Tonight I watched “The Suffragette” with our older children and my husband. I feel strongly about the privilege we have to vote in this country and what those who have lived before us have gone through to give us that opportunity.

It’s not just the suffragette movement which has fought to enable women to vote, but also those men and women who have seen war, battled in politics and tirelessly fought for the right for all people to vote. Sadly though there is still places in the world where both men and women are not given that opportunity.

It’s a responsibility to be taken seriously and prayerfully as every four years we get to exercise our democratic right to voice which party we support to govern this country, and we exercise our freedoms.

But there is another responsibility that as a Christian we need to be aware of also. It’s the responsibility that Jesus has given the church to govern. This government is not an earthy one, but it hugely affects the decisions made here.

When Jesus established the Church he used the word “ecclesia”. It’s a word that was used hundreds of years earlier by the Greeks to describe the principal assembly of ancient Athens during its Golden Age. The ecclesia’s role was to govern and make decisions for the city and region. Jesus used that word to describe His followers (Christians) for a reason. He wants those who profess to be Christians to not just be a group of people who might get together on a Sunday, but to also be people who stand up and take responsibility to govern.

Jesus called the “church” so that as His followers we would  take our petitions, matters of “government” and importance here on earth to the courts of heaven and do business there.

It’s why He said we could boldly approach the throne of grace to receive help and mercy in time of need.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”. (Hebrews 4:16)

Jesus said “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew18:18).

When we gather together it is to encourage and support one another, but it is also to spur one another on to step up and govern in the courts of heaven, and to bring change on earth.

 There is a place in Scripture where Jesus painted a picture of what is happening in the spirit realm when we pray. It is in Luke 18: 1-8. Jesus places prayer in a courtroom; not a battlefield, but a courtroom. In this story Jesus speaks of a widow before an unjust judge. This widow keeps presenting her petition and case before this judge. She is asking for a judgment against her adversary. She is asking for justice. For some time this judge will not grant it, but eventually agrees to render a verdict because of this woman’s persistence.

Jesus says in this parable to hear what the unjust judge says. In other words, the logic Jesus is using again in His teaching is that if this woman can get a verdict from this unjust judge, how much more can we get a verdict from the just and righteous Judge, who is our Heavenly Father. Jesus places prayer in a judicial system and a courtroom. We can come to the Judge (Our heavenly Father) when we are dealing with resistance and an adversary.

Therefore the protocol of heaven is a court room but too many times we haven’t bothered to get legal things in place first so we can get breakthrough instead of backlash.

It would be absolutely ridiculous to go to court without being forearmed and prepared. Our weapon is the Word and promises of God. The enemy (the devil) loses in the courtroom of heaven as we present our case with the truth of God’s Word.

I read a quote today that made me think about what a difference we can make to our world if we as followers of Jesus realised how much impact we can make. If we would only understand the responsibility we have to pray and bring our petitions directly to the courts of heaven. If we would then just step up and govern, and open our mouths and hearts and share the truth about Jesus and what He has done.

John Wesley said: “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.” John Wesley was a man whom God used to bring incredible change to a country spoke those words. Some say he brought the country back from the brink of revolution.

 England, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was in a moral quagmire and a spiritual cesspool. Thomas Carlyle described the country’s condition as “Stomach well alive, soul extinct.” Sir William Blackstone visited the church of every major clergyman in London but in most sermons he heard, he said “it would have been impossible to tell just from listening whether the preacher was a follower of Confucius, Mohammed, or Christ!”

Morally, the country was becoming increasingly decadent. Drunkenness was rampant; gambling was so extensive that one historian described England as “one vast casino.” Newborns were exposed in the streets; 97% of the infant poor in the workhouses died as children. Bear baiting and cock fighting were accepted sports, and tickets were sold to public executions as to a theatre. The slave trade brought material gain to many while further degrading their souls. Bishop Berkeley wrote that morality and religion in Britain had collapsed “to a degree that was never known in any Christian country.

But there were people who decided to stand up for who and what they believed in. They stemmed the tide of immorality, lawlessness and godlessness.

Because of their committment things started to change, and the subsequent move of God and revival cut across denominational lines and touched every class of society. England itself was transformed by the revival. In 1928 Archbishop Davidson wrote that “Wesley practically changed the outlook and even the character of the English nation.” Some historians maintain that the revival so changed the course of English history that it probably saved England from the kind of revolution that took place in France.

 Isn’t it time those of us who profess to be followers of Jesus step up? We have a job to do. It is our time.

I encourage you to pick up your bible again, and read what it says about the things we are facing in our country and world. Seek Jesus. Others have paid a great price, they have stood up, and spoken up. If the tide has been turned before – and it has, then it can be turned once again, to goodness, purity, godliness, and love. Let’s take our petitions directly to the courts of heaven, and to our righteous Judge, and make what we believe count in both heaven and earth.