Sacred Partnership With God In Prayer
By Wesley L. Duewel
God has chosen to accomplish many of His sovereign purposes with our help. Paul repeatedly reminds us that God has appointed us to a sacred partnership for the purpose of gospel advance. Paul emphasizes our sacred responsibility to work with God. Every form of obedience to God is urgent, but there are many situations in which we are limited. We may not be at the place of the need. We may lack special skills or training. But we can always work with God through prayer.
Through prayer we can cooperate with him in any place, at any time, and for any kind of need. We are created to pray. We were saved by God’s grace to enter into a ministry of prayer. We have the liberty, the right and the position of official children of God, called to work with God, chosen for this specific purpose.
Furthermore, God said in Exodus 19:5-6, "Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests." Isaiah prophesied, "You will be called priests of the Lord" (Isa. 61:6). Why did Jesus make us "priests" to serve God (Rev. 1:6)? Why are all Christians called "a holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5), "a royal priesthood" (verse 9)?
Obviously part of God’s purpose in designating us priests is that we are to worship and praise Him. But it includes far more than that. We are to be a "royal priesthood." Christ today rules the world through prayer. We are to share this rule by intercession for others even as Christ constantly intercedes for them (Heb. 7:25). We have been given official access to heaven’s throne room so that we may join our intercession with that of Christ!
If Christ intercedes, why is our intercession necessary? What could our puny prayers possibly add to His powerful intercession? God has been pleased to build into His eternal plan that we His children join with Christ in His intercessory role and rule today. If we are not using spare minutes in the ministry of intercession for others and for God’s work, we are failing God in the special calling to which He has called us. If we will, we can turn any radio or TV newscast or newspaper article into a call to prayer. We can be alert to share God’s heartbeat for a broken world. Prayer is the supreme way to be workers together with God.
The Power to Resist and Defeat Satan
Satan is the archenemy of God and man. "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him" (1 Peter 5:8). He is the master strategist behind all the evil in the world. His kingdom consists of fallen angels, demons, and sinners. He is constantly seeking to discourage, delay, and defeat Christ’s workers and Christ’s work. He is determined to oppose in every way he can. One of his names is "Destroyer" (Rev. 9:11). He seeks to destroy people, homes, nations, and the plan and work of God.
Satan coordinates a host of unclean spirits called demons. They seem to have power to afflict people whom they indwell. Satan at times seems able to exert some control over forces of nature, and to counterfeit the work of God by demonic "miracles" (2 Thess. 2:9-10). He has such power and evil authority that even the archangel Michael called on the Lord to rebuke Satan (Jude 9).
How could you and I possibly resist or defeat Satan? Surely only God can restrain, bring under control, and defeat such a powerful enemy. But no, the Bible clearly gives this power to ordinary Christians like you and me.
We must not yield to temptation. Jesus set an example of how to do this by using God’s Word (Matt. 4:1-11). He urged Peter to be victorious by watching and praying (Matt. 26:41).
We must stand firm in faith. Scripture promises "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). The Greek word for resist means "to stand against." When Christ is with us, we can resist Satan.
We must pray. This is our most powerful weapon. Prayer brings the presence of Christ into manifestation and Satan and his demons have to fall back like the mob in the Garden (John 18:6). Prayer grasps hold of the promises of God and erects them like a wall between us and the powers of darkness. Prayer can bring God’s angels rushing to our assistance (2 Kings 6:15-17; Dan. 10:13; Heb. 1:14). Prayer can overthrow the plans of Satan. Prayer can battle any combination of Satan’s forces.
When Paul describes our spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, he says, "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" (verse 12).
In the previous verse Paul had spoken of our need to take our stand against the Devil’s schemes. He then lists the various aspects of the spiritual armor which we must wear in the warfare with Satan. But when we are fully armed, how do we fight? Paul suggests two ways--with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and with prayer.
Prayer is the master strategy that God gives for the defeat and rout of Satan. "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Eph. 6:18). Through prayer the Holy Spirit can so empower us that Satan’s hold on lives is broken, Satan’s hindrances to the kingdom are removed, and Satan’s work is destroyed. Christ came to destroy the work of the Devil (1 John 3:8). He did this potentially at Calvary, and Christ enforces Calvary’s victory through the prayers of His bride, the church. That is why the people of God are also the army of God.
If God’s people would only accept their sacred role as the army of God, if they would call one another to God’s priority of prayer, if they would join one another in militant, Spirit-guided, Spirit-anointed intercession, we could see Satan defeated and revival visitations descend from God. We could see the greatest harvest of souls we have ever known.
We are called to stop Satan, to drive back Satan, to defeat Satan through prayer and fasting. But we are too prayerless, too passive, too content with spiritual mediocrity and comparative spiritual barrenness. We seem content to let the Devil gain the victory. God, wake us up! God, teach us to pray! God, lead us to such prayer warfare that we claim key people, whole families, and even entire continents for Him! To your knees, and world evangelization can be revolutionized! To your knees, and Christ’s triumphs will be manifest!
– Quoted from Touch the World through Prayer by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright 1986. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. Dr. Duewel’s books may be purchased by calling (317) 881-6751, Ext. 361.