Not long ago I was finishing my devotions, and I sensed the Lord urging me back for a moment. I sat down and told Him I was listening, and then I wrote down three things I heard Him say. The very last thing I heard was, “I have given you the keys of the kingdom.” Not a minute after I jotted it down, I heard the chime of a text come across my phone. A friend had written, “Matthew 16:19” and said God was restoring “keys of authority.”
Matthew 16:19 says “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
What are these keys of the kingdom Jesus talks about? A cross-reference of keys in scripture reveals that Jesus holds the key of David (Isaiah 22:22, Revelation 3:7) and that with this key, He opens doors that no one can shut. John the Revelator further tells us that He saw Christ holding the keys to death and Hades (Revelation 1:18).
If I were to attempt to enter someone else’s premises, I couldn’t use one of my own keys in their locked doors. My house key is fitted for one lock; theirs can only be opened by another. I would need access to the correct key to gain admittance. (Technically speaking, I might try to force entry through breaking the lock or smashing a window or some other means, but that would be messy and create a host of new problems).
It is the same way in the spirit. There are spiritual doors that only the authority of Christ can unlock. If we try to wrest them open in the flesh, the results can be disastrous. Christ tells His disciples that He will give us these keys.
Something the Lord has been impressing on me lately is the importance of using the correct “keys” in my prayer life. There are many imposing doors, and many of them are trying to keep the kingdom of heaven from entering. These doors enclose issues, policies, and individual hearts. Getting the correct key from Christ ensures access. It’s really quite simple.
On a recent occasion, a small group of us were praying for those enslaved by human trafficking. While we were praying fervent prayers, I didn’t sense we were getting breakthrough. Silently I asked God, “What is the key to praying for this?” Into my mind came the word “kingpin.” Now that is a word I can’t remember ever using in a sentence, and I couldn’t even give a clear definition of it. But I shared it with my pastor, who was in my prayer huddle, and he looked up the word on his phone.
“Kingpin: 1. In sports The innermost or central pin in an arrangement of bowling pins. 2. The most important person or element in an enterprise or system.”
And so this word of knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8) was the key for us to intercede in order to bring the kingdom of heaven into the horrors of sex trafficking: pray that the kingpins be exposed, arrested and prosecuted.
On another occasion, another small group I was praying with was led to pray regarding abortion in my home state of Pennsylvania. We have a majority pro-Life state legislature, but every time they try to take new measures to protect babies our very pro-Abortionist governor vetoes their efforts. Our cry was, “Oh God, does one man really get to send tens of thousands of babies to their deaths?” And then, we asked Him for the key.
At that moment, in that prayer time, the “key” He gave me when I asked how to pray was “tears.” Now I cannot just work up tears, but as soon as I heard the word, I was flooded with real anguish over the monstrosity of what is happening in the Keystone State, especially with late-term abortions and the horrific shame and agony of it all. In this particular instance, God gave me tears to sow in order to reap a harvest of Life (Ps. 126:5).
A few weeks ago, I was led to pray and fast for an unsaved friend. Now I’ve prayed for her for years, and I’ve prayed the scriptures over her, and I believe God has heard all those prayers. But in this particular time, I was sensing a real urgency for the kingdom of heaven to invade her life, and I asked God how to pray. Interestingly, I felt the Holy Spirit impressing me to pray for her husband, which I did.
“You’re using the wrong key!”
Here’s one final example of what the Holy Spirit taught me about keys. We put our house up for sale in the last year, having no idea where we were going to move, or whether we should buy or rent. In addition to these unknowns, our 131 year-old Victorian home involved all kinds of inspection and appraisal unknowns.
Throughout the entire process of sticking a for-sale sign in our yard (we got an offer before we could list it with a realtor, which was a miracle), the Lord repeatedly impressed upon me that prayers of supplication weren’t foremost what I was to be offering Him.
“You’re using the wrong key,” I sensed Him saying to me. “Thank Me for selling your home, and thank Me for the house to which I am leading you.” And when He reminded me, that is what I did. Instead of pleading with Him for the right place, for a smooth transition, for the house to appraise in spite of all the obstacles, thanksgiving became the key: I thanked Him for the house He had for us, thanked Him for His perfect timing, and we blessed our appraiser and thanked God for him.
What I’ve shared here is neither an exhaustive nor exclusive list of the keys ; rather, I trust it is an encouragement to wait on the Lord and expect Him to provide the keys of the kingdom of heaven into areas that have seemed impenetrable. He is eager to give us the Kingdom! (Luke 12:32).