September 16, Sunday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Intercessory Prayer Part 2 – “Prayer Changes Things”

Ephesians 6:10-13, 17

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm…18  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…

8671DB6B-C915-4B1B-B5EE-72C7CE6E1DFA.jpegYesterday, we started a twopart series on Intercessory Prayer. In the first part, we talked about how God has given us authority in the heavenly places. He has “seated us” with Christ, which means we have dominion in the spiritual realm. Thus, if we have dominion and authority in the heavenly places, our words affect the spiritual realm. This is a critical component tointercessory prayer.

In today’s passage, Paul uses similar language to our verses from yesterday. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” We have authority in the heavenly places, yet there are forces that are working against our authority, and more importantly, working against Christ’s authority. This passage is calling us to battle against these forces and this is the heart of intercessory prayera spiritual battle in which we use our authority in Christ to oppose the spiritual forces of evil, which are the forces of the devil.

Intercessory prayer is a battle. It’s the tool for using our heavenly authority to combat the enemy and his schemes that oppose God’s kingdom.Intercessory prayer changes things. Our words matter. Some people may feel uneasy about this. Isn’t God the one in control? If our words affect the spiritual realm, doesn’t that undermine God’s authority? God, in His grace, shares His authority with us. God is fully in control, yet in His goodness He gives some control over to us. If you are still unconvinced, read Luke 9:1 (“he gave them power and authority”) or Matthew 18:18 (“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven”). Think of this like a form of the Radical Middle of “both/and”: God is fully in control and yet we also have authority in the spiritual realm such that our prayers change things.

So what should we do about this? We should pray in boldness. Prayer is not simply a religious activity, something we do in obligation to God. We pray knowing that our prayers affect reality. We pray to see changes happen. Pray for your family who are not believers. Pray for healing for your friend who is sick or injured. Pray for your church to make a greater impact in your area. Pray for your city or town to look more and more like God’s kingdom. These are not merely physical mattersthese are spiritual issues, in the heavenly realm. Pray boldly, pray with authority because our prayers affect spiritual reality. Prayer changes things.

Remember: God has given you authority in the heavenly places so that we may wage war in the heavenly places. He’s given us prayer as a tool for this. So, will you use it?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the authority You’ve given me in the heavenly places. I know there is a battle being waged in these heavenly places, so give me boldness to jump into this fight, knowing that my prayers matter. Lord, teach me to pray in Your power, by Your Spirit. May I keep on praying, knowing this is the greatest weapon You have given me.

Bible Reading for Today: Job 30

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