Throne Prayer

We are called to higher ground


Sometimes it feels like our prayers are like what was described in Deuteronomy: “The heaven that is over your head shall be bronze” (28:23). At such times it seems that our prayers are just hitting the ceiling and never reaching heaven. That happens when it is our own efforts at prayer, and we are not praying from our throne position. When we pray in weak human ways, we cannot touch heaven.

Throne prayer begins with Jesus, not us. The author of Hebrews tells us that He is at the right hand of the throne of God, interceding for us before we ever pray a single prayer (Heb. 7:25–26; 8:1; 12:2). Throne prayer means, first of all, that Jesus is praying for us and with us, and then through us. A. B. Simpson explains: “What does throne life mean for us His people? It means all the power of His intercession and priesthood. He is there as our Mediator. He is there to keep open every moment the fountains of prayer between us and the Father. He is there as the One whom the Father hears always. And His effectual intercession secures for us the answer to our prayers and the acceptance of our persons continually before the throne.”

Declaring the Mystery

One type of throne prayer is “throne declaration”—not merely praying for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done, but declaring to the powers of heaven and earth the will of the King. “. . . through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10–11).

The word “made known” means to reveal by declaration. Some mistakenly presume to command principalities and powers. Scripture never demonstrates direct command of the highest powers of the heavens. John Paul Jackson, in his book Needless Casualties of War, warns that such commanding puts us out of our league and has many times resulted in spiritual attack because we were never meant to approach the principalities in that way.

However, it is fully scriptural and appropriate to declare the truths of the mystery and wisdom of God to the powers. Paul tells us in Ephesians of the ways we can do this.

Through worship. We declare and reveal wisdom in the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, first of all, by worship. The phrase “to the praise of His glory” is declared by Paul three times to the Ephesian church (Eph. 1:5, 11–14). Declaring that we, as God’s Church, are the praise of His glory reveals the wisdom of God. Worship is “worth-ship”—giving God His worth. When we are to the praise of God’s glory, God’s worth and wisdom are exhibited.

Even more, just a few verses after Paul writes that the Church is to declare the wisdom of God to the principalities and powers, he makes a declaration of the glory and power of God: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever” (Eph. 3:20–21). When we make this declaration, God’s wisdom is made evident.

Through words. We declare to the powers by our words. We first declare God’s wisdom by praying for wisdom and enlightenment (Eph. 1:16–19).

Second, we declare the Word of God. Jesus assures us of the power of His Word: “‘The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life’” (John 6:63). God promises: “‘so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’” (Isa. 55:11). Power is released in confessing and claiming the Word of God.

Third, we declare the purpose of God to the principalities and powers. John MacMillan explains: “The Church is to be God’s instrument in declaring to these rebellious and now usurping powers the divine purpose.” Further, we declare God’s wisdom by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), by speaking wholesome words (Eph. 4:29) and by singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19)

By our walk. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 and 5 that we declare God’s wisdom by walking worthy of our calling (4:1). We manifest God’s wisdom by not walking in futility of mind (4:17), by walking in love (5:2) and by walking as children of the light (5:8). We exemplify God’s wisdom by walking wisely and redeeming the time (5:15–16).

Thy Kingdom Come

The Lord’s Prayer is not merely something we are supposed to recite repeatedly; it is a model of how to pray. Jesus did not say “pray this prayer” but rather “This is how you should pray” (Matt. 6:9). “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” takes us to the throne. By declaring the names of God, He is enthroned on the praises of His people.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a throne prayer—to bring God’s rule and reign to earth. In Greek, the imperative verbs are used and thus can be translated “Come your kingdom; be done your will.” There is a commanding force in the wording. In his famous sermon “True Prayer—True Power,” Charles Spurgeon boldly asserted the power and authority of this prayer:

bq. Thou are thyself a decree. . . . Our prayers are God’s decrees in another shape. . . . Do not say, “How can my prayers affect the decrees?” They cannot, except in so much as your prayers are decrees, and that as they come out, every prayer that is inspired of the Holy Ghost unto your soul is as omnipotent and eternal as that decree which said, “Let there be light and there was light.” . . . The ear of God Himself shall listen, and the hand of God Himself shall yield to thy will. God bids thee cry, “Thy will be done,” and thy will shall be done. When thou canst plead His promise, then thy will is His will.

Bringing Heaven to Earth

“The Kingdom of Heaven” is a Jewish idiom for the Kingdom of God. We are seated in the heavenly places—in the Kingdom of Heaven. Where there is a kingdom, there is a throne. The Kingdom of God is the domain of the King. Therefore, throne life is Kingdom life. Life seated at the right hand of God with Christ in the heavenly places is life in the Kingdom. Characteristics of Kingdom life are the characteristics of throne life.

Throne decrees are characterized by righteousness, peace and joy. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). These are not self-centered decrees, but Christ-character-centered decrees. When we decree from the throne, righteousness is established. Peace and joy abound.

Throne decrees activate life in the Spirit. “The kingdom of God is . . . in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17, emphasis added). When we are walking in the Spirit, we are walking on the heights. Where the Kingdom of God is, the Spirit is in action. From the Creation, the Holy Spirit has always been moving (Gen. 1:2). The Spirit is dynamic, not static. If the Spirit is not moving, the Kingdom of God has not come, and throne life is not experienced. Throne life is abundant, animated. When the Spirit is moving, then animated, abundant life occurs. When we decree from the throne, the Spirit moves in power.

Throne decrees express the will of the throne. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The will of God is synonymous with the coming of the Kingdom of God. When we decree with commanding authority for God’s will to be done, God’s will indeed will be done.

Throne decrees claim with confidence. Like Spurgeon, Simpson asserts our authority to claim: “In the name of Jesus we are to not only ask, but claim and pass in the orders of faith to the bank of heaven” (Christ in the Bible, p. 398). He noted that scholars had translated John 15:7, “You shall ask what you command and it shall be done unto you.” He calls this “the confidence of prayer.”

Throne decrees command from the throne God Himself proclaims, “Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me” (Isa 45:11, KJV). E. M. Bounds calls this verse, “God’s carte blanche to prayer” (Purpose in Prayer, p. 24). Referring to the faith expressed in the appeal of the Syrophoenician woman, Bounds explains, “Jesus Christ surrenders Himself to the importunity of a great faith.”

Spurgeon’s friend A. T. Pierson likewise echoes: “Faith in God so unites to God that it passes beyond the privilege of asking to the power of commanding. This language of Christ is not that of a request, however bold, but of a fiat. . . . And so—marvelous fact! The child of God, laying hold by faith of the Power of the Omnipotent One, issues his fiat. . . . Obey the Law of the Power and the Power obeys you. Conform to the Laws and modes of the Spirit’s operations, and in the work of God’s hands you may command the Spirit’s Power” (Lessons in the School of Prayer, pp.60–61).

We want to make clear that we are not commanding God; we are commanding what He decrees, and then He acts according to our confessions. We do not control God, but He does respond to our powerful proclamations of His purposes.

Throne prayer, then, is not merely prayer that comes from our mind, our desires or our thoughts, but prayer that is initiated and invigorated by the Holy Spirit from the very throne of God. It is not earthly prayer, but heavenly prayer, prayer conducted from the heavenly places, with heavenly words of authority and power.

Realize your position on the throne and pray with authority and power!

Adapted from Come Up Higher: Rediscovering Throne Life—the Highest Christian Life for the 21st Century (Oneseed Press, 2013).

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