Tag Archives: spiritual battle

30 Days of Hopeful: Day 24

Let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet (1 Thessalonians 5:8). 

Helmet JPG

The most fitting description of the Christian life can be summed up in one word: war.  Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we see the theme of the “fight of faith.”  Did you know that hope can help us fight our battles?  The Bible tells us that hope is part of our armor.  Ephesians 6:11-17  describes each piece of our spiritual armor in detail, with hope being the helmet that protects our minds.

The most vulnerable part of any soldier in battle was his head.  Archaeologists have learned  that helmets were “purpose-built” to protect the wearer against the specific weapons he faced.  Ancient helmets were pointed at the top, to deflect the downward force of a club. But as time went on and the ax became popular as a weapon, the shape of the helmet was modified to counter the cutting edge of a downward-falling blade. Continue reading

Day Three: Stay Alert!

It’s Day Three of our 21 Day Watch.  I’ve already noticed a few answers to prayer since we started keeping watch. I hope you have, too.  Being watchful and alert helps us pray.  Prayer is how we get to know God, enjoy His presence, and obey His instructions.   The Bible teaches us that prayer is to be the focal point of our day.  That we’re to pray “without ceasing.”  That we’re to be vigilant and faithful and watchful in prayer.

In his short but power-packed little book How to Pray, nineteenth century author R. A. Torrey asks the question: “Why is this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer so needful?”  His answer? “There is a devil.”  Jesus knew this full well.  He had been an eye-witness to the rebellion in heaven.  He’d faced a power encounter in the desert with the Word of God as his only weapon to resist Satan’s temptations.

No wonder He talked about the importance of keeping watch.  “Watch and pray that you don’t fall into temptation,” he warned His disciples.  And be sure to “watch out for false teachers” who come at you in disguise, like “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”  He knew firsthand the dangers we would face.  He was also aware that the enemy of our soul would be always on the prowl.

It’s a dangerous world out there.  And I’m not talking about ISIS.  Daily, we face much more subtle battles with the world, the flesh, and the devil.  So why are we surprised when life feels like war?  We may not suffer the extreme level of persecution as our brothers and sisters living in oppressive nations.  But we have the same devil.  A pastor from a European church once remarked to a member of a secret house church in China that he was thankful he didn’t have persecution in his country.  To which the surprised house church member replied, “You mean they don’t allow the devil into Great Britain?”  You get the point.

So why pray? Why keep watch? Because there is a devil.  And he is continually looking for ways to ensnare the child of God.  The Bible challenges us over and over to be watchful.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world (1 Peter 5:8-9 ESV).

The victory is ours, promises the Bible.  Satan is a defeated foe. Our job is to stay alert and remain connected to Jesus, being faithful in our study of God’s Word and prayer, being always watchful and obedient to the Holy Spirit.  I especially like the way the Message Bible interprets this same passage:

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does (1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG). 

Dear friends, God gets the last word.  Yes He does! 



Day Twenty: Do you have something the devil wants?

We’re on Day Twenty of the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed.  Naghmeh Abedini has seen significant breakthroughs in her battle to bring Saeed home.  Some of you have experienced breakthroughs of your own in areas where you’ve felt stuck.  Perhaps you’ve gained spiritual insight, now able to see your problem from God’s perspective.

But I must admit.  Prayer and fasting are still something of a mystery to me. I wonder why the Bible encourages us to pray and fast when we encounter stubborn resistance. Could it be that some battles are harder than others because the enemy knows the stakes are so high?

My epiphany came the other day in a parking lot,  of all places.  I was heading home after a quick run for coffee with my husband.  From a distance, we saw what appeared to be a very aggressive bird battle under some nearby cedar trees.   As we got closer, we saw the target of this assault was a very large hawk. His noisy attackers appeared to be about half a dozen black crows. The angry birds darted in and out, fiercely attacking the hawk. Continue reading

Getting Unstuck

Do you have a problem that just won’t budge?  You feel stuck, no matter how much you pray and pray and pray. Perhaps you need a breakthrough. Originally a military term, breakthrough has come to mean sudden or dramatic success in an area where there has been repeated failure.  In short, a breakthrough gets you unstuck. 

Breakthroughs in the Bible often come after a period of fasting and prayer.  Jesus explained this to his disciples after their repeated failures to heal a  demon possessed boy.  “This kind,” Jesus pointed out, “only comes out by prayer and fasting.”  Daniel, Isaiah, and others discovered that fasting and prayer helped them get unstuck.

For the next 21 days, I’m joining  Naghmeh Abedini as she fasts and prays for a breakthrough for her husband Saeed. Will you join, too?  For over two years, Naghmeh and her children Rebekkah and Jacob have been stuck in the agony of missing Saeed.  Each day, they live with the  painful awareness of his suffering in an Iranian prison.  They desperately need to get unstuck.

It’s time for Pastor Saeed to be released from prison and returned to his family!

Beginning on Tuesday, January 6th, Naghmeh and others will follow the example in the Bible of Daniel (Daniel 10:3), who abstained from “rich food” as he prayed 21 days for a breakthrough.  Naghmeh is giving up coffee and chocolate.  I plan to go gluten free. Others are fasting from social media or television.  One friend intends to use this time to bridle her critical spirit and fast from judging others (ouch!).  Be creative and do what works for you.  Let your fast be a daily reminder to pray for Pastor Saeed.

While fasting and praying for Saeed,  I’m also devoting this 21 days to seeking breakthroughs in my own life.   I encourage you to do the same.  Make a list of three or four areas where you need to get unstuck.  I’ll post several blogs with helpful tips on prayer and fasting, along with stories from friends who have experienced some remarkable answers to prayer.

Breakthroughs require perseverance and strategy. Especially in the spiritual realm.  But remember, nothing is too hard for God.  He’s even referred to as the “Lord of the Breakthrough” (1 Chronicles 14:10).

Prayer: Lord of the Breakthrough, we thank you and praise you for your powerful Presence at work in the life of Pastor Saeed and his family, even while he has suffered in an Iranian prison.  Lord, we cry out for his soon release!  Amen.