Recently, I feel that the Lord has been drawing my attention to the importance of prayer more than ever. It is so easy for Christians(myself included) to become apathetic with our prayer life, particularly living in an increasingly Biblically-hostile society. However, I firmly believe that prayer is the powerhouse for the Christian life. It is paramount that as Christians we realize that “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”(Ephesians 6:12, NIV). There is an unseen world around us where Christians are living in the midst of a spiritual battleground. This is why it is critical that we put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 13-17), and that we pray for God’s continued protection.
Ephesians 6:18-20 emphasizes the importance of prayer below:
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should”
Prayer is the means by which the work of God is able to become unleashed. Without prayer, we are utterly powerless and defenseless against spiritual attacks. One of the enemy’s main objectives is not necessarily to fuel our hatred towards God, but rather for him to deceitfully distract us in the hopes that we forget about God. In doing so, he is then able to attack us when we are most vulnerable, which is typically when we are caught off guard (1 Peter 5:8). In effect, prayer provides us with the antidote to counter this vulnerability through the protection we gain from the armor of God during spiritual warfare.
Ultimately, Satan’s central objective is to destroy our faith by whichever means necessary. Jesus Himself exposes how the enemy desires to destroy Peter’s faith below in Luke 22:31:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers”
What’s beautiful about this text is that (1) Jesus tells us that He, the Son of God, will pray for Peter despite the fact that Jesus knows that Peter will betray Him three times; (2) the power of prayer is underscored here especially considering that Jesus Himself relies so heavily on it(replete throughout Jesus’ Earthly Ministry); (3) this same faith-preserving power from Jesus’ prayer is given to believers of today (Philippians 1:6); and (4) Jesus then instructs Peter to strengthen his brothers(through prayer is implied; Peter is the very rock on which Jesus decides to build His Church) (Matthew 16:18).
Unquestionably, prayer is integral to the Christian’s life and without maintaining a healthy prayer life we become very susceptible to attacks from the enemy. Throughout our prayer time we should also remember the following key points:
(1) Prayer is a way of life: In other words, we are called to pray on all occasions, in all spheres of life, rather than merely being limited to a scheduled time or at a particular place.
(2) Prayer is about a worshipful conversation with God(worship-based rather than request based prayer): As we petition Him, we express our desperate need for Him and His Mercy and Grace.
(3) Prayer is about spiritual warfare: The fraud is more easily identified when we are alert and when we are in close fellowship with Him, which is accomplished through prayer.
(4) Prayer is about God’s agenda not ours (Eph. 6:18-20): We pray to the Father through the Son in and through the Spirit; it is about aligning ourselves with God’s Will so that it works out in our lives.
As Christians, prayer empowers us through the Holy Spirit to fulfill our responsibility to respond to God’s ability to be who God intends us to be: distributors of Truth. This is in direct response to the Great Commission(Matthew 28:18-20) so that the Gospel Message may be proclaimed throughout the world!
I pray that this blog entry may edify and strengthen your Body of Believers as we seek to deepen, enrich and revitalize our prayer lives. Help us all to be constantly reminded of the ongoing-unseen spiritual warfare which we face and to continuously keep our eyes fixated on You! I also pray for greater unity and less division within the Church today so that, being bound by love, we may more effectively witness to this fallen world(John 17:23).
In Jesus’ Powerful Name, I pray,
Note: Portions of the key points concerning prayer time as well as some other elements throughout this blog entry were borrowed from my pastor’s recent sermon of which I cannot take full credit for.