Notes for People Praying for Aotearoa/New Zealand
Aotearoa/New Zealand has a calling on a world stage to be like Esther: a nation that is unsurpassed in beauty, humble in heart, selfless, fearless, and uncompromising in character. We are to be a vanguard nation that stands against the forces of darkness that are arrayed against the people of God. Like Esther, we were born for such a time as this, but like Esther, if we do not take a stand and actively do the will of God now, then God will raise up another nation to take our role along with all its blessings and privileges, and we will suffer loss. We must lay everything on the line at this time, both personally and corporately.
Scripture says that “God frustrates the plans of the wicked” and brings them to nothing. As it was in the time of Esther, we are now in a time when God is orchestrating His people to frustrate the plans of the enemy. We must not fall into fear or self-protection, but rather seek the Lord through prayer, fasting, repentance, intercession, and then we must act with costly obedience to the voice of God.
To help us understand how we can participate in this current move, the Spirit of God is using different metaphors to guide people in prayer. Understanding these metaphors is essential if we are going to pray effectively and act confidently in this critical time.
In this season, God is calling His people to embrace their calling as an army of light. Scripture is clear that we are to fight the fight of faith, and that our enemy is not people (flesh and blood), but the powers and principalities of darkness (spiritual forces).
Every army is built upon a chain of command that requires obedience. No one is called to fight alone, and in fact, the only way we will overcome is together. Just as a body has different parts, so an army has different units that operate in different ways. Some people may battle in prayer and intercession, others by moving in wisdom in their workplace, others by meeting needs in their community, others by standing firm in places of government. We cannot make a formula for the battle, rather, each person needs to be led by the Holy Spirit and obey His voice with radical obedience.
As an army we must understand how the enemy targets us for defeat. A common strategy is this: isolation, followed by discouragement, followed by temptation. We start by feeling isolated from God and distant from other believers. We think it is our fault and so we try harder to draw close to God. But then we encounter discouraging thoughts. We start to feel hopeless and disoriented then a temptation comes—usually an old but familiar temptation that we have succumbed to in the past. In the spiritual realm, this process strips us of the armour of God. In order to become discouraged, we must first lay down our shield of faith and take off the helmet of hope. We then discard the breastplate of righteousness (which is faith and love), and proceed to take off the belt of truth (reality) and lay down the sword of the Spirit (the word of God) and so on. Finally, when we are naked and defenseless on the battlefield, then the real temptation comes. The key to overcoming this warfare is to recognize that both isolation (a rejection of love and unity) and discouragement (faithlessness) are not emotions to work through, but sins to repent from. If we wait until the actual temptation comes, we will find ourselves too weak to overcome. If we are quick to detect isolation and immediately reunite with our spiritual family, we will find ourselves instantly encouraged and equipped to overcome.
- That people understand how they are to wage war in this season
- That the body of Christ comes into alignment and obedience to the will of God
- That people are equipped to overcome attacks by preserving love and unity within the army
- That soldiers in the army would hear the voice of God with clarity, receive His vision, act in His faith, and respond with fearless obedience
This is the season for believers to enter their inheritance as the Bride of Christ. If we are praying for the Bride to arise, we must understand what it means for a child of the Father to become a bride of the Son. In the natural realm, a young woman only becomes a bride when she makes an exclusive covenant of love, to give her entire life to one man. The same is true spiritually. The only way to enter into and experience our identity as the bride of Christ is to make a covenant of love with Him. This covenant is expressed in the greatest command: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Because we are born again as spiritual infants, few people devote their lives to loving God when they first follow Jesus. They are brides in potential but not yet in experience. As it is in the natural, so there is a process of maturity that we go through until we reach the place where we can truly devote our lives to loving Jesus with our entire being (see Ezekiel 16:1-14). Only once we have consciously and completely committed ourselves to keeping the greatest command can we truly call ourselves the bride of Christ.
- That believers would hear and respond to the call of wholehearted love
- That believers would find their identity as a beloved bride as they covenant to love Jesus with their entire being
- That believers would pursue love and intimacy with Jesus above all else
Elders in the Gates
In ancient times, cities were governed by elders who met in the gates. Together they decided what would enter in and out of the city, and they resolved issues of governance. God is now calling His people to become like elders in the gates of their spiritual community. In order to operate in governing authority, we must realise that spiritual authority stems from obedience. Therefore, to become an elder, we must be living in obedience to God and His design for our lives. This corporate design is best summed up in the new command: to love one another with the love of Christ. If we are not actively loving a number of other believers in word (heart-to-heart communication) and in action (sacrificially giving to meet need) then we are living in spiritual disobedience. This disobedience keeps us in infancy and prevents us from operating as elders in the gates.
In this spiritual warfare, God is calling us to win Aotearoa/NZ town by town, city by city. It is not enough to drive the enemy out of the gates, we must be prepared to then possess those gates. This will require many groups of elders to regularly come together to govern within their sphere of authority and release the love of Christ into their communities. As we take all the regions of the land, the enemy will be driven out, and this will allow people to come to Christ in great numbers.
- That God’s people would act to fulfill their call of love
- That elders would arise all through NZ and begin to displace the enemy and possess the gates
- That broken relationships within the Body of Christ would be restored, so people can govern in love together
- That God’s people would discern with clarity and know how to bind the enemy and release God’s reign of love
A friend once shared a dream that she saw herself as a bride casting a net over the islands of Polynesia. This dream is being fulfilled right now! At this time, God is casting a net over NZ and the islands of Polynesia.This net is made up of thousands of small groups that will gather together to keep Christ’s new command: to love one another. These believers will be alive with the love of God and interwoven heart-to-heart by the flow of God’s love.
Unlike the Welsh revival, where masses of people encountered God but then fell away because of a lack of nurturing, this net will hold a great harvest of new believers. As these groups invite non-believers into their homes and share the love and gospel of God with them, non-believers will not only come into relationship with God, but they will also be interwoven in their relationships with others.
The greatest and most important commands in Scripture are to love God and love one another. Because love flows strongest in small numbers, these small groups will become the primary expression of Christianity in NZ/Aotearoa. The larger gatherings (such as Sunday services) will become secondary to the smaller. As the small groups grow with new believers, new groups will be formed and the net will increase its spread. This net will cross denominational, cultural, and socio-economic barriers. Needs will be shared across the whole net so that every single person in the net will have all their needs met and will be actively seeking to meet the needs of others.
- That people would make love their overarching priority in life
- That God’s love would help people to bridge cultural divides
- That believers would truly seek to gather with the primary goal of sharing God’s love with one another
This move of God is like a river of consuming fire. It is the love of God poured out through His people. The only way to become a part of this move is by embracing God’s call of love. When we get a vision for our lives of wholehearted love and take hold of God’s promise to make it a reality, then the fire is ignited. This fire consumes all that is not love, especially our selfishness, our sin, and our brokenness.
Our call is to let the river of God’s love flow through us. We can no longer seek to be just recipients of His love and blessing, but rather we need to seek to become channels of His consuming love.
This river has also been called a tsunami of the Spirit. It is not so much an unexpected wave that destroys everything, but a slowly rising tide that does not retreat until it has covered the whole land with the love of God.
- That the river of fire would consume every obstacle to love
- That there would be a grace over believers to abandon their idols (especially wealth and comfort) and instead seek a life of selfless love
- The believers would embrace their calling to be channels of God’s love and blessing, not simply receivers
A man had a dream of a great earthquake that shook the land. He did not feel the earthquake, but he watched as a lighthouse toppled on its side and the foundation was exposed. The shaking has begun, but those who are living in the kingdom (loving God and one another) are not feeling it. They can see God at work and they trust Him. They are not swayed by conspiracy but are confident in the victory of Christ and are given to doing His will. They smile at the future for they know that after the earthquakes will come great waves of God’s love!
The earthquakes (there are more than one) are exposing the foundations of the church. Every church fellowship that is not built upon the actual, experiential love of Christ (through one another) will suffer loss in this time. We must inspect the foundations of our fellowships quickly: why do we do what we do in the way we do it? If the answer is not, “because the love of Christ compels us” then we need to repent.
- Pray for people to repent from loveless traditions and embrace God’s call of love
- Pray for the hold of religion over the bride of Christ to be broken
- Pray that people would not be swamped by conspiracy, but inspired by the voice of God
Praying for those in Government
Scripture says that the people rejoice when the righteous are in government and mourn when the wicked are in authority. Through love, Esther turned the heart of the king to not only secure a place for her people, but to give them an incredible, unexpected victory. Having righteous people in government is an essential part of our call as a nation on the world stage. Knowing this, we need to be relentless in both prayer and action to support righteous people to take up their call to govern in this nation.
In terms of our existing government, we cannot expect people who are not following Jesus to make decisions that are righteous, selfless, truly wise, or loving for our nation. Without Christ, our representatives are powerless to overcome the forces of darkness that currently possess the gates of our Parliament. Regardless of their political party and their good intentions, without a strong relationship with Jesus, our MPs fall under their influence. However, because the Body of Christ has the power and corporate authority to overcome the forces of darkness, we must be willing to fight for those in government, that they may be set free from the influence of corrupting spirits. This is a spiritual battle against spiritual forces for the people of the world, which includes every MP. Our vision must be to extend the love, grace and mercy of God to every person in Parliament, knowing they are loved by God and able to be beautifully redeemed. We must therefore pray for our MPs as potential brothers and sisters in Christ.
In terms of the upcoming election, we need to appreciate that people usually vote for parties that have policies that are personally advantageous to the voter (students vote for free education etc). Some people cast their vote based on a candidate’s perceived personality. However, it is the ideology of candidates that shapes both their personalities and their policies, and these ideologies are almost always attached to a spiritual force. We can pray that the nature of the ideologies competing for power in our Parliament are exposed, and that the Holy Spirit would lead people to vote for righteous representatives in this election.
It may be worth noting that much of the anti-Christian sentiment in Parliament is anti-religious/legalistic Christianity. People are led by media (and sadly sometimes experience) to believe that Christianity is a strict, judgmental, exploitive, money-hungry, science-denying, conspiracy-prone, controlling system of belief that arrogantly believes in its own moral superiority. They use the Ten Commandments to frame Christianity as an archaic system of moral control, completely ignoring the two greatest Commandments (loving God and loving each other), which of course are at the very foundation of our faith and are the very definition of God’s design for humanity. We can act and pray for those in media that they would have a personal encounter with God and that the true heart of Christ would be revealed through His people–that of extravagant love, deep compassion, quiet humility, infinite goodness, and boundless joy.
- That people in this country look beyond their own selfish interests and instead vote for righteous candidates
- That the spiritual forces that are influencing your local MP and candidates would be bound
- If you feel led, pray that the spiritual forces over each person in our current government would be bound
- Pray for dreams, visions, revelations, and encounters with Jesus for all our MPs and governance staff
- That God would raise up righteousness within our legislature
- That God’s love (and His design of love) would become known to those in government
Combining the Metaphors
All these metaphors interweave to produce a beautiful picture of God’s will for the people of Aotearoa/NZ. God’s ultimate desire for each one of us is that we love Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is what it means to become the bride, to fight in the front lines of His army, to be a part of His net, to sit as elders in the gates, and to have His river of fire flow through us.
Our call is therefore to love Jesus as He wants to be loved: through His people. We see this in the parable of the sheep and goats—Christ shares our need so that we may love Him through His people. The only way to do this is to love each other, both in word and action. And we can only do this in small groups where people are free to speak honestly and to share their needs. We therefore must pray that believers take hold of the vision to love Jesus through one another and interweave in God’s great net for this last, great harvest!
Prayer to Faith to Action
Rees Howells once described three things that separated intercessors from prayer warriors:
- Intercessors do not give up until they hear God speak “it is done.”
- Intercessors identify/connect with the people they are praying for
- Intercessors seek to become the first answer to their prayers
If God puts a particular focus for prayer on your heart, please be encouraged to persevere until you hear Him say “it is done.” If you are praying for a particular group or community of people, ask Him how you can identity with those people. When you feel a connection with that group, pray for them with passion. Prayer without faith is dead and faith without works is also dead, so ask the Lord to show you what actions you can take to answer your own prayer. Action is a key measure of the faith behind the prayer.
For example, if you are praying for God’s net to be interwoven in your area, ask the Lord about who He would like you to connect with to start meeting in small groups. Share the vision with others. If God leads you to pray for a specific MP then consider connecting with them and building a supportive, loving relationship. If you are praying for the bride, then seek to become His bride first by devoting your own life to loving Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then ask Him to lead you to people who will respond to this call of love.
Be specific with your prayers and expect your prayers to be fulfilled. Look for answers to prayer and continue to get more specific in both prayer and action. Ask other believers, “Have noticed any change in …? Because I’ve been praying about it.” Expect results.
Repentance is a key of prayer in this season. Like Daniel, God may lead us to repent on behalf of the people for neglecting the greatest commands of love, for tolerating selfishness, for agreeing with spirits of religion and division, for pursuing wealth rather than a life of selfless love and joy. We can first repent personally for these things, and then repent on behalf of those in our communities and in our nation. We can then act on our repentance by actively embracing our call to be channels of God’s love and giving to those in need.
Thanks for your willingness to pray and act in this crucial time! If we can help in any way or if you have any questions, please feel free to fire them through!