Do our prayers make a difference?
We have probably all asked that question, from time to time. Or at least allowed the thought to meander through our minds.
The good news is that we have been given spiritual authority, not only to pray but to do many other things as well. Let’s build a case.
As with most Biblical truths, the story begins in Genesis. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Gen 1: 1 – 2)
Question: Who had ultimate authority over the earth right at the beginning? That’s easy – God!
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, (and rule) over the livestock and all the wild animals, and (rule) over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Gen 1: 26 – 30)
Who received authority from God to rule over the earth? We can see from the story that the first humans were given that authority.
When we dive into chapter 3 of Genesis and the story of the fall, what is not immediately clear from the text is that the devil gained some of Adam and Eve’s authority through their obedience to him instead of the Lord. This becomes clear as we study other Scriptures, for example: “Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he (Job) has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him” (Job 1: 12 (NASB)) and “We know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5: 19)
Which takes us takes us to the Gospel. Jesus died on a cross. In that moment, the devil must have thought he’d won. He had killed the Son of God. But God the Father raised Jesus from the dead and look at the result in Matt 28: 18. “All authority… on earth has been given to me.”
God’s authority was back in the hands of a human – His Son. The cross and resurrection restored spiritual authority to where it was always meant to be. In human hands.
The Lord then gave it to us, through repentance and faith. How do we know that?
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Read Eph 2: 1 – 6)
o Now that we have put our faith in Christ, does the devil hold any more authority over us? No, none at all
o Who are we seated with? With Christ Jesus
o Where is he? He is in the heavenly realms
o Which is where specifically? Phil 2: 9 tells us it is “the highest place” and Peter spoke of Jesus being “at the right hand of the Father” in Acts 2: 33
Whenever we pray or do the things God has called us to do, we do it with the certain knowledge that we have His authority to carry out the task. Why? Because we are in Christ, seated with Him in Heavenly realms, at the Highest place, at the right hand of the Father and above all other principalities and powers.