This is The next level series on Fervent Prayer. We are using the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, and I highly recommend you purchase it as a resource. You’re probably going to want a paper copy, because it’s one you will pull out again and again if you’re like me. We are going through the 10 most common strategies the enemy uses in our lives, and we are going to learn how to strategically pray so that we can combat those dealings in our lives. This is a deeper series that the previous one we went through. It’s spiritual warfare. Are you ready to go to war on this?
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If I were your enemy, I’d disguise myself and manipulate your perspectives so that you’d focus on the wrong culprit – your husband, your friend, your hurt, your finances, anything or anyone except me. Because when you zero in on the most convenient, obvious placesto strike back against your problems, you get the impression you’re fighting for something. Even though all you’re really doing is just… fighting. For nothing.
Focus. Fighting the Real Enemy.
Fervent prayer relies on focus.
Focus clears way dead space and clutter. It’s what sharpens the images in your photographs, capturing the detail and highlights you want to remember, while pushing the less important things to the background or cropping them out altogether.
Focus minimizes distractions, lowering your risk of being blindsided.
It keeps you from being preoccupied, from overlooking important facts that would’ve been readily obvious if you’d only been paying better attention. Focus protects your goals and dreams from being consumed in small bites, stolen right out from under your nose in twenty-minute segments of compromise.
And focus is the antenna that prayer helps to keep raised and alert, making you keenly aware if somebody’s trying to play you for a fool.
And your enemy – for his strategy against you to work – is dead set on being able to succeed at just that. On fooling you. Faking you out. Diverting your focus, trying to convince you that the main issues in your life actually originate over there, anywhere, or with anyone except where they really do. He wants you focused on things that are physical and visible instead of where the action really is.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (what you can see), but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (what you can’t see). Ephesians 6:12
By failing to take notice and remember, it’s not hard to then lose our cool, our temper, and most of our self-control before we ever find our way back to ultimate reality. We underestimate Satan’s power. As a result, we give him room to scheme and scare at will, while we run around firing off at anyone and everyone except him. But if all we’re doing is whacking at the most visible symptoms every time they pop up, we’re just wasting precious time and energy and trying to fight ferocious, spiritual foces using the wrong weapons. So the hits just keep on coming.
Because our focus is all off. And that’s exactly what your real enemy is counting on. The real enemy isn’t your husband. Or your teenager. Or your brother’s wife. Or your mother-in-law. Or the weather. Or the traffic. Or your sweet tooth. Or whatever powder keg of frustration really gets under your skin and sets you off before you can think straight.
The real enemy – the capital E- “Enemy” – well, you know who it is. And you simply cannot keep letting him go unchecked while you throw money and anger and logic and phychology at your problems in a vain attempt at overcoming or outsmarting them. In order to live in victory, you must call the enemy’s bluff, open up your spiritual eyes, and remain continually aware of the one’s who’s truly behind a lot of the stuff you’re always blaming on your circumstances, your upbringing, your boyfriend, or whoever. Even on yourself.
In prayer, you can do it differently. You can maintain this level of focus. Because prayer, perhaps more than anything, is meant to be an eye-opening experience. Prayer is a reminder to yourself, as well as a declaration to the enemy, that you know he’s there. That you’re on to him. When you bring your concerns and fears and irritations to the Lord in prayer, you’re aligning your weakling spirit with the full force of God’s Holy Spirit.
Instead of continuing to fail by taking the battle into your own hands – and taking the battle to the wrong people – you’re joining instead with all the power of heaven to take your fight diretly to the source of the problem. You’re following the armies of the living God right into the field tent where your enemy is cooking up his craftiest designs against you, and you’re busting up his strategy closet – making sure he knows that you know that you know what he’s up to. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might by putting on the full armor of God and become able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil… the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of gospel peace, the shild of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, better known as the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17)Let’s look a little deeper at these…
- Truth is God’s standard – the unchanging, objective benchmark of the Bible by which we govern and align our lives
- Righteousness means right living – the process by which we apply this truth to our lives, and by His Spirit, produce conduct honoring and pleasing to God
- Peace is the deep, inner, eternal stability the believer possesses by virtue of relationship with Jesus, a sense of balance that’s not subject to external circumstance. It’s also the qualit that enables us to live harmoniously with others.
- Faith is the application of what one believes – the process of putting feet to our beliefs and living in light of it… in practical terms.
- Salvation is both our eternal security with Christ, as well as the full inheritance we’ve been given because of our relationship with Him. It includes our blessings, status, and identity – everything we’ve received that enables us to live victoriously for Him
The Word of God is His present, relevant, personal Word to us for today. The Bible may be an old Book, but God’s Spirit makes it fresh, new, and alive for us.
When we use these weapons, we can cut him off at the pass and hit him where it hurts. And again, the one weapon that ties this whole ensemble together, the one that activates and infuses our armor with the power of God himself… is prayer! “Pray at all times in the Spirit” Ephesians 6:18 This verse translated means specific, precise, and in particular events. In spiritual warfare, as we detect enemy activity and deploy the various pieces of armor, our prayers need to be fervent and specific, strategic, and personal, tied to the specific needs arising at that specific occasion. That’s the kind of prayer that energizes the armor of God for maximum effectiveness, prayed “with all perseverance and petition for all the saints”.
That’s called being focused and strategic in prayer. Physical weapons may work in physical battles. Stuff like… trying harder, getting up earlier, moving across town to a new neighborhood, making him sleep on the sofa, giving her a piece of your mind. But this aint no physical battle we’re dealing with, no matter how much you wish it to be. We are at spiritual war. So we need spiritual weapons. Now you can just walk in victory and claim what is rightfully yours. Dressed in the armor of Ephesians 6 and committed to the practice that activates our spiritual power – prayer.
Take some of these promises and scriptures and form them into your own personal prayer strategy… a prayer you can pull out, read, and pray when you feel you are focusing on the wrong enemy.
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death, not life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealved in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in this world but also in the world to come. Ephesians 1:21
God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. Psalm 30:1
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me. Micah 7:8
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. Psalm 138:7
By this I know that You delight in me: my enemy does not shout in triumph over me. Psalm 41:11
Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered. And let those who hate Him flee before Him. Psalm 68:1
Lead us not into temptation, but deliever us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Matthew 6:13
The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3