This post will conclude our series on the topic of Prayer, which will take us into our new series topic: WARFARE. . .
The salty breeze had just begun to pick up as the sun lowered in the sky, the waves crashing into the rocks below us. My three young children and I cheered as their daddy, Scott, jumped from one of the rocks into the cool ocean. Scott always had something fun—and a little bit daring—up his sleeve. We’d all grown to expect nothing less. And as usual, he didn’t disappoint.
But today something was different. Something seemed off. . .
The four of us stood on the rocks above the alcove that Scott dove from, watching as the waves crashed over him, sucking him under the water, then spewing him back out—only to slam him into the jagged rocks below us. I realized he was no longer in control when I detected a glint of fear that I’ve never seen in his eyes, just as the ocean drew him from my sight. Try as he might, he was at the whim of the ocean’s will now.
My oldest son, Kevin, who was barely seven-years-old, realized what his younger siblings did not— Daddy was in trouble.
“Mommy, we need to pray!” He screamed above the ocean’s roar.
This was my desperate, four word cry for help, “Oh, God! Save him!” I whispered, holding my baby girl in my arms while her two brothers clutched onto my legs.
Then out of nowhere, Scott appeared, clinging to one of the rocks near the top of the alcove. He was saved!
Our family is convinced that the One who commands the oceans, God Almighty, heard our prayers that day.
Scott himself says he has no idea how he went from spiraling out of control, his lungs beginning to fill with salt water, to perched on a rock only a few inches from the spot he jumped from. We believe God sent an angel to lift Scott from the water that day.
I’ve found that life is a lot like that sunny, family day at the beach. One moment all is well and then things take a turn. The phone rings and suddenly you’re on your way to the hospital. Or you head into work like it’s a typical day and return carrying a pink slip, wondering how you will pay the mortgage. Or it’s an annual check-up at the doctor that reveals your mom has cancer.
It seems something is against us. Something malevolent, brewing behind the scenes that wants to rob us of our joy or maybe even destroy us. Something that makes us question, “What is going on here? Why is life so darned brutal?”
Take a look at this excerpt from John Eldredge’s book, Waking the Dead:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Have you ever wondered why Jesus married those two statements? Did you even know he spoke them at he same time? I mean, he says them in one breath. And he has his reasons. By all means. God intends life for you. But right now that life is opposed. It doesn’t just roll in on a tray. There is a thief. He comes to steal and kill and destroy. In other words, yes, the offer is life, but you’re going to have to fight for it because there’s an Enemy in your life with a different agenda. There is something set against us. We are at war.
I realize this is a heavy topic as we enter into the holiday season. However I strategically chose it due to the irony. Things on the surface aren’t always what they seem. That’s the way of spiritual warfare.
But before we dive into the topic of warfare, we must recognize two critical things: One, we really are at war. And two, who our enemy is.
I see one major culprit when it comes to spiritual warfare— apathy. We ignore that it exists. We just want to go to church and say, “Amen, praise the Lord,” then come home and live our lives. But when you really stop and think about it, something is against us whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we have an Enemy. The Bible is clear on that. Take a look at Ephesians 6:12.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Your enemy—the devil—wants you to ignore the spiritual reality behind the physical one. Because as long as you’re focused on what you can see with your physical eyes, he can continue to run rampant underneath the surface.The more you disregard him, the more damage he is free to do.(Priscilla Shirer, “The Armor of God”)
SO WHAT’S A CHRISTIAN TO DO?
WAKE UP and STAY ALERT
“for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,“Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14)
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:18)
Did you notice the beginning of the verse above? Pray in the Spirit at all times. My friends, the Lord has given us all we need to fight our enemy and it begins with prayer.
In the next few weeks we will look closely at who our enemy is, and more importantly, what God has given us to ensure victory. In fact Jesus already won when he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities by shaming them publicly with his victory over them on the cross (Colossians 2:15).
The Enemy wants you to forget about that. But the truth is, YOU CAN HAVE VICTORY! Are you ready to claim what God says as His child is rightfully yours?
Together, we’re going to develop a practical and personalized PLAN OF ACTION. You can start putting the plan into place right now by acknowledging our first step mentioned above along with the second step below:
SPIRITUAL WARFARE PLAN OF ACTION (Part I)
STEP ONE: Wake up and stay alert.
STEP TWO: Pray
Prayer is a critical part of victory. Think of prayer like this: You have a car to get you from one place to another. But without fuel, you’re not going anywhere. Prayer is the fuel.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that Jesus warned us about the thief that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But You came to give life and give it abundantly. I ask You to keep my eyes open and help me stay alert to the enemy’s schemes so I can have the life that Jesus promises. I want to learn more about the weapons you have given me. I realize that spending daily time with You in Your word and in prayer is critical. I choose now to make this a top priority in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on spiritual warfare. Please share in the comments section below. God bless!