Our power and authority is in Jesus Christ. If we position ourselves so that we are always abiding in Him we will have His authority. And it will come to us (as we are abiding) with the help of the Holy Spirit. When we ask Him to fill us and empower us He does it—and He gives us the holy life of Christ and exerts Christ’s authority in us and through us with power.
We do it in connection with prayer. Prayer is the normal means that God has bestowed on us to communicate with Him and to ask for His help in all things pertaining to our authority over our enemy. Here are three ways, in connection with prayer, in which we must execute our authority with power:
1. By prayer in the Holy Spirit. Prayer must always be in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 6:18). He helps us to know what to pray and how to pray—that is, according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26-27). He forms for us all the words of our prayers. He helps us to pray with authority. He, through our prayers, brings the authority of Christ into every situation we face. Thus, as we pray, He takes us by the hand and comforts us when we are afraid. Then He strengthens us in Christ and makes us fit for battle by bringing the Word of God to our mind so that we know what verses of power to claim before the enemy. By God’s Word and through His own Spirit He helps us to be vigilant and courageous as we pray. Moreover, He is our strength and guiding light; that is, He shows us the power we have in Christ and that we can execute that power in His name.
2. By prayer with righteousness. In order to pray with authority you must never forget to put on the breastplate of righteousness (Eph. 6:14). It will protect you from the assaults of the devil and keep you strong for battle in prayer.
Francis Frangipane has said, “Wherever there is willful disobedience to the Word of God, there is spiritual darkness…” That is true; and the opposite is also true: whoever is obedient to God, they dwell in light, and are loved by God, and Jesus shows Himself to them (Jn. 14:21). Likewise, because we abide in Him and His words abide in us we have the authority to ask anything we desire and He will give it to us (Jn. 15:7).
Accordingly, when we have on the breastplate of righteousness we are filled with His Spirit and are strong in the Lord, for His light and love within us gives us authority over sadness and depression, and His peace keeps us calm in the midst of storms.
Moreover, we can take authority over evil and actually overcome evil by doing good (Rom. 12:21). For, as it happens, when we spend our time serving and helping those in need, and when we take the time to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, we keep ourselves out of the world and out of sin (Ja. 1:27), and so, as a result, our prayers become more sincere, and the Holy Spirit gives us power and authority. Thus, by our works of righteousness our religion and prayers are proven before God to be pure and sincere (Ja. 1:27)—and so He rewards our works and prayers with authority and power to overcome evil.
3. By prayer with resisting. By His death and resurrection Jesus demonstrated His authority over Satan. But, though Satan was defeated at the cross, he is not yet abolished. He is still in operation in the world and among God’s people—to deceive us, to confuse us, to hinder us, and to fragment our unity.
According to Ronald Dunn, “… [Satan’s defeat at the cross] must be appropriated.” God has instituted that those who are in Christ (the church) would appropriate the defeat of Satan by resisting him. Therefore, it is the call, and the duty of the church to resist Satan by the authority they have in Christ.
Faith is the means by which we resist Satan with authority. Dwight Pentecost, in three points, describes what it means to resist Satan by faith: 1) believing the Word of God—that we have been given authority over Satan; (2) believing that Satan is a defeated foe; and (3) believing that if we resist him he will flee.
But let me add one more key ingredient. Our resisting in faith must be bathed in prayer—not just through individual prayer, but also through group prayer and united prayer. One thing that I have observed over and over again in all of Paul’s letters, especially in the book of Ephesians, is that he used the words “us” and “we” and “together” repeatedly. Thus, he writes, “[God] made us alive together.” “[He] raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places…we are His workmanship… [we] being fitted together…[we] are being built together…” (Eph. 2:5-10, 21-22).
God has made the church, which is the body of Christ, to be together and to work together. We are to stand against the wiles of the devil together (Eph 5:11). And we do that by praying in faith, with authority, together. Oh friends, we have so much more power against the devil when we pray together in agreement. Let us all join together to pray the power of darkness out of this world, to pray that the light of Christ would replace the darkness, and that many lost souls will see the light of Christ and will be set free from their chains.