Praying with Authority
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Think about all the scriptural promises God has given about answered prayer. How many do we claim on a daily basis? Too often, we choose instead to complain about our needs and problems. We tiptoe around the throne room of God, afraid to ask for what is really on our heart.
God doesn’t want us to go through life with fear and doubt, wondering if He’ll respond to our requests. He has given us a spirit of power, not one of timidity (2 Tim. 1:7). Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because we belong to Christ, we can pray with authority and trust that the Father will answer our prayers. We will never accomplish what God wants us to do––such as live holy lives or spread the gospel––until we put our confidence in Him.
Our authority as children of God doesn’t give us license to make demands of Him. We must approach the throne of grace boldly, but with a deep sense of humility. A humble person knows that he or she cannot tell the Lord what to do. We can simply cry out for Him to intervene, knowing that He has given us the privilege to do so.
If we are to participate with God in accomplishing His purposes on earth, praying with authority is essential. There are five prerequisites for approaching the Lord in this manner:
1) Salvation. We must have a genuine personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus. Since our authority is based on our adoption into His family, we must be born again (John 3:5).
2) The mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:11-12). The Bible shows us divine thoughts expressed in human vocabulary. The more we saturate our minds with Scripture, the more God’s mind will become ours. In His Word, we can find basic principles for handling any circumstance we face.
As a result, it becomes easier for us to know His will and have confidence that He is on our side. If we are praying in agreement with God about something, we also know it is just a matter of time until He answers.
It’s also a good idea to look for a prayer recorded in Scripture that is appropriate for your particular situation. Notice how the Lord answered that prayer in the life of the one who prayed it. Now, put it in your own words, and remember that the same God who met needs in Bible times is able to meet your needs too.
3) Pure hearts. This means we must confess and repent of any known sin. God will not trust His power to anyone who isn’t submitted to His purpose. Sin will render our prayers ineffective.
Often, Satan will try to use sin against us when we pray. He wants us to feel guilty and unworthy. But it’s the righteousness of Christ that allows us access to the Father—a gift of God on the basis of faith (Phil. 3:9). So once sin has been properly dealt with, we should stop dwelling on it.
4) Pure motives. We must know in our hearts that we’re praying according to God’s will—not merely justifying our own selfish desires by an inappropriate use of Scripture.
However, not every personal request is selfish. The key is committing our lives to God before we start praying. When the Father knows we desire His will more than the object of our request, He can trust us with His power.
5) Persistent confidence. Many times we pray fervently for a while but then lose interest and say, “Well, I guess it wasn’t God’s will.” But if we’re called to petition the Father with authority, we must lay aside excuses and continue until we see victory.
Praying with confidence is a matter of claiming that which Jesus has already bought and paid for at Calvary. When we intercede with God-given authority, we will see our prayers become the powerful tools they were meant to be. Our lives and the lives of those around us will be changed. His authority has been promised. Now it’s up to us to take hold of what’s already been given. What will you do?
Adapted from “Handle with Prayer” (1992).
Standing Tall and Strong Through Prayer
Prayer is powerful. It allows us to cast our burdens on the Lord and receive guidance and provision from Him. We can experience God’s power for daily living when we’re willing to seek Him earnestly and bow in reverence. (Watch Standing Tall and Strong Through Prayer.)
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