“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” – Luke 10:19
According to the Bible, we are engaged in constant spiritual struggle. Many are not aware of this reality. But it is true nonetheless. And our enemy is powerful. That enemy is not our spouse, our boss, our children, or our neighbor. It is the Devil himself, and the hosts of his kingdom. The Scriptures teach us that we are not fighting against human agencies, but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). In this verse Paul describes the hierarchy of Satan’s armies. Ever wonder why the spiritual life is so difficult? Why is prayer so hard? You have the forces of darkness fighting against you.
But take heart, child of God. You are not defenseless. You have been properly equipped by God to fight this war and win. Paul wrote that we have weapons, but they are not earthly, human weapons. Rather they are weapons that are “mighty in God for the tearing down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Some of these spiritual weapons are enumerated in Ephesians 6:10-18, where Paul tells us to put on God’s armor for the fight. (I personally find it helpful to go through Paul’s list of armor and in my mind I “put on the armor” every morning.) You will notice that most pieces of the armor are defensive. They protect us when the Enemy attacks. However, there are two weapons that are offensive. The first is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We use this to attack the Enemy. The other weapon is prayer. This is not described as a particular piece of armor in Ephesians 6, but it is mentioned there as part of our arsenal. And it is a mighty weapon in the hands of a child of God who wields it in faith and anointing.
When you use prayer as part of your spiritual weaponry it is necessary to realize the authority that you have to wield it. Yes, you have been given authority by Christ. As we noted before, we have no power. All that is accomplished through prayer is accomplished through God’s power. But while we do not have power, we do have authority. Note the words of Jesus in Luke 10:19. The Lord says, “I give you authority!” And what is this authority for? To defeat the enemy, to strike down “serpents and scorpions,” which are images of the Devil’s minions. Indeed, Christ even says that we have authority over “ALL the power of the Enemy.” All? Yep. All. I didn’t say this. Jesus did. What is the basis of this authority? First, it is the declaration of Jesus Christ Himself. If He says we have it, we have it. Secondly, it is based in our position in Christ. In our position in Christ, we are seated with Him on His throne at the right hand of God (Ephesians 2:6). This is such an important truth that Paul prays for the Lord to give believers a revelation of God’s power available to us in the work that Christ did for the church (see Ephesians 1:15-23).
Yes, prayer is war. So when you pray, sometimes you pray humbly in contrition. Sometime you pray in mournful groans. Sometimes you pray in joyful faith. Sometimes you pray in quiet reflection. But sometimes you pray in powerful words declaring the kingdom of the God and the defeat of the Devil. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to exercise your authority as a child of God and put Satan in his place. Jesus has given you the right to do this.
“The Master of all girds the servant with His own power and entrusts him with authority to command.” – A. T. Pierson
“Spiritual power is the divine energy God is willing to express in and through us and the divine authority needed to carry out the work God has called us to do.” – Charles Stanley