By Pastor Mitch Horton | April 2002 | Posted in • Archives | (0) Comments
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Last month, I shared with you the importance of prayer in our lives and ministries, and gave some quotes from various authors on the necessity of prayer. This month, I want to discuss the why behind our prayer life.
Being raised in church all of my childhood years planted some incorrect ideas about prayer within me that I had to fight to overcome. The inference that I received by being around “church folk” was: (1) that God was in charge of everything and could do anything He wanted to do at anytime (2) that He would do what He wanted to do whether anybody prayed or not and (3) if you did pray about something and the prayer was not answered, then it was not God’s will from the beginning. So I surmised that prayer was really of little importance because God was going to do what He wanted to do whether or not we prayed.
I believe that this is a wrong underlying thought pattern that pervades Christendom. And I believe that this idea is the fundamental reason that believers don’t pray more than they do!
The truth in this next statement is a real shock to some. Because of Adam’s sin, God can only act and intervene on earth when given permission in prayer!
Two things happened when Adam sinned. First of all, he broke fellowship with God and in so doing the entire human race inherited the nature of spiritual death. The second thing that happened is that Adam bequeathed to Satan the authority originally given to him by God (See Genesis 1:26-27). Satan actually became the “god” of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and gained a legal right to rule the lives of human beings and to manipulate circumstances on earth.
Notice what Satan said to Jesus during His temptations in the wilderness: “Then the devil, taking him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give you, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish’” (Luke 4:5-6).
Satan told Jesus that all the authority of the kingdoms of the world had been given to him, and that he could give it to anyone he chose. Where did Satan gain authority over these world kingdoms? It was transferred to him when Adam sinned!
Notice what Hebrews 2:8 says about Adam’s original God given dominion being given away through Adam’s sin: “You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under Him.” By default, Adam gave his authority over the earth to Satan when he obeyed him through sin. Adam became a spiritual “Benedict Arnold!” He was a traitor to the kingdom of God.
One thing that we need to realize is that God lives by the laws that He created to govern the universe. He does not break His own laws for His own convenience. In Psalm 89:14 we read, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne….” God is just and fair even to His enemies! The end result of Adam’s default of authority is that Satan has a right to rule affairs on this planet for a period of time, and God has to allow it or He would be unjust! And if God could have done something about it but chose not to, then that would have been unjust as well!
This rulership of Satan on our planet is clearly seen in the New Testament. “…For the ruler of this world is coming and has nothing in me” (John 15:30). “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).
In order to be fair to Satan, God had to get “legal permission” in order to manifest His power on earth today. And Jesus, the “God-man” legally conquered Satan as the second Adam and gave to the church the authority originally given to Adam! (See Colossians 2:15; Ephesians 1: 20 – 2:6; Matthew 28:18; Revelation 1:18).
We as the church now exercise tremendous authority in prayer. And when God wants to do something on the earth, He looks for someone who is available to ask Him to do it in prayer. Satan has a legal right to reign over the affairs of unsaved humanity (See Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 6:12). But he has no control over Christians if they will take their place and exercise their authority over him!
And that is the reason that we need to pray in faith and ask God to manifest Himself. God works in answer to prayer, and without our prayers, His hands are tied!
We will develop this thought even further in our next issue. Begin now to seek God in prayer, and ask Him to manifest His power and ability in your world! He’s waiting on you to ask!
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