I just wrapped up a sermon series on prayer at the church where I preach. It was quite possibly the most challenging and convicting sermon series I have ever prepared. In teaching on prayer, there is a rhythm and a routine to the way we perceive and in turn teach on praying. I guess the issue (at least for me) is the lack of confidence surrounding the concept of Christian prayer.
Intellectually, we know that prayer is a vital part of our Christianity. Intellectually, we know It is something that God commands us to do. Intellectually, we know we feel differently when we pray. However, I believe if we fully understood the power that prayer holds and the way our prayer truly impacts our Father and the world around us, then maybe our prayers would be bold, powerful, and confident prayers that tap into the power of the Spirit of God that is within us.
I have finished our last lesson on warfare prayer. There is something about the spiritual realm that we are so resistant to engage. When we start to talk about it, we feel silly, flaky, and just plain “out there.” But the spiritual realm is real and active. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our struggle is not a fleshly struggle, but a struggle against the authorities in the heavenly realm. When it comes to going to work against these forces, we are left with a sense of powerlessness.
If you back up to Ephesians 1:17-23, we are given the privilege of seeing Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus. We are also reminded that the power of God was demonstrated in the Messiah, our Savior and Redeemer, in Jesus Christ our King. He holds every enemy at bay under his feet. Being in Christ means that anything that is given to him is also given to us. The Deceiver uses smoke and mirrors to convince us that we are powerless, and that we are fighting against an enemy that is so much stronger and powerful than we are. The smoke and mirrors may be right, especially when it is distorted in such a way as to blur out what our position is. In Christ, we are powerful and have at our disposal the army of the Lord of Hosts.
In Exodus 14, Moses is looking at the Red Sea in front of him and the Egyptian army behind him, and he cries out to God. God’s reply is striking! “Why are you crying out to me? Tell Israel to break camp. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your had over the sea and divide it so that the Israelites may cross on dry land.” (Exodus 14:15-16)
How frequently does God answer me in the same way? Maybe you are praying for courage, wisdom, discernment, peace, comfort, power, authority, or any number of other things. If you are in Christ, these things are already yours! And the crazy thing is not that they are yours, but that they are in your possession and at your disposal with the power of the Son of God and through the Spirit that resides within us. We ask for what we have already obtained.
Use your authority. Use the authority that has been granted to you by the Creator of the Universe by being given a new identity in Jesus. In him we have all authority. In him we have all power. In him we have courage. In him we have every weapon we will ever need in our arsenal to combat the forces of evil that are present and active in our lives and in the world in which we live.
In His Mighty Power,
Joshua Fowler, minister at the Goodwood Blvd church of Christ in Baton Rouge, LA.
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