It is right to pray for the Lord to bless and protect our lives. However, praying for the blessing and provision of God is not the same as covenanting with Him. A covenant is an altar upon which the Lord and His covenant partner give themselves fully to each other.
If you have given your life to Christ, you entered into the benefits and power that were released during Jesus' covenant with the Father (see Luke 23). In that covenant between the Father and the Son, we are forgiven, cleansed and made new. Yet, we have not covenanted with God, Jesus did. We receive the consequences of Christ's covenant.
God desires that we enter into covenant with Him. This is not instead of the New Covenant, but it is an expression of our relationship with Him. A covenant relationship with God does not cease once our prayers have been answered. In covenant love we mature from simply being "believers" in prayer to becoming living sacrifices given to God's highest purposes. By so yielding, He creates within us a life that He can use extraordinarily in the process of divine redemption.
Covenant power is greater than that which comes through prayer alone. Indeed, the effects of a covenant reach far beyond simple faith. Prayer and faith are essentials; they are prerequisites, but not substitutes, for covenant power.
Thus, a covenant relationship is a extended pledge between two partners. It is an unbreakable oath which God Himself initiates and then promises to sustain, even giving a unique and enduring grace to His covenant partner. Contained within His promise is His unalterable commitment not only to fulfill His highest plan of redemption, but to also supply grace and faith to His human counterpart along the way. Together, the All-Sufficient God and a believing man accomplish the impossible through their covenant relationship.
Power Released in a Covenant A covenant with God accomplishes two interconnected goals. It thrusts us beyond "subjective prayer" (prayer made primarily for our personal needs) and brings us into a deeper commitment to God. Out of greater commitment comes greater grace to accomplish God's redemptive work in the world.
An example of covenant power is seen in ancient Israel during the revival that occurred after Athaliah, an idolatrous Judean queen, was dethroned. Jehoiada, the high priest, looked to God in covenant prayer. We read, "Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord's people" (2 Kings 11:17).
Did not Israel already have a covenant with God through Moses? Yes, but it was a biblical practice that individuals at various times made special covenants with the Almighty. The result of Jehoiada's covenant was that grace came upon the people and they cleansed the land of idolatry. We read, "So all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet" (v. 20). Jehoiada's covenant brought the nation back to God and ended violence in Jerusalem!
Consider also the power released in Hezekiah's covenant with the Lord. The nation of Judah had been fully corrupted by Ahaz, the preceding king. However, Hezekiah began his reign by seeking God's highest favor. He opened the doors of the temple, cleansed it and reconsecrated the priests.
Yet, the purification of priests and buildings would not have brought about revival had not Hezekiah taken one further step. He said, "Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His burning anger may turn away from us" (2 Chronicles 29:10). Just eight days after the king made a covenant with the Lord, we read, "Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly" (v. 36).
Often, the difference between a long-term struggle to bring a nation around and a speedy recovery was in the power released when the king covenanted with the Almighty. Keep in mind that Judah was apostate in its religious practices, witchcraft was practiced by the former king, and demonic idols had been placed in the Holy of Holies. Yet, covenant power triggered a national revival that "came about suddenly."
As Americans, it is vital we remember that our spiritual forefathers were a people who knew and exercised principles of covenant sacrifice. When the Puritans came to this country, they knelt on its shores and covenanted with God for this land. They dedicated this "new world" to Christ and His kingdom. They were covenant people who understood the destiny of God for this nation. It is unlikely that the revival of America will come without local and national church leaders covenanting together with God for the redemption of our land.
Covenants With God For Our Times A personal covenant with God is a serious commitment, worthy of extended prayer and waiting before God. It is not to be taken superficially or without caution. Still, at Christ's bidding, I have covenanted with Him to see the body of Christ delivered of carnal divisions and racism, that Christ's prayer of John, chapter 17, may be answered.
What does this covenant signify to me? It means that my life is not my own. It has been absorbed into something much more powerful: the will of God. It also means that when I pray, there is a power attached to my intercession that works to dismantle strongholds of religious and cultural pride in the church.
I have also united my life and faith with the covenants of our pilgrim forefathers. Together with a number of other brethren, both locally and nationally, we have covenanted with the Almighty to see this land restored according to Second Chronicles 7:14.
There will be a time when this nation, like all nations, becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15). Until then, whether revival comes quickly or we pass through the fires of divine judgments, our lives belong to Christ - not simply to be blessed or made prosperous, but to see His highest purposes accomplished in our land.
Not everyone will covenant with God for the nation. Some will unite with the Lord for their families. Others will covenant with God to see abortion ended in their cities. Still others will make a covenant with God for the church, to see the Lord's house built in their cities.
Making a covenant with God takes us further into our goal of Christlikeness. It is the highest relationship we can enjoy with God; it is that which brings Him the most pleasure. To those who covenant with God, He says, "Gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice" (Psalm 50:5).
Lord, open our hearts to the joy and wonder, the sobriety and fear, of a covenant relationship with You. Lead us, O King, out of the superficial and into the supernatural. Lead us into a covenant with You for our times and nation! In Jesus' name. Amen.