First, we have to take a big huge gulp and revisit freedom. We humans are so not into freedom. Think about it with your kids. Do you want them to decide for themselves? Or would you, had you the power, make them love and obey you, bring this to pass over their free will? Then think of anyone under your authority. Does their freedom or abuses of it irk you? If it does, welcome to humanity. You are not like God. God will not cross over our freedoms or resent us for abusing them, or—and this might go without saying—take them away because He now wants things His way.
Unlike us, God is quite respectful of free choice. Sure He has the power to override everything every day as it pertains to everyone, yet He does not. Nope, no way. Freedom of choice was preserved to the sum of the very life-blood of God’s own family. Need I say more?
Knowing this, we can now seek to understand how freedom looks in the story of the earth. First, you read the first few pages of Genesis and realize that God gave Adam and Eve authority over the earth. God gave the earth to our race—God put us in charge. Then, rather quickly, we did a worst-case scenario and gave our authority over to Satan. Yes, it’s dramatic, and it’s true. Our parents, having been given authority over this grand place, handed it lock, stock, and barrel over to the Devil.
Enter Jesus. Jesus died and won back the authority Satan had over this planet. What this means is that He can now—fair and square—give back authority to us…but then why would He? I must admit that the fact that God gives us another shot at having any authority over ourselves at all brings tears to my eyes. Talk about patience and love. Talk about giving us the benefit of the doubt. Basically, with our freedom and authority given back, God now interacts with us through prayer as respectfully as ever.
This is an amazing reality. The earth is now a place where freedom can be restored. Every inhabitant, no matter how ignorant they may be right now, can act in their own God-given authority, and either come under Jesus’ authority or submit to Satan’s authority. And here’s where freedom and prayer become relevant. If a person (via their ignorance or pain) is making choices to remain under the authority of Satan, God will not stomp in and jerk them free. As loving as this may seem to us mortals, this is not freedom, or the respect of the human will and right to make personal choices. Instead, God will wait for us to use our authority—i.e., invite Him into the situation—before He will come in and work His wonders.
You Have a Lease
Think of it like an apartment owner (GOD) who leases a condo to you (YOU). In the contract, you can do whatever you want in that condo. And whether the apartment owner wants to or not, he cannot bash down the door and take over the apartment; it has been leased to you. You are in authority over the place, regardless of the fact that the apartment owner still owns the building. (A lease that will be up when time as we know it stops and God returns to make sense of everything.)
And so it is with all of us. God has leased us this earth. We can choose to submit to Him or not. He not only created us with authority over it, He died to give it back to us. So now the choice is ours two times over. This puts us in the position of freedom to choose. We have to decide for ourselves. God would have it no other way.
So why pray? Because prayer is how we request that God have authority over us and those we love. Our prayers invite Jesus into our lives and give Him full access to what is ours. Like the lover who will not hold our hand or kiss our cheek without permission, God, the Great Lover of all, will not enter into our lives without our desire and request for it. This is prayer, the asking. (Yes, and we can also ask for others too!)
I cannot think of anything better than a good honest prayer asking God to take authority over my life. I do it every day. You might want to try it.
If you liked this, you might enjoy, Interrupting Rituals
Claire Worley writes from the Pacific Northwest.
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