As believers, we know about prayer. But do we really? Do we use ALL the tools God has given us for prayer? Guest Brandilyn Collins takes us deeper into understanding how to pray with Christ’s power and authority.
About Brandilyn Collins
Best-selling novelist Brandilyn Collins is known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense. Her harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e . . .” She also writes insightful contemporary novels with rich characters. Her awards include the ACFW Book of the Year (three times), Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice. Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive, deep-level teaching of the craft of fiction and for her nonfiction book Getting into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors.
Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re able to offer an edited transcript of the podcast!
Erin: Welcome, listeners. We’re so happy to have you here with us, and we’re happy because we have a guest. Karen, of course, we’re going to let introduce our lovely guest.
Karen: Brandilyn Collins is our guest, and where do I start? She’s a best-selling author of over thirty books in the Christian market. She’s known for her seatbelt suspense novels, her energetic and insightful speaking about God and his power to change lives, and her deep level teaching on the craft of fiction.
But in the last year, something exciting has happened. Has it been a year or two years, Brandilyn?
Brandilyn: Over a year.
Karen: God has led her into a new and exciting ministry, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today. I confess when she first told me about it, I was kind of skeptical. But I’ve seen in the last few years what God has done for her and through her. I’ve seen the power, and I’ve heard the power, in her prayers. I’m really excited about how we all can experience the wonder of God’s touch and power in our lives and writing. So, Brandilyn, welcome!
Brandilyn: Oh, thank you so much. It’s just wonderful to be back talking with you both today.
Erin: Thank you for being here. We would love to start out asking the same question because it’s so fun. Brandilyn, what does the deep mean to you?
Brandilyn: Oh my goodness. Well, I was with you before and I don’t even remember how I answered it then. I no doubt will speak differently of it now, because I have learned so much in this last year.
The deep is going deep in the Spirit to speak with God on the Spirit level, in which I can hear his voice. He leads my prayers. He speaks to me. He gives me words for other people, and it is a complete tuning my ears to hear what he has to say to me. And it is simply… Hmm, simply… that’s kind of the wrong word to use. It is simple in a sense, but it’s difficult to get to, you know what I mean?
It’s a deep concept, and the concept is to get past our own thoughts and our own ideas, if you will, of what should happen and what we should ask God, and truly go to God in prayer and say, “Lord, what do you want me to pray to you today? How do you want to speak through me in my prayers back to you today?” That is the deep to me.
Erin: I love that, and it feels like it’s getting close to what they’re talking about in Romans, right? Where the Spirit is interceding for us, too. It’s like we’re taking part in that. We’re getting to that level, so I love that.
Karen: Brandilyn, talk a little bit about how God started you in this new ministry and what he’s taught you, and the impact that it’s had for you and for others.
Brandilyn: Well, he really backed me into it. God can be sly at times. He knows our weaknesses, and he knows that if he had told me fourteen, fifteen months ago, “Hey, Brandilyn, you are not going to write anymore, and instead you are going to serve hours a day as an intercessor for America,” I would have said, “Um, I cannot do that.”
So what God did is he put me on a sabbatical from writing. I was taking a break, and then the break stretched out a little longer. I began to hear in my Spirit a sense, a deep sense, that God was taking me somewhere else, that he had a new thing for me to do. I honestly had no idea what it was, but the sense grew within me.
Then as of last year, COVID hit, people were in their houses. I had to have a surgery, which put me down for quite a while. On top of that, I got COVID. And on top of that, my back was hit through all of this so that I literally could barely move. So basically for about three months, I was totally on the couch, down and in a lot of pain. So that kept me from going out anyway. During all of that, I found myself just with this hunger of spending the days in the Word, and in prayer, and learning how to go deeper and deeper in his Spirit in prayer.
I found myself interceding for America because so much evil was hitting America. We were undergoing incredible times. So I actually was doing this new task that he had called me to do before I understood what I was doing, or even before I had a name for it. Suddenly around last, I don’t know, November or so, I became aware that I was serving as an intercessor for America. I honestly went to the Lord and said kind of, “Oh, that’s what I’m doing. Oh, that was that task you had for me. Okay, well now that I’m doing it, okay, I can do this.”
It has been the greatest blessing. Even through those three months of intense pain and sickness and all of that stuff, I remember the pain, but honestly, what I remember is the great blessing through it all. Because I could just sit all day and do that. And now that I’m over that recovery and up and moving around again, and I’m fine, very healthy, this is still my calling through the day.
So really what’s happened is all of the times I would have spent writing during the day, I am now spending in prayer, and in study, and in listening to God speak both to me personally, and through voices he has out there that I trust. This is what I do for the course of my day. And it’s just been, I’ve grown so much in the past year. I mean, I’ve grown more in the past year than I’ve grown in the last decade or two put together.
Erin: You know, Brandilyn, the first thing that is hitting me about this is that here you are an author of over thirty books and what I really want, aside from all this amazing prayer stuff here, the first thing I want listeners to notice is that it’s okay to be a writer and write one book or ten books or thirty books or a hundred books. And then one day you do something different because God leads you there.
I don’t want our listeners to miss the fact that when it’s time to leave writing, it’s okay. God will let you know. And maybe, Brandilyn, you’ll come back. Maybe you won’t. But that’s for God to decide. But God let you know. I love that. You’re not locked into being a writer forever just because you started as a writer.
Karen: I also want the listeners out there not to be afraid of being called away from writing. Because God sometimes has us let go of the good to receive the best. We’re not saying at all, you guys, that you need to stop writing, and you need to do exactly what Brandilyn is doing. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re simply talking about having a better understanding of going deeper with God, spending more time in prayer, spending more time in embracing God’s power, as you pray over your life and your writing, and understanding how much we as believers leave on the table.
Brandilyn: That is absolutely true. God spoke to me back in 2012. I was minding my own business, driving down the road, music blaring, and all of a sudden God said, “I have some things to tell you.”
So I turned off the music and said, “Here I am, Lord. Speak to me.”
He told me three things. One of the things he told me at that time was, “I want you to continue writing Christian fiction.” It was very clear. So I continued to follow that calling. I honestly thought I would be following that calling until the day I died. I mean, it didn’t occur to me I would not be a writer. This has really been a huge surprise for me. But this now is clearly where he has led me.
What I’ve learned is it’s a completely different focus. I went from writing books that, if you looked at it just from a sort of worldly view, these books were selling in the thousands then going out across America and across the world and people were reading them. And now he calls me to sit in my home and speak “just” to him. Now, of course, that JUST is just in parentheses as if it has no power, which of course it does.
But you see in the world that we could look at that and go, “Oh my goodness, I’ve gone from a writer with this huge audience to a pray-er. I’m just speaking to God and I’m releasing his word to a few people in my immediate sphere of influence, which he has called me to do.” So, you know, I’m speaking to fifty or a hundred people instead of thousands. But you know what? That is God’s task for me now.
One, the power of prayer is above the power of everything else. And two, no task that God calls us to is small. This is Zechariah 4:10, “Who has despised the day of small things?”
That day of small things was not God’s idea. This was said back when they were building the temple, and temple they were building was much smaller than Solomon’s temple. Some of them were wailing because their task was small and insignificant. How dare we ever turn to God and say, “Oh, the task you have called me to is small and insignificant”?
Whether that applies to your writing, whether it’s writing books or writing for a church newsletter, or whether it’s sitting alone praying for the nation, God’s task for us at the moment is never small. It is great in his eyes. Our task is to follow his calling, and to do what he commands us to do, and to understand that we are fulfilling his purpose in our lives for that season.God's task for us at the moment is never small. It is great in his eyes. @Brandilyn #amwriting #christianwriter @karenball1 Click To Tweet
Karen: Here’s the thing that I love. If we would make that the focus, can you imagine this nation? If they would make their focus seeking God first? I mean, I think I’ve heard that somewhere before–I don’t remember who wrote it. Like it was maybe in the Bible about seeking God’s kingdom first!
If we made that our focus about going deeper with him and coming closer to him and then whatever ministry we perform, that he calls us to, we let him infuse us with what he wants done in that, if we truly become the soldiers who look to the general to be mobilized and to attack or go against whatever wrong there is, can you imagine the power in people’s lives and in writer’s words and their books to come out and to change the world? If we knew, if we truly knew at the core of who we were, that this is what God wanted to speak through us, to the readers, it’s just astounding. It’s amazing.
Let’s ask this though. You mentioned like a general here, you know, like an army, but what about maybe the person who doesn’t have a lot of experience with prayer? They don’t even know where to start. Brandilyn, what kind of advice would you give to somebody who just doesn’t even know how to do this, how to begin to pray?
Brandilyn: What I have learned so much in the past year is our authority in Christ. Now, we read these verses in the Bible. I had certainly read them many, many times. But we tend to not understand the depth and the gravity of our authority in Christ as we pray. So what happens is we end up praying prayers of what we want to happen, how we think God should act. Or we end up pleading with the Lord, “Oh, please do this. Please do this.”
You know, we have authority in Christ. We do not need to plead with the Lord. We never need to plead with the Lord. That is our own thought. Like we have to say, “Oh, please, please, please do this, Jesus,” as if he’s not inclining his ear to his children.
So if I may, I’d like to lead you through three different sets of verses, which are the foundation of what I have discovered as our authority in Christ. These verses are in Ephesians and Colossians. First I’m going to read from Ephesians, chapter one. I’ll start in verse, well, I’ll start in 18 because the verses sort of all run together and go through verse 21.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so you will know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of his might, which he brought about in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his (God’s) right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, all authority and power and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age, but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:18-21
So here we see Paul talking about God’s power, and he uses different words. He uses the words power, strength, and might, and those words are different in the Greek. They cover many different forms. They cover physical power. They cover dominion, strengths, coming from the root word to mean perfect, complete. They cover the words ability and force. All of these different meanings are in those words.
Then it says God raised Christ and seated him in the heavenly place. This is in the third heaven, the highest of heavens that we read about in the Psalms, the heavens above the heavens. And he’s seated in the heavenly places. This is above all rule, authority, power, and dominion, which cover both angelic and demonic (fallen) angels.
So basically Christ is seated with God in the highest of heaven, above all the bad guys. Right? That’s kind of the bottom line of it. From someone who writes suspense, here’s where the good guys sit, and they’re above the bad guys.
Now that we know where Christ is, he’s above all in the heavenly places, above all rule and authority. Now, oh my goodness, you have to listen to these two verses in the context of that first passage. The second passage is Ephesians 2:4-6, and they start with my favorite two words in the entire Bible. Every time I come across them, I underscore them: but God. They are the two most powerful words in the whole Bible. But God.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved—and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6
Oh, my word! Where are we seated? In that third heaven. Right next to Christ. Where does that put us? Above all rule and authority and power and dominion. Above every demonic entity out there. Above all forces of evil out there. We’re seated in the heavens with him. Right with him. Which means—and it says he made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up there, and we sit up there in Christ—which means we have been given all the authority over evil that Christ has been given.
All authority. I mean, we could meditate on that for days,
Karen: Right. Even just trying to wrap our minds around that, when you consider what evil has been made in the world today, and how evil always seems to win in the media, in movies, in books, evil is never fully defeated. You know, in those movies where evil is having heyday in the world, and then they’re defeated. There’s always that little something at the end that shows evil is still alive and coming after us. It’s created such a sense of fear in us as believers about demons and demonic power and all those kinds of things. And yet, as you’re saying, we have the authority over all that in Christ.
Brandilyn: We absolutely do. Absolutely. Here is the third verse to just go off with what you were just saying. This is Colossians 1:13, “For he rescued us from the domain of darkness.” Now start right there. Where are we before we’re saved? We’re in the domain of darkness. We are dead in the water. We are hopeless and helpless.
“He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son.” Colossians 1:13. Now, where is the kingdom of his beloved Son? Seated in heavenly places above all rule and power and authority and dominion and power. Okay?
He took us from the domain of darkness. This verse goes very well with the verses I just read you, Ephesians 2:4-6. So he rescued us from the domain of darkness, and now we are transferred to God’s kingdom. We are again seated in the heavenly places with Christ above all evil. When he tells us, also in Ephesians, you know, we’ve often read about the passage about putting on the whole armor of God and, you know, we’ve got the helmet and the breast plate, the belt, and all of these things and we’re carrying the sword, so imagine that.
When Paul wrote that, he was in prison, and he was standing next to a Roman guard. He was looking at a Roman guard and copying all that the guard had on, you know, and putting it in spiritual terms for Christians.
So imagine a soldier like that decked out for war, but the soldier is trudging along, you know the energy. And the sword, he’s barely hanging on to the sword, and it’s dragging on the ground behind him, and his shoulders are stooped. That is the perfect picture to me of how I used to be as a Christian before I understood my authority in Christ. I had the sword of the Spirit, I just wasn’t using it. I was dragging it on the ground.
But now, literally, and I’m saying literally because it happens to me literally, it just happened to me a few days ago when I am facing, face on demonic entities and they’re coming at me through somebody, they’re trying to attack me, and I understand it, I can stand in my authority and tell them to be quiet. Tell him they cannot attack me. I can absolutely stand in my authority in Christ and tell those powers they have no authority over me, because that is my authority in Christ that I have been given.
The only caveat I will add to that, and it’s a really big one, is that Christ gives us all these things when we become his children. There is no greater power and authority to become a child of the Most High God, because then we reign with the power he has given us, which is Christ’s resurrection power, by the way. Don’t forget that. We have in us Christ’s resurrection power.
So the only caveat, and it’s big, is that we must walk in it. It is always held out. That authority and power is always held out for us to grasp hold of and use, but we must accept it and walk in it. Otherwise, we can be Christians, we can be saved, we can be on our way to heaven, but we are not standing and walking in the authority that Christ is literally holding out his hand and offering us as a gift.
It is no different than how we understand it that, when Christ offers salvation, the gift of salvation, just because he offers it doesn’t mean everyone is saved, right? You have to accept it. In the same way, once we are saved, he holds out his gifts of authority and his gifts, many, many gifts to us, the gift of peace, many, many gifts to us, the gift of walking in no fear, but we must accept those things. We must walk in them.
Karen: Oh man, guys, I don’t know about you, but I am loving this conversation and we’re going to end this part right now, but stay tuned for the next podcast, because that will be the second half of the conversation and you are going to love it!
Erin: Amen. I can’t wait!
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
How can we as believers be better at accepting and walking in our authority in Christ?
THE NOVEL MARKETING PODCAST
We’re so grateful for the sponsorship from the Novel Marketing Podcast, with host Thomas Umstattd Jr. It’s the longest running book marketing podcast in the world. We know and trust Thomas, and his podcast is full of great information and advice—like Novel Marketing’s 10 Commandments of Book Marketing, which we’re going to be bringing you.
Commandment # 2: Thou shalt write for the reader, not vice versa.
You may have heard this before, but one way that you can ensure that you’re writing for your reader instead of for yourself is to kill your darlings. What that means is you only include in your book those things, those sentences and thoughts and passages, that are going to impact the reader. So maybe you have a little section that you love, but hey, if it’s not going to serve the reader, it needs to go.
Another thing that might help you write for your reader is to write the back cover copy before writing your book. This helps you keep the reader in mind and why they might want to read the book. Remember, if you’re writing for publication, it’s about serving your reader, not yourself.
Of course. It’s about serving God first, but then serving your reader, not yourself. For more book promotion and platform help listen to Novel Marketing in your favorite podcast app at novelmarketing.com.
Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!
Thanks so much to our October sponsor of the month, Tammy Partlow! She’s a speaker at women’s retreats, and her debut novel Blood Beneath the Pines, a suspense set in the deep South, is now available. She’s hard at work on the next book in the series!
Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast P.S. for their fabulous sound editing!
Want the latest news from Karen and Erin? Click here to join our newsletter and get an exclusive audio download.