There are vast movements of the Holy Spirit taking place in the world today that are advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For instance, there is the ”Back to Jerusalem” movement that is moving through the Chinese world to bring millions of Chinese into taking the Gospel to Muslims.
In addition to these great moves of the Holy Spirit, Satan is also at work building strongholds to not only block the Word of Life, but to bring death, destruction, tyranny and/or anarchy that advance purposes of evil that are so contrary to the Kingdom of God.
On the front lines of this great struggle are those whom God has called as intercessors. Their role is to pray for the advancement of the Kingdom of God as well as to be the first means through whom Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan is expressed in the world.
Often intercessors are the first whom God calls to cooperate with Him in both aspects of this Kingdom building and defeating work. It is astonishing that He would include us! But we emphatically see that He does. Matthew 9:37-38 is an example:
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
God the Father, the Lord of the Harvest, knows exactly what the needs are and exactly who the laborers are. Yet God includes us, indeed depends on us, to do the work of prayer which opens the doors for His will and purposes for the salvation of humankind to move toward practical implementation.
How do I square that with the sovereignty of God? I guess the same way that John Calvin does when he says, “Therefore we see that to us nothing is promised to be expected from the Lord, which we are not also bidden to ask of him in prayers.” Jesus gives us authority to ask things in His name and He expects us to exercise this authority as the primarily means He has given us to participate in Kingdom work.
The second part of this work of participating with Jesus in overcoming strongholds is seen in a number of locations such as when Jesus sends His disciples out with authority:
“…to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you.” Luke 10:19 NET
We also see this power of intercession in praying down moves of the Holy Spirit and pushing back evil in the book of Acts 4:29-33 through praying for God to give them boldness AND to work in signs and wonders.
To engage in this two-fold work with Jesus Christ we are adjusting the purpose of Discerning the Times, to be:
for praying… “Thy Kingdom Come”
Intercessors Cooperating with Holy Spirit: Advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Destroying the Devil’s Works.
This Logo with the strong hands suggests our theme of Prayer that Shapes the Future. The cross and the dove logo over the world show what we are praying for: Jesus Christ to be advanced all over the world; and that can only happen by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Each phrase in the title and tag line has been chosen for a specific reason.
Discerning the Times comes from a discussion in Matthew 16:1-33 about discerning the times or the workings of God in the world. The Greek here for “times” is actually “Kairos” which means the special moments when God is moving and working..
For praying “Thy Kingdom Come. Now this gets very exciting! The reformers understood that to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come!” actually has two parts. The first is to advance the Kingdom of God, which starts in our own hearts as we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and then moves to a corporate expression in the expansion of the Church. The second is praying that God will overcome and destroy the Kingdom of Satan.
This is articulated in the Heidelberg catechism (CRC Version):
Q. What does the second petition mean?
A. “Your kingdom come” means:
Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way
that more and more we submit to you.
1 Preserve your church and make it grow.
2 Destroy the devil’s work;
destroy every force which revolts against you
and every conspiracy against your holy Word.
3 Do this until your kingdom fully comes,
when you will be
all in all.
Intercessors Cooperating with the Holy Spirit: Advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Defeating the Devil’s works summarizes what we want to accomplish.
I believe Jesus Christ is raising up an army of intercessors whom He is anointing and leading by the Holy Spirit to pray for the outpouring or waves of the Holy Spirit that God is sending into the world today to advance His Kingdom.
We as intercessors will also be anointed, empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit to pray so that Christ will be working to “destroy the Devil’s works.”
In summary, the purpose of Discerning the Times will be to provide discernment necessary for us to follow Jesus’ command for us to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come…” This means we have the two-fold task of discerning and praying for waves of the Holy Spirit and discerning and praying for the removal of those demonic strongholds that Satan is raising up to block the advance of the Kingdom of God.