Sunday, January 11, 2009

Spiritual warfare & Prayer - Copley

I read somewhere that Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, it's laying hold on His highest willingness. In spiritual warfare prayer is one of the two offensive weapons God gave us for battle. A quick look at the use of prayer in Scripture is in order. In prayer God is asked to: Save unbelievers (Romans 10:1). Give them boldness to proclaim the Gospel (Acts 4:29; Eph. 6:18-19). Perform signs and wonders (Acts 4:30), including healing of the sick believers (James 5:14-15). and nonbelievers (Acts 28:8). Deliver them from oppression (Acts 12:5). Guard those sent out to do His work (Acts 14:23). Give them discerning minds (Philippians 1:9-10). Enable them to know Him better (Col. 1:10; Eph. 1:17). Make themselves worthy of God's call (II Thes. 1:11). Strengthen them with His power (Col. 1:11; Eph. 3:16). You can count on the enemy to do whatever he can to keep us from praying. I learned this saying as a child "Satan trembles when he sees even the weakest believer on his knees." The evil one has come up with a list of lies about prayer that I believe are common to all believers. Satan's lie. Prayer is only for those who feel close to God. God's truth. Prayer is the means by which we draw close to God. (Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest"). Satan's lie. I feel that God is not responding to my prayers. God's truth. God is the One who would rather die than live without you. Though the circumstances which make us feel forsaken are unique, the feeling of being forsaken is universal (even Christ had to face this). Jesus said "I will never leave you or forsake you." Satan's lie. Prayer is a luxury that I cannot afford. God's truth. Prayer is the stuff out of which heroes are made, prayer is not a luxury; it is a necessity. We are to "pray without ceasing." Satan's lie. Everything is predetermined-why pray? God's truth. Prayer is not just asking for answers; God has asked us to commune with Him through prayer. Further, God has promised to respond to the prayers of His people. That is why He said "You have not because you ask not." Satan's lie. Prayer is mostly talking. God's truth. Prayer is talking and listening (through God's Word, through music and quiet meditation). Psalm 1:2 "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law does he meditate day and night." Satan's lie. "Real" prayer is long and difficult. God's truth. Real prayer varies from isolated times to quick "bullets." All communication with God is prayer, whatever its length or difficulty. The thief on the cross prayed "Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom." That short prayer brought him to Christ who said "today you will be with me in paradise." Satan's lie. There are too many distractions to pray effectively. God's truth. The distractions we face are opportunities for prayer about the distractions themselves. Paul exhorts us in Phil. 4:6-7 "Be anxious about nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Here is a prayer of protection for contemplation: By the authority of Almighty God, please surround me with the blood of Christ, and seal me from demonic deception. In Jesus name, amen.

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