I’ve been challenged a lot about prayer lately and the way I pray. It’s been one of those things which keeps coming up without me even really looking for it. First, a series of YA fiction books I read turned out to be based on the spiritual battles going on around us and the power we have through prayer to change things. Then a devotional I was doing worked its way through prayer and different prayers in the Bible, which led to me watching the movie, War Room (which, while corny in parts, is an incredibly powerful movie and one I’d highly recommend). Then there was the lesson God’s been teaching me about simply asking (see my last post for that one).
Whether or not we feel it, there is a battle going on around us. In the past few months, I’ve been more aware of it than ever. But alongside the battle, I’ve been aware of my part in it and the fact that God has given us the power, through Jesus, to fight in it.
One of the most powerful prayers I’ve ever heard prayed was by an elderly man the week before he died. The visit was precious but tough, knowing how close he was to leaving earth forever. He struggled to remember our names and phased in and out of consciousness. He barely had the strength to sit in his chair. But as we were leaving, he asked to pray with us. And suddenly, his words were strong. He might not have remembered our names, but he knew God. He prayed for us – my mum and me – and the wider church. He prayed using Bible verses and the words of an old hymn.
Those verses were so strongly settled in him that they bypassed his failing memory and came straight from his heart.
I want that. I want God’s word and truth to be the first weapon I pick up. I want to be able to fight with them, believing the power they have. I can pray my own prayers from my heart, and I know God loves that, but there’s something so powerful about speaking aloud God’s word. Claiming word for word his promises.
There are a lot of things I can’t do – heal people, change other's attitudes, be in more than one place at a time, embrace people I don't know who are hurting, be an actual soldier – but there is one thing I can do and that’s pray. And know that those prayers are making a difference.
I don’t know what you believe or know about prayer. Maybe you spend hours a day waging war against the supernatural, maybe you grew up reciting the Lord’s Prayer and never considered praying anything else, maybe you’ve given up on prayer altogether. Whatever you believe, know this, there is power in prayer. Whether you claim God’s promises in faith or timidly come asking hoping it to be true, God hears you and what you say makes a difference.
I mentioned the movie, War Room. The final song in it sums up pretty well both the challenge and privilege we have in praying. I hope you take the time to listen to it but more, I hope you find in it the encouragement to not give up hope. The greatest thing about this battle we’re fighting in is that we’ve already won.
Warrior - Steven Curtis ChapmanI feel my heart pounding in my chest.
I see the smoke on the horizon.
I see the smoke on the horizon.
I hear the war raging all around me.
And somehow I feel like I was born for this.
I can taste the fear, but I choose courage
As I raise my shield and lift my sword.
And I fall on my knees and I fight like a warrior
I am a warrior on my knees.
I call on the Name of the One Who is Conqueror
I'm more than a conqueror when I believe.
The enemy trembles every time
'Cause he knows the battle is no longer mine
When I fall on my knees and I fight like a warrior
Daughters and sons, we can hear your calling
Broken and weak, we can hear your cry
And even though our enemy roars like a lion,
The Lion of Judah is on our side.
And He will go before us and behind us
Fighting on the left and on the right
Our weapons are trust, our weapons are hope
In the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords
He says, "I am with you so don't be afraid,
'Cause I've already won this war."
So fall on your knees and fight with me,
We are the Warriors when we are on our knees
The enemy trembles...