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The Authority to Ask

Think about all the promises in Scripture regarding answered prayer. How many do we claim on a daily basis? Sadly, too many of us don’t take advantage of the amazing blessing our Father offers. Instead, we complain about our needs and problems. We tiptoe around the throne room of God, afraid to ask for what we really want.

God doesn’t want us walking around with attitudes of fear and doubt, wondering if He will do anything about our requests. He has given us a spirit of power, not one of timidity (2 Tim. 1:7).

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because we are children of God, we can pray with authority, believing the Father will answer our prayers. We will never accomplish what the Lord wants us to do––such as live holy lives or share the gospel––until we learn to approach Him by claiming the power He grants us.

However, this authority does not give us license to make demands of the Lord. We are to approach the throne of grace boldly, but with a deep sense of humility. A humble person knows that he or she cannot tell God what to do. Rather than dictate commands, we cry out in desperation for Him to intervene on our behalf.

Praying with authority is essential if we are to participate with God in accomplishing His purposes on earth. There are five prerequisites if we are to approach God with a sense of authority.

  1. Salvation. We must have a genuine personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. Since our authority in prayer comes from the Savior, we must be one with Him to receive it.
  2. God’s thoughts (1 Cor. 2:11-12). The Bible reveals God’s thoughts in our language. The more we saturate our minds with Scripture, the more His thoughts and attitudes become ours. In the Word, we find basic principles for handling any circumstances we face.As a result, it becomes easier to know His will and have confidence that God is on our side. If we pray in agreement with Him about something, we also know it is just a matter of time until He answers.You can also look for a prayer recorded in Scripture that applies to your particular problem or need. Put it in your own words. Then see how God answered that petition in the life of the one who prayed it. Remember that the same God who met the needs of biblical figures can meet your needs too.
  3. Pure hearts. This means we must confess and repent of any known sin. God will not entrust power to anyone who isn’t submitted to Him. If we live in rebellion, our prayers will be ineffective.Satan often tries to use sin against us when we pray. He wants us to feel guilty and unworthy. But it is the righteousness of Christ that allows us access to the Father. It is a righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith (Phil. 3:9). So once sin has been properly dealt with, we should forget it.
  4. Pure motives. We must know in our hearts that we are praying according to God’s will, not on the basis of selfish desires we’ve justified by misusing Scripture.However, not every personal request is selfish. The key is to have committed our lives to God before we start praying. When the Father knows we want His purpose accomplished more than what we request, He will trust us with His power.
  5. Persistent confidence. Many times we pray fervently for a while but eventually lose interest. We say, “Well, I guess it wasn’t God’s will.” If we really believe our intercessions are in alignment with the Lord’s heart, then why give up before seeing an answer? If we are to petition the Father with authority, we must lay aside excuses and continue until we see victory.

Praying with confidence is a matter of claiming that which has already been bought and paid for by Christ at Calvary. When we intercede with the authority God gives us, we will see our prayers become the powerful tools they were meant to be. The lives of people around us will be transformed, and so will ours.

Authority has been promised to us. Now we must decide to let it change how we pray and the way we live.

Adapted from “Handle with Prayer” (1992).

(By Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)