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“Speak To That Rock!” — On Praying With Authority

Reading: Numbers 20:1-13


The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Numbers 20:7-8, 11-12 NIV


Moses' good old staff was tried and tested. With it he had turned the Nile river to blood and parted the sea. It was familiar, and he trusted it. He knew that God was going to bring water out of the rock, and so hitting it with his trusty stick was well within his experience.

But God hadn't told Moses to strike the rock with his stick. He had told him to speak to the rock. This was something new — an authority Moses wasn't used to. I imagine him wondering, “Can I really do this? Would it be right? Will my spoken word alone actually be enough to release God's power?”

I note that God didn't tell Moses, “Pray and ask me to bring forth water.” He specifically told him, “Speak to that rock.” Jesus has something similar to say to us:

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” Mark 11:23 NIV

It seems that in bringing things to pass, Jesus spent little time speaking about those things, and much time speaking to them. And just as God told Moses “Speak to that rock”, Jesus teaches us now to “Speak to that mountain.”


Speaking to things instead of praying about them takes a bit of getting used to. Like a child standing on the edge of the garden shed roof in a Superman suit, there comes a nagging feeling, “Can I really fly?”

Can I really speak this mountain and have it move? Can I really speak to this sickness and command it to go? Do I really have authority to command a blessing, or to break the power of a stronghold?

For most of my life, I have simply asked God to work on my behalf. Just as Moses had his trusty staff, 'prayers of petition' have been mine — my tried and tested method. There's nothing wrong with having a trusty staff. Look at what God said to Moses: “Take your staff”. It was important. Just as my prayers of petition are.

But then God said something new: “Speak to the rock”. I feel that God is bringing the same command to his children today, revealing afresh the authority we have been given. The truth of that authority hasn't changed, but the appreciation of it has the potential to change everything.


Lord God, I want to honour you with my obedience to your promptings. I pray for courage, that I might step out in faith at your command. Please teach me more of the authority I have in Jesus, and help me to walk in it, that your glory might be revealed to all.

See also an earlier post on this theme, Walking in Authority


There’s Power in a Blessing

Reading: Numbers 5-6


The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

“ ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’

“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27 (NIV)


There is power in a blessing. A blessing is more than just sentiment or an expression of hope that things will go well. It's more than just “Happy Birthday!” or “Best Wishes!” To speak a blessing is to command God's favour upon a person. Yes, we can bless others through our words or our deeds, but a blessing spoken in God's name and with his authority carries weight because God himself is the one who carries it out.

What a privilege, to be able to move God's hand and direct his favour! What an honour to be God's agent in this world. But who gets to carry this honour? In Old Testament days, it was the priests, whose job it was to represent God to the people, and the people to God. They were like go-betweens. So who are the priests now?

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

And speaking about Jesus: “…you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-11 (NIV)


I have been given the authority and privilege to be able to speak God's blessing into the lives of others! This authority is given to me by Jesus not because of a position I hold but as one of God's “royal priesthood”.

If God has given me authority to bless others in His name, then the blessing I speak will move God's hand. Something about this feels uncomfortable, as if somehow God were my 'genie in a bottle' waiting to come out and say, “Your wish is my command.” But really, the opposite is true. It is God's wish to bless and show favour, and he has granted authority to all his children to carry out his wishes by directing where at least some of that blessing will rest.

Until now, I haven't really appreciated the power of speaking a blessing. I think it's time to start exercising my God-given authority! Lord, who shall I start with…


Lord God, thank you for rescuing me from the dominion of darkness and bringing me into the kingdom of your Son. I have been raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly realms. What a privilege! Lord, I want to serve you fully by fulfilling all the purposes you have for me, so help me to become an agent of blessing, and to walk tall in the authority I have been given in Jesus.

“ ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’

See also Looking into the Face of God


Faith Isn’t Just Believing – It’s Expecting!

Reading: Luke 8:19-56


The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:24-25 (NIV)


“Where is your faith?” [Didn't you know I could do that? You could have too with faith]. Jesus clearly expected his disciples to have faith. He often rebuked them for lack of it. Yet when faith was present, all heaven broke loose! People were healed. Miracles were performed. Hope was kindled where once there was despair.

All through the gospels I see that it was faith that released the power and presence of God. And Jesus makes it exceedingly clear that if I have faith to believe, I too can receive from God! Not only that, if I have faith to believe, I can in Jesus' name do the same things that he did, releasing his power to heal and to save. The very idea would be preposterous but for the fact that Jesus himself said it, and repeated it over and over. The power of God is released by our faith.

“According to your faith will it be done to you.” Matthew 9:29 (NIV)

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14 (NIV)


Faith isn't just believing – it's expecting. There was another storm, presumably later, when Peter climbed right out of his boat, fully expecting to walk on the water, and he did! (For a short while anyway). He acted on the mustard seed of faith that he had, and the power of God was activated.

In the same way, my faith will only grow as I act on it. In the gospels, those who expected Jesus to heal them came to him and were healed. And as the faith of the disciples grew, especially after the coming of the Holy Spirit, they too learned to speak and act on the basis of expectation. Such is Jesus' expectation of me, that I would grow in my faith and act on it, releasing the power of heaven into the world in which I live.


Lord Jesus, I want more faith! I ask that even at this very moment, you would in your grace impart faith into me. I receive it, and I thank you for it! And now I pray for opportunities to exercise that faith. Jesus, may I not be one of whom you say, “You of little faith”, but rather, one who steps out in faith and expectation, that you might be glorified and others might come to know your wonderful love and grace.


“The same works I have done, and even greater works…”

Reading: John 14


“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” John 14:12 (NLT)


Right! The time has come to stop tiptoeing around the tulips, because here, Jesus is making such a clear and radical statement that a response is mandatory. “Anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…”

What works did Jesus do? He healed the sick. He restored sight to blind people. He said, “Stretch out your hand,” and the withered hand was made straight. He said, “Stand up and walk!” and people lame from birth began jumping with joy. He set people free from demons. He even raised people from the dead!

So who is Jesus addressing when he makes his statement? Just the twelve disciples sitting in front of him? No, “Anyone who believes in me…” That includes me! Is that really true, that I might pray for the blind and see their sight restored, and for the lame and see their limbs made strong? And even that dead people might be raised to life through my prayers?

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…”. There really can be no other conclusion. He even begins his statement by saying, “I tell you the truth!” It is clear then that with this statement, Jesus is telling me exactly what to expect of myself, and also what he is expecting of me! Jesus is now in heaven and has left us, his church, to continue the work he started – the same work done in the same way, and empowered by the same Spirit. “And, even greater works…”


Long have I stumbled on this verse, believing it in my head and seeing it happening for others but not experiencing it firsthand, except in ways that are more “ordinary”. If I'm honest, those times when I have prayed and not seen healing have sapped my faith and watered down the boldness of my prayers.

Yet faith is rising, and I find myself hungry for the reality of God's kingdom to come to the place where I live. I don't think I can stand any longer to live in that place of spiritual impotence and feebleness, nor to let fear hold me back from stepping out in faith. The time is now here for faith to start bearing its fruit.


Thank you Lord Jesus for your great commission, and for the expectation you have for your Church. Lord, we are your Body, and we want to function fully! Let faith rise in each one of us, Lord Jesus, and in us together as your people! May your Spirit move in power amongst us and your kingdom come, that those who are sick will be confronted by the power of your love, and the lost discover a life-changing relationship with you.

This week I took my first steps to being involved in a ministry called “Healing on the Streets”, which is soon to start in our city, God willing, and is already operating elsewhere. This ministry is very public but not “in your face”, and involves putting out a few chairs on the street, along with a “Healing on the Streets” banner, and simply inviting people who would like prayer to sit down and be prayed for. What an opportunity to share the life-changing love of Jesus with others! And so practical. Holy Spirit, let's go! You can read more about this ministry here:


Walking in Authority

Reading: Luke 2-4


So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” Luke 4:39-41a (NIV)


Jesus was not just “empty talk”. He spoke with authority. He spoke with authority as he taught people, compelling some and threatening others. He spoke with authority over sickness and it left people. He spoke with authority to demons and they fled. He told people their sins were forgiven and they were. Because he carried authority, Jesus was able to bring real healing and transformation, both physically and spiritually, to all who came to him in faith.


I long to be able to share the life-changing power of God with others, to see Jesus bring healing and wholeness to people physically and spiritually. Jesus gave his disciples authority to heal the sick and cast out demons, but he also gives authority to me as his ambassador to carry on the work that he started. He says, “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go…” (Matthew 8:18-19a).


Lord Jesus, even as I write I feel the desire to pray for people welling up in me. Lord, let your kingdom come! May it truly be on earth as it is in heaven. Please release your Holy Spirit to heal and restore. I pray for miracles that set people free and provoke great outpourings of joy. Let us not be impotent in our faith but instead walk tall in the authority you have given us.

I pray Lord Jesus for wisdom and opportunity, and for the courage to obey all of the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit!

Whoa! Sometimes it feels like God puts his hand right inside my chest and gives my myocardium a squeeze! I've found using SOAP is really effective way to open myself up to God as I read the Bible. If you'd like to know more about this simple technique, you can find out here: What is SOAP?


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