In “When Temptation Looms, Part 7”, we discovered that in addition to the defensive weapons God has given us, He has also provided us with two offensive ones. We learned that the first was the “Sword of the Spirit”, and today we will see that the second one is the power of prayer.
But not just any kind of prayer!
Sadly we often specialize in locating specks of sawdust in the eyes of the ones around us when we pray. We fall into the devil’s trap of judgmentalism:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matt 7:3-5 NIV)
The Message Bible puts this message in an even more pointed fashion:
“It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” (Matt 7:3-5 The Message)
Prayer is not powerful when we are only seeking “specks of sawdust”. The true power of prayer comes in praying “flowers”, by praying “in the Spirit”: “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.” (Eph 6:18 NIV)
It’s quite interesting that both of these offensive weapons are only powerful if used through God’s Spirit. We need to realize that we, as humans, can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible:
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph 1:18-22 NIV)
Praying “in the Spirit on all occasions”, especially for one another, will provide us with the kind of resurrection power that Paul mentions above. Prayer is powerful, friends! It connects heaven to earth. When we are in prayer, we are in the very presence of God, our ally, our loving Heavenly Father. He, who has authority, will provide us with the power to stand firm against the attacks of the devil! He will provide victory to those we pray for!
In my Internet ministry, I am often introduced to individuals via email who are at the end of their rope. Often these people are so hopelessly depressed and utterly discouraged by their circumstances that the only way they can see “out” is suicide.
Anyone who has had to deal with someone who is seriously contemplating suicide knows that there is no human way that we can prevent them from making this fatal decision. Even more futile is help via email, when you are sometimes thousands of miles away, and more often than not, they don’t even reveal their real names!
There is something that happens, however, when I have the privilege to fervently pray in the Spirit for these people. I can feel a presence assuring me that God will take care of this child, and I am comforted to know that this desperate person is in the best possible hands: God’s!
I can’t tell you how many of these suicides have been aborted. Not by anything I’ve said, but simply by relying on the Holy Spirit in prayer! Prayer is powerful! Wow!
With these facts in mind, I am left asking myself why more believers don’t pray more often. Not only do they have the privilege to be in contact with their loving Heavenly Father, but He provides also the necessary “dynamite” for resolving the problems!
When we do not delight in communicating directly with our loving Heavenly Father, we fall prey so easily to the devil’s schemes; but if we would only follow the advice God has given us through His Word, we would be able to recognize the power God has provided us with, and we would then be able to live victoriously as well as make a difference in other people’s lives! Remember the words of our Lord and Savior? “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:35 The Message)
Two simple and powerful offensive weapons that God has provided for us: His Word and prayer. So powerful and life-changing when wielded by God’s Spirit, yet so often neglected, and worse still, so often wielded of our own power, thus rendering them powerless . . .
“You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world.” (1 John 4:4 Message)
Would you like to join me and practice using these two wonderful weapons through God’s Spirit? Would you like to begin to pray flowers of love over those around you by praying in the Spirit? Or would you prefer to keep searching your brother’s eye for that speck of sawdust?
(To access the entire “When Temptation Looms” devotional series, please click here.)