DEVOTIONAL: “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:10-11, ESV.
CHALLENGE: For almost a year we have been going through Stephen and Alex Kendrick’s book The Battle Plan for Prayer. So far we have seen what prayer is and isn’t (chap. 4-7), preparing ourselves to pray (chap. 8-12), conditioning our hearts to pray (chap. 13-19), and prayer strategies (chap. 20-29). Chapter 27 is titled “Praying Preemptively”, praying before something happens. Here we encounter the first real military metaphor for what a prayer life should look like and what it did look like for Jesus Christ.
“If you were the leader of a country and discovered you would soon be attacked by a brutal, invading army, what would you do?” This may seem like a rhetorical question, but we still need to consider its spiritual implications. Jesus considered it for His church and the apostle John wrote, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8b).
We know the enemy, and we know his plans for us. The Kendrick brothers list four major areas Satan uses to attack the saints: distraction, deception, derision, and division.
Looking back at the early church, the Reformation or even at the twenty-first century church we can see all of these attacks. We know what to expect, but why are we so easily swayed from praying in good times against such evils in the world by praying for their exact opposites?
Against distracting we should be praying for focus. Against deception pray for God’s truth. Against derision let us pray for wisdom and discernment and keep in the Word. And finally against division remember unity in Christ is the greatest weapon we can wield. Let us always pray for the positives of God’s promises instead of allowing the negatives of Satan’s lies to manifest in us.