, ethnicity, language and cultural diversity, we feel the Lord’s enormous pleasure and see His power released extraordinarily to all the people groups we represent.
Community prayer altars are built through humility and servanthood – each dying to our selves and self-interests – that Christ might live in us and through us as one body. Example: Rev Bishop Michael Curry, primate of the Episcopal Church in America was asked to take the sermon just one week before Harry & Meghan’s wedding. This meant someone had to give up the sermon they had prepared. Rev Bishop Curry preached the gospel of Jesus Christ with passion and conviction to an estimated 1.9 billion on 19 May 2018 – and the internet and social media hits continue! May many receive Jesus as Lord!
The unity, maturity and authority of community prayer depends on the stability and strength of our church and home prayer altars because these underpin the community altar – like a 3 tier wedding cake. We are called to be vigilant in discernment and prayer and humble in our accountability because the enemy will attack our character, marriages, families and neighbourhood relationships to destabilise home prayer. Let’s pray for each other and for our pastors and leaders because the enemy specifically targets their characters, marriages and families. Let’s humbly resist the enemy’s efforts to stir pride, accusation and division, and destabilise relationships and the formation and maintenance of church and community prayer.
“’God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep… Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.” James 4:6-11
“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
What does a community prayer altar look like?
Community prayer has many forms and functions:
- Prayer groups, with people from multiple churches, meet regularly (e.g. weekly) to pray for their community.
- Groups need to regularly (e.g. weekly) and as the Spirit leads, prayer walk in the local community to see the needs and strengths of the people, flora and fauna. As God leads, engage with the community.
- The one church is evident to the community when the Body of Christ in a region unites to pray & worship openly in public spaces -parks, workplaces, cafes for Prayer Breakfasts, Christmas carol and Easter events.
- The spiritual influence of the one church in the city grows when local churches collaborate to host united public regional gatherings e.g. a day of corporate prayer & worship in the region each 3 months.
- Relationship built through co-discerning their community needs will lead the one church to collaborative in servanthood through justice, righteous and evangelistic service.
- Unceasing day and night prayerover a region shifts the spiritual atmosphere over the region on earth. This is particularly strong when the 24/7 covering is woven through intentional prayer agreement between prayer altars in homes, churches and workplaces etc. It can be as simple as 30 local churches each hosting one 24 hour of prayer each month in prayer relay covering over their region.
- We can cover whole cities using a daily prayer plan such as Pray for Melbourne’s 31 Local Cities.
- Regional gathering places – Houses of Prayer for All People Groups provide ongoing community prayer altars.
- Through online prayer rooms we are able to gather on a daily basis across our nation to pray for Australia. Join us online via Prayer Call.
- Community prayer altars also represent broader territories, nations and global regions. Periodically Australians gather at state, national or international community prayer altars to seek God’s face and worship Him together (2 Chronicles 7:14). These include annual commitments – National Day of Prayer & Fasting& 40 Day Prayer Relay or times for prayer for elections or crisis when God’s intervention is urgently needed.
Partners in Prayer & Evangelism can help you connect and build community prayer – locally, regionally and nationally.
- See how your home altar and your church altar can be joined as community prayer altars and prayer & worship relays.
- Community prayer altars can easily establish 24/7 prayer and worship over their region when 31 local churches each adopt a Day2Prayeach month.
- You can register community prayer altars and local prayer relays in the Pray for the Nations ongoing Prayer Relay
Step 4. Then God will demolish evil strongholds in your region.
Who fights your battles?
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4
“One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised.” Joshua 23:10
Yahweh said to my Lord, the Messiah: “Sit with me as enthroned ruler while I subdue your every enemy. They will bow low before you as I make them a footstool for your feet.” Psalm 110:1 TPT
“O Lord, fight for me! Harass the hecklers, accuse my accusers. Fight those who fight against me. Put on your armor, Lord; take up your shield and protect me. Rise up, mighty God! Grab your weapons of war and block the way of the wicked who come to fight me. Stand for me when they stand against me! Speak over my soul: “I am your strong Savior!” Psalm 35:1-3 TPT
Do you know why high praise is a powerful spiritual weapon?
High praise reminds us of who is sovereign over all things and to whom we are to look for salvation. Praise reminds us of the qualities and authority of our God. We declare our praise before all in heaven and earth – before principalities and power and all mankind until every knee will bow. Through praise we unite with the worship going on day and night in heaven. Through praise we come into agreement with what we declare and our faith, belief and trust rise. We bring others into agreement also. Praise ushers in the will of God whether we understand it or not. God honours His covenantal promises as we align with them. (1 Chronicles 29: 10-13,20, Psalm 96, Philippians 2:6-11, 1 Timothy 1:15-17)
“Hallelujah! Praise to the Lord! It’s time to sing to God a brand-new song so that all his holy people will hear how wonderful he is! His godly lovers triumph in the glory of the God and their joyful praises will rise even while others sleep. God’s high and holy praises fill their mouths, for their shouted praises are their weapons of war! These warring weapons will bring vengeance on every opposing force and every resistant power – to bind kings with chains and rulers with iron shackles. Praise-filled warriors will enforce the judgement-doom decreed against our enemies. This is the glorious honor he gives to all his godly lovers. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! ” Psalm 149: 1,5-9
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15 NIV
How do you know God’s will and Kingdom purpose for a region?
We grow in our understanding of our Father’s will when we seek His face, then listen and obey what He says to us.
Jesus knew His Father’s will through intimate prayer. Through Jesus, we have the privilege to hear God’s secrets as His children and friends. (Luke 8:10, 10:21-24)
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1: 9-14
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your books were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16
“Then I said, ‘Behold I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scrolls of the book,” Hebrews 10:7
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you…“ Jeremiah 29:12-14
Books in heaven have recorded God’s purpose, plan and destiny for each person, church, ministry, city, state, region and nation. Words of prophesy come directly from the books of heaven. When we trust God with our lives, we agree and align with God’s kingdom purpose for our lives and regions- even though we may not have yet discerned and digested what has been written about us and our regions in the books of heaven. (2 Timothy 1:9, Romans 8:29-30, Revelation 10:8-11, 19:10)
The enemy seeks to resist and destroy the fulfilment of the kingdom come on earth and the specific plans God has for us. Jesus resisted the enemy by repeatedly quoting, “It is written.” Matthew 4:1-11 The accuser of the brethren is overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:10-11
How does evil gain a stronghold in a region?
“For by Him all things were created that are in Heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16 NKJV
A third of the angel hierarchies rebelled against God in heaven and became demonic entities that work to destroy the plans of God in the earth. Principalities are territorial spirits that influence regions of the earth and establish evil strongholds over our towns, cities, states and nations. These strongholds are evident through recurrent patterns of spiritual blindness, brokenness and bondage – such as murder and suicide, crime, poverty, depression and resistance to the gospel.
Evil gains legal reign in a region through sin – especially four types of sin:
- Idolatry. Calls for changes to our constitution – for example republicanism – threaten foundational acknowledgements of the sovereignty of God over our nation. The preamble to the Constitution says that in deciding to federate the Australian people were ‘humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God’ and on this basis we still have Christian prayer in our Parliament. The Australian church is largely silent about the mosques and Hindu and Buddist temples being erected in our communities. Do we idolise life style and ignore injustice?
- Innocent shed blood. Abel’s blood cried out to God and led to a curse upon Cain and the earth he tilled. (Genesis 4:8-12) In Australia, God is identifying Indigenous massacre sites where the land and people need God’s cleansing’and redemptive healing. The blood of the innocent unborn babies cries out. We are implicated if we accept the high rate of Australian abortions -now conducted up to 40 weeks gestation in Victoria.
- Sexual sin. Because the Australian church has long resisted repentance from sexual sin, the Lord used a Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse in institutions to expose child sexual abuse in the church, so this hidden sin and root can be expunged and righteousness restored.
- Wrong, broken or absent covenants. Several covenantal issues emerge from our national prayer in Australia. God is concerned that we embrace our unity as a Federation – our just inclusion of each State and territory as one under Christ. Australia has not yet given righteous recognition to the people groups here at the time of English settlement. The covenant of marriage before God continues to be eroded.
Sin within the Church gives the demonic powers a legal right to deny the Body of Christ the necessary influence we should have. (Robert Henderson, Operating in the Courts of Heaven. p.170) We struggle to see fruit if we are labouring for harvest, revival and transformation without first standing together in our authority in Christ to overthrow the spiritual forces of evil that resist Him. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:4
Regional strongholds are not established or broken by a democratic vote by 51% of the general population. When God’s people tolerate sin in their own lives, we give permission and agreement to the enemy’s schemes, and these evil forces enter and gain power over our region. They cause destructive patterns that repeat through generations and escalate in influence until the evil schemes gain a stronghold by becoming established in our society’s beliefs, cultural patterns and laws. When our elected governments introduce laws that are counter to the law and will of God, our municipality, state or nation, evil releases its destructive power over the people.
Do we have a part in how God overcomes evil strongholds in our region?
“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19
When Jesus said he would build His ‘Church’ – He adopted the civic term ‘ecclesia.’ To establish His Kingdom on earth, Jesus seeks a holy, judicial, legislative and governmental people. When the ecclesia repent of their sin and the sin of the people of their region, God’s will, mercy and governmental purpose can reign in their region, through them. (Genesis 18, Numbers 13, Nehemiah 1:4-7) The Lord uses the processes, relationships and time involved in establishing united prayer in our homes, churches and community to build us as His ecclesia.
Can spiritual warfare be dangerous?
We must not be naive in tackling principalities. Individuals or local prayer groups are ineffective and vulnerable if they apply the same forms of prayer they have used in personal ministry against demons on earth, to territorial spirits who rule from the second heaven. Principalities are not bound by an individual person’s command. “If we are to be effective and protected, we must stay within the sphere that has been granted to us by God.” (Robert Henderson, p.146) The Apostle Paul said, “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.” 2 Corinthians 10:13
Backlash occurs if we do not have the authority to do what we are trying to do or if there is something within our history that gives the enemy a legal right to attack us. I see many people injured and subjugated by the enemy when they attempt to rebuke Satan directly. “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with devil…dared not bring against him a reviling accusation but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!'” (Jude 8-9)
Contending with principalities that have been empowered through multiple generations of sin, is a very deadly and dangerous thing to do, if we are not recognised in the courts of heaven on this level…When the Church is functioning where it is meant to be, we have an authority to get verdicts from the court against powers of darkness. With these verdicts in hand, we win on the battlefield every time.” (Robert Henderson, p.147)
After speaking about the unity of the Body of Christ and our submission to one another, Paul warns, “ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13
We will further define safe practise in the sections below.
How is righteousness established in the land?
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34
God’s strategy for overcoming the consequences of sin in a region is clear. If we, God’s people, will humbly prayer and seek His face and repent (turn) from our wicked ways, God will hear and forgive and intervene to heal our land. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-16
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’ Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?'” 1 Peter 3:12-13
The righteousness of Christ in His Ecclesia, breaks the legitimate authority of the evil spiritual forces that hold the region in blindness and bondage. The relational wisdom, experience, unity, agreement and authority gained from building the relevant community altar helps us form as Christ’s Ecclesia in the region. The Ecclesia, representing God’s local authority, will prophesy and decree the revealed purposes of God and restore and maintain the reign of the kingdom of heaven in their region. (Psalm 110:1-2)
Before we can ask God to overturn evil strongholds in the heavens and earth, we need to silence the legal access, accusations and destruction of the enemy by repenting of their sin, and the sin of their forefathers, and the sins of the region. (Revelation 12:10-11, 1 Peter 5:8, John 10:10) The Lord uses Steps 1-3 in this process, when we are establishing prayer altars in our homes, churches and community, to deal with the enemy’s strongholds in us. When we, as the church, confess our sin and repent (turn), we regain our spiritual authority in the righteousness of Christ, to stand before God and resist and overturn the enemy’s schemes promoting sin in our nation.
With “repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth… they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.“ 2 Timothy 2:24-26
The Church of Ephesus was called to “repent and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its pace – unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5) This is a warning that the Church in a city can lose their governmental authority and their right to be registered to function in the courts of Heaven. The two olives trees fuelling the seven lamps in Zechariah 45:1-6 and Revelation 11:3-6 point to the perpetual oil that empowers the Church with the governmental anointing and authority that Moses and Elijah used to turn their nations back to God. (Robert Henderson, p.157-158)
Will you seek God day and night for His rapid justice and righteousness?
We will not seek God’s judgements if we fear them. It is important that we know our Father so we can trust Him. God’s enemy brings accusation and comes to kill, steal and destroy. God’s judgements end injustice – suffering, pain, loss and bondage. God’s judgements establish righteousness – right order, wholeness, peace and rest in abundant life and restored relationship with Him. These gifts are freely available for all who will receive.
We come to our Father, God the judge, with Jesus as our legal advocate and mediator. (1 John 2:1-2, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 12:24) “For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?” Jeremiah 23:18
Jesus invites us to pray for rapid justice from God, as from a judge. “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.” Luke 18:7-8 Day and night worship connects those on earth – with the heart of our Father and the general assembly (Hebrews 12:22-25) who are the multitudes who worship around His throne in Heaven. (Revelation 7:9-12) David cultivated and hosted the presence of the Lord on Mount Zion by establishing day and night worship there, so he could govern the nation from the presence of the Lord. The worship of David’s tabernacle (2 Samuel 6:17) connected to the worship of Heaven (Revelation 5:8-14), so there was a flow of judicial activity from Heaven to Earth. (Robert Henderson, p.141-142)
Revelation 19:11 says Jesus judges in righteousness before he makes war. Before we go into spiritual warfare against principalities and powers, we are wise to seek our Father’s will (1 John 5:14-15) and judgement on the matter. He is, after all the Judge of all. (Hebrews 12:23) We come to the mountain of the Lord to seek His ways, so we can walk in His paths and so His law, judgement and word go forth to eliminate war. (Isaiah 2:1-4).
Hear God’s promises to Joshua as the High Priest, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here…and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day.” Zechariah 3:7-9
Petition in the courts of Heaven is particularly needed when there has been delay in getting break through in matters we are praying about. Delay can be caused by legal resistance in the spiritual realm to our prayer being answered. (Daniel 10:13) In the courts of Heaven, God’s purposed plans are made known and the legal blockages are identified and removed and we see God’s will done and His kingdom come on earth.
We can come to our Father’s throne of mercy any time, personally or corporately. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Do you know how to bring a petition to the courts of Heaven?
Jesus has given us access. Those who have been born again in water and the Spirit can see the kingdom of God and enter. (John 3:3,5, 1 Corinthians 2:14) The Ecclesia, the Church of the firstborn, are among those recognised as registered to come into the courts in Heaven. “you have come…to the general assembly, the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant… See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.” Hebrews 12:22-25
We bring a matter before the Judge in the courts of Heaven when there has been delay in getting answered prayer; when we know the enemy’s schemes are at work and when we don’t know what to pray. Once we are familiar with this, we may sense God’s invitation to bring things to the courts of Heaven and we can learn how to work with the Holy Spirit to prepare our case in advance.
Approaching God as Judge in the courts of Heaven is a more formal procedure than approaching our Father on the throne of grace. It is very similar to the protocol of Earth’s courts which must have been based on the courts of Heaven.
“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat…his throne was fiery flames…a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgement, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9-10
“Once the court is in session and the books are open, cases can be presented, legal precedents set and the dominion rights of principalities removed from nations.” (Robert Henderson, p.40) We present our case for the city, state or nation in the court and remind the Lord of what He wrote about it in the books of Heaven. (Robert Henderson, p.201)
“Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted. Your first father sinned, And your mediators have transgressed against Me.” Isaiah 43:26-27
The Righteous Judge has given His Ecclesia authority in the earth (Psalm 115:16). As judge, God will not overstep our authority so He waits His Ecclesia to invite His jurisdiction, and our input and agreement to give Him proper legal reasons to release the righteous verdicts that are His fatherly passion. From the courts of Heaven, God releases His judgements according to what has been written in the books of destiny about a person, church, city, nation etc.
In the courts of Heaven we will face the prosecutor, who seeks to find legal grounds to refuse what God seeks to grant from the books. This is “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night…And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” (Revelation 12:10-11) We must face him with humility and surrender (Psalm 51:17) and agree and repent quickly (Matthew 5:25) confessing our sins ( 1 John 1:9) so the Lord has the legal right to apply Jesus’ authority to forgive us and wipe out every legal accusation. (Colossians 2:13-14) The enemy is silenced by our testimony in agreement with God’s purposes. Having interceded in the function of a priest, we step into the authority of a King to decree the will of God on earth. (Revelation 1:6, 5:10) (Robert Henderson, p.199-210) Once heaven’s decree is issued we, as the King’s ecclesia, have authority and need to enforce His orders through agreement and declaration in our hearts and through our declaration and blessing God’s truth and righteousness. We need to actively cleanse every realm of society from the residues so there is purity remaining.
Are you part of Christ’s ecclesia in your region? Will you take up your role in the courts of Heaven and then on earth?
Who are the apostolic city elders in your region?
Robert Henderson says God appoints an apostle who will go with the Ecclesia to carry and function in governmental and judicial authority in the courts of Heaven on behalf of their region. Apostles have different levels of authority – some over a small town and others in major cities, states, territories, ministries, networks and nations. Apostolic elders are recognised by the principalities and powers in the regions in which they have appointed authority and are challenged by principalities in territories that they pass through. This challenge fades when we know our appointment and can proclaim that we come in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ or by the invitation of apostles from that region. “The jurisdiction of the apostle will determine the jurisdiction of the Ecclesia which he or she leads.” (Robert Henderson, p.150) “Whatever dimension of jurisdiction an apostle carries, seer and prophetic gifts will begin to see into that dimension. An apostle’s authority will open that realm in the spirit realm.” (Robert Henderson, p.155) Apostolic elders are recognised by the principalities and powers in the regions in which they have appointed authority and are challenged by principalities in territories that they pass through. Their challenge fades when we know our appointment and can proclaim that we come in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ or by the invitation of apostles from that region.
Recognition in Heaven is key, but if apostolic elders are not recognised by the Ecclesia, we miss the essential role they are to play on earth. Apostles in the kingdom are humble servant leaders who work with the prophets to establish the foundational position, scale and strength of the temple God is building. Through apostles the Holy Spirit creates apostolic teams and releases us each to our part.“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:19-21 May we each know our utter dependency on the righteousness of God. May the glory of God to fill us as His temple!
Samuel Hofmann is an apostle who enters nations to work with local elders who have established community prayer altars in their region, and demolish evil strongholds throughout the world. Samuel defines city elders as faithful long-term pastors and intercessors, who meet together (at least once a month) to for their town or local city. Samuel suggests that we all work with the city elders who have God given authority in our local town or municipality. In Melbourne this would mean working as Christ’s Ecclesia in the 31 municipal cities of Melbourne – rather than trying to identify the elders of ‘Greater Melbourne’.
I was commissioned to search for city elders 15 years ago! Evidently our identification of who we are to work with, has held us back from demolishing the strongholds over our regions. Many of us recognise that in the years that we have prayed, fasted and searched for city elders, we have become ‘faithful long term pastors and intercessors’ and apostles in our regions! May we know our appointed authority, elders, teams and territories. Ask the Spirit of God to identify the local apostolic elders you are meant to relate to!
Will you discern and implement the Lord’s strategy in your appointed region?
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
God is leading local teams with His specific strategies – as when Jesus sent ordinary disciples into local regions and saw Satan fall from the sky. (Luke 10:1-24) We need to be led by the Holy Spirit to discern God’s strategy and then fulfil our unique part. We need to know our spiritual authority in Christ, operate in right relationship with apostolic elders and in the realms of our authority that have been registered in the Heaven. (Acts 19:13-17) When we go on spiritual warfare assignments, we need to be operating in right apostolic relationship and take only the people, the Lord permits.
Samuel advises that intercessors prayer walk two by two in their appointed region once a week to see what God reveals and report this to local city apostolic elders, who meet to pray monthly, so that together they can who can discern together the God’s plan for the region and any ungodly origins behind the community’s needs. Local communication is also needed from with spiritual watchmen and researchers who discern what God is showing them through local papers and statistics and Spirit-led research into the history, crime rates etc in the region. Through the apostolic elders, the Lord will activate His strategy for spiritual warfare. God’s Spirit will lead you in how to work as the Ecclesia in your region with local government and workplace representatives to measure the reduction in crime etc as well as evidence of the increase in the kingdom of heaven’s reign in our regions.
We pray you identify and work with the appointed apostolic elders – the faithful long term pastors and intercessors in your local city!
- Are you part of an Ecclesia working with a regional apostle and faithful long term pastors, intercessors, government and workplace in the territory God has appointed you to? Let’s pray for God’s leading. Get in touch.
- See Pray for Melbourne: 31 day Local City Prayer Plan. Pray for intercessory and eldership teams to arise in each of these local cities so we can work together to discern and implement safe prayer assignments.
- For more information on safe warfare see: John Paul Jackson, Needless Casualties of War.
- See: The Power of Prayer in the Courts of Heaven.
Step 5. Then we will see God’s transformation of your community.
5.1 Measurable increase in local people receiving Jesus as their Saviour.
“It is not the will of my Father… that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:14
“And how can the message be proclaimed if messengers have yet to be sent? That’s why the Scriptures say: How welcome is the arrival of those proclaiming the joyful news of peace and of good things to come!” Romans 10:15
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
“The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. ” 2 Corinthians 4:4 “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.” Acts 26:17-18
When the battle shifts the spiritual realm – it changes the spiritual atmosphere over the local city, making it easier for people to discern the Holy Spirit’s convictions, hear the gospel and receive Jesus as Saviour, Lord and Restorer.
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:19-21 NKJV
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Habbakuk 2:14
Jesus said the harvest is ready!
How do you define and ensure a good harvest?
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you…'” “Say to them, the kingdom of God has come near you.” Luke 10:1-3a,9
In 2017 alone, Every Home for Christ brought 19 million 400,000 people to Christ! The rate of conversions has been rising since 1945 but shot up exponentially after 2003, when they established Jericho Center – for Global Evangelization as a prayer watch over the ministry- mobilising day and night prayer for the nations. This radically impacted their evangelism results. If we compare the 7 years prior to this with the next 7 years, the number of homes reached with the gospel increased 212% from 106 million to 330 million. Responses to the gospel increased 626% from 7 million to 51 million. See a video report of this data: The Vision of the Jericho Center on the fruitfulness of prayer and evangelism
I recently had the privilege to be on a zoom call with Dick Eastman who testified how God called him to 40 days of prayer & fasting in 2000 when they were planning the Jericho Center. Dick had just been at the funeral of Billy Graham and reminded us that Billy Graham attributed their effectiveness in evangelism to a three part strategy. First, was prayer. Secondly, just as important, was prayer and finally more importantly, was prayer. The key is pray, pray, pray! Pray at your home altar. Pray at your church altar. Pray at your community altar.
Partners in Prayer & Evangelism can help support you in equipping yourself and your church in local soul winning and in connecting with equipping evangelists and regional evangelism.
- Join the God Revolution – Australia for Jesus Be inspired by ordinary Australians who have heard the gospel shared by their friends and by ordinary people who brought others to Christ. Pick up the tools and strategies that will equip you to share the gospel with the people you know and those you go out to meet.
- Join us to pray and carry the gospel to the 100,000 souls we believe will be saved 16-18 November 2018 through Awakening Australia! Contact us to join prayer & evangelism on the streets on specific days in specific locations! firstname.lastname@example.org
5.2 God’s Transformation of Your Community
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.'”
How do you define and plan for measurable community transformation?
God invites us to His holy mountain – the place of His government and His city on earth. (Hebrews 12:22) “At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart.” Jeremiah 3:17
Through Haggai, the Lord tell us how to restore and maintain the presence and reign of God’s kingdom in our community. Those in a priestly function (spiritual elders) must rebuild the temple of God (the community prayer altar and kingdom in the region) in partnership with leaders from government (e.g. mayor and municipal council) and the remnant of the people (the Ecclesia).
The transformation vision is clear when community elders who represent the spheres in society discern Spirit-led measurable prayer points, criteria and strategies, and disseminate these to connected networks of churches, businesses, governmental and community services and homes for local prayer and action. When Jesus’ kingdom is evident on earth, there is reduced crime, abuse, addiction, depression death rates and increased employment, productivity and well-being. Jesus brings abundant life to our communities!
It is vital that community prayer altars are maintained after regional strongholds are demolished – so ground is held against further inroads and the kingdom of God can manifest through God’s transformation of the region. The diverse experience and strength released through the community prayer altar enables powerful corporate social justice and evangelism initiatives to be built and maintained.
See: Video Report of measurable transformation in Whatcom County, USA Light of the World Prayer Center
2 Chronicles 7:17-22 says the Lord will reign in our nation as long as we remain His people who continue to do what He asks us to do. This is how the earth is blessed through us.
“ I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:17-18
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'” Revelation 21:3-5
Will you pray and collaborate for your region to be redeemed and made new?
References on Community Transformation
Jon M. Dennis (2013) Christ & City: Why the Greatest Need of the City is the Greatest News of All
Timothy Keller (2016) Shaped by the Gospel. Doing Balanced, Gospel – Centered Ministry in your City.
Vishal Mangalwadi (2009) Truth & Transformation: A Manifesto for Ailing Nations.
George Otis Jnr Transformations I & II (DVD) Transform Nations.
Mac Pier, (2016) A Disruptive Gospel: Stories & Strategies for Transforming Your City.
Stephen T. Um & Justin Buzzard (20193) Why Cities Matter – to God, the Culture and the Church.
Roger Sutton (2017) A Gathering Momenentum
The Lord asked me to, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habbakuk 2:2-3
We need to sequentially build prayer altars as solid foundations for our homes, churches and community. Investing time in prayer together leads us to mutually discern God’s perspective and strategy and His compassion for the lost. So we can work together as local city watchmen and elders to identify and demolish strongholds. So we are moved to go as labourers to reap a bountiful harvest and see Jesus’ kingdom come.
Before you take one step: please listen to David Wilkinson’s sermon, A Call to Anguish (56 mins) 5 August 2012
Please get in touch if you would like to help build prayer in your spheres of influence.