Oliver O’Donovan takes note of the power of the church’s prophetic word. That’s sexy. It’s not so sexy to be reminded that “the church’s speech is also prayer, speech addressed to God, from whom it originated, from the whole body on behalf of each charism in it” (Desire of Nations, 188). This power is, or should be, continuous, as the “foundation for every other powerful speech which may be given from time to time” (189). So, prayer is the speech that empowers all the other powerful speech of the church, because it calls on God to empower that speech.
Modest as it appears, “the speech which calls upon God is power. The apostolic church believed that, when it prayed, the powers of God’s kingdom were at work in the very prayer itself” (189, citing Romans 8:26 and Revelation 8:5).
Prayer might be done “non-politically” (?) to uproot a mountain to the sea, but O’Donovan is interested in the “authority which accrues to acts of power, and which is, itself a species of power, the power to elicit political co-operation and community. By ‘the power of the church,’ then, is meant ‘the authority of the church,’ its effective enablement to be the political community that it is, the community of God’s rule, manifesting his Kingdom to the world.”
Insofar as a healthy church is essential to healthy political order, prayer for the Spirit is also prayer for a land and people to flourish.