Prayer And The Sword Of The Lord
(Teaching Your Family To Win The Battle)
By Kim Butts
Prayer defeats the enemy, and He knows it! Praying together corporately as a family causes him to shake with fear! So, what better tactic for him to use as an attempt to disrupt and erode the spiritual strength of our families than to attack our confidence in God’s ability to answer prayer? To thwart these attacks, we must have the faith to believe that God will do what He says He will do: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15).
Does your family believe this is true? Our confidence must continually be in the Lord’s ability and desire to hear and answer prayer. As a family, we must stand firm against the enemy, clothe ourselves with the armor God has given us (Ephesians 6:10-18), and do battle against the enemy’s schemes to sideline us from our assignments to advance God’s kingdom! The defensive (protective) pieces of the armor are vital: the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, shoes of the Gospel of peace, and the shield of faith. However, it is the offensive pieces of the armor that allow us to attack and do damage to the powers of darkness! The sword is the Word of God and prayer gives us the strength to wield the Word!
Has the enemy deflated the spiritual strength of your home? Has he been able to cause division, depression or defeat to creep in among you? It’s time to recognize his attacks against us and fight back! We have only a short time in which to carry out God’s plans and purposes for our lives here on this earth. We must use our time and energy wisely and excel in things that are eternally significant! Standing firm against the devil’s schemes is harder than we think. He is so insidiously evil, that he can persuade the children and adults in any home to doubt that God will hear and answer prayer, if we are not careful!
He can even distract us or dissuade us from praying at all. He can convince us that God already knows the outcome of everything, so why pray? He can whisper into our ear that praying really doesn’t make a difference, or doesn’t have any power to do what God’s Word clearly says it can and will do. If the devil can keep us from praying, or erode our confidence in the power of prayer, he will have won a major victory over us! But, "…the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). We must stand firm upon this verse, believing that the Father’s Word is always true and infallible! He has the last word, NOT Satan, the father of lies and darkness and deceit.
Don’t allow complacency to creep into your household! Don’t be tempted to let the spiritual training of your children be sucked away in favor of other activities that have nothing to do with God’s kingdom work! The hour is critical! The fields are ripe with the harvest, and we MUST pray with confidence and boldness! Jesus commands it in His Word (see Matthew 9:37-38).
Our Confidence Is in Christ Jesus
Do you need Jesus to renew or restore your confidence so that your family can intercede in the face of the enemy faithfully and continually? Consider praying through the following Scriptures:
"For You have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth" (Psalm 71:5). Lord, since before I was born, You knew me. You have known my entire household intimately because You are our Creator. Ignite the flame of hope in our hearts, Lord Jesus, and help us to place our complete confidence in Your ability to answer our prayers!
"We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first"(Hebrews 3:14). Lord Jesus, give us strength to stand against the devil’s tricks so that we might live strong lives for the sake of Your kingdom.
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised" (Hebrews 10:35-36). Lord, help our family to keep our eyes upon You so that we will not allow the enemy to discourage us or lie to us. Give us the strength we need to persevere in Your perfect will for us so that we will receive what You have promised – a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8).
"And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming" (1 John 2:28). Father, build up our faith and our confidence so that we will continue to persevere in all things. We want to stand before You as servants to whom You will wish to say, "Well done!"
"Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared" (Proverbs 3:25-26). Gracious King, help us to be unafraid of what the future holds, knowing that Your hand is upon us. Keep our feet from being snared by evil.
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:7-8). Lord, we trust in You! Bless us by allowing us to be strong trees that bear much fruit for Your kingdom.
Conversation with the Father
We must have confidence in our approachable, grace-filled Father, who, through His Son, Jesus Christ, made a way for us to come before His throne to have fellowship and loving conversations with Him. The following Scriptures speak of our confidence that God hears and answers our prayers:
"In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence" (Ephesians 3:12). Thank You, Father, that we can converse with You in prayer freely, continually and confidently.
"Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). Righteous One, help us to picture Your throne of grace, that we might be reminded of the way You show mercy and grace to us when we are in need! As we come confidently to You with our requests, help us to speak with reverence, always in awe of Your holiness.
"Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him" (1 John 3:21-22). Oh, Father, our family desires to obey all of Your perfect commands and to do what pleases You. We will confidently trust Your Word that when we do so, we will receive whatever we ask for according to Your good, pleasing and perfect will.
Fighting the Right Enemy
In Psalm 27, David has given us a wonderful example of a prayer that is a celebration of his full confidence in the Lord’s ability to hear and answer. In the first three verses, he proclaimed his intent to cast aside fear of what the evil men could do to him and place his life into the hands of the Father: "The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident" (Psalm 27:1-3).
The Lord is our salvation and stronghold. There is no need to fear the enemy, who sets traps for us – sometimes through other people; however, we must always remember that our enemies are not flesh and blood. The enemy often uses people to do his work, but they are not our enemy. Remember that Satan is the true adversary. We must pray for people whom the enemy chooses to use to do damage through words or deeds, because they are being deceived by the father of lies: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).
Seeking the Lord
David, after proclaiming his full confidence in the Lord, only had one request of Him: "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple" (Psalm 27:4). There are many things David could have asked of the Lord; however, he chose to get to know his Father better. What kinds of things do you ask God? Do you long for the kind of relationship David had with Him? Does your family desire to gaze upon Him continually? Check your passion to seek after God so that your family will follow your example.
Trusting the Lord
As Psalm 27 continues, David knows without a doubt that the Lord will keep him safe and that He will give him victory over the enemy in the face of danger: "For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD" (Psalm 27:5-6).
The rest of Psalm 27 speaks of calling upon the Lord and trusting in Him to hear and answer in the face of evil. It concludes with a powerful admonition to us to be confident as we wait upon God: "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD" (Psalm 27:13-14). Prayer is a powerful weapon. The partnership of prayer and the Word beats back the enemy. Teach your family to pray God’s Word with confidence! Their very lives depend upon it, and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom on this earth is fueled by it!
I believe the author of Hebrews gives a perfect picture of confident prayer before the throne of the Father: "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:19-24). Would you teach your family how to reverently, yet confidently come into the Most Holy Place? Instruct them how to repentantly draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. Remind them that God is always faithful to His promises and encourage one another to obediently carry out the deeds of Christ Jesus. Teach them how to wield the offensive weapons of spiritual warfare, the power of prayer and the Word of God! Resist the devil in this way, and he will surely flee from you!