Paul had many years of battle experience in his mission to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He tells us solemnly that Christians are engaged in a spiritual battle, the enemy of whom is the devil and his multitude of evil spirits. ˇ§For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, 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.ˇ¨ (Ephesians 6:12) We cannot rely on ourselves to defeat this dark lord of the spiritual domain (Satan the ancient serpent), but on the commander of salvation, Jesus Christ. For He has entered the house of the strong man and tied him up (Matthew 12:29), and destroyed him who holds the power of death to free us that were held in slavery all our lives by sin (Hebrews 2:14-15). Christ is able to overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the testimony of the Word (Revelations 12:11).
When discussing spiritual warfare, Paul stresses that Christians must assign more importance to defense rather than attack. Of the complete set of spiritual armour bestowed to us by God, five pieces are defensive: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. Even the sword of the spirit (i.e. the Word of God) can be used by us for self-defense and repelling the attack of the enemy. For the Lord knows well our weaknesses, so He provided sufficient defensive equipment in order that the spiritual demon can cause no harm.
Although we have this perfectly complementary suit of armour, Paul still encourages us to be alert in prayer - ˇ§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.ˇ¨ (Ephesians 6:18) ˇV so that none will fall into the hands of Satan. The secret to winning when two armies clash is not always superior and efficient weaponry, but the wisdom of the commanders in employing military tactics and the loyalty and bravery of the soldiers. We have a Lord Jesus Christ who has already triumphed over temptation, sin, death and Satan. He tells us that the way to victory in the spiritual battle is foremost by the vigilance and prayers of the warriors. He teaches the disciples to petition to God in their prayers, ˇ§do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.ˇ¨ (Matthew 6:13) On the most critical night of the spiritual battle, Christ stayed alert and prayed alone in the Garden of Gethsemane. Although He twice reminded the apostles to ˇ§pray, that you may not enter into temptationˇ¨ (Luke 22:40, 46), they all fell asleep because of their melancholy and weakness of flesh. When Christians pray in alertness and receive the protection of God, they will face less of a chance of temptation by Satan, and increase their ability to testify for God.
Soon after leaving Egypt, the Israelites fought the Amaleks in the wilderness. So long as Moses held up his hands and prayed at the top of the hill, the people were winning at the foot of the hill (Exodus 17:11). We see then that praying and engaging in battle are intimately related, especially spiritual battles. Holding gospel services at the church or passing out Bible tracts at the mall are all spiritual battles. Itˇ¦s like wresting lost souls out of the hands of Satan through Jesus Christ. Yet we often neglect our spiritual fortifications at the church. This can be seen from the low rate of attendance at our Wednesday evening prayer meetings. Other religions and people in the New Age movement also pray for blessings, but only Christians consider praying as a spiritual defensive maneuver. If we pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, He will do what we ask, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. That is the Lordˇ¦s promise (John 14:13).
Dear brothers and sisters. April is the month of prayer at the Church. This writer hopes that everyone will follow the items of intercession proposed each day by the Church, and stay alert and pray ardently for the self, family, church, and the Kingdom of God, erecting a good defense in the spiritual battle.
By: Daniel To