Pray with the Holy Spirit, with authority, thanksgiving and expectation—those are the keys to answered prayers, taught Kong Hee.
City Harvest Church went on a 72-hour corporate fasting and prayer chain from Oct 7 to 10. That weekend, senior pastor Kong Hee continued his sermon on praying. To the members, it was a message in season.
“Service was special because I was on a fast,” shared 29-year-old photographer Gareth Gay. “It was a reminder that fasting must always come together with fervent prayer.”
Kong began by reminding the church that God is a covenant-keeping God. As long as the believers keep the terms of His covenant, He will respond to them positively. As Christian author E M Bounds, who wrote 11 books on prayer, put it, “God hears prayer, God heeds prayer, God answers prayer, God delivers by prayer.”
Kong continued with the fifth key of prayer (read about the first four points here), praying with authority over Satan and demonic forces. “We are given authority over serpents, scorpions, all demons and diseases ,” he reminded the congregation, quoting Luke 10:19 and Luke 9:1.
“While power is the ability to get things done, authority is the right to act without hindrance. We have authority based on our relationship with someone,” Kong continued.
To demonstrate his point, Kong had security ministry volunteer Tan Wen Xiang get up on stage to move a heavy music stand around the stage. Kong explained that he was able to instruct him because of his position of authority as a pastor over Tan. Kong then asked a little girl, Naomi Lim, to go up onstage to carry the stand. When she was unable to, Kong got her to ask Tan to move it instead.
“Uncle Wen Xiang, could you shift the pulpit for me? Pastor Kong wants me to move the pulpit but I have no power,” little Naomi quipped.
Naomi had no ability to move the pulpit, Kong explained, but she had the authority to make it happen due to her relationship with her pastor, Kong. “Similarly, at times we have no ability against our trials, but knowing our authority in God releases power.”
Kong urged the congregation to understand this truth. “Many Christians have knowledge and experiences, but have no revelation of their authority in Christ,” he said.
He shared the testimony of Choong Yu Pin, the father of Choong Tsih Ming, a pastor in CHC, had heart problems that would cause his heart to stop momentarily. He was rushed to the hospital, where the doctor said he needed a pacemaker. Kong and his wife, Sun went down to pray for healing in Jesus’ name, fully believing in God’s power.
In subsequent checkups, the doctor found that the elder Choong’s heart was completely strong. He did not need a pacemaker anymore and was subsequently discharged. Through the authority of Jesus’ name, he was made healthy and well.
The sixth key of prayer is to pray in the Holy Spirit. This means to intercede actively. “Intercession is a way deeper realm of praying–it’s persevering prayer on behalf of someone else,” Kong explained.
He showed the congregation an example in the Bible: Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:23-32. God was going to judge these two sinful cities and He told Abraham about it. Kong taught that Abraham was able to intercede for Sodom and Gomorrah because he drew near to Him. He encouraged the congregation to do the same.
Abraham prayed reminding God of His promises and nature; He was humble not demanding, yet bold in asking. He was specific in prayer by asking God to spare the city for the sake of ten righteous men.
Similarly, the prophet Daniel interceded for God to show mercy to Jerusalem. In Daniel 10:12, the angel responded to his prayer, but was withheld by “the prince of the kingdom of Persia”, a demonic power.
However, as Daniel continued to intercede, the archangel Michael came to help the angel sent to deliver his prayer. “When you pray, you are activating something in the heavenly realm!” emphasized Kong.
To demonstrate his point, Kong shared the story of how a group of missionaries defeated the demonic powers in a region. In 1978, 200 Youth With A Mission missionaries went to Cordoba, Argentina to evangelize. They were poorly received; people would throw away the Gospel tracts they gave out. As they fasted and prayed together, God showed them that there was a demonic prince blinding the hearts and minds of people in the city.
Through intercession, they bound the demonic prince and a revival broke out immediately. People gathered around the missionaries, asking them to autograph their gospel tracts. During evangelistic outreaches, people fell on knees in repentance. The spiritual atmosphere had been transformed because of their intercession.
The seventh point is to pray with thanksgiving, said Kong. “Giving thanks to God even before prayer answers come provokes God’s answers.”
Dani and Nancy Tan had been praying for a son for six years. They went through many medical treatments to no avail. As they continued to pray, their friends and family members began to prophesy her conception. Their domestic helper even saw an open vision of a new baby. After praying over the prophecies, Nancy conceived naturally.
Although Nancy experienced constant bleeding and had to have her cervix stitched up during the pregnancy, she continued to thank Jesus in advance for a healthy baby. Baby Jovaan was eventually born, healthy and well.
The eighth and final point is to pray with expectation. Kong told the congregation that God reassures His people that “our expectation shall not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18).
Elijah’s prayer for rain illustrates this. In 1 Kings 18:41-46, Elijah called his servant to look out for rain while he was praying. Even when the servant reported that there was nothing, Elijah told him to go again and again—seven times.
On the seventh time, there appeared a cloud “as small as a man’s hand”. It was not a sign of heavy rain, but Elijah ordered his servants to start moving before heavy rain stopped them. His expectations brought about a downpour and ended the drought.
Kong concluded by reading from Mark 11:24: “…whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” He exhorted the congregation to ask in faith without any doubt, for God in Heaven will hear.
He then gave an altar call for those with sicknesses in the body, and hundreds of people responded. Kong also led the congregation to pray and intercede for each other.
“We should always have the heart of expectancy,” said 17-year-old student Crystal Tang. “If we expect our prayers to be heard, they will indeed come to pass.”