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Posts tagged ‘spiritual weapons’

Engaging The Unseen Foe

SOURCE:  Jerry Bridges/Discipleship Journal

Issues: Prayer is warfare with a defeated but still powerful enemy. When we allow our prayer lives to remain only on the level of immediate or “felt” needs, we risk the great danger of losing the struggle that God is ultimately interested in.

THERE’S a chapter in the history of the nation of Israel that I believe graphically illustrates the way we tend to operate as Christians.

Second Kings 3 records the account of Joram, the king of Israel, going into battle against the king of Moab. Joram did not seek God’s help or guidance for the fray; he simply made the decision and then enlisted the alliance of his former countryman, Jehoshaphat (king of Judah). Jehoshaphat didn’t pray either. After gathering up the king of Edom, they all went charging into battle.

In verse 9 we find out that they got into a supply problem: they ran out of water in the middle of the desert. Suddenly they wanted God’s help, and only then did they begin to pray (their method of praying was to seek the prophet). Their felt need was the focus of their prayer.

Water for their men and animals was a very important detail for those kings. But they were not out in the desert to drink water: they were there to fight a battle. Notice how God answered when he spoke to the prophet Elisha: “You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also hand Moab over to you” (verses 17–18). God had not forgotten the objective: to win the battle over the Moabites. The kings, however, had lost sight of why they were out there, because they were preoccupied with their immediate need.

THE TRUE BATTLEGROUND

As Christians, our prayer lives tend to dwell in the realm of water shortages. We seldom operate in the realm of true spiritual warfare. Go to an average prayer meeting, and I guarantee that 75 percent of the prayer requests will be for felt needs: for example, Jim’s neck. Now Jim’s neck needs to be healed, and I hope we are praying about it. But we never seem to get into the battle. As I’ve told my Sunday school class, “The only way that you can get prayed for at our church is to be in the hospital or out of a job.”

One year at Thanksgiving time I flew out to southern California to speak at a mission conference. My goal was to stimulate a vision among students and young military personnel for recruiting laborers for the harvest field. When I arrived at the Los Angeles airport, however, no one was there to meet me.

After wandering around the gate area and the baggage claim for forty-five minutes, I called the conference grounds. No answer. I thought, Well, I’ll get my secretary on this—she knows how to take care of these things. But when I called long distance back to Colorado Springs, no one answered the phone there either! Then I remembered that it was the Friday after Thanksgiving, and the office was closed. There I was, stuck.

It was then that I resorted to prayer: “Lord, if there is anyone in this airport looking for me,” I prayed, “help him to find me.” Not having much faith that my prayer was going to be answered, I headed out a nearby door to catch a bus to Pasadena. On my way out, I ran into a familiar-looking man on his way in. He was looking for me.

That was one of the quickest answers to prayer that I have ever experienced. Later on, however, I asked myself this question: “Did I pray as fervently for the real mission for which I was sent to southern California as I did that someone might find me at the airport?” In that airport, I was like Joram and Jehoshaphat, stranded in the desert without water. But the real reason I was there was not to get picked up at the airport, but to have a part in recruiting laborers for the harvest field. Jesus told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers. That was the real battle.

There are three military terms that I feel illustrate various types of prayer: strategic, tactical, and logistical. Strategic refers to the ultimate objective—to defeat the enemy—and the overall plan, or strategy, to bring him into submission. Tactical means the specific battles necessary to achieve the ultimate objective. Logistical is simply supplying the physical needs of the army fighting the battle.

I believe that 75 to 80 percent of our prayer is for logistical items. For water in the desert. For someone to find us at the airport. For that sick person in the hospital. For the one who lost his job. All of these things are important, and we should be praying for them. But those kinds of things are almost all we pray about.

I would guess that 15 to 20 percent of our prayer effort is tactical, related to specific engagements with the enemy—the spiritual results of the conference I spoke at, for example. But that conference was only a specific operation; the overall objective was raising up laborers.

Very little of our prayer effort is strategic, or focused on our ultimate objective—the battle that God is really interested in. We need to remember that when we pray, we are entering into spiritual warfare. We are engaging a defeated but still powerful enemy: Satan, our unseen foe.

There are four primary aspects of this kind of warfare that are crucial to our success: first, understanding our enemy; second, identifying and learning to use the weapons with which to fight him; third, understanding the nature of our struggle with him; and fourth, focusing on the right objective in our attempts to defeat him.

UNDERSTANDING OUR ENEMY

In Ephesians 6:12, Paul says that our struggle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our warfare is with the devil and all of his evil angels. They are the spiritual forces Paul refers to in this passage.

The New Testament tells us four facts about the devil that we need to know in order to combat him. First, he is the ruler, with evil angels under him, of a kingdom in which all of the unsaved are held. When Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers that they were formerly dead in their sins, he was saying the same about us. We used to live in our sins when we followed “the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:1–2). We all used to follow the devil because we were all in his kingdom, under his dominion. When God commissioned Paul, he sent him to turn the Gentiles, the unsaved, “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).

Not only does Satan hold the unsaved under his reign, but he also blinds the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). That’s why witnessing often seems like pouring water off a duck’s back. Our speech comes across like a foreign language; the unbeliever just can’t understand.

When we witness to someone, we are launching an attack upon Satan’s kingdom. We cannot win this attack by our own power, because that person is under Satan’s dominion, and he is blinded by him. Jesus said that we cannot enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions until we first bind that strong man (Matthew 12:29). The strong man is the devil, and we bind him through prayer. That’s why we must enter into battle in prayer before we engage the unsaved in a witnessing situation.

The third fact that the Bible tells us about Satan is that he wars against believers, even though we have been delivered from his dominion into the kingdom of God. First Peter 5:8 says that he prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. The roaring lion is intended to symbolize the ferociousness of Satan.

When he attacks us in order to ruin us, however, he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). In Scripture, light stands for either truth or moral purity. When Paul says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light, he means that Satan tries to convince us that his false teaching is the truth. When he tempted Jesus in the desert, saying, “Cast yourself down because it is written, ‘He will hold you up,”‘ Satan twisted the truth.

Second Timothy 2:22–26 tells us that Satan’s masquerade can be so deceptive that he actually takes believers captive to do his will. This is not demon-possession, but rather a diversion of our minds into false teaching, unimportant or peripheral issues, temptations, discouragement, and doubts about the truth of God’s word.

I vividly remember an event that occurred to me while going through an intense spiritual battle. I was looking at a particular promise in Scripture, when Satan planted this thought in my mind: “It isn’t true, is it?” That was just as clear in my mind as if he had spoken in a voice. He was seeking to make me captive to do his will by attacking my mind with false teaching.

We are at war with an enemy who has thousands of years of experience. Satan attacked Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he has been attacking God’s people ever since. He knows his strategy, and he is not locked up in logistics.

But Scripture gives us a fourth (and the most important) fact about Satan: he is a defeated foe.Colossians 2:15 tells us that Jesus Christ disarmed the powers and authorities and “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the Cross.” This is the reason James can tell us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Satan has lost the big war. He is now engaged in guerilla warfare against us, and we can defeat him in this day-to-day struggle.

USING THE RIGHT WEAPONS

In 2 Corinthians 10:3–5, Paul gives us a clue to the kind of weapon we need to battle Satan:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

The war we are engaged in is for the minds and souls of people. Our weapons are not physical, nor are they those of human logic and cleverness. They are divine.

When you are engaged in battle and the objective is a person’s mind, what are you going to use? The truth. Satan masquerades as an angel of truth, but we combat him with the real truth—the word of God. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God, so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The list of armor is primarily defensive: helmet, breastplate, belt, sandals, shield and so forth.

In verse 17, however, Paul says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is theword of God.” There are two Greek words that are translated, “the word of God.” One of them is logos, referring to Scripture in general. The other is a word that focuses on a specific passage of Scripture. In this verse, Paul is referring to the specific word of God—individual passages of the Bible that are brought to bear on individual battles. Just as Jesus answered Satan with specific passages of Scripture from the Old Testament when he was tempted in the desert, so we fight Satan with specific passages of Scripture that apply to the situation at hand.

Our first weapon in battling our foe is the word of truth. In verse 18 of Ephesians 6, Paul gives us our second: “And pray in the Spirit.” The second weapon is prayer. Whether we are evangelizing the lost, discipling believers, or trying to restore a lapsed brother or sister, the weapons are always the same: the word of truth accompanied by prayer in the Spirit. We need the Spirit of God to open our minds and release us from Satan’s captivity.

The battle for the souls of men and women is really not won in the witnessing encounter or the discipling meeting, but in prayer, before we ever get into those situations. Our actions are of course necessary, but it is futile to fight without paving the way by prayer against the devil.

THE NATURE OF OUR STRUGGLE

We are at war against a powerful, unseen foe. And our weapons are the word of God and prayer. In order to use these weapons successfully, we need to have an adequate understanding of the kind of warfare we are engaged in.

Several times, Paul uses a word related to prayer that means to struggle or to agonize. It is the word from which we get our word agony. The same word is translated “fight” in 1 Timothy 6:12—”Fight the good fight of faith.” Paul also uses this word in Colossians 1:28–29: “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present every one perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling [or agonizing] with all his energy, which so powerfully works within me.” Here Paul is talking about our first weapon, the word of truth. But in chapter two, verse 1 of his letter to the people at Colossae he continues, “I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.” In Colossians 1:29 Paul means, “I agonize in the ministry of the word.” In Colossians 2:1 he means, “I agonize in the ministry of prayer.” Both indicate intense fighting. Paul wasn’t just praying about those in the hospital and the unemployed. He was in the heat of the battle.

In Colossians 4:12, Paul commends Epaphras for the same kind of struggling: “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling [always agonizing, always waging war] in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Epaphras had his eye on the battle. He wanted these people to grow up in Christ and stand firm in the will of God. He wasn’t just concerned about their logistical or felt needs. He was concerned about the spiritual aspects of their lives. And he waged war in prayer.

Are you in the battle? Have you agonized in prayer lately? Or are you still preoccupied with the material things of your life, as Joram was for the need of water, losing sight of the real battle and the real enemy?

FOCUSING ON THE RIGHT OBJECTIVE

Once we’ve faced the enemy, armed ourselves with the right weapons, and prepared ourselves for the rigors of battle, we can still jeopardize our success by losing sight of God’s ultimate objective in this spiritual warfare.

What is God’s objective? “For God so loved the world.” God so loved people that he gave his only begotten son. Christ died for them. This is God’s objective: people; not being found at the airport, or even having a great mission conference. Those are logistical and tactical operations.

In Genesis 12:3, God promised Abraham, “All people on earth will be blessed through you.” This hasn’t happened yet. Our job is to engage the enemy in warfare, to see that it does happen. God’s plan is going to be fulfilled, but he has ordained that this plan be carried out through prayer.

There are 412 billion men, women, and children on this earth right now. Most of them have never received the gospel. Have you prayed God’s promises into fulfillment for any of those people lately? Are you engaging Satan in battle through prayer? Are you asking God to bind the strong man, and claiming Christ’s victory on the Cross?

Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. He told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would raise up laborers. The battle is not with unemployment and sickness and transportation arrangements. Those are necessary logistical items, and I am not saying that we shouldn’t pray for those things. God is aware of our friend in the hospital, or the man or woman out of a job. But I think that his attitude toward them is embodied in what he said to Joram: “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord.” They are logistical details. He will also hand the enemy over to us.

My challenge to you is this: keep praying for your friend in the hospital, and keep praying for your friend who needs work. But remember that these are light things in the eyes of the Lord. Ask God to get you into the heat of the real battle. Ask him to equip you to engage the unseen foe, and then take your prayer life into the war for God’s ultimate objective. And expect him to hand Moab over to you.

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Our Soul Enemy

SOURCE:  Tom Eisenman/Discipleship Journal

The first rule of war is to know your enemy.

When the satellite TV company offered us—their “preferred customers”—a three-months-free package of movie channels, my wife, Judie, and I said, “Sure, sign us up.” If nothing else, we’d save a bundle on movie rentals while the kids were visiting us over the holidays.

What were we thinking?

Judie and I had known we’d need to make discerning choices about what we watched. But we totally underestimated the tsunami of violence, nudity, bad language, and unabashed affronts to a godly lifestyle that would flood our home once we got hooked up. Two days later, we called and cancelled.

This experience brought to mind again the Apostle Peter’s warning: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). In this case our relationship with God was at risk of being devoured with each image and sound bite.

Devilish Tactics

The Bible clearly teaches that a powerful evil being called Satan rules over dark powers in this world and also over forces of evil that inhabit the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). He appears to be motivated largely by anger and envy; he was banished forever from the very paradise to which we, as God’s children, are now heirs. And so he aggressively opposes both the people of God and the work of God (1 Thess. 2:18,Mt. 13:37–39).

Satan’s aliases suggest the typical strategies he employs against us. He is called the tempter (Mt. 4:3), the father of lies (Jn. 8:44), and the accuser of God’s people (Rev. 12:10). He is always looking for ways to wreak havoc in a believer’s life and will employ any or all of the above tactics—tempting, deceiving, accusing—to diminish or demoralize God’s people. Knowing his tactics will help us stand against him.

How tempting! First, let’s look at Satan’s role as tempter. How does Satan entice us? James describes the evil process this way: “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (Jas. 1:14).

James leans heavily on fishing imagery in this verse. We are like hungry fish, lured by the bait. The evil fisherman knows us well: our appetites, our obsessions, the potentially dangerous power in our suppressed angers. His lure will be personal and powerful. Whatever our particular desire, he will dangle it in front of us to entice us and drag us away from God.

If you are captivated by sex, Satan will make certain that opportunities to satisfy your fantasies are readily available. If your battle is with envy or jealousy, you will meet people at every turn who have more than you do or who have succeeded in areas where you have failed. If you are susceptible to anger, you will struggle to forgive a person who has offended you, finding it nearly impossible to get the incident out of your mind.

Weapons of mass deception. One can visit the Garden of Eden for a revealing picture of Satan’s next role: deceiver. The entire entrapment of Adam and Eve is a network of lies, deception, and half-truths (Genesis 3).

Satan asks Eve what God said about the tree in the center of the garden. She says God warned them not to eat of it or they would die. Satan responds,

You will not surely die…For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.

—vv. 4–5

In two brief lines he calls God a liar and implies that God has ulterior motives for withholding His best from the first couple. Further, Satan deceives Eve by suggesting that she can gain equality with God by taking things into her own hands.

Satan will similarly engage each of us. He will subtly invite us into dialogue about what God actually said or, more slippery yet, what God might have meant by what He said. We may find ourselves rationalizing why something we’ve always considered to be wrong might be acceptable in this particular case. Or an inner voice will convince us to indulge in something that will ultimately deliver only grief and pain. I deserve it, we reason, as hard as I’ve been working lately. Besides, everybody else is doing the same thing, and it doesn’t seem to be hurting them.

Remember, the devil has been around aeons longer than we have. He has been studying human nature and behavior from the beginning. He knows what lies we are most likely to believe. And he will not hesitate to use them against us.

I stand accused. Accusation is Satan’s third attack strategy. He uses this tactic to demoralize us and make us feel unworthy of a relationship with God.

Satan moves to the “accuser mode” after he has succeeded at tempting and deceiving us. In his roles as tempter and deceiver, the evil one whispers how sweet sin will be. “After all,” he reminds us, “God is a God of grace, mercy, and love. Nothing to worry about! You can always repent. Forgiveness will be easy.”

But once we take the bait, Satan changes his tactics. We’ve sinned, the glow has dimmed, and now reality hits. In that moment when the shame and emptiness of sin strikes, we’ll likely also hear a sneer within: “And you call yourself a Christian!” Now Satan is all over us about what losers we are, how unworthy we are to name the name of Christ, how undeserving we are of His costly love.

Have you noticed the common thread in these three strategies of the enemy? Whether he is acting as tempter, deceiver, or accuser, all these assaults are launched as attacks on our minds.

Messing with Our Minds

Let’s look at some specific ways Satan may try to invade the territory of our minds.

Commandeering our imaginations. Imagination is a wonderful gift from God. I believe it is given to us so that we can envision all we might do and become according to God’s power at work in and through us. But our imaginations are also vulnerable to Satan’s enticements, lies, and accusations.

Consider Eve. Satan shrewdly set her up to fantasize about grasping equality with God. The image was powerful, exciting, irresistible; any thought of following God in obedience and devotion paled in comparison. She ate, and then she became the devil’s advocate by inviting Adam to join her.

Fostering obsession. Another common strategy Satan employs to keep us off-balance is to feed our tendency to obsess. He will do anything to get our focus off of God and onto ourselves or our problems.

For instance, one person’s obsession might be guilt. As Satan keeps the image of her failures vividly alive, a healthy, active conscience is usurped by obsessive thoughts about how bad she has been. Remember, Satan is the accuser. His barrage of condemnation locks her inside herself and blinds her to the light of God’s forgiving grace.

One of my weaknesses is out-of-control worry. When my concerns are infected by the evil one, it’s like I have a video tape in my mind that won’t shut off. Over and over I replay an ugly list of what-if’s: What if this happens! What if that happens! Satan is playing on my fears, and fear always takes my focus off of God and places it on myself.

We are all vulnerable in some area. The evil one is prowling around, looking for host cells in which to plant one of his powerful obsession viruses.

Confusing our sense of what’s right. As we have seen, the deceiver loves to convince us that taking an action that is against God’s will can actually produce something good.

A person may conclude that it makes perfect sense to murder the doctor at the abortion clinic to save the lives of unborn children. Another might slip into a sexual encounter with a coworker, thinking that a temporary fling is just what’s needed to recharge the romance in a lackluster marriage.

Supersizing the initial pleasure. Satan also messes with our minds by ensuring that a first foray into sensual sin yields the greatest possible pleasure. By supersizing that initial experience, he hooks us into a pattern of committing the sin again and again in an attempt to recapture that first-time intensity. When indulging in the same experience doesn’t do it any longer, we up the ante.

A friend of mine started down this road when she tried marijuana. Over time she wound up addicted to heroin, which gave her the rush she could no longer get from other drugs. Finally clean after years of struggling with the addiction, she described her experience to me as “one big high, and the rest was killing pain.”

This is the nature of bondage to Satan: He works to produce in us a greater and greater appetite for a steadily decreasing pleasure. In the end, there is no pleasure at all. Only the raw hunger remains.

Encouraging isolation. In another mind-messing tactic, Satan tries to convince us that we can deal with our struggles on our own. Once we buy into this deception, we are less inclined to seek help and prayer support when we need it most. So we fail, and fail again, and fail again—and tell no one. Ashamed, we slip away altogether from fellowship with other Christians. Finally, isolated and alone, we pose no threat to the evil one’s deadly devices.

Distorting the truth about the reality of evil. The most effective mind trick of all is to downplay the truth about evil. If we don’t believe we have an enemy, we will spend no time preparing for spiritual battle. The truth is, as soon as we name Jesus as our personal savior we pick up enemies—all those evil beings pitted against the purposes of God. A spiritual battle is raging, and we are in the thick of it. If we refuse to believe it, we play into Satan’s hands.

Master Minds

Though these tactics may sound harrowing, we haven’t been left defenseless. Following are a few biblical strategies for defending ourselves against these attacks on the mind.

Guard your thought life. The Apostle Paul was apparently no stranger to assaults on the mind. He wrote,

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

—2 Cor. 10:5, emphasis mine

In Phil. 4:8, Paul urges us to fill our minds with those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. This is strong encouragement to make choices that strengthen and guard the territory of our minds.

This strategy helped me recently with a man I have struggled to forgive. He pretended to be my friend but behind my back was spreading rumors about me that helped advance his career. The evil one loves to use a situation like this to plant anger and bitterness. Yet I remembered Jesus’ admonition to love and pray for our enemies (Mt. 5:44). Praying for an enemy is a powerful way to stake out the territory of our minds for the Lord.

Every time ugly thoughts about this man popped into my head and I felt anger rising again, I chose to pray for him. More than once, right after praying for the man and his family, I ran into him in a store or saw him drive by. Encountering him in person helped me sense immediately and thankfully how my thoughts had changed for the better.

Remember who you are. Often we don’t realize the full range of spiritual resources that has been passed on to us. In Ephesians 1, Paul prays that Christians will

know the hope to which [God] has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

—vv. 18–19

If we know the truth about our victory in Christ, nothing the evil one does can steal our hope. A growing knowledge of our heavenly inheritance will sustain us when Satan loads on the doubt or tempts and accuses us. And if we know and really grasp the fact that the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to each of us, we will not fear the enemy’s attacks.

I have found it helpful to fill my mind with the truths in Ephesians 1. I’ve not only read this chapter repeatedly, I’ve also committed it to memory so I can carry it with me at all times. When temptations, doubts, or accusations assail me, my immediate response is to choose to remember who I am in Christ and all the heavenly resources that are at my disposal through my relationship with Him. When compared to the reality of God’s truth, the counterfeit pleasures of Satan grow dim. Instead of a one-time supersized thrill at the front end, the pleasures of true intimacy with God keep growing through time.

Give and receive prayer. Nothing will keep our minds more focused and actively engaged against evil than intercessory prayer. Prayer for one another was the mainstay of the early church. For instance, Paul mentions Epaphras, saying, “He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Col. 4:12). Intercession is the primary ministry through which the community of faith can stand shoulder to shoulder with each other while joining with Jesus in our mutual struggle against the powers of evil.

Never give up.

It is important to remember that, no matter how much we learn about Satan’s strategies, we will not be victorious in every struggle against temptation, deception, or accusation.

As I wrote this article, I was often aware that I had—again—fallen short in some area. As always the evil one was right there to accuse me: How can you write about guarding your mind? Look what you’ve done. Yet I did not stop writing.

Yes, I’ve sinned. Yes, I still sin. But I get up, dust myself off, and keep going because I know my security does not lie in a perfect record. I take comfort in God’s promise through Paul: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Ro. 8:1). The Spirit gave Paul this breakthrough insight as he was lamenting his own repeated failures (Ro. 7:14–25).

So yes, it is wise to know the tactics of our enemy. This knowledge will help us stay in the fight and make headway. But the enemy should never be our focus. Our focus needs to be on Christ, who saves us and in whom we have our victory. We finally and fully rest our minds and hearts in the truth that “the one who is in [us] is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).

Warfare Praying: Various Prayer Perspectives

SOURCE:  Adapted from The Adversary & Overcoming the Adversary by Mark Bubeck

The following are various applications and perspectives of warfare praying.  Allow the Holy Spirit, who helps us know how and for what to pray (Rom. 8:26), to incorporate ways to truthfully express yourself in prayer.  Read the books from which these were taken to become more familiar with additional facets of how we can “pray in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18).

Taking An Invincible Stance

Gracious Heavenly Father, I choose to see myself as You see me in the Person of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  I choose to see myself as one invincibly strong and able to do all that is in Your will for me to do.  I reject Satan’s accusations that I am hopelessly weak and defeated.  I accept my present great need as a call to renewed vision of the victory of my Lord.  Help me to focus my attention upon the awesome majesty, power, and sovereign greatness of my heavenly Father, who can do anything but fail.  Help me to see that in my union with Christ I am more than a conqueror.  Let the burden of my trials become an expression of the burden of the Lord.  Let that burden be expressed in tears of concern, times of fasting and prayer.  I choose not to shrink back from the burden You wish me to carry.

I recognize, Lord, that it is chiefly my own sin and failure that has brought me to this severe trial.  I am deeply sorry for my sins.  (MENTION THEM BY NAME.) Cleanse me in my Savior’s blood.  I take back from Satan all ground I have given him by my sins and transgressions. On the authority of the cross I reclaim all of that ground for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Precious Lord Jesus Christ, You have promised never to leave me nor forsake me.  I know that is true, and I boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.”  I resist the devil and his kingdom, steadfast in the faith.  I command Satan and his demons to leave me and to go where the Lord Jesus Christ sends them.

Heavenly Father, I accept and choose to enjoy everything inscribed upon the scroll of Your will for me.  Thank You that I can do all things through Christ who is my strength.  I will do Your will by accepting my responsibility to be strong.  I will do through Your strength the things I know to be Your will.  (TELL HIM WHAT THEY ARE.)

Thank You, loving heavenly Father, that through my Lord Jesus Christ You have heard my prayer – and You will make me to walk as one so strong in the Lord that even Satan’s most powerful strategies are already defeated.  In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and for Your glory I pray.  Amen.

Prayer Of Victory

Loving Heavenly Father, I praise You that Satan is a defeated foe.  I rejoice that his defeat was accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ in His sinless life, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into glory.  I look forward to that day when the Lord Jesus Christ rules, while Satan is bound in the bottomless pit.  I know that Satan will ultimately be forever consigned to the lake of fire prepared for him and his angels.  I rejoice that You have given to me, in my union with the Lord Jesus Christ, complete victory over Satan today.

I enter into my victory aggressively and claim my place as more than a conqueror through Him that loved me.  I refuse to admit continuing defeat by Satan in any area of my life.  He cannot and will not rule over me.  I am dead with Christ to his rule.  I affirm that the grace and mercy of God rule in all areas of my life through my union with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grant to me the grace to affirm Your victory even when experiences of life seem to say otherwise.

I thank You for these battles and all that You are seeking to accomplish in Your wisdom and design for my life.   I accept the battle and rejoice in Your purpose.  I willingly accept and desire to profit from all of Your purpose in letting Satan’s kingdom get at me.  I reject all of Satan’s purpose.  Through the victory of my Lord and Savior, I stand resolute and strong upon the certainty of my victory.  In confidence I look to You, Lord Jesus Christ.  When Your purpose for this trial is fulfilled, I know that it shall fade into the dimness of forgotten battles and a defeated enemy.  Through the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, it shall be so.  Amen.

Claiming Our Union

Loving Heavenly Father, I praise Your name.  I’ve come to see that it is Your will that I be invincibly strong in my spiritual warfare.  I praise You, Lord, that You have placed me “in Christ.”  By faith I express my desire to abide in the protection and blessing of the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray the omnipotent power of His name over my family and the ministry to which You have called me.  I pray the name of the Lord Jesus Christ against Satan and all that his kingdom would do to hinder God’s plan for my life.

I focus my prayer on my union with Christ in His incarnation.  I joyfully confess that Jesus Christ has come in human flesh to win my victory for me.  I pray all of the triumphs the Lord Jesus achieved in His humanity against all of Satan’s subtle wiles and crafty deceits.  I pray the victories of the incarnation over all areas of my life and ministry.

I praise You for the cross and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, desiring all the benefits of His death to focus upon my life, my family, and my ministry.  I affirm that my death with Christ can defeat the control and rule of sin, of death, and of Satan.  I desire the shed blood of Christ to be against all that Satan is doing to hinder me.

I hunger to learn more deeply what it means to experience the power of His resurrection.  Just as I desire to be dead to the reign of sin, so I long to live in accord with the fact that I am alive unto God through the power of the resurrection.  In the mighty power that raised up the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, enable me to walk in the newness of life available to me.

Heavenly Father, it will always remain a marvel to me that You have seated me with Christ in the heavenly realm, far above all principalities and powers.  Humbly I use the authority of my ascended union with Christ to pull down all of Satan’s plans formed against me personally, all of his plans formed against my family, and all of his plans formed against God’s appointed plan for my life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, that in Your glorified position at the Father’s right hand, You are leading Your church and shepherding Your sheep.  I deliberately submit to Your lordship of my life and ministry.  I acknowledge that everything that is good about my life, home, and ministry is because of Your lordship and gracious blessing.

By faith I claim my invincible right to be strong and victorious in Your complete salvation.  I refuse to be discouraged.  I reject all emotions that make me feel defeated.  I choose to live as one who is more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ my Lord.  In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray with thanksgiving.  Amen.

A Prayer For The Spirit’s Filling

Loving Heavenly Father, I approach You again through the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I desire to obey Your will by being invincibly strong through Your Holy Spirit’s enabling power.  I praise You for Your goodness in providing the Holy Spirit for my benefit and strengthening.  Thank You for that day when the Holy Spirit convicted me of my need of Your salvation.  I praise You that He enabled me to open my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and Your saving grace.  I welcome the Holy Sprit’s indwelling presence.  It is with expectancy that I receive His peace, His comfort, and His illumination of my mind enabling me to understand Your Word.  I greatly rejoice in the security of His sealing work.  I delight that by His baptizing work the Spirit has put me into the Body of Christ and united me inseparably with Him.  I praise Your name that the Holy Spirit has brought me to spiritual life and that He will yet quicken my body at the resurrection day.

As I pray, I am increasingly conscious of my need of the Spirit’s intercessions in me, through me, and for me.  I pray that You will grant me the privilege of praying in the Spirit.  May my thoughts and words be directed of Him.  May He bring my petitions into Your presence with His perfect understanding of Your will.

I acknowledge Your plan and desire to fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  Forgive me for grieving the Holy Spirit by my sinning.  Enable me to appropriate more perfectly the victory You have provided for me to walk above sin and failure.  Grant to me always the awareness of my sins that I might quickly confess them to You.  I do not want to quench the Holy spirit by any reluctance to submit fully to Your will and plan for my life.

Help me to see moment by moment those things You are teaching me about Yourself and Your will for my life.  It is my constant desire to walk in the Spirit.  I ask You to fill me with His power that You might be glorified through the invincible strength You provide me to do Your will.  All of this I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for Your glory.  Amen.

DOCTRINAL PRAYER

Dear Lord and Heavenly Father:

Humbly I approach the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of promise, hope, love, and grace.  I come before You in the merit, the holiness, and the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I appropriate by faith the blessed ministry of the Holy spirit to intercede for me and in me during this time of prayer.  I desire to pray only in the Spirit.

I praise You that I am united with the Lord Jesus Christ in all of His life and work.  By faith I desire to enter into the victory of the incarnation of my Lord today.  I appropriate by faith the victory He achieved for me in living His sinlessly perfect life as a human being.  I claim all of His perfection and holy living.  I invite Him to live His victory in me today.  Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, that You experienced all temptations I experienced and yet never sinned.  Thank You for defeating in Your incarnation all temptations and attacks that Satan and his kingdom were able to address against you. I claim Your victory over Satan as my victory today.

I enter by faith into the mighty work of the crucifixion of my Lord.  Thank You that through the blood of Jesus Christ there is not only cleansing from the penalty and guilt of sin but moment-by-moment cleansing, permitting me to fellowship with You.  Thank You that the work of the cross brings Satan’s work to nothing.  Deliberately and by faith, I bring all of the work of my Lord on Calvary directly against Satan’s workings in my life.  I will accept in my life only what comes by way of the cross of Christ.  I choose to die to the old man.  I count him to be dead with Christ on the cross.  Grant to me the discernment and wisdom to see when the old man attempts to resurrect his activity in my life.

I enter by faith into the full power and authority of my Lord’s resurrection.  I desire to walk in the newness of life that is mine through my Lord’s resurrection.  Lead me ever more into a deep understanding of the power of the resurrection.  I bring the might truth of my Lord’s victory over the grave against all of Satan’s working against Your will and plan for my life.  The enemy is defeated in my life because I am united with the Lord Jesus Christ in the victory of His resurrection.

By faith I appropriate and enter today into my union with the Lord Jesus Christ in His ascension.  I rejoice that my Lord displayed openly His victory over all principalities and powers as He ascended into glory through the very realm of the prince of the power of the air. I rejoice that He is seated in victory far above all principalities and powers and that I am seated there with Him.  Because of my union with my Savior, I affirm my full authority and position of victory over Satan and his entire kingdom of darkness.

By faith I enter into the benefit and blessedness of my union with Christ in His glorification.  It is my joy to choose to obey Him who is my Shepherd.  I ask for you to lead me in Your path today.  As my great High Priest, I appropriate your high priestly work into my life today.  Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, for interceding for me and being my advocate with the heavenly Father. Thank You for watching over me and leading me, that Satan may gain no advantage over me.  Grant me the wisdom to discern all of the devil’s deceivings and temptations.

By faith I invite the Person of the Holy Spirit to bring the fullness of all of His person and my Lord’s work into all areas of my being.  I ask the Holy Spirit to fill my mind, my will, and my emotions with His control.  I choose for Him to bring all parts of my being into wholeness and submission to the Lordship of Christ.  I give my body in all of its parts and appetites to the Holy Spirit’s control and transformation.  I desire that He enable my spirit to be in fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit throughout this day.  I offer up this prayer to the heavenly Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ with thanksgiving.  Amen.

VICTORY OVER THE FLESH

Heavenly Father, I enter by faith today into death with the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.  I appropriate all of the benefit of the crucifixion, which is mine because of my union with Christ.  I count myself dead to my old fleshly nature and all of its workings through my union with Christ at the cross.  I recognize that my old nature always wants to resurrect itself against You and Your will for my life, but I will to let it remain dead in death with my Lord on the cross.  I am thankful that this absolute truth can be my subjective experience.  I recognize that appropriating the death of my flesh is an essential step to victory over these fleshly temptations that buffet me.  Amen.

WALKING IN THE SPIRIT

Blessed Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I desire to walk in the Spirit today.  I recognize that only as He lives the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in me will I be able to escape the works of my flesh.  I desire the Holy Spirit to bring all of the work of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ into my life today.  I pray that the Holy Spirit may produce His fruit within my whole being and shed abroad in my heart great love for the heavenly Father, for the Lord Jesus Christ, and for others about me.  Forgive me, dear Holy Spirit, for all times I have grieved or quenched You. Enable me to respond to Your grace and to be sensitive to Your voice.  Grant to me the desire and enablement to be obedient to Your precious Word.  Grant me discernment to avoid being deceived by false spirits.  I desire that the Holy Spirit fill all of my being with His Presence and control me by faith.  I trust my victory over the flesh today completely into the hands of the Holy Spirit as I let Him take control of me.   In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I receive all the fullness of the Holy Spirit into all areas of my being today.  Amen.

CLAIMING VICTORY OVER THE WORLD SYSTEM

Loving Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I approach You again in prayer.  I glorify You that all of my victory and ability to walk pleasing before You has been provided by Your grace.  I desire to claim my victory that You have provided over my enemy, the world system.  I recognize its powerful appeal to my fallen fleshly nature.  I see that Satan’s deception and power in the world is strong against me.  I know I cannot overcome the world through my own efforts.  I enter into Your provided Victory.  Thank You that in His humanity, the Lord Jesus Christ overcame the world for me. Thank You that He met all of its temptations for me and defeated them.  Thank You that Jesus Christ died and shed His blood that He might accomplish His full victory over the world and its ruler.  Thank You that the blood of the Savior cleanses me of the times I have failed to overcome the world.  I enter into my Lord’s victory and bring it strong against the appeal of the world to me.

I also open my heart to the full victory of the Holy Spirit over the world.  I trust Him to put desires within my being which are above the world.  I trust Him to cause the world’s appeal to me to be blotted out.  May He keep me from being double-minded.  I don’t want to love the things of God with one part of me and the things of the world with another part of me.  May the Holy Spirit unite my heart to fear Your Name.  May He bring me all together in wholeness to love and serve You with all of my will, my mind, my emotions, my body, and my spirit.  Thanks You for providing all of my victory.  I appropriate it now in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

RENUNCIATION AND AFFIRMATION

As a child of God purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, I here and now renounce and repudiate all the sins of my ancestors.  As one who has been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, I cancel out all demonic working that has been passed on to me from my ancestors.  As one who has been crucified with Jesus Christ and raised to walk in newness of life, I cancel every curse that may have been put upon me.  I announce to Satan and all his forces that Christ became a curse for me when He hung on the cross.  As one who has been crucified and raised with Christ and now sits with Him in heavenly places, I renounce any and every way in which Satan may claim ownership of me.  I declare myself to be eternally and completely signed over and committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.  All this I do in the Name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Based on Rom 6:4; Gal 2:20; 3:13; Eph 1:7; 2:5-6; Col 1:13)

RECLAIMING WHAT WAS GIVEN UP THROUGH SIN

Blessed Heavenly Father, I ask Your forgiveness for offending You by committing this sin of [NAME THE OFFENSE].  I claim the cleansing that is mine through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I address myself against Satan and all of his kingdom.  I take away from you and all your powers of darkness any ground you are claiming against me when I sinned by [NAME THE OFFENSE].  I claim that ground back in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I cover it with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and give all areas of my life over to the full control of the Holy Spirit.

NOTE:  It is good to keep one’s heart constantly open to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to bring to mind any offense that gave the enemy a foothold against you.  No matter what you are doing or where you are, should the Holy Spirit bring something to mind, you can immediately claim back all ground in prayer of the type just mentioned.

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