For All in Authority

By Francis Frangipane

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

There are many obvious reasons to pray for people in positions of authority. At the core of authority is the ability to influence. Anyone with influence has authority and anyone with authority has influence. Governmental authority can influence entire cultures, and beyond. The Old Testament reveals that when a king turned to the Lord, the entire nation was influenced toward God. This was true with all of the godly kings in Judah, and it was true in Nineveh when its king led in national repentance. In fact, Judah never experienced a national revival without that revival being stimulated by the heart of the king.

He Can Do It Again!

By Francis Frangipane

As I write this, a huge naval exercise by the US military and its allies is bringing a massive concentration of American naval, air and marine might to the Persian Gulf. American officials said the exercise, which will occur in late October, will practice interdicting ships carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles. Facing these units in the Persian Gulf are the naval, air and marine units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, together with the Iranian armed forces, all of which are on full war preparedness.

US naval, air and marine forces, as well as other NATO warships and troops, are also massing in the eastern Mediterranean opposite Lebanon and Syria. The stage appears to be set for what could erupt into serious conflict. (Preceding information has been adapted from various news sources, including the Debkafile).

In addition, North Korea continues to demonstrate an almost suicidal belligerence in resisting efforts to defuse its nuclear ambitions. Realistically, the situation in both North Korea and Iran could easily escalate into a widespread and catastrophic war, and it could conceivably spread throughout the entire Muslim world.

Or, by the mercies of God, there could be divinely empowered breakthroughs, advances in the spirit-realm that will release the exact opposite reality. Yes, war seems almost inevitable, yet let us not forget the fall of the former Soviet Union. The largest empire in the history of the world collapsed virtually overnight. It collapsed without armies, threats or bloodshed. Amazingly, Soviet Communism, an atheistic empire set on world domination, officially closed its doors and declared itself dead on the very day Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Christ. (See Gorbachev Speech Dissolving the Soviet Union (USSR): Christmas 1991).

Today, mankind stands before two doors, each leading into utterly different worlds. The first door opens to a reality saturated with inconceivable human carnage and death; the second door leads into a world of international breakthroughs and the spread of the Gospel. The key that unlocks the door to redemption and breakthroughs is prayer.

Remember, friends, the vision of Facedown40 is Engaging Heaven, Changing Earth. Let us not forget the stirring command of God to Jesus, His Son: "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession" (Psalms 2:8).

At the command of God, and in the name of Jesus Christ, let us come to God boldly on behalf of the nations. Even while we hear the clamor of war, let us not be overwhelmed with doubt. Rather, with faith, with fasting, with fearless focus let us undergird our perseverance with the memory of what God did with the USSR. He can do again today.

O prayer warrior, in service to our Redeemer King, let us indeed engage heaven to change the earth.

A Symphony to God's Heart

By Francis Frangipane

During seasons of prayer, when congregations unite for intercession or groups meet in homes to appeal to God, it is important we stay united in Spirit, supportive and passionate with the goal of touching the heart of God. Even though we pray differently or come together with different styles or burdens, our unity plays an important dynamic in obtaining spiritual success.

For instance, when my wife and I pray together, I like to pack all the meaning I can into a couple sentences. I might pray a simple prayer, "Lord bless and fill my kids," What I mean, is Lord touch them, forgive them, provide for them, guide them, use them and protect them. My prayer is like a "zip file." It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It appears small, but when God opens it up, there's a lot of meaning in my prayer.

My wife's prayers are longer than mine. She tells the Lord everything He needs to know about the kids, as though He were just meeting them for the first time. She explains what they need in life and offers suggestions to the Lord on how to get them into their future. She touches God's heart because she is so compassionate about her children.

The main thing is, we agree with each other when we pray. We don't judge each other. We listen and appreciate our different approaches and styles. Usually, when we are finished praying together, she will continue interceding alone. I can hear her in the background: "Lord, remind the boys to wash their bed sheets and help them to get enough sleep, and don't let them eat junk food." It's okay, as their mother, she's consumed by her love for them.

When we get together in a group at church, the same principles apply: we all agree with each other. It doesn't matter if one person prays longer or with more detail than another. We pray for our nation along with other nations and their leaders. Some pray for the governmental leaders of nations; another might pray for gang leaders, while someone else will pray for business leaders. We'll stand in repentance for the sins of our nation, asking God to forgive our national sins of pride, injustice and murder (especially concerning the unborn); we ask for mercy concerning our greed and national arrogance, and we ask for forgiveness for the immoral nature of much of our entertainment industry. We each may have a different burden or focus, but with passion we agree with one another's prayer.

Jesus promised that whatever we agreed upon in prayer, it would be done for us by our heavenly Father (Matthew 18:19). Our agreement is as important as our prayer. It's okay that we have different styles: I pace. A dear friend of mine rocks back and forth. Another karate chops the air. Yet, even though our styles are different, our hearts burn together in strong agreement.

Interestingly, the word agree as used in the Gospels was the Greek word sumphoneo. From it we get the English word symphony. In other words, God hears our prayers of agreement not so much as a tolerance of one another's quirks, but as a symphony of passionate voices - each voice as a unique instrument, yet all participating in the same glorious song.

Beloved, let us stay in agreement when we pray. Avoid strife at all costs. Whether our expression is one of weeping or rejoicing, warring or worship, our prayer of agreement can be symphonic to the listening heart of God.

Manifested in Our Mortal Flesh

By Francis Frangipane

What did Jesus have in mind for His followers when His ministry began? What was His holy objective? I am absolutely convinced that Christ came to replicate Himself in us. True Christianity is nothing less than the living manifestation of Christ in and through us (Ephesians 4:11-13). Indeed, our destiny does not find sure footing until the actual life of Christ emerges in redemption through us.

When I speak of Christ, I mean His meekness, His love and redemptive motive. I am speaking of His power and His deep surrender to the Father's will, which produced His expansive authority over all things. And, when I speak of Christ in us, I am not merely referring to the right assemblage of doctrines, as though salvation was purely a cerebral exam. Our doctrines are important to the degree they unfold into the character and power of Christ flowing through us.

This inner, Christlike transformation of the church was the utmost concern for Paul. He wrote, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you" (Galatians 4:19). Christianity is nothing less than Christ Himself entering our lives, conforming us to His likeness, and empowering us with His redemptive purpose. He said, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21).

Consider also Paul's words to the Corinthians. He wrote, "For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:11).

Beloved, do we see this truth? Christianity is the "life of Jesus" manifested in our mortal flesh!" What does this mean? It means that the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the lover and redeemer of mankind, reveals Himself through us. This unveiling of Christ in us is the only thing that satisfies our quest to know the substance of God. Anything less than Christ in us is mere religion.

It is not enough for us to expose the sin in the world; our motive must be to redeem it. This world, with all its vices and evil, is the very reality God has chosen to perfect our conformity to Christ. To discern what is wrong in the world requires little spiritual growth; the transformation of our communities may take a lifetime.

God is after people who make a lifetime commitment to redemption. Right now, we can look at the scandals of our times and condemn the guilty; we can become experts in the failures and sins of our society. Exposing sin is, indeed, part of our calling. Yet, we must go beyond the condemning of sin to the laying down of our lives for sinners. We must learn how to persevere in prayer, embrace fasting and become committed to love until what was evil is not just identified, but transformed.

In my view, Facedown40 is the voice of a society of redeemers - a generation that is following their Redeemer King. We are those whom God has called to stand in the gap, who have a vision of what could be, who see in the day of small beginnings huge outpourings of grace and redemption.

Yes, we see evil in our world, but we also are fully aware: this world is the perfect place for Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh.