Monday, August 19, 2013

The Battle of Prayer

Mark 4:40 But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"

I will be honest, sometimes I get so afraid of the spiritual battle. Do you fear also at times?

Maybe it is because I sense that it is intensifying like never before. There is confusion, chaos, and uncertainty all around us. Nations and economies are crumbling before our eyes while the American family has already been assaulted like never before with broken marriages and broken children. Those marriages that do make it still feel the onslaught of challenges that threaten to destroy...violent images pummeled into children's brains through the media, lack of any norms and standards of right and wrong, and the fact that many don't even receive an education that will enable them to think and evaluate for themselves, without being influenced by the "herd mentality."

Psalm 11:3 If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?

I never had a broken home and my parents have always had a loving marriage, by God's grace. But I have suffered from all the other present societal conditions and I do not see these trends improving any day soon. Do you?

Sometimes I just weep over the state of the state of things in this world. And then I think about people I know personally. Friends who do not know the Lord, friends in the midst of serious health crises, people who are struggling just to make ends meet and the list goes on. Some believers may not want to even think about this but there are also hundreds of thousands of children all over this planet trapped in the web of human trafficking. ("What if someone did that to my child?") And so my soul cries out to the Lord, for that is the only place I know I will find answers.

In both Psalms 60:11 and 108:12 Scripture tells us: Give us help from trouble, For the help of man [is] useless.

Only God hears. Only God answers.

And so I make my requests before the Lord, knowing that He is both My Rock and my Mighty Fortress, and if I ask according to His will He will hear me.

I John 5: 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Do you believe we can make a difference by our prayers for others, for lost people whom God has compassion on? God Himself proved that He had pity on the ancient pagan city of Nineveh, visited by Jonah the reluctant prophet, so this is proof enough for me.

Jonah 4: 11 "And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left--and much livestock?"

Jonah obviously did not want to go to Nineveh. They were a fierce people and enemies of Israel. But God had a different mind toward them. He knew, obviously, in eternity past, that some of them would believe in the True God of Israel when Jonah came with his message of repentance. And therefore He moved with compassion to ensure His servant Jonah would go there, even if he had to spend three days and nights in the belly of a fish first.

I believe that if there is just one little flicker of positive volition in an unsaved person, God will move on their behalf to get them the gospel. (See John 7: 17.) Oh, how great is His love toward mankind. He is waiting for us to ask Him to send forth laborers into the harvest, before the Great Storm arrives.

Matthew 9:36-38: "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

This verse has haunted me since college days, when I would spend time in the urban areas and see masses of people walking around: like bag ladies, the outcasts, and the beggars. I knew that if Jesus Christ were walking in that city with me He would not be passive, He would care. That is the kind of Savior I have. He is not an impersonal God, or detached from the conflict and bloodshed on Planet Earth.

Some people say I get too burdened, not too think about it all so much. But I can't help it. When I pray for people: and also the persecuted church, the trafficked children and my friends with their urgent needs, and my own dear family members, then I get weak sometimes afterwards from the battle. It is then that the enemy can inject fearful thoughts into my mind... But I do know the end of the story. For I have read God's Book and it states clearly that even in the midst of our battle, that Jesus Christ has already won. And so I do not stand in defeat, but in the clearly accomplished victory won for me on Calvary so many years ago.

Colossians 2:13-15 "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the un-circumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it."

One of the most influential books I ever read on the subject of prayer was Destined for the Throne: A New Look at the Bride of Christ by Paul E. Billheimer. I heard of it way back in my days when I attended Campus Crusade for Christ in college, but never actually read it until I was on a ten hour plane trip going abroad five years ago. I marked up my used copy furiously while the couple sitting next to me probably wondered what this silly woman was getting so excited about. If you long to learn more to read about our privilege of prayer, I highly recommend this old book.

Jesus said in John 9:4: "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work." Night is coming, friends.

Ephesians 6:18-19 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel...

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