Spiritual Power = Personal Preparation x Time x Force Multiplier x Presence
Spiritual Power = (Faith + Gifts + Authority + Anointing + Consecration + God’s Word + Sacrifice) x Time) x Force Multiplier (Prayer of Agreement) x Presence
Being an engineer and theology professor, I love it when I can put a spiritual principle into an equation! I first heard about this equation from Jordan Seng, the Bluewater Mission pastor in Hawaii. He also talks about this in his book Miracle Work. As I have studied and thought about this equation, I have expanded it to capture a more complete picture of the place God’s power plays in His Kingdom. This is what I would call a Kingdom Principal that shows us how things work in His Kingdom.
We first must define spiritual power and its role in the Kingdom of God. Spiritual power is a commodity of the Kingdom that is required to accomplish specific activities. An example of this is shown in Mark 5, with the story of a woman who suffered bleeding for 12 years just wanted to touch Jesus so that she can get healed. Then Jesus turned around and said, “Who touched my clothes?” because “Jesus realized that power had gone out from him.” We see in Mark 9:14-29 that power is required to cast out demons. The disciples could not cast out a demon out of a boy, but when Jesus came, He was to cast it out immediately. When the disciples ask him why they could not cast it out, He told them this kind only comes out through “prayer and fasting,” which are critical components to obtaining spiritual power.
Another aspect that requires spiritual power is the working of miracles. Jesus was in one town where everyone was healed, and many miracles were done. Luke 17 tells us that “and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.” Where Jesus was in Nazareth in Mark 6 where it says, “And He could not do any miracles there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He was amazed at their unbelief.” Because of their unbelief, there was not the spiritual power to perform any miracles. As we look at the Bible through the spiritual power aspect, we will see that many other areas are impacted by spiritual power
Another critical aspect of power that we need to expound on to understand better how it works in the Kingdom is that it is measurable. Dutch Sheets talks about this in his GiveHim15.com prayer blog. We see that power left Jesus when the woman touched Him. There were levels of power in the towns for healing and miracles. There are other measurable commodities of the Kingdom, such as love, grace, and faith, all of which are referred to in the Bible as being measurable. Why is this important? Because if it is measurable, then we can increase and decrease our levels of these commodities. And there are ways that we can increase our spiritual power and become more effective in the Kingdom.
Source of Spiritual Power
One aspect of spiritual power is that it is a commodity, much like electricity is the source of our power for lights and other electronics. We see in the Bible that both good and evil forces wield power for their purposes. For the believer. The primary source of power is God, specifically the Holy Spirit, but we also see angels using spiritual power to accomplish God’s will. Acts 1: 8 tells us that “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you
.” Since the Holy Spirit fills a believer, then we are a source of spiritual power. The power of the Holy Spirit resides in us so that God can use us to accomplish His will in this world. We see an example of this with Paul in Acts 19:12, where people took “handkerchiefs and aprons” that had touched Paul’s body, and the people were healed, and demons were cast out from those who were afflicted.
How Does Spiritual Power Work?
We see that spiritual power is used for healing, miracles, and other Kingdom works, but how does it work? Ephesians 3:20-21 gives us a clue
“20 Now to Him who can do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
God chooses us to do His works “according to the power that works within us.” He uses the power that resides in us to do works far beyond what we can imagine.
Accumulation of Power
It appears that it takes an accumulation of power plus other factors to accomplish His tasks. We see 1 Kings 18-19 that Elijah prayed seven times for rain before it rained. In Daniel 10, Daniel prayed for 21 days before he was able to get his answer. In Mark 8, Jesus prayed twice for the blind man before he could see, and it took Elijah 3 times of prayer to raise a boy from the dead in 1 Kings 17. This is what is happening in the physical realm, but what is happening in the spiritual realm?
Revelations 5:8 gives us a clue where our prayers go in the spirit realm. “8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” There are bowls in heaven filled with our prayers. What do they do with those bowls of our prayers? Revelations 8:3-5 tells us. “3 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might [a]add it to the prayers of all the [b]saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense ascended from the angel’s hand with the prayers of the [c]saints before God. 5 Then the angel [d]took the [e]censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and hurled it to the earth; and there were peals of thunder and sounds, and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” Our prayers were mixed with the fire of God and sent back down to earth with significant impact. It would appear that there are bowls in heaven that we fill with our prayers and at some point, when the bowls are filled, the fire of God is added and sent back to earth. Let’s say that Elijah had to pray for seven days to fill his bowl, at which point the prayers with fire were added and sent back in the form of a rain cloud. This scenario would fit the stories that we see in scripture and explain why it takes time to see our prayers answered. I am sure that there are many factors such as God’s timing, warfare of the enemy, and other hindrances.
The Bible does not give us many clues to what happens to our prayers except the verses in Revelations. Then we must look at all of the examples that we are given in both the new and old testaments and make our best analysis. How should this impact us in our daily lives? It motivates me to not give up in prayer, be like the woman that wanted justice from the judge. She continuously brought her petition before the judge for justice, and he finally granted it to her. God is a righteous Judge, not an unrighteous judge, and He wants to answer our petitions. I have many stories where it months and years to gain an answer to prayer. My friend’s son was recently blinded by an explosion, and we have prayed for him for several months. And finally, he regained 100% of his sight yesterday.
Increasing our Spiritual Power
How does the Power Equation work? How do we increase our spiritual power? Let’s say that there is something that you want to see God do, like seeing healing in someone’s life, a financial provision, a miracle, or someone’s salvation. We can apply the power equation to increase our spiritual power. The power equation comprises seven power boosters that increase individual power and two multipliers to increase the total power. We will go through each of the seven power boosters to see how we can grow in these areas to increase our spiritual power.
The first one that we will tackle is faith. Faith is the most important of the seven power boosters. The Bible spends a considerable amount of time talking about the importance of faith in applying spiritual power. The Bible gives several dramatic examples of what happens when there is a lack of faith. The disciples could not cast out a demon from a boy in Mark 9, and Jesus comments, “Because you have so little faith.” Also, Jesus was not able to do any miracles in his hometown of Nazareth in Mark 6, where Jesus “was amazed at their unbelief.” What is Faith? Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the thing that fills the gap between our asking and when the results are seen. The foundation of faith is belief in something or someone that will bring the action to pass.
A simple example is when you sit down in a chair, you have faith that it will hold you up when you sit down. When it comes to spiritual power, our faith is in a person. Our faith is in God that he will accomplish what He said He would do. Another verse, Matthew 21:21, where Jesus describes faith from another angle, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” The key is that we do not doubt. How do we get to that point where we do not doubt?
How do we not doubt and increase our faith? Romans 10:17 tells us the “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” According to this verse that faith comes from hearing a word from God. The word for “word” is rhematos which would translate as a word that God speaks to you. There are two words for “word” in the new testament one is logos and rhema. Logos is the written word of God or the general word like what is written in the Bible where rhema is God’s word for you. For example, a speaker in the room comments on your shirt and how they like it, you hear rhema, and everyone hears logos. What builds your faith is when you are reading the Bible, and the section that you are reading applies directly to a situation on your mind. God is speaking directly to you. A word from God can also come in the form of a prophesy where someone comes up to you and says that God was talking to them about you and something that was going on in your life that they did not have any knowledge of, and it was exactly what you needed to hear. That builds your faith.
Another way to build your faith is by reading the Bible God said 2 Peter 1:4, “Through these, he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature.” The Bible is full of promises, and God is always faithful to His promises, and seeing how he worked in the Bible, we can be encouraged that He will work that way with us.
There are many other ways to build your faith, but I want to leave you with this last one. Faith is like a muscle. If you exercise the muscle, then it will get stronger. How do we exercise our faith muscle? We do that by daily walking with God and seeing him faithful in the small things over the years. We are then able to see Him faithful in the bigger things. My wife and I had ten months of massive attack from the enemy. We had a family member die, and several other members of our family come close to death, and my wife and I almost died but for God’s intervention. How did we survive that? It was the 30 plus years of seeing God’s faithfulness that got us through the storm.
Since we have already somewhat discussed this, let’s dig a little deeper into God’s Word. We have the perfect example of using the word of God in releasing power. When Jesus was tempted by satan, how did Jesus respond? He quoted the word of God, and each temptation came his way, and Jesus defeated satan. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” That word for word is rhema God’s word for that situation also in Hebrews 4:12 it tells us that “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” This verse it is talking about the Logos of God’s general word. The Holy Spirit takes God’s word and applies it to a situation and releases power to accomplish what it was meant to accomplish. Isaiah 55:11 drives this home where it says, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” God’s word under the unction of the Holy Spirit is powerful and will accomplish for the purpose that it was sent.
1 John 5:14-15 tells us:
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
If we run into a situation, we must find out what the Bible teaches us about that issue, and therefore we can pray His will accordingly. Dutch Sheets tells a story in his Give Him 15 prayer blog about a farmer whose crops were being destroyed by flies that illustrates this principle.
“The situation was as follows: A Guatemalan farmer, already in financial trouble from previous losses, was in danger of losing thousands of acres of maize to these flies. He was about to spend approximately $25,000 to have the crop-dusted and wasn’t even sure this would stop the plague. We spoke to this new Christian about the biblical principle of tithing and the promise that God would “rebuke the devourer” (see Malachi 3:10-11) for those who would obey Him in this regard.”
“We then read him the verses mentioned above and asked if he would like us to join him in reading and declaring these words of God over his crops. He did, we did, and God did. The crops lived, and the flies and their larvae died. The crop-dusting wasn’t even necessary. Not only was the crop saved, but the $25,000 the treatment would have cost was, as well.”
God’s word under the unction of the Holy Spirit saves a farmer’s crop. God’s word can come in many forms. It can come through a prophet or an angel, but each is God’s Word for the moment and will increase power in the power equation.
Another component of the power equation is gifting. When I refer to gifting, I am referring to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are listed in 4 different places in the Bible. For example, someone gifted in the gift of miracles will add more power to the power equation than someone that is not, or if you are praying for healing, you want someone gifted in praying for someone’s healing. When I go out to minister to a person, I try to knab someone gifted in the area that we will minister. If I am praying for someone who has a bad back, I try to find someone who has had good success in praying for backs, or even better, I will grab someone who recently had their back healed. God seems to use people who have been healed from a particular condition to have a gifting to minister to those who suffer from the same condition. If you do not have the gifting for a specific area you are engaging in, you will have to increase your power in some other areas.
In the Kingdom of God, there is an authority structure. For example, a pastor has spiritual authority over their congregation or a small group leader over the group, or a father over his family. Hebrews 13:17 describes this authority, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” In the Bible, we see governmental authorities, institutional authorities, church authorities, and familial authorities. We all fit somewhere in these authority structures, and the higher you are on the food chain you have more power and authority.
Let me illustrate how authority impacts the power equation. I was co-teaching theology at a Christian University, and one particular semester, God showed up in our classroom in a powerful way. One week one of the students brought a friend who was severely crippled due to a brain aneurism, and God healed him of both his deformities and the brain damage. It caused quite a stir on campus, and we got called into the office and asked what we were doing in our class. We told them, and they made us change some of our curricula, but they really could not tell us not to heal the lame. At that point, God’s moving in our class stopped. This continued for the following year. During that time, our department chair became sick and passed away. We prayed and asked the Lord what to do, and He said to get the blessing from the new department chair, so we met with him and shared our vision and asked for his blessing. He then walked over and laid hands on us, and gave us his blessing. It was like someone flipped a switch. God began to move again in class, and many students were ministered to, and their lives were changed.
How does this factor into the power equation? You may be facing a situation that is above your paygrade, and you need someone who has authority in that area. Over the years, I get an opportunity to minister to pastors, and they sometimes have church-related issues. Me being a layman, I do not have authority over these areas, so in that case, I would get another pastor to come and pray for him because he has pastoral authority in that area.
What is anointing? Anointing is a special empowering of the Holy Spirit for the moment or a season usually accompanying God’s call on that person. For example, God called Peter to the gentiles, and he had a special anointing to minister to the gentiles. Another example is when Jesus sent out the disciples to the villages with special instructions, and they had the anointing to heal the sick and cast out demons. The anointing also ties into gifting. It may be one and the same. Someone may have a specific gifting and the anointing to go with it. I have seen people gifted in evangelism but had a special anointing to evangelize a particular people group. I also know people that have anointings for healing specific types of conditions.
A well-known Prophet named Paul Cain had an amazing gift in the prophetic, but his natural gift for teaching was limited until the “anointing” came on him, and then he was quite a good teacher. The reason I share this story is to illustrate anointing in a pure sense. You can have no gifting in a specific area like healing, teaching, or any other gift out there, but you have the Holy Spirit, who is the author of all the gifts. He can provide the anointing at any time to accomplish God’s will in a situation.
Most times, when I go into a ministry situation, I will pray for God’s anointing so that I might be fully equipped to do the ministry that God had called me. In terms of the power equation, you can pray for the special anointing you need or invite someone who is anointed in the specific area of ministry, increasing your power factor.
Consecration is an action taken to make yourself more holy. What does that look like? Probably one of the biggest hindrances to effective ministry is unconfessed sin in your life, so consecrating yourself is making yourself right with God and asking the Holy Spirit to “search me” and “see if there is any offensive way in me.” That is the start of consecration. James 5:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” The goal is to be in tune with the Holy Spirit so that He can lead you in your ministry time. We see this when the disciples could not cast out the demon in the man’s boy, and Jesus said that this only comes out by prayer and fasting. Fasting releases power and tunes down your flesh so that you can more clearly hear God’s voice.
I have performed experiments where one week before our small group, I would spend time praying and fasting, and the following week I wouldn’t. There was a substantial difference on the days that I fasted, being a noticeable presence of the Lord on those days, and there was more power for ministry amongst the group. When I know that I will be going into a situation where I will be dealing with the demonic, I spend time getting right with the Lord and often fasting to be more in tune with God and increase power.
The last part of the main equation is sacrifice. Sacrificial power is another kingdom principle where there is sacrifice; there is a release of spiritual power. We see in the Old Testament where when Israel needed victory in Judges 20:26, the whole nation fasted, and the Lord gave them victory over their enemies. We also see this on the enemy’s side where the king of Moab was down to 700 men against Israel & Juda’s armies of 30,000 men, and he sacrificed his first-born son on the wall, which caused Israel to leave. Historically we see whenever there were martyrs for God, there would be a release of spiritual power.
A famous example of this is in Romania. There was an evil communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu who persecuted the Christians. There was a beloved pastor who the people loved, and Ceausescu sent his troops to take him away, and men, women, and children surrounded the church when the troops came, and they opened fire on the people. Within a few days, the communist regime fell, and hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets, yelling, “this is a miracle God is real, praise God.”
We also have Jesus telling the disciples that this particular demon can only come out by prayer and fasting. In other words, you need more power to get rid of one of those types of demons. If you need a boost in power prayer and fasting is an excellent way to do it. There are other types of sacrifices that can release power, like sacrificially financially giving time and prayer.
We have completed the discussion on the base part of the equation. But there are multiplication factors that can be added to boost the power level significantly. One of these is time, and the other is the prayer of agreement.
When I realized this one, it greatly encouraged me to persevere in prayer. The picture of our prayers filling up a bowl, and when it is filled that God mixes the fire of God and sends it back down is a powerful one. As mentioned earlier, it took multiple times of prayer over extended periods of time to accomplish the required task. I remember in our church, we had healing rooms every Monday night, and people from all over came looking for healing. One night a woman brought in a girl in a wheelchair who was basically a vegetable where the doctors gave up on her. During the first ministry time, someone had a prophecy that she was going to eventually walk out of their dancing. Each week they brought her, and they would see minor improvements each week. After 12 weeks, she danced out of the room and down the hall, then out the door. It was amazing to see but also a lot of hard work praying each week. Time combined with prayer and fasting is a powerful combination that releases great power.
Another overriding or multiplication factor is the manifest presence of God. We see in Luke 17 that God’s presence was there “to heal them.” I have seen many times over the years and the many biographies that I have read about the revivals through history that when God’s presence shows up there is massive power. I think of a story about when Charles Finney walked into a factory building God’s presence was so powerful the whole factory shut down and the people started repenting.
How do we facilitate God’s presence? One clue that we have is through worship in Psalm 22:3 that God “inhabits the praised of his people.” And we have seen through history that revival was always preceded by prayer, fasting, and worship. This can be facilitated by a whole group of believers coming together with prayer, fasting, and worship. This brings pleasure to the Lord and many times He will bless us with His presence.
Prayer of Agreement
Prayer of Agreement I call a force multiplier when you get multiple people praying for the same thing. The more people you get to pray, the more the bowl gets filled faster and accumulates the power at a quicker pace. I had minor surgery, and I started to bleed out at home. I had lost at least a quart of blood. There happened to be someone from church visiting at the time, and my wife took me to the hospital, and they called our prayer chain. I had hundreds of people praying for me within the hour. I lost consciousness, at least physically, I could see and hear what was going on, but I could not respond. While I was sitting in the chair giving information. They wheeled me down the hallway onto a gurney, and the doctor took one look at me and yelled, put an IV in each arm, and prep him for a transfusion. When they checked my blood, my blood count was higher than normal. They had no explanation, but they did not have to do a transfusion. When I got home, I measured how much blood was in the bowl, and there was over a quart. Plus, what I lost on the way. There was a lot of prayer in a short time that brought about a miracle in my life.
Throughout history, we have seen that most revivals were preceded by a large prayer movement crying out for revival. Another example was a friend of mine who started a ministry where he would travel and teach and minister, and every time he left on a trip, his family would get attacked by the enemy. I asked him does he have a prayer team that provides prayer support for each trip, and he said no. So, I suggested that he gather a prayer team to provide information to pray for him and his family while he ministered. He did that, and there were no more attacks on his family.
Applying the Equation
Now that we have a basic understanding of the individual component of the equation, how do we put it all together and use it to see God move more effectively in different situations? The key to all this is that it has to be applied in context of relationship. Jesus said that “I only do what I see the Father doing.” Using this equation is most effective when used in the context of God’s leading because He will supply the resources you need so when a situation comes up where you need to see a supernatural intervention, you can start by looking at the equation and see how you can personally boost the power level. How is your faith level? Are you feeling pretty holy, or did you have a bad week? Is this one going to require prayer and fasting? These are all questions that we can ask ourselves. Do you need to involve other people in this task? Is there someone that has a gifting or an anointing in that area? And is it going to be a sustained effort over time? These are all the factors that we can consider heading into a ministry situation.
When I was a college student, I was involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, and we had a significant outreach on campus with Andre Cole, a well-known magician. We had been working and promoting it for months we were expecting several thousand people for the show. A few days before, there was a report on one of the largest storms of the decade that was going to hit the day of our show. We all gathered at one of the student houses and fasted and prayed all night. The next morning, I turned on the radio, and the first thing the weatherman said I supposed you are wondering where the storm is? So, are we? It was clear weather, and the show/outreach was a great success, and the moment I closed the door on the last truck loading up, it started to rain. Applying this equation, we had an immediate need and need a lot of power to hold off a storm, so we got everyone that we could and got together, fasted, and prayed most of the night. We took advantage of the time and force factor and saw victory over the storm.
I hope you find this as helpful and encouraging as I did. It reveals a little more of how the economy of the Kingdom works. How the currency of the Kingdom works and how our prayers and sacrifices can increase that currency so that we can be more effective in impacting the Kingdom for Christ.