Why do we pray “in Jesus’ name”? When we pray “in Jesus’ name”, we are praying as someone who has a right to be heard in the heavenlies, because we have Jesus’ authority backing us up. It is the same as when a police officer shouts “stop in the name of the law”, or when a judge places his name on a court order.
God made the earth and gave it to Adam and Eve with the authority to govern it. When Adam and Eve sinned, they forfeited their authority to Satan, but Jesus got it back for us through His death and resurrection! Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities of this world, and he made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). Christ’s victory on the cross resulted in the overthrow of Satan’s right to rule and the transfer of all authority, power, and dominion to Jesus (Matthew 28:18).
Satan is defeated but he is still the prince of the air until Christ returns to earth and destroys Satan completely. Until then, we still live in a world dominated by the devil and his forces. The Lord’s Prayer begins with us praying, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus is teaching us to invoke His kingdom from heaven to earth as His partners in mission. Spiritual authority can be defined as the divinely authorised legal right and responsibility given to us under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to rule and reign in bringing heaven to earth.Understanding Spiritual AuthorityRead Luke 7:1-10 – the Faith of the Roman Centurion
This Roman Centurion was a Gentile but someone who loved Israel. He commanded a “century” or 100 Roman soldiers. The centurion first viewed himself as “under authority” before being a man “in authority”. The centurion understood that the principles he had observed in the chain of command in the Roman military was true in Christ’s kingdom. The centurion recognised that just like he had authority because he himself was first under authority, Jesus too was under authority of God and therefore Jesus could absolutely heal any sickness including the sickness of his servant. This is the reason why Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s understanding of authority and his faith!
When we pray, do we recognise Jesus’ unlimited and absolute authority to work in that situation? The centurion did that and he had his request answered. We too can operate in this amazing authority to bring the kingdom of God on earth from heaven when we are under the absolute authority of Jesus and recognise Jesus has absolute authority in every situation.Operating in Spiritual Authority
The book of Ephesians gives us three postures to help us understand our Spiritual Authority and to operate in it for life and ministry.1. Sit – Our Position in Christ
Ephesians 2:6 - “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
This posture speaks to our identity and position of authority in Christ and the rich spiritual blessings that we have received in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 tells us that we have been “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Paul uses metaphors of adoption and redemption to stress that believers have undergone a complete change in identity. Our whole relationship with Christ and operating in prayer starts with us “sitting” with Him in heavenly places in Christ.
Too often, we are off walking, running, and doing things and operating earth to heaven. Instead, we need to sit in intimacy and prayer and realise that we are seated with Christ and operate from heaven to earth. This means approaching all our prayer, our whole life resting in the finished work of Christ. Are we spending time with Christ in prayer and worship and adoration like Mary did and enjoying intimacy with Him? Or are we too busy, running around like Martha without sitting in His very presence and tapping into the power and authority from heaven? True spiritual authority flows into our lives when we live out of our understanding of our position and identity in Christ of being seated with Him!2. Walk – Our Life in the World
Ephesians 4:1 (ESV) – “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
The reality of our being seated with Christ should flow practically into our daily walk with God. We are to walk in the Spirit, and this involves communing and developing intimacy with Christ through the Spirit by meditating on God’s word and praying insistently. Every moment of our day is determined by one of two driving forces — our flesh or our spirit. We can only operate in our spiritual authority if we are guided by the Spirit instead of being guided by the flesh.
After the fall, we lost inner dominion and the flesh took over as the driver when it was never meant to drive us, and this has led to us losing all spiritual authority. When we pray with fasting, we put the appetite of the flesh under the authority of the Spirit. Fasting is feasting on the Lord and brings us into the economy of God and opens up divine possibilities. Fasting is a sacrificial posture of our dependence on God and should be practised as a lifestyle and pattern so that we are continually living led by the Spirit and not the appetites of the flesh. That is why Jesus fasted before He began His ministry and He kept up this lifestyle of prayer and fasting. We too are to live led by the Spirit, fully alive to God’s purposes!3. Stand–Out Attitude to the Enemy
Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV) - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
The enemy comes to steal, rob, and destroy. When we know what belongs to us in the Kingdom, we will defend it and ensure the enemy does not get a hold of our inheritance in Christ! That is why understanding our identity in Christ and our inheritance is so important. We don’t retreat when the enemy intimidates us, but we stand firm and fight the enemy through prayer and fasting with the spiritual authority that Jesus has given us.
We must submit to God by coming to Him in prayer and fasting and living under His authority. Then we will have the strength to resist the devil and have power and authority over the enemy. When we do this, the enemy will flee.
1 Peter 5:8, 9a - Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
James 4:7 - Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Yes, the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion and we need to be alert to the tactics of the enemy, but he is a phony. The real lion is Jesus, the lion of Judah. We need to submit to our God and live under His authority.Conclusion
There are times when God does not answer prayer according to what we expect the answer to be. There are some mysteries, and we need to trust God with that. We need to say like Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15, KJV). Paul also contended with having a “thorn in his flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7)
that was not taken away. God is good and able and just. We are not twisting God’s arm in prayer and fasting, but we are loving Him and worshipping Him. Even when we don’t see immediate answers in the natural, we are called to persist and persevere in walking in faith, exercising our authority and trusting Him as God alone controls outcomes, timing, and purposes for His glory.
We can live Fully Alive to God’s purposes when we pray, live and operate in our Spiritual Authority. Even as we get into this season of prayer and fasting, it is our opportunity to operate in Spiritual authority to live a victorious life by adopting the three postures.
• “Sit”: We know our position and identity in Christ
• “Walk”: We walk in the Spirit under the authority of Christ and let the Spirit rule over the flesh and finally,
• “Stand”: We stand our ground in the authority of Jesus Name against the enemy.Discussion Questions
1. Describe a time when you felt completely powerless and without authority over your circumstance. Was this feeling based on – God’s word or your what you saw in the natural? How did this experience affect your understanding of approaching God in worship, prayer and intimacy?
2. Read Luke 7:1-10. Why did the centurion have this clear understanding of Jesus’ absolute authority to heal his servant? a. How might you need to come to a similar understanding when you face a storm in your own life? b. What role does being “under authority” to Jesus play in overcoming situations in our life?
3. Read Ephesians 2:6 and Ephesians 1:17-21. a. What does your being seated with Christ imply about your identity and position?b. What does your being seated with Christ imply about the circumstances you may find yourself in and your role in it to affect it?
4. Read Ephesians 4:1. Reflect on how you can walk in a manner worthy of God. Are you personally driven by the appetites of your flesh or driven by the Spirit? How can you make shifts to be driven by the Spirit instead of the flesh?
5. Read Ephesians 6:10-11 and James 4:7. a. When the enemy comes to steal, rob and destroy, why should you take a stand and not run? What happens when you take a stand?b. Discuss some ways you can take a stand against the enemy in your own life.
6. Identify some practical steps you can take in your own life to grow in understanding your God-given authority and living it out starting with the 21 days of fasting and prayer. Share this with others in your life group and pray together.