Have you ever considered the enemy's tactics to foul up our powerful weapon and protection of prayer? Have you ever taken the time to evaluate your own prayer life to the extent of actually knowing what satan uses to stop you? In my own life, I am realizing how very important that is! How can we effectively battle the enemy if we remain ignorant of his victories over us in the past?
It's a pitiful thing to me now as I look back and see how easily he was able to stop or distract me from praying - either for my own needs, or in intercession for someone else. I especially feel a great sorrow over the times I have failed to intercede for someone for whom God has called me to join into the battle! How many times have I not only failed to answer the call, but also how many times I have I actually not heard a clear call to me to join in the battle?
A very basic tactic I think satan uses the most to distract us is “self.” He can get us so wrapped up in our own life, our own needs and wants so that we are not only not aware of someone else’s needs for prayers, but we close our ears, hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit’s attempts to communicate to us. We may be very busy satisfying our daily needs and wants, and blithely going on our way while an intense spiritual battle is about to destroy someone.... and very well may without our prayers. No matter how loudly satan may be blowing the battle cry, we won’t even flinch. We may also be so busy with a self proclaimed pity party over our own life, that we fail to see anyone else’s pain and misery. We may be allowing satan to convince us we are too pitiful in our own life to be of any use to pray for someone else. We think we have to get ourselves “right” first...then we can maybe pray for someone else. We can even become very righteous in this effort and say we would be doing no one any good until we got there. Now that is a real soldier’s attitude if I ever heard one! Envision with me, if you will, an enemy coming into an army camp and the captain telling his men to prepare for battle, and he hears these comments:
“Oh, I can’t Captain, I can’t fight today—you see, I just don’t feel right doing that when I am not perfect on the firing range yet. Maybe next week after more practice.”
“Maybe after I can run faster through the obstacle course, then I can join the rest of the soldiers in battle.”
“Count me out this time around, ok? I just don’t feel like it today- I have some thinking to do.”
“Oh, you know, I’d like to, but I just don’t feel led to do that right now. I need to be stronger first.”
“It’s not really my problem, so I think I’ll just wait and see if that’s the right thing to do.”
“I can’t – it’s not my gift.”
“ I am too busy.”
“I am too tired.”
Add in the excuses you have used when called to prayer , and see how pitifully weak they become!
The Captain of the host has called you and I to pray – to join in battle for ourselves and for each other. This is a weapon we have been given with love and with His power. Why do we so willingly chose not to use it?
When we pray for someone, we intercede. We mentally get involved in their world as we deliberately make contact with God on their behalf. This is just one important aspect of prayer!
1 Samuel 12 :19
The people all said to Samuel, "Pray to the LORD your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king."
Whatever our need - strength, peace, wisdom, direction, discipline....we can ask and God will surely hear us!
Of David. To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
Do you have needs today?
Are you backed up against the wall?
Are you disturbed or disquieted?
Are you uncertain about your future?
Are you anxious about a strained relationship?
Do you need extra strength, new hope, or greater wisdom?
Our solutions can be found in one word- prayer. We can tell God every detail. We can call on the only one who can help. He awaits our request.
Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
Real prayer- the kind of prayer Jesus mentioned and modeled- is realistic, spontaneous, down-to-earth communication with the living Lord that results in a relief of personal anxiety and a calm assurance that our God is in full control of our circumstances.
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch." Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Feeling crushed by the crowds these days?
Do you feel pushed into a corner from which there seems no escape?
Is your anxiety reaching a frantic state?
Turn it over to the One who can handle your load!
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Does Jesus really understand what trauma is all about?
Remember that He is the One whose sweat became like drops of blood in the agony of Gethsemane.
Is anyone understands trauma, He does - completely.
Come to Him, and He will give you rest.
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."
When you need Jesus, He is there.
He's there even when you don't think you need Him! You are never too early or too late. He's never in a lousy mood, nor will He ask you to call back during office hours. He's available....because He's immutable. He remains constant. With Him, there's no new year nor old year. He is "the same" regardless.
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
SO, where are you? Are you like me, able to look back and see areas of your prayer life you see in need of change?
Father, open our eyes to Your leading and guide us into the prayer life You have created for us! Thank You for this intimate means of communication with You, and may we never neglect a call from you!
In Your Son's name I pray, Amen.