Praying with Authority
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
I've recently been diving into "The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill" podcast by Christianity Today. The conversations about how this mega church grew quickly and collapsed just as quickly under the leadership of one misled man fascinates me.
One particular aspect of this podcast really caught my attention.
The pastor of Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll, definitely believed in the power of prayer. One of his specific teaching and practices he led his church into became known as "demon trials."
I don't have enough time or space to go into the specifics of this practice–but the idea is that Christians can be oppressed by demons and that oppression shows up in their lives in various ways. Driscoll believed He could put the demon on trial in order to address the oppression and deliver the person.
Driscoll essentially presented himself as a savior, one who learned a specific formula that he could use to bring restoration and deliverance to people's lives. Many did experience some kind of restoration in their lives during this type of prayer, but many others were left hurt, with years of trauma to unpack and a new underlying belief: you don't have the tools you need to experience deliverance on your own.
This is SO far off from the truth of the gospel.
There are many spiritual and psychological concerns behind this. But the reason I'm sharing this with you is because this podcast left me wondering this: how did Driscoll get so far off? How did he hurt so many people by offering to pray for them in this way? And how was the line so severely blurred that an entire community of believers were behind Driscoll, supporting him in this?
The answer is a messy one, but it can be simplified with the concerns of power and authority that were clearly struggles of Driscoll.
This is where the line blurs. Who has the power?
Where they went wrong in this church was when the power seemed to come from Driscoll, from his leadership alone and his formula.
The truth is that the power and authority that causes prayer to work comes from God and God alone. There is no formula. There is no procedure.
There is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God who listens to our prayers and who responds.
Throughout scripture we see power and authority in God's hands. From the moment of creation when He spoke the world into creation, through Jesus' ministry on earth, and in the Holy Spirit who was promised to us after Jesus' ascension.
Prayer works more than a mantra because there's power and authority behind it. A mantra places you at the center of your words, and behind those hopeful ambitions or meditative reflections there isn't any power.
But when you pray you're calling heaven to move. You're praying through the power of Jesus' resurrection, and you're allowing the Holy Spirit to intercede for you.
The power of Jesus' name is the power of God. It doesn't matter how long or how short you've known Jesus for. It doesn't matter how old or how young you are. It doesn't matter if you were reading your Bible ten minutes ago or doing something you aren't proud of.
Jesus came to be the mediator we needed between our world and God's power. The power is in His name. We have access to Him, every moment of every day. This feels like a great blessing and a weighty responsibility.
Your prayers matter and make a difference. The power doesn't come from you. It comes from heaven, and through Jesus, you have access to all the authority and power you will ever need.
-Write about a time when you prayed and experienced God's power.
-How have you seen the power in Jesus' name in prayer?
-When have you been reminded that God has authority? Where do you see His authority in your life right now?
Use Jesus' name in your prayer life this week. Make a practice of speaking His name out loud.