I once saw an old Tarzan movie in which the famed ape man was peering at a droplet of water through a microscope. The instrument had been brought to Africa by Jane’s father, Professor Porter. Tarzan was quite shaken to see that the water he drank daily was teeming with all kinds of organisms, invisible to the naked eye.
Similarly, the Bible reveals that our spiritual atmosphere is filled with unseen enemies—the real source of our spiritual battles. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT).
I wonder how we’d react if we could catch a glimpse into the invisible heavenly places. Like Tarzan, I imagine we’d be shocked by the creatures we saw. The Bible doesn’t spend a lot of time describing this spiritual realm. It does, however, give us instructions on how to do battle. We’re given a detailed list of spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:10-20. James 4:2 encourages us to “submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.”
But one of the most powerful weapons against the powers of darkness is the weapon of praise. Giving thanks helps us fight our spiritual foes—something worth emphasizing again as we bring our 30 Days of Thankful to a close.
The New Testament is filled with examples of the power of thanksgiving. We see Paul and Silas singing and praising God in a Philippian jail—their chains fell off, the jailer accepted Jesus, and his whole family became believers.
The Old Testament, too, tells stories of the power of praise: “After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!’ At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves” (2 Chronicles 20:21-22).
Perhaps you’re facing a spiritual battle today. You’ve resisted, and prayed, and fought the good fight. But you’re weary. This may be your strategic moment to simply thank God and praise Him for His goodness. Let Him fight this battle for you. Rest in His power—even if you don’t fully understand how He works. Just remember: the devil and his minions hate praise. So if you can stand firm and continue to thank God, I believe you will notice that the devil flees. After all, he is allergic to praise.
3 Comments | tags: Praise., prayer, spiritual warfare, thanks, victory | posted in Arm Yourself with Spiritual Strength, Praise and Thanksgiving, Pray with Authority, Wake Up and Pray! Be Alert
The belief that germs caused disease was considered “ridiculous fiction” by many scientists in the late 1800’s. Louis Pasteur and others finally convinced the medical world that many diseases were caused by microorganisms, too small to see, which invaded the body. That understanding of the link between germs and disease led to a simple, but life-saving practice. Doctors began washing their hands to avoid spreading germs from patient to patient. Disease dramatically dropped.
I wonder if keeping watch, along with our practice of daily prayer and Bible reading, is somewhat like washing our hands. It protects us from spiritual enemies we can’t see with our natural eyes. It’s daily. It’s a discipline. It’s usually not dramatic. We can’t even see the germs we’re guarding against. Yet, remaining watchful and alert may protect us from unseen spiritual invaders.
As we roll into Day Sixteen of our 21 Day Watch, I’d like to think that our increased alertness has made us more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and warnings. That we’ve been protected from enemies we may never see.
God doesn’t usually let us see into the invisible world. That suits me just fine. I have a feeling if we could see the evil forces still crawling the earth, we’d be terrified. But He does show us how to guard ourselves against what the Bible refers to as the “powers and principalities of the air.” He reminds us: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
A dear friend of mine is head of a powerful ministry in Africa. One day, I was prompted to pray for my friend. His life is often on the line as he takes the gospel into dangerous places. I mentioned to him a couple of days later that I had prayed for him on a specific day. “That’s intriguing,” he replied. “Because the day after you prayed, the building where our headquarters is located was broken into at 3am in the morning. Every business in that building had their offices ransacked and lost all their equipment. But for some reason, our headquarters wasn’t even touched.” Then he smiled, “Now that’s what I call preventive prayer!”
Preventive prayer. I like that term. What if our prayers, no matter how seemingly insignificant, may be guarding against evil invasions or protecting someone we love? What if our watchfulness makes us more alert to hear God’s whispers and sensitive to His nudges to pray? Friends, there’s no such thing as a small prayer.
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12)
1 Comment | tags: Ephesians 6, faith, preventive prayer, protection, spiritual warfare | posted in Answer God’s Call, Arm Yourself with Spiritual Strength, Be Specific when You Ask, Wake Up and Pray! Be Alert
It’s not too late to jump on board as we begin Day Four of the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed. The Bible teaches that fasting and prayer can help us break through stubborn problems. Fasting helps us cast those troubles into God’s strong hands.
Yesterday, I talked about the importance of approaching a fast with humility. When we are feeling weak, it’s easier to lean into God’s power. By giving up food or social media or whatever, we have little reminders throughout the day to pray. Think I’ll have some chocolate…oops…guess not. That’s my trigger to pray for Pastor Saeed.
It’s never easy to say “No” to hunger pains, or shopping, or Facebook, or TV. But this 21 Day Fast requires an extra measure of the Holy Spirit’s strength. That’s because we’re fasting for something of tremendous importance: Pastor Saeed’s release from prison.
You’re also fasting and praying for strongholds in your own life to be defeated. Our battle is a spiritual one. The Bible says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood and things we can see, 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.”
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:13 NIV).”
Take a closer look at the the spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6:10-17. You’ll realize the armor that we are “putting on” is Jesus. Friends, only Jesus can defeat the enemy of our soul. The Bible says we are to resist the devil and trust the Lord to gain the victory. That means that our fight is to stand in the faith that Jesus accomplished our victory on the cross. Prayer and fasting drive that truth deep.
A spiritual warfare tactic to memorize as you pray and fast: “Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NIV).” The devil is a defeated foe. Stand your ground.
Leave a comment | tags: battle, fasting, Pastor Saeed, prayer, promises of God, resistance, spiritual warfare | posted in Arm Yourself with Spiritual Strength, Be Specific when You Ask, Pray with Authority, Wake Up and Pray! Be Alert
Do you ever feel like some problems just won’t budge? You can’t seem to win your spiritual battle, no matter how much you pray and pray and pray? Perhaps you need a breakthrough.
Breakthrough was first used as a military term to signify an offensive thrust past the defensive lines of warfare. The word entered the realm of common speech during the technological age, often used to describe a sudden discovery or invention. Breakthroughs usually occur only after repeated failures.
Leave a comment | tags: battle, believe, breakthrough, enemy, faith, King David, perseverance, prayer, spiritual warfare, strategy, trust, wisdom | posted in Answer God’s Call, Arm Yourself with Spiritual Strength, Be Specific when You Ask, Pray with Authority