“Would you bring the devotional?”
As I prepared, I was somewhat nervous, knowing that I would be in the midst of some “missionary greats” of the world. As that day in Prague approached, I had spent as much time in prayer as I had dealing with the passage.
I decided to use the Truths that the Father had spoken about our tongues and their tendency to ignite with Gehenna’s flame.
After the devotional, many references were made about our tongue as fire. As a group, we were cautious of our words. Sometimes in jest and sometimes seriously, the theme sparked many of our discussions.
And I watched my tongue most carefully. After all, I wanted to be able to have spoken with authority.
My family was coming, the house was a wreck, my throat was scratchy and I had jet lag.
And to top it off,
Mark was beginning to really irritate me.
Now remember, just weeks earlier, I had delivered a stirring devotional about a tongue with the fire of hell.
As I shifted my own tongue within my mouth, it sizzled just a bit and I could almost smell the smoke.
“I’d better keep my mouth shut.”
Yeah, that was the plan….
Instead – I incinerated him with a sudden outburst.
“Elijah was a man with a nature (Greek: “feelings or affections”) like ours…” James 5:17
Really? Did he have a problem with his tongue?
He was a spiritual giant, right?
Ummmm….maybe not –
Remember when the prophets of Baal couldn’t get any fire from heaven? Elijah was on hand with a flaming wit and a smoking sarcasm:
“Call a little louder – he is a god, after all. Maybe he’s off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he’s gotten involved in a project, or maybe he’s on vacation. You don’t suppose he’s overslept, do you, and needs to be waked up?” (1 Kings 18:27 The Message)
I don’t know about you, but that pretty much describes me:
Yet, this is the very kind of man that is considered righteous enough for prayers that work.
Kinda gives me hope. What about you?
Why do breakthroughs in prayer surprise me?
I’d prayed over this request specifically for over two years, but God’s affirmative answer still shocked me. Maybe desperation holds more sway with God than I realized. In the course of this journey, I learned three powerful lessons regarding desperate prayer that will forever shape my critical intercession.
1) Just because prayer is a battle doesn’t mean I have to accept defeat.
When God gave the Israelites instructions for warfare, He said “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see…people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God…is with you. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them. For the Lord Your God is the One Who goes with you — to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (Deuteronomy 20:1, 3-4).
Fear and anxiety often describe my dread of the unknown. But evidently God knows that. “Stop it!” He says. “Don’t even let your mind go there. Look here at Me. I’m not only Your Commander-in-Chief. I’m also Your Father. I’ve got this!”
2) His Word blows away all opposition.
We don’t have to understand how His Word works (Mark 4:27), but the fact of the matter is He does work. When we pray His Word, power explodes. His Word is:
Sharp enough to slice away the competition (Hebrews 4:12)
Surging with Inner Life (Hebrews 4:12)
Far-reaching in effectiveness (Acts 6:7)
Forward advancing (Acts 12:24)
Forceful, potent, and dominant (Acts 19:20)
Constantly strengthened with fresh reinforcements (Colossians 1:6)
Activated to move quickly (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
Our prayers command power in direct proportion to our knowledge of His Truth.
3) When His Word has authority over your life, your life has authority over the enemy.
Under the old covenant, God promised to conquer the enemy of those who fully obeyed the written Law (Joshua 23:6,9). But when Christ came, He repealed that Law (Hebrews 7:12). He set aside all the complicated conditions for victory and gave us only one: faith (John 6:29). Our faith has victory because we believe (not in our own conduct but) in His indestructible life (Hebrews 7:18,16). “Through the obedience of One the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Not through mine!
Under the new covenant, God promises to conquer the enemy of those who faith Him (1 John 5:4). When we hold up the shield of faith and move offensively with the sword of His Word, our prayers pack a punch. “One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you” (Joshua 23:10). “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you (Psalms 91:7).
But what about the crafty serpent — the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion (Genesis 3:1; 1 Peter 5:8)?
“The battle is not yours, but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). “You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down” (Psalm 91:13). “Behold,” says Jesus, “I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you” (Luke 10:19).
Let’s go to the war room together this week, shall we?