Scripture reveals that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world, and then the end will come. The gospel of the kingdom includes the demonstration to every nation that Jesus is the sovereign Lord of all, and it ultimately leads to the separation of sheep and goat nations (Matt. 24:14, 25:31-34).
If we truly believe this dividing of nations will occur, then our responsibility to bring change and reformation so that nations might be identified as sheep nations has already begun. It is within this framework of transforming nations that the Lord is mobilizing His army to advance to take possession of the cultural mountains (or kingdoms) of this world.
This passage in Matthew (chapters 24-25) repeatedly admonishes us to “watch,” which includes the aspect of being responsible.(1) Prayer is an important part of this responsibility, as illustrated in the parallel passage in Luke, as well as the account of Jesus instructing His disciples to watch with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.(2)
Several foundational principles for prayer in relation to transformation are found in the Old Testament:
- It is powerful to combine fasting with prayer. One of the most compelling examples of bringing change to a nation occurs in the book of Esther. Before Esther went in to the king without invitation, she called for a three day fast. (See also Dan. 9:3-19.)
- We should pray for peace where we live. Jeremiah 29:7 sets the model for this. This verse reveals we are to pray for peace in the city (or nation) of our oppression, for its peace will be ours.
- We should pray with a sincere and whole heart. Also from Jeremiah 29, verses 12-14 say God will respond to heartfelt prayers to deliver those who suffer ungodly oppression.
New Testament Perspective: “I Will Build My Church”
As we move into New Testament revelation, we see from Matthew 16:18 that Jesus said, “I will build My church,” meaning, He will not accomplish His purposes apart from her. It is especially intriguing that this passage says “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
One of the lesser-used terms given to the seven main spheres that influence society (besides mountains) is gates. Those who sat at the gates in Old Testament times were respected and moved in authority.(3) Gates were a place where business transactions, court decisions, and public announcements were made—those who sat at the gates wielded great political control. And gates can also refer to portals, or openings, for spiritual activity.
I personally believe the gates in this passage are representing portals by which ungodly cultural influence enters to impact society. If this is true, then Matthew 16:18 is a prophetic declaration announcing that the church will ultimately wrest control of the seven mountains from the forces of darkness and prevail as the predominant influence in society!
Even if this is not the case, this passage is still an invitation to pray in agreement with what Jesus decreed: “Lord, let it be that Your church comes into its authority, and that the forces of darkness are no longer victorious in their ability to influence the earth!”
When we operate in our true authority, everything we bind and loose on earth reflects heaven’s purposes—His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.(4)
Present Day Perspective: The Church’s Finest Hour
I am always drawn to stories that chronicle historical events. I recently watched the movie, The Finest Hours, based on the true story of the Coast Guard’s most daring sea rescue, in which 32 men were saved from a sinking ship against almost unbelievable odds.(5)
Shortly after this, I felt the Lord say He is setting up the church for her finest hour. It took a minute for the significance of this phrase to dawn on me.
In the movie, no one thought the rescuers would succeed, much less survive. The odds were unbelievable—the dangers insurmountable.
It’s a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is that the church is about to enter her finest hour. The bad news is that this will involve insurmountable odds and great peril—exactly the kind of setup where God gets all the glory! There is no finest hour without something impossible to overcome.
Scripture supports this good news/bad news scenario. The church is currently in a final age of reformation, which will culminate with the proclamation that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ (Rev. 11:15).(6) Only one verse prior, we find this announcement, “The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.” Of course, God’s timing is tricky at best, yet this does provide perspective and context for upcoming kingdom conquest amidst adversity.(7)
Another perspective revealed by prophetic voices of our day is that “winds of change” are currently blowing. I, too, have heard the Lord speak of (and experienced) these winds and believe they include winds of alignment and promotion.
Zechariah 12:8 reveals that last day believers will be released into much greater levels of power and authority. Every saint will advance to some degree or another, depending on levels of intimacy, faithfulness and maturity, for the advancement of kingdom purposes.
From this you can pray that:
- You can handle it—both the challenges and the coming change, and
- You can hold the ground you are not used to, once you begin to advance.
From Matthew’s revelation that the gospel of the kingdom must be preached to all the nations to Revelation’s proclamation that the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations, God’s plan to use His church to reform nations is revealed.(8)
Lord, may we faithfully pray Your heart for reformation, that Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
- See Strong’s #G1127
- See Luke 21:36; Matt. 26:40-41
- See Prov. 31:23
- See v. 19; also Matt. 6:10
- See also Rev. 20:6; also see Prophetic Scriptures Yet to be Fulfilled by Dr. Bill Hamon
- See also Isa. 60:1-2
- See Matt. 24:14; Rev. 22:2