Summary: God clearly tells us that the conflict we're waging is a spiritual battle...and our weapons are not carnal. But they're mighty...to the pulling down of strongholds. There is no greater work you can do for your family...your church...your pastor...or you
THE WEAPON OF PRAYER
Once there was a man who went bear hunting. As he trudged through the forest looking for a bear, he came to a large and steep hill. He climbed the hill and just as he was pulling himself up over the last outcropping of rocks, a huge bear met him nose to nose.
The bear let out a growl that scared the man so bad that he lost his balance and began to fall down the hill...with the bear right behind him in hot pursuit. On the trip down the hill the man lost his gun. When he finally stopped at the bottom of the hill he realized that his leg was broken...and there was no way he could escape.
The man, who had never been any too religious (in fact he was hunting on a Sunday morning)...began to pray. He said, "God, if you'll make this bear a Christian, I'll be happy with whatever comes my way for the rest of my life."
The bear was no more than three feet away from the man when it stopped dead in its tracks, looked up to the heavens with a puzzled look, then fell to its knees, folded its paws together and began to pray. And the man began to get excited...until he heard the bear say....."Lord, bless this food of which I'm about to partake. Amen"
Today we are going to talk about prayer...but in a context different than we may often think of it. We've been looking at the subject of spiritual warfare, and we've seen that for us to be able to cast down Satan's strongholds we need to have the appropriate spiritual weapons.
2 Corinthians 10:4 tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal...which means they aren't physical or material...not bombs or bullets or tanks or planes...but they do have divine power to demolish Satan's strongholds. We're beginning to go on the offensive.
And I believe that Scripture reveals 4 main spiritual weapons of attack...4 powerful weapons that when used properly will enable us to see complete and total victory in the battle for righteousness and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
These are prayer...praise...preaching...and testimony. Today we will look at the first and most important area - which is prayer. Now I want to qualify myself by saying that prayer is much more than a weapon. There are many different aspects of prayer...but I firmly believe that this is the most powerful of all the weapons God has committed to us.
Turn with me to Ephesians 6...which should be quite familiar to most by now...and I want to look at verse 18. Beginning in verse 10 Paul speaks about the armor of God...and he lists the 6 items of defensive armor, which we talked about in detail. But then he says in verse 18: "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."
This is the place where Paul moves from the defensive to offensive. It's no accident that this comes immediately after the list of defensive armor. Here he mentions the greatest of all weapons of attack... which is prayer.
Since we're speaking of warfare...it may be good to think of prayer as an ICBM. This is a missile that is launched by an advanced guidance system from one continent to destroy an assigned target on a completely different continent. For years we had many of these aimed at the former Soviet Union, as they had at us.
Prayer is like that ICBM...because with it we can launch an assault on Satan's strongholds anywhere...even in the heavenlies. Prayer has the capability of reaching and affecting every place in existence. Prayer can shake both heaven and earth when it is given according to the pattern set forth in Scripture.
A good example of a prayer of attack is found in Acts 12:1-6. (READ) In this passage we find that the church had come under the persecution of King Herod. John's brother James, who was one of the leaders in the church in Jerusalem, had already been executed by Herod. And now Peter also got arrested and was scheduled to be killed as well.
Here we find Peter locked up in a maximum security prison. And Herod was so determined that no one would be able to rescue him that he had 16 soldiers watching him...in squads of 4..day and night.
And it is implied that one soldier was chained on both sides of either Peter's hands or his feet. So every possible precaution was taken...and it seemed that any type of rescue would be totally impossible. BUT...the church was praying.
Now, one thing we can all probably agree on is that a crisis adjusts our priorities. And this is especially true in the area of prayer. When things are going along in a normal sort of fashion, we may say a prayer during our quiet time or at meals or before bed. And to this point I don't know how much or how earnestly the church in Jerusalem was praying...