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 But when Christ came, He repealed that Law (Hebrews 7:12).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?
“Deliver us from evil”.
If you are a entertainment buff, you know this to be the name of at least two movies and three books. But if you have ever prayed the model prayer, you will recognize this to be our very last request: “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
We’ve read it, memorized it and quoted it, but why do we need to pray it?
Well, look at just a few of satan’s strategies:
Tempts – “to test one maliciously, craftily to put to the proof feelings or judgments; to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin” (Mark 1:13; 1 Corinthians 7:5).
Steals – “to remove, to carry off, carry away with one, to take away from another what is his or what is committed to him, to take by force” (Mark 4:15; Luke 8:12).
Binds – “to bind, fasten with chains, to throw into chains – metaphorically satan was said to bind a woman bent together by means of a demon, by taking possession of the woman and preventing her from standing upright.” (Luke 13:16).
Enters into – “to take possession of the body of a person” (Luke 22:3; John 13:27).
Demands – “to demand of for torture or punishment” (Luke 22:31).
Fills one’s heart – “to flood, diffuse throughout one’s soul” (Acts 5:3).
Destroys – “to ruin” (1 Corinthians 5:5).
Takes advantage – “to gain advantage of another; to overreach” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Disguises – “to change the figure of, to transform” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Torments – “to strike with the fist, give one a blow, to treat with violence” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
Hinders – “To cut into progress, to impede one’s course by cutting off his way” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
Works signs – “Works efficiently with superhuman power in unusual occurrences and deceitful miracles” (2 Thessalonians 2:9).
Deceives – “to lead away from the truth, to lead into error” (Revelation 12:9).
Prowls – “To make one’s way, to make due use of opportunities” (1 Peter 5:8).
Seeks to devour – “to seek by thinking, meditating, reasoning, enquiring into, to plot against by swallowing up and destroying” (1 Peter 5:8).
Speaks lies– “to utter a voice or emit a sound of conscious and intentional falsehoods – perverse, imperious and deceitful precepts” (John 8:44).
Murders – “manslayer” (John 8:44).
I’m not halfway through the listing before I want to ask for protection. What about you? So beginning today, let’s regularly ask the Father to rescue us from this predator of our soul.
Thank You for opening my eyes to see the maneuvers of the evil one. I’ve been negligent to ask for Your protection, even though You have faithfully guarded me in so many ways. I realize You have built a sturdy barricade around me and my family just because I’m Your child (Job 1:10). When the evil one asks permission to breach this wall, please tell him no and cast him violently away from Your Presence (Luke 10:18).
You’ve given me authority to refuse evil in what I can see (Titus 2:11-12; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8). I ask You to reject satan’s requests on my behalf in what I cannot see (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Thank You not only from rescuing me from the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13), but for also being my daily Deliverer as I ask for it (2 Corinthians 1:10-11). May I serve You boldly without fear (Luke 1:74). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.