By: Justine Johnson
Editors note: This is the second of a series called The Real Truth about Prayer.
If you could create the ideal suit of armor for a superhero, what would it look like? After watching The Avengers this summer, I think my design would be a combination of Ironman’s body suit, Captain America’s shield, and Thor’s hammer. I know, that sounds very impractical, but quite frankly, we are designing a superhero suit, and impracticality makes sense. Plus, who can deny the power and the strength of each hero’s weapon?
It seems as though we as a culture have romanticized the battlefield; what we don’t seem to take into consideration is the seriousness of war. That being said, we should keep in mind the spiritual battle that is taking place at all times. We are told in the Word that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). But what does this have to do with prayer?
As our struggle is against the forces of darkness, we need to have a weapon that will match our opponent’s. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), meaning that our tactics must revolve around truth. What better way to fight with truth than to pray? “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
There have been times in my life when praying was all that I could do to cope with my struggles. I have fought against nightmares for about six years now, and sometimes my prayers would consist of “God, just shut off my brain for one hour so I can sleep!” The helplessness that I would have felt without the reassurance of God’s listening ear is overwhelming.
But prayer hasn’t always been a desperate plea for peace of mind. When I was about thirteen, my mentor was going to have surgery early in the morning, and I had told myself that I would wake up in time to pray for her as she was going into the operation room. Yeah, I’ve always been a little over-ambitious. Sure enough, I woke up at about 6 AM with the best intentions. However, being more sensible than my admirable purposes, my mind was still in sleep mode. Instead of praying for my mentor’s safety during surgery, I began praying for the people in the dream that I was quite obviously still having.
Thank the Lord we have a Holy Spirit who intercedes for us—my sleep talking probably made as much sense as Chewbacca’s snarky comments to Han Solo. My point is that while we do have a serious spiritual battle raging all around us, the enemy has already been defeated and God does have a sense of humor. No worries if you go crazy cats with your prayer.
Here are a few things that we should keep in mind when praying against spiritual darkness:
1. Satan is not omniscient. Pray aloud—I believe that Satan cannot hear us if we are shouting in silence. In addition, it gives us more confidence in what we are saying if we speak it.
2. Claim the Name of Jesus Christ. At the sound of Jesus’ name, the devil is forced to flee. Speak His Name and Satan has no power over your life. This truth has given me so much peace in times of fear or doubt.
3. Pray with confidence. You are speaking to the God of grace—what do you have to fear? Pray believing that your words are being heard and will be answered by Him; I have seen so many prayers answered in obvious ways.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). The only way to properly prepare for a spiritual attack is to pray when things are going well—or even better, when nothing seems to be happening whatsoever. The fortification around our hearts and minds will only grow stronger if we add bricks of prayer to the walls.