by Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel –
We don’t often discuss the spiritual battles that go on in our lives. At the ARC, where we serve as chaplains, the subject is very real. Recently, we visited Salvationists in Nigeria where the subject was also a very real concern. Spiritual warfare—Satan vs. the power of God—goes on everywhere. The power of God is infinitely greater, but both affect us.
Satan is out “to kill, steal, and destroy.” He is bent on our destruction, and goes about “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8). But God supplies “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Satan’s neatest and most successful strategy is to lull us to sleep about this warfare for our souls.
Paul reminds us that we struggle “against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). But since God’s power is greater than Satan’s, we are safe in God’s hands. “The One who is within you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
PRAYER is the means by which God’s power is brought to our defense so that we can stand up against the devil’s schemes. When Peter was being severely tested by Satan, Jesus came to his defense with prayer. He said, “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32).
We are engaged in a war that we must fight on our knees. Prayer is the power by which we are equipped to overcome the devil. To face him in our own strength is folly and a sure pathway to defeat.
A mighty prayer warrior once said, “Do you realize that there is nothing the devil dreads so much as prayer? His great concern is to keep us from praying. He loves to see us ‘up to our eyes’ in work—provided we do not pray. He doesn’t even fear if we are eager Bible students—provided, we are little in prayer. Someone has wisely said, ‘Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray’” (The Kneeling Christian).
The kingdom of God is built by prayer, and by prayer the kingdom of Satan is destroyed. Where there is no prayer, there are no great works and there is no building of the kingdom. So we need to pray much that God will be glorified and his kingdom may come in all its fullness.
Prayer that asks for God to move in a situation or in someone’s life is spiritual warfare. When we pray for our children and grandchildren to become men and women of God, that is spiritual warfare.
If I pray that our corps will become a “house of prayer,” that is spiritual warfare. Why? Because when God answers these requests, they are exactly opposite of what Satan wants to see happen. When my requests are answered, Satan is defeated in these areas.
Spiritual warfare expert, Tom White, reminds us: “Any saint who gets serious about prayer, worship, interceding for the lost, and bringing in an end-time harvest of souls is a target for enemy opposition and may begin to feel the pressure of this resistance in his or her own walk with God, home, and relationships. As this kind of saint, you become a kingdom ‘asset’ that threatens Satan’s status quo. The enemy has a file on you that circulates in the ‘situation room’ of hell. Fortunately, God has a file on you, too, and it’s tucked away in the courts of heaven.”
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Paul gives us this further instruction: “We do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
At times we may be led to confront demonic forces, but primarily we do warfare by practicing these things:
First, simply develop your relationship with God. Get to know him more intimately through prayer and reading his Word. As your relationship with him grows, you will naturally pray more about what’s on God’s heart.
Second, develop an attitude of humility. Some people become cocky when engaging in direct spiritual warfare. Perhaps this is because they recognize our authority in Christ, which is Biblically true, but that attitude can quickly turn into pride. 1 Peter 5:6-10 cautions:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time…Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Third, read, meditate upon, and memorize these two warfare passages of Scripture: Psalm 91 and Ephesians 6:10-18.
Let God guide you, and then you will experience prayer power!