Praying With Authority

James said, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:17-18). Elijah was a prophet of God, but he was a mortal just like us. We have the same spiritual authority as Elijah, because of our position in Christ.

The key to Elijah’s success is found in 1 Kings 18:36-38. He desired that God be known in Israel and that the hearts of the people would be turned back to Him. His confidence and faith in God were so great that he could see the answer to prayer before there was any visible evidence (see verses 41-45). He was sure of what he hoped for and certain of what he did not see, which is the epitome of faith (see Hebrews 11:1).

Every believer has the spiritual authority to do God’s will and carry on the ministry of Christ. Jesus summarized His ministry when He read Isaiah 61:1-2 in the synagogue and applied it to Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). In this present Church Age, God works through the prayers and faith of His children whom He has commissioned to make disciples of all nations. We have authority over Satan and his demons who have blinded the minds of the unbelieving (see 2 Corinthians 4:4) and captivated many people to do his will (see 2 Timothy 2:26).

Satan’s power has been broken (see Hebrews 2:14-15; Colossians 2:15), but he will not turn loose anything he thinks he can keep. Jesus came to undo the works of Satan (see 1 John 3:8), and it is part of our calling to recapture lost ground. We need to stand firm in our faith and pray with the authority delegated to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not trying to enlist God in our service – through prayer, we are joining God in His service. Praying with authority is not expressing our will to God but discerning God’s will and claiming the answer with confidence.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15). We have the right to claim by faith the property that Satan has his hands on but which rightfully belongs to God. We need to persevere in faith until Satan turns loose those whom God has directed us to pray. The evil one will hold on to his captives until we take our place in Christ and demand that he release them in the name of Jesus!

Consider how the Early Church prayed when they experienced opposition: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30).

Dr. Neil

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