Warfare Prayer

October 5, 2014    Ephesians 6: 10 – 20     Strategic Prayer

 

         God has told us to pray.   I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continuously.   Ephesians 6:18 and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, with this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.   I Timothy 2 I urge then first of all that requests, prayers intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.   This is good and pleases God our savior who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.   Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.    Jesus said men should always pray and not faint.   Jesus in several places in the gospels invites us to pray.    Hebrews says to come boldly before God.   The God that we come before is a loving heavenly Father who wants us to trust him.   But we also need to remember that there are hindrances to prayer.  Psalm 66 the Psalmist says if I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.   Sin hinders prayer.  

     In war there is strategy.  What was the strategy that the United States used to end the war with Japan in WWII?    History records that on August 6, 1945 after four long years of war with the Axis of evil and after years of research and development President Harry S. Truman gave the order.   United States troops on board the B-29 plane, the Enola Gay, dropped the Atomic Bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”, on Hiroshima, Japan. One minute after being dropped, the bomb exploded into a fireball with a magnitude of which had never been seen before!   That and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later brought a clear and decisive end to years of death and destruction during the Second World War.    In WWII a group of Christians prayed 3 things one of which was that Germany would not invade England but would instead invade Russia.  Things went OK with the German offensive until winter set in.  The German engineering was so close intolerance that their tanks and equipment did not run well in the cold weather.   It was a huge setback for the Germans.  

      Sadaam wanted to protect his air planes in the first Gulf War and he built big bunkers with 15 feet of reinforced concrete over his planes to protect them.   The military developed a bomb that would not explode on impact but would explode later.  The bomb I think weighed 5,000 pounds and broke though the cement and then exploded inside of the bunkers thus virtually destroying the opponent’s air force.   Sometimes in war, the situation calls for the most powerful weapon at your disposal. It has been said in this battle against the spiritual forces of evil . . . in this battle for the souls of men and women- the most powerful weapon at our disposal, SADLY, is often the weapon we pull out last and it is prayer.   

    We use strategy in our everyday life.  I have back pain so I went to the chiropractor.   That did not seem to help so I go the doctor and get x rays.  I was put on steroids and that did not seem to help.  I go back to the chiropractor and no gain.   I am approved for physical therapy.   I go to physical therapy and that changed things and I seemed to improve a little bit. I seem to be getting worse and not better.   I had a staph infection once that laid me up but the major symptoms are not there so do I ask for a blood test for that?   Do I ask for an MRI that may show something that was not on the x rays?   Is it a spiritual attack?  Is the Lord just humbling me?  It may just be a process and my body is fine and healing.    A person just has to work through the issues and pray.   We need strategies in our life.   We need spiritual strategies also. 

    Edward N Gross wrote a book Miracles Demons and Spiritual Warfare and on the front cover of the book he writes an urgent call for discernment.  Dr. Neil T. Anderson book Walking Through the Darkness on that front cover writes discerning God’s Guidance in the new age.  Timothy M Warner wrote a book Spiritual Warfare and here are some of his chapter titles.   Chapter 8 is attacks in the physical realm and 9 attacks in the spiritual realm chapter 11 standing against Satan’s schemes and chapter 12 the ultimate weapon.  What is the ultimate weapon in his mind?   The first words in that chapter are prayer is where the action is.   He writes in that chapter sometimes we hear people say I can’t preach, I can’t teach, I can’t sing, about all I can do is pray.   He writes that is like a soldier saying I don’t have a machine gun, I do not have a bazooka, I do not have a cannon, and all I have is an intercontinental ballistic missile.   Prayer is where the action is.   John Dawson’s book Taking Our Cites for God that I mentioned last week has on the front cover how to break spiritual strongholds.  We need wisdom and strategy.   Ask God for a verse to pray for that person you are trying to reach. 

    I think there are some great examples of strategic prayer in scripture.   There were needs and people prayed and God answered.   God would speak into the situation and give direction.  When the Children of Israel lost their battle with Ai God gave Joshua direction.  When Joshua followed directions from the Lord then God blessed again.   They easily took the city.   In II Samuel 21 we read during the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord.   I do not think that David waited for 3 full years before he prayed.   Some answers from heaven take time.   It is a process.  The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”   The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.)   If we seek God with all our heart God will speak and he will guide and lead.  My sheep hear my voice Jesus said.  

     David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”  David wanted the blessings from them and not the curse.    You see that Israel agreed to protect them and not destroy them and then Saul tries to destroy them.  It is not good to break covenants and agreements.   What can we do for you so you will bless us David asks?  Curses can be powerful.  Broken relationships need to be mended as possible.  Sometimes they cannot be healed because of unforgiveness.   You see David’s strategy here.   What do we need to do so that God can bless us with rain?  We want to be restored and how can we get there.  

   I want to share 1 more illustration from the Old Testament.   This passage is mentioned 3 times I think in the OT.  Isaiah 37 is one of the passages where the King of Assyria comes against Jerusalem with a huge army.  Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it.   Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.

And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.     Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.   “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands.    They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.     Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God. 

     Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word the Lord has spoken against him: “Virgin Daughter Zion despises and mocks you.    Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee.     Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed?   Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride?  Against the Holy One of Israel!   Hezekiah prayed for the glory and honor of God.   God says here because you prayed this is what I am going to do and in verse 36 the angel of the lord went out and put to death a 185K soldiers.   I would call that an intercontinental ballistic missile.   Prayer is powerful.  Prayer changes things.  Prayer can prevent bad things from happening.  I would call Hezekiah’s prayer strategic and it was powerful.   Jerusalem was delivered. 

    Strategic warfare prayer is taking on new meaning today.  Peter Wagner in his book Warfare Prayer talks about spiritual mapping.  Spiritual mapping begins with research.  He talks about Larry Lea going to Los Angeles to break spiritual powers.  Larry fervently prays and through prayer he discerns that there are 4 principal warring spirits over the area.  He determined that there was the spirit of religion, witchcraft, violence, and greed.  He leads 7,500 believers in prayer against those specific spirits.  Spiritually you want to target the main thing in prayer that will make the most difference.  Peter writes in the book Tom White says begin research into the ideologies religious practices and cultural sins that may invite demonic bondage in your locality.   For those you pray for you could do some spiritual mapping.  Are there any things in their life that would invite demon activity?  I think that in our society that there are a number of them.   Which ones would you say?   I think drugs, alcohol, rock or bad music, some movies.   A Christian gal in this city told me that a demon went right out from that movie to her.  That is kind of scary isn’t it?    For Christians who are walking with the Lord you can do spiritual mapping.  You can pray Lord why is this Christian struggling with this issue? 

    Peter talks about mapping Guadalajara when he was there.  The city of 6 million people had 160 churches in it. 
The general area had a Church or Christian population of 10 to 20%.   Something was wrong.  If it had a Christian population of 5% it would have 1,500 churches and not the 160 that the city had.  He prayed about it and asks God for wisdom.  When he got back to the hotel he got a cup of coffee and picked up a magazine and he discovered the seat of Satan in the city.  At the center of the city was a plaza which was called the devil’s corner.  He took another pastor with him and as the approached the center of town Peter prayed out loud for protection.  He felt chills go up and down his spine.  There was a beautiful marble engraved compass pointing to the north the south the east and the west and through that Satan had symbolically claimed control of the city.   The pastor with him said I have been there 100 times and never felt the blanket of oppression that he felt that time.  Here was a pastor who was oblivious to the spiritual atmosphere of his city. Many of us are.   Peter told him you went before you went as a tourist.  If you go in warfare the demonic notices.   Pastors and leaders experience some warfare going to church while most folks just come.  God set people free and speak your word.  When you pray asking God to break walls and barriers you become a target.   There are casualties in warfare folks.  It is strongly believed that there is a satanic power set up on a hill in Farmington that I have been somewhat involved with.  It is a spiritual disaster there.   We have a wonderful pastor who was hit with sickness and he can’t preach any more.  Why do some cities do better than other cities?   Why do we have cites or towns in New Hampshire with no Christian church or witness in them and perhaps an even greater question is why don’t we care?  

    In sharing this I am trusting that some of us will be more involved in prayer and be wiser in our prayers.  I am trusting and asking God that you will be in prayer as you come to church and as you pray for the church which is your church and the Lord’s church.  We are in a war and we want to be successful spiritually.   As one church said it is not just being a praying church but a church that experiences answers to prayer.  We want to build the kingdom of God.