envelop spinner search close plus arrow-right arrow-left facebook twitter

Reclaiming the Kingdom

by Theresa Newell on October 31, 2023

As a new believer in the late 1980’s, I felt a burden to make Christ known to my children and to my neighbors. Yet, I was still so conscious of my own recent darkness that I stepped tepidly into the work of prayer.

One day, Doris, the only other Christian on my cul-de-sac, asked if we could pray in front of each house on our street. In broad daylight?! The first house on the street was inhabited by a reclusive woman whom I only saw when she darted out for her mail. Her name was Wanda, and her husband was a high-ranking military officer. Soon after our prayer, we heard that her husband was being stationed in Europe. Wanda went to California to visit her sister before their departure. On her return, she called Doris and said, “My sister had committed her life to Jesus and led me to do the same!” Later, she wrote from Germany that she had founded a nationwide Christian women’s group. God was showing me that prayer does change lives!

While praying for another neighbor, Jim, whom I must admit I had categorized as “hopeless,” I received a dramatic revelation of the spiritual change that happens when we pray. As I confessed my despair about Jim to the Lord, a picture came into my mind. I saw a horizontal line, a timeline, with a vertical bar slashing it midway. Focusing on the dividing line, I saw it was the Cross! Everything to the left was darkness; to the right was bright light. These words came to me: “The cross is a cycle-breaker.” The power of Jesus’s intercession for us on the cross breaks every cycle of sin. I learned that nothing and no one is “hopeless” to God.

Spiritual Warfare

Since those early days, I’ve spent time serving as national director of the intercessory prayer ministry called Breakthrough. I’ve also learned some biblical keys to understanding the war between darkness and light, and those keys have given me more confidence to pray bold prayers.

A) God created Adam and Eve to have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).

B) Satan took control of the earth because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God.

C) Fallen mankind needed a Mediator to be reconciled to God (1 Timothy 2:5,6).

D) Jesus gave his authority to believers to complete the reclamation of the earth for the Kingdom of God (Colossians 2:15; Matthew 28:18; John 16:23; 17:18;) and he sent the Holy Spirit to help us (Romans 8: 26, 27, 34; Hebrews 7:25).

E) Intercession is hard work. Intrinsic to intercession is conflict because, like Jesus on the cross, intercessors stand between the powers of darkness and light (Ephesians 6:12). Yet our intercession has the power to deliver people and territory from darkness to light (Matthew 16:18,19).

F) All believers are called to this work. That’s you and me!

In prayerful intercession, an exchange takes place. Christ takes our sin and brokenness and exchanges it with his new life. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Hebrew root for intercession, [paga], means “to cause to meet.” The word appears twice in the suffering servant passage of Isaiah 53, where it reads, “the LORD hath laid [paga] on him the iniquity of us all . . . he bore the sin of many and made intercession [paga] for the transgressors.”

Just as Jesus laid down his life as a bridge for sinners to cross over, we, too, have the privilege of laying down our lives in intercession for the lost. I cannot, on my own, effect a change in anyone’s life. Only the power of the cross can do that. But I can intercede for others in prayer with the considerable authority Jesus left me as a believer. Jesus gave us the model and the Lord’s Prayer. In it, we pray, “your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  These words directly challenge the devil’s authority. Our prayerful authority as believers reclaim the earth for God’s Kingdom just as the disobedience of our first parents surrendered authority to the earth over to Satan.

Violent Prayer

We see dark things everywhere: death, oppression, poverty, war, sickness. None of these dark things exist in heaven! Intercession is our part in this battle between light and dark. Jesus said, “The violent take [the kingdom] by force” (Matthew 11:12b). This violent prayer may shock us churchgoers, but it expresses the earnestness, ardor, and even desperation that one must have to rid the earth of satanic powers.

The goal of intercession is physical and spiritual regeneration. When a person is deeply converted, there is a violent wrenching of the person from one kingdom into another (Colossians 1:13,14). Jesus is our model. He spent his ministry setting people free from the devil (Luke 11:21,22). Intercessory prayer is hard work, a travailing that comes forth from the Spirit within. Warfare and struggle against a powerful enemy are the words the Bible uses to depict intercession. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who travailed in prayer for their people: Moses (Exodus 32:7-14); Daniel (Daniel 9:3-19); Esther (Esther 4:16); Jeremiah (Jeremiah 15:10).

I pray that intercession becomes a way of life in our church family. I pray that the things which concern God’s heart begin to consume me more than my own agenda. May his view of people and their needs become mine. May awareness of the lostness of those still in Satan’s dark kingdom become more acute to us. May we become soldiers in God’s army on 24-hour duty, awakened in the night if need be, to pray as the Spirit calls and leads.

Spiritual warfare is real, and intercessory prayer is a spiritual necessity. Jesus won the victory over sin and death by his Cross, but we believers are the troops enforcing his hard-earned victory on earth—we are in the mopping-up operations. Paul wrote: “Put on the whole armor of God” and do battle, in the powerful name of Jesus, for those Satan is holding captive (Ephesians 6:10-17).

[If you want to explore partnering in prayer with the ministry Breakthrough, you can find them at  www.intercessors.org.]

Tags: prayer, kingdom, authority, demons, victory, spiritual warfare, satan, intercession, exchange

return to Blog

CHURCH OFFICE | 717-354-5394



© 2024 Petra Church   |   565 Airport Rd, New Holland, PA US 17557