2000-04-01 - Prayer: The Strategy
What Hinders Your Prayers, Part 3
Last week we spoke of the arsenal God gives us through His Word and through prayer. This week we will discuss some of the tactics that Satan uses in his attempt to spiritually defeat us. We have been studying a really neat small book called Spiritual Warfare by Brian Brodersen, (General Editor Chuck Smith, The Word for Today Publishing © 1995 ISBN 0-936728-544 http://www.thewordfortoday.org) We have listed the same six targets listed in the book, while sharing some of our own experiences.
Have you ever felt like you were the worst person in the world? Ever feel completely defeated? Ever feel like no one would ever really love you? Have you ever felt like you had done something so terrible that you were beyond forgiveness?
I remember when I was a little girl I used to find a place to hide when I wanted to escape my family or I'd hide if I had done something wrong. I hid in a closet so full of toys that no one would find me for hours. I used to hide up in the attic and sit silently while they called my name. I wonder if we don't do that sometimes as Christians. Sit alone and scared wondering when someone is going to bring the big boom down on our heads. Praise God that His word is filled with hope!
Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those whoare in Christ Jesus"
If you have sinned remember: 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Doubt is nothing new. Satan planted the seed on earth way back in the Garden with Eve.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?
There was a time when I (Sandy) doubted the existence of God. I had spent about 15 years going from church to church and had heard so many things from so many people that I wondered if anyone knew what they were talking about. Satan loves to get us off track and keep us off. That is why it is so important to know the Word, so that then we are tempted to doubt, we can stand on the truth. Knowing the Word allows us to test what we hear and what we have learned against the scriptures (and it saves a lot of time too).
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
That verse has become so important to both of us for different reasons. I (Rick) had made some pretty bad choices as a teenager/young adult. I paid the price too. When everything around me seemed to fall apart and there seemed to be no hope, I was led to the Lord by a friend and I found hope in Him and in His Word. I hung onto verses like 2 Timothy 1:7.
For me (Sandy) I remember going through a time in my life where I really thought I was losing my mind. I was in and out of court and custody hearings, I was afraid to go to sleep at night. I was afraid to let my kids walk to a school bus stop alone. I could not think clearly and I began to get physically sick. Learning to lean on the Word and on God has been more of a process for me than it was for Rick, but I am learning that I can't handle things on my own, I need to lay them all down at the cross.
Evil thoughts and Imaginations
Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings ... "
There is a difference between an attack of the enemy, assaulting your mind with thoughts that make you sick during times of worship and prayer, and the sin mentioned in the above scripture.
When the thought is sinful, you may find some pleasure in it. When I was going through an awful divorce I (Sandy) actually thought of many rotten things I could do to hurt my then husband and his current girlfriend. I confess looking back that I liked the idea of hurting them back for the things they had done. But you know who was hurt by that hate...me. It is hard when someone is hurting you to remember that Satan has a grip on them. It is hard to remember that it is God who repays and that they need the same loving salvation that once lifted us from the pit. Those kind of evil thoughts are sin and need to be confessed.
However, if the thoughts that would come to your mind are completely deplorable, reject them as not being your own and realize who is behind the thought. Then once again falling back on the Word of God remember:
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Psalm 77:2-3 "In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: My hand was stretched out in the night, and slacked not; My soul refused to be comforted. 3 I remember God, and am disquieted: I complain, and my spirit is overwhelmed. Selah "
The Bible speaks of depression. There are different types of depression. "How to know just what type of depression a person is dealing with is not always easy; however, God has promised wisdom for those who ask Him for it (James 1:5). Once we discern the cause we can proceed with the treatment. If the cause is organic, the treatment will be primarily medical. If the cause is circumstantial, the treatment will be getting a Biblical perspective on your circumstances and trusting God. If the cause is sin, repentance is necessary. If the cause is satanic, the spiritual weapons of the Word of God and prayer are the only things that will avail." Brian Brodersen, Spiritual Warfare.
1 Peter 5:8-9 "Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, 9 whom withstand steadfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world."
Recognize temptation: 1 Cor. 10:12 " remember if any man thins he stands, let him take heed lest he fall".
Don't let yourself get into a tempting situation in the first place. Ask yourself these questions. Will it cause me to rationalize, compromise, or in any way disobey the Word of God. (Remember you have to know the Word to know if your disobeying it).
James 4:7-8 "Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
How do you resist the devil? By totally surrendering your life to God. Nothing less than complete submission will do. We can stand firm against Satan with the weapons God has given us, His Word and prayer. God, we thank you for your Word, for the power you have given us in prayer and for you kind and loving heart that continues to reach out to us.
Next week we will discuss Praying for God's will.
In His Service,