The understanding of authority dives straight into the question, "Who's in charge?" (Pixabay)

Who is ruling your world?

This question is vital to understanding our authority in prayer. But before we can apply the principle of authority to prayer, it is important to fully understand the meaning and purpose of authority itself.

The understanding of authority dives straight into the question, "Who's in charge?" It's a question that has been at the heart of conflict since the beginning. Even now, your outer world fights to have authority over you on a daily basis. It might be your job, your family, your finances or something completely different altogether. Whatever the case, living in bondage to your external world was never God's intention for you. You have been called to live under the rule of Christ, and consequently, to rule and reign over the earth in partnership with Him.

This principle is a governmental issue. To govern means "to influence, to exercise authority, to stand in superiority." This means when we pray with authority, we are interceding in a governmental capacity. And this idea of governmental authority is found throughout the Bible. From before the Garden of Eden, the question of "Who will rule?" has been an integral part of the conversation. Lucifer asked this question when he tried to exercise authority over God, and it was the beginning of a struggle that we still face today—good or evil, life or death, truth or deception.

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While we know God is ultimately victorious over Satan, He has still given us the opportunity to triumph over evil on a personal basis, so that we can partner with Him, governing the earth in truth and righteousness. You were created with a nature to do just this. We are called to reign in life through Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:17, the word "reign" speaks of ruling as a king or queen.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet 2:9). We have been chosen to reign with Him. It is our responsibility to learn to have authority in prayer and to exercise governmental intercession.

The degree to which you allow Christ into your inner world is the degree to which you will have authority over your outer world. In Acts 19, the Sons of Sceva (seven sons of a Jewish high priest) intended to exercise the authority of Jesus over those who were afflicted by evil spirits. They would try to cast out the darkness "in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches ... The evil spirit answered, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?" (Acts 19:13, 15). They tried to use the authority of Christ without surrendering their lives to Him first, and their prayers were rendered completely ineffective.

In the same way, your life will be a clear indicator of the depth of relationship you carry with Christ. Do you walk in peace and joy, or are you as stressed out as unbelievers around you? Is your family thriving? Are you living a lifestyle of prayer, or do you simply speak of its power from a distance?

Having authority over darkness and despair is in your spiritual DNA. You were made to have life more abundantly, through Jesus, living in victory over those things that seek to steal, kill and destroy you (John 10:10). Satan will do everything he can to hinder your assignment, and it is up to you to recognize his plan and overcome the works of the enemy—not just saying that you are an overcomer, but living a life that is spilling over with the evidence of the authority and power you carry.

As you dive into the idea of authority over that which seeks to rule you, be challenged—take some time to examine your private world—your thoughts, your actions, your words. Decide if these things reflect the nature of your identity as a son or daughter of the King. As you move in this personal level of authority, you will be amazed to see how much He blesses your authority over your extended world—your home, your job, your finances. And as is the ultimate goal, you will begin to partner with Him on a level you perhaps never dreamed possible, exercising influence and authority in your universal world. It's important to know that not only does He want you to partner with Him; He needs your partnership to accomplish His purposes on the earth.

This teaching concept is derived from chapter one of Authority in Prayer by Dutch Sheets.

Dutch Sheets is an internationally recognized author, teacher and conference speaker. He travels extensively, empowering believers for passionate prayer and societal transformation. Dutch has pastored, taught in several colleges and seminaries, and served on the board of directors of numerous organizations. Dutch's greatest passion is to see America experience a sweeping revival and return to its godly heritage. Dutch is a messenger of hope for America, encouraging believers to contend for awakening in our day and reformation in our lifetime. Dutch has written over 20 books, many of which have been translated into over 30 languages. Dutch and his wife, Ceci, have been married for 35 years and now reside in the Dallas area. They treasure time spent with their two grown daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren.

This article originally appeared at elijahlist.com.

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