Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Power of Prayer, Love, and Compassion

If the church is a major spiritual battleground, subject to attack by Satan and his supporters-and it is, God's people need to be ready for conflict. Whether the battle occurs over false doctrine, factions, immoral behavior, or some other issue, church members need to be ready. How can you as a church member or leader repel Satan's influence? Here are three strategies for winning the spiritual battles in our churches. As we consider each, let's remember that Satan, the great deceiver, who masquerades even as an angel of light, will offer attractive situations for churches and their leaders. We must be wise to repel his efforts. The first strategy is to pray for your church. Prayer is a powerful weapon, and the saints-all born-again believers-are urged to pray always for all things, even when fully clothed with the armor of God. (see Paul's injunctions n Ephesians 5:13, 18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17.) When men and women of God unite within the church to pray, prayer makes a difference in their lives and in the world. The power of such prayer struck home to me in this rather common situation: a normal prayer meeting in a little church. One night as the pastor received prayer requests, Darlene raised her hand. "Our daughter Fay is living in immorality with a man she is not married to," she said. "She's a carnal Christian and has become bitter and rebellious and has shown this through her immorality. We are not in a position to touch her life because my husband and I cannot allow her to live in our home if she wants to live like this. We are in agreement to ask this body to pray for her, though, and I plead with you to do this." Darlene added that Fay had come to church since childhood and, in Darlene's words, "Fay knows better than how she is living." The pastor, a godly man, responded: "In the Bible there are examples of God putting a hedge around someone. God placed a hedge around Job's children, and Gomer, Hosea's wife. Tonight let's pray and see if God may be pleased to put a hedge around this young woman named Fay." The little congregation slipped to their knees and stepped into the throne room of God. God soon answered and put a hedge around this young woman's life. Three weeks later her father received a call. Fay said, "Dad, I don't know what is happening, but for the past three weeks it seems like there is a wall around me. I can't touch anyone. No one can reach through the wall to touch me. Dad, I want to come home. Would you let me?" Fay made the trip, and the next Sunday she gave that testimony to the whole church. Now, several years later, Fay is married to an outstanding young man, is the mother of several young children, walks in fellowship with the Lord, and serves faithfully through her local church. I have to ask: What if that church had not prayed? What if those at the meeting had prayed, but God had not answered because of other sin in the body? The truth is they did pray and God heard. He answered with the kind of power it takes to stop the enemy. That's the kind of prayer I myself pray to see in our churches today. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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