September 15, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals for September 14-15 are provided by Pastor Doug Tritton who serves at Symphony Church in Boston.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Intercessory Prayer Part 1 – We Have Authority”

Ephesians 2:4-7

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Today and tomorrow we will be talking about intercessory prayer. In order to understand intercessory prayer, we need to first understand who we are. To this end, I want to make a bold claim: we think too lowly of ourselves. I imagine many may react to this statement, thinking, Wait, I am prideful – I actually think too highly of myself. And that is probably true for many of us, including me. I am prideful. But, often our pride causes us to think highly of ourselves in the wrong way—meaning, we think highly of ourselves in comparison to others, according to earthly standards. Our pride leads us to think we are smarter, more athletic, better at our jobs than our co-workers, or better looking than our friends—all earthly things.

However, when I say that we think too lowly of ourselves, I mean it in a heavenly sense. We do not understand the power and authority that has been given us in Christ, and what this means for our spiritual lives. Our passage tells us that God has “seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This word “seated” is a word that confers authority.  Earlier in Ephesians, Paul writes, “[God] raised [Jesus] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:20). Did you notice the similarity between this verse and v. 6 of today’s passage? Jesus was given a seat of authority in the heavenly places, and likewise God gives us a seat of authority in the heavenly places along with Christ. Perhaps you are thinking that this verse is speaking of the future, in the new heavens. Yet, this is written in the past tense; God has seated us, not will seat us. It’s already been done. Authority in the heavenly places has already been given to us.

But what exactly are these heavenly places? Well, when God created mankind in Genesis 1, He gave authority to mankind over earth. We were given dominion: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:28)—this was dominion over earthly places. In Christ, we now have dominion in the heavenly places as well, over the spiritual realm—in the invisible realm where spiritual forces are work. We have dominion and authority in this realm as well. And if we have authority, this means our words and our prayers matter—our words affect the spiritual realm. This is intercessory prayer. We will talk more about this tomorrow.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for giving me authority in the spiritual realm. Help me to remember this, to remember this identity You have given me. Help me to not think too lowly or think wrongly of who I am. And since You have given me this authority, teach me to partner with You through prayer to use this authority in the heavenly places in a way that builds Your kingdom. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Job 28-29

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