By Jerry Daley

God created man and woman in His own image, but notice something: It was their likeness to Himself that allowed Him to put them in charge of the earth. He commissioned them to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth, to subdue it, and finally to rule over it. These two things went together—bearing His image and ruling over the earth. This was mankind’s intended destiny. (Gen 2:27-28)

What was God doing with Adam and Eve as they managed the Garden and spent time every day walking and talking with their Father? I suspect He was preparing them to impart their lessons to future generations to come. We don’t have a lot of information about this period, but we do have one very significant event recorded, a glimpse into God’s heart for partnership. “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name” (Gen 2:19).

Adam was given the privilege of seeing into the nature and purpose of each animal and then calling forth their potential by naming them appropriately. Think about it, even in our day we would not allow someone else to name our child! And in the Biblical culture where one’s name indicated character and destiny, this act was filled with deep significance. God was giving Adam a role in His creative process, which may hint at how Adam was destined to rule the earth.

Then Came Sin

Sin marred Adam and Eve’s likeness to God, thus disqualifying them from ruling the earth. Their initial humility was traded for pride, and their rightful rule was given to the god-of-this-world, Satan. Instead of God’s intended blessing came the curse.

The greater the potential of anything for good, the greater its potential for evil when perverted. History has not been kind to those who inherited a world dominated by the evil of sin. In fact, the extent of human-to-human evil seems at times to have no limits, leading many to conclude that men are simply animals.

Just when we are tempted to be thoroughly cynical about humans, we find surprising acts of kindness, generosity, loyalty, and self-sacrifice even in the darkest places. What this tells us is that there are remnants of the potential to be what God intended: a people who would reflect His likeness.

God never abandoned His intention for men and women to carry His image and thus be able to rule the earth with Himself. We frequently speak of the Lord’s plan to redeem mankind, but perhaps we have not realized the full extent of what His redemption entails. By giving us His righteousness and causing all

things to work together to conform us to the image of His Son, the stage was set to reinstitute His original purpose for mankind: to bear His image and to rule the earth (Rom 3:24; 8:28-29).

The Image Restored

To accomplish this, He sent Jesus, as the Son of Man, the Son of Adam, the second Adam. Through His life, sacrifice, and resurrection, Jesus earned the right to restore His Father’s original purpose. Paul tells us, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” Incredibly, something miraculous has happened: the new creation is here in us. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, the new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17).

Indeed, Jesus breathed new life into His disciples on the night of His resurrection making them new creatures, and at Pentecost the full anointing that was on Jesus fell on them. Then came the pivotal moment when He announced, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me.” What Adam lost, Jesus reclaimed. It’s no wonder that He would immediately commission His men to go into the whole world with the gospel that transforms men and women to be like Christ. (Mt 28:18-19)

And did they and their kind not change the world? The book of Acts is such an out-of-the-box account of world changing that it reads more like a novel than the history it is. It can only be explained as proof that we who are in Christ are now beginning to come into our original destiny: to rule with Him!

Ruling Through Prayer

Jesus first modeled His ability to change people and situations through prayer and awakened in His disciples the desire for them to learn how to pray as Jesus did (Lk 11:1; Mt 6:9-15). I can only imagine what it must have been like to be trained by Jesus for three years in His school of prayer. Was it effective? Did they learn? Were the angels crowding around to see what would happen?

Luke records one disciple speaking for the twelve in Luke 11:1, asking Him to teach them to pray. Matthew records the longer version of what we know as The Lord’s Prayer, which seems to be an outline for His three-year curriculum (Mt 6:9-15).

Jesus put it all on the line the moment He was preparing to ascend to heaven; He told them not to leave Jerusalem but to “wait for what the Father had promised.” He was positioning them to pray God’s promises into their situations. He must have been so thrilled to see them obey and wait on God in prayer day after day for ten full days! (Acts 1:4;14 and 2:1-4)

The more I study Acts, the more I think we have not fully realized the potential of God’s call on us to rule the earth through prayer! Might this not be our primer?

Lessons For Us Today

One of the first prayer lessons concerned the need to not give up; persistent faith is linked to receiving His answers (Luke 11:5-8). Jesus explained, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (v.9-10). Notice that we are to go from asking to a more active seeking to an even more persistent knocking. Through faith and patience we are to inherit the promises (Heb 6:12).

Watch Jesus coach his students by using examples from daily life; “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Lk.11:11,13) What a comparison: “We being evil” but “how much more” will the Father do for us! It makes me think of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal when the father says to his older son, “All I have is yours” (Lk 15:31). He is giving us Himself as our Source.

An Outrageous Offer

Jesus spoke powerful promises to us. “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (Jn 14:12-14).

Jesus repeated this offer to do what we ask Him three times in John 14 and 15. He’s serious about us becoming like Himself, living for God’s glory and learning to believe His promises. This calling is so high that I’m afraid many are intimidated and do not enroll in Jesus’ school of prayer. But His offer still stands.

As you reread the book of Acts, you are immediately struck with the severity of their struggles and the cost to their living out a faith that receives powerful promises. They took Jesus up on His outrageous offer, and today others are changing their part of the world through a lifestyle of prayer.

Paul comments on this our calling with these words, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ, and so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor 1:20). Only the humble can live their lives for the glory of God. And only living for His glory allows our faith to grow so that we can pay the price necessary to receive His promises.

Use the following journaling exercises to apply some of these ideas in your own spiritual journey:

How are you growing in your ability to live for His glory and not your own?

How are God’s promise becoming more and more real in your life?

As a result of studying this devotional for 30 days, how would you say that you are now valuing the ability to grow in humility?

What are you learning about the connection between humility and faith?