The devil and his demons are looking for opportunities to enter into our lives and take advantage of us. Paul warns the Ephesians to "give no opportunity to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). Below is one of the ways that he attempts to gain influence:
The final tactic we will look at is that of prayerlessness. The enemy attacks prayer because he knows that it is a powerful weapon in the hands of believers. Prayer moves the hand of God.
It’s not that God cannot move unless we pray, like He is somehow sitting helpless in heaven unless we pray. It is because God has decided to partner with man in the rule of this world.
God gave authority to Adam to rule over this world under His direction. Adam rebelled and sin entered the world. Satan usurped Adam’s place and is called the ruler of this world (John 12:30), the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), and the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Ephesians chapter six clearly shows us that we are in a battle with Satan and his demonic forces. One of the ways that we fight and stand against him is prayer.
Jack Hayford wrote a wonderful book called Prayer is Invading the Impossible. In the book he wrote a chapter called “If We Don’t, He Won’t.” In it he tells of how God is good and created everything good, the devil came and brought destruction, and that prayer is the thing that makes a difference.
Here are some quotes from the book to help us see the power of prayer:
- . . . [Y]ou and I can help decide which of these two things--blessing or cursing--happens on earth. We will determine whether God’s goodness is released toward specific situations or whether the power of sin and Satan is permitted to prevail.
Prayer is the determining factor.
- God hasn’t given man charge of the universe, but He did give man charge of this planet. And the current disorder of things is man’s problem.
- We would rather blame God than trust Him; rather complain about Him than call upon Him. How many would rather indict the Almighty for neglect when hell comes against us, then invite His almightiness to eject the hell-worker?
- John Wesley said, “God will do nothing on earth except in answer to believing prayer.”
The words that Jesus taught His disciples to pray give further evidence of the place that prayer is to have in the life of a believer. He told them/us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
He was teaching them to look at what was going on around them and pray for God’s kingdom and will to be done on the earth. We are to invite God rule and reign into the hellish situations that are on this earth.
Some folks get upset when I talk like this because they think that I am in some way commanding God to do something. Remember, that it is Jesus who is telling us to pray this way.
When we pray Thy kingdom come or Thy will be done, we are not commanding. We are asking, seeking, and knocking. We are praying for God’s will and purpose to be accomplished in the realm He has given us authority to rule.
Do you see how powerful prayer is? Do you see how the devil would want to attack the only thing that is standing in his way in people’s lives?
The Devil’s strategies
There are a couple of strategies the enemy uses to silence the power of prayer. The first one is for us to pray religiously. By that I mean to simply read or say a prayer out of religious duty. Many churches pray the Lord’s pray as a part of every service.. The prayer is prayed for the beauty of the prayer without any specific results in mind.
I don’t believe that Jesus meant for the disciples or us to say this prayer verbatim over and over. I believe He was giving it us as an example of the things that we should prayer for.
He wasn’t just teaching us to say “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” He was giving us insight that as we look out into the world and see a work of the enemy, that we pray for His kingdom and will to come into that situation. Where there is war, we ask for peace. Where there is division, we ask for unity.
A second way the enemy works is to constantly attack us with doubt concerning prayer. As we pray he will say things like:
- “What’s the use of praying, God did not answer your last prayer.”
- “What’s the use of praying? You’re just talking into the air.”
- “God’s not listening to you. Remember what you did ten years ago?”
- “This prayer stuff doesn’t work. You’re just trying to make yourself feel like you can do something.”
- “Praying in the Spirit is just gibberish. You are not really praying.”
His goal is to make you feel helpless and hopeless. If he can make you hopeless, you will quit praying. A hopeless person is a prayerless person.
God’s Answer is Prayer
God’s answer for prayerlessness is praying. In every circumstance you find yourself, pray. We are to pray, petition, and pray in the Spirit. If you want to know how much God wants you to pray look at the word “all” in Ephesians 6:18. We are to pray with:
- All prayer and petition and in the Spirit
- At all times
- With all perseverance
- For all the saints
God wants you to use every prayer available to you. He wants you to pray over every situation you see needs payer. He wants you to persevere and not give up to prayerlessness, He wants you to pray for all believers. This is in the context of the battle to stand against the wiles and plans of the enemy.
He tells us to pray in the Spirit. God has given us the ability to pray that hits the mark every time. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Paul describes praying in the Spirit as speaking to God (v 2) and our spirit speaking mysteries (v 2). Paul says that when he prays in a tongue that his spirit prays (v 14). Paul says he prays with the spirit and with his mind (v 15).
God’s answer for affecting the world is prayer.
Put on the Armor
The only thing that can help you face the schemes and plans of the enemy is the armor of God. The armor of God is not actual pieces of armor, Paul just used the word picture armor as a memorization tool to remember the truths the armor represents.
You can never do it in your own wisdom or strength. The battle you are facing is spiritual and only the powerful armor of God is able to save you from every scheme and plan the enemy seeks to use against you.
So in order to overcome the evil one you must walk in:
- Peace with God
- Confidence in your salvation
- The word of God
- Prayer of every kind
Thank God for His provision for every area of your life. He only gives you the best. Trust in Him and stand firm against every scheme of the devil.
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