Editor's Note: Two weeks ago GCD received a request from a believer in Ethiopia for biblical teaching on spiritual warfare. My first response was prayer. I ask our readers to join us in praying - as Paul does in Ephesians 3:14-21 - that we might all have the strength to be filled with the fullness of Christ's love, to feel the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. Paul's prayer for strength (strength to know Christ's love!) fans the flames of spiritual revival, and this prayer for strength is all the more important when we come under attack from the forces of darkness that are arrayed against us. I've been praying for revival, and I'm doing it knowing what that means to the enemy. I'm praying for revival because we have a victory secure in Christ and because I long to see God's grace renew the lives of the people I love.
As folks here at GCD talked about how best to disciple a new believer in spiritual warfare, Winfield mentioned that Prayer Life has a chapter dedicate to Spiritual Warfare Prayer. To that believer in Ethiopia and to our brothers and sisters around the world, we offer this excerpt. As you read and reflect on the power of prayer, please unite with us in praying that we might all comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love, for in this corporate prayer lies both the surety of our salvation and the power to dispel the forces of evil.
“If you would endeavor, like men of courage, to stand in the battle, surely we would feel the favorable assistance of God from Heaven. For who He giveth us occasion to fight, to the end we may get the victory, is ready succor those that fight manfully, and do trust in His grace.” -Thomas A Kempis
One of the most important aspects of prayer is spiritual warfare. The Bible tells us that we are in the midst of a spiritual battle, and our advisory the devil is like a roaring lion seeking to destroy our lives. Paul says, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan and his forces of darkness are trying to destroy your life, and it is imperative that we learn to pray against these forces of darkness in order to gain victory in our lives. There are several things that the Bible tells us about spiritual warfare.
What the Bible Says About Spiritual Warfare
- We are in a real spiritual battle (2 Corinthians. 10:4; 1 Timothy 1:18)
- We are to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9)
- We are to take authority over powers of darkness (Matthew 16:19)
- We are to cast out demons (Mark 16:17)
- We are to use spiritual weapons to overcome darkness (2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:10-20)
The Bible tells us about great individuals who were victorious in spiritual warfare, all of which are lessons for us today. The battle is either won or lost on the mountaintop in prayer. Throughout the Bible, the mountain is a symbol of prayer and a place to meet with God. Jesus regularly went to the mountains to pray, Elijah called down fire on the mountain, and Moses met with God on the mountaintop.
In Exodus chapter 17, Israel fought against the Amalekites in Rephidim. Moses went on top of the mountain to intercede for the people who were fighting the battle below. Whenever his hands were lifted up, Israel would prevail, but when his hands grew tired and fell down the Amalekites would prevail. It is the same way in our lives, whenever we lift our hands in prayer we will prevail, but when we stop praying we lose the victory. We need to follow Moses example of praying for victory over the forces of darkness on the mountaintop. Don’t grow weary in prayer, but allow the Lord to help you pray for victory in every area of your life.
In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat shows us how to prepare for spiritual warfare. When the great forces of Moab and Amon came to battle against Israel, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast in the land. 2 Chronicles 20:4 says, “Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord.” The first thing you need to do when you are in spiritual warfare is to ask help from the Lord. The Lord reminded them, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15). God wants to fight our battles for us. All we have to do is go to Him in prayer and ask for His help.
Steps to Spiritual Warfare
1. Pray Always
Paul tells us to “pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance” (Ephesians 6:12). The first step to spiritual warfare is to pray always. This means that we must develop a lifestyle of prayer. Even when we aren’t praying out loud we can still be in a state of union and intimacy with the Lord.
2. Be Watchful
Paul goes on to say that we need to be watchful. This means that we must have an awareness of what is going on around us spiritually. It also means to be sleepless, or wakeful. God calls us to be watchmen and watchwomen who will guard against the devil. In the Bible, a watchman would stay awake at night to make sure that the enemy didn’t attack while everyone was sleeping. It is our responsibility to be watchful in prayer.
3. Have Perseverance
Our prayers should be made with all perseverance! God doesn’t like weak, powerless prayers; rather He desires for us to persevere in prayer. James tells us, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The word fervent is energeo, which means energy. We need to be fervent and energetic in our prayer life. Don’t give up until your prayer is answered!
4. Pray in the Spirit
The only way that our prayers will ever have power is if they are in the Spirit. The Spirit intercedes for us and reveals the will of God to us (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit gives fire to the incense of our prayer. Jude says that we should build ourselves in the most holy faith by praying in the Spirit. (Jude 20). The Spirit will build us up, guide us in truth, and give us the strength to pray as we should pray. Let the Holy Spirit come and give you the power to pray today.
- What are several of the things that the Bible tells us about spiritual warfare?
- What can we learn from the stories of Moses and Jehoshaphat?
- How do their stories apply to your current situation?
- Take some time to discuss the steps of spiritual warfare from Ephesians 6:12.
- What does it mean to pray at all times? Is this possible?
- What does it mean to be watchful in prayer?
- How do we pray in the Spirit? In what ways does the Spirit help us pray?
Lord, teach us to how to use our prayer in spiritual warfare. Even though there is a battle raging between the forces of darkness and the forces of light, we know that You oh Lord are all mighty, all powerful, and all knowing. We acknowledge that you are in complete control over all things in our life. Strengthen our hearts to be strong and grow not weary in prayer. In your name we pray. Amen.