Prayer Challenge Eighty-Four

DEVOTIONAL: For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, ESV.

CHALLENGE: Praying disciples are not perfect disciples; they are obedient disciples. Watching the news or reading the headlines from around the world we see that evil is everywhere and is only getting worse. We cannot stand on the sidelines and expect the next Christian “prayer warrior” to fight the battle with prayer. We cannot allow our pastors or ministers to wage the war on behalf of his congregation alone. As the Apostle Paul said to the church at Corinth, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of flesh but of divine power…” (emphasis added). As Christians we are disciples, as disciples we are in the spiritual war together.

The Holy Spirit equips us to fight, and our weapon is prayer. Praying with authority is the greatest weapon the enemy fears. J. Oswald Sanders describes prayer as the “most formidable and potent in our conflict with ‘the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12).”

What gives us the power to pray with authority? The Scriptures can help. But above all, a relationship with our Lord and Saviour and a faith that He will do what He says He will do. What is standing our your way of praying with authority to “fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12a)?

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Prayer Challenge Eighty-Two

DEVOTIONAL: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” Matthew 9:37-38, ESV.

CHALLENGE: Praying for the church and praying for revival. The Great Awakening of the 1700’s began with prayer: a small town in Germany did not necessarily pray for change in the world around them, but for change within their church (see page 217-218, The Battle Plan for Prayer). When “dissension and infighting” turns to “joy, unity” within the church people around us begin to see “the mighty power of the Holy Spirit” at work. This was the beginning of the modern missionary movement that converted John and Charles Wesley as well as Jonathan Edwards.

“Ordinary people praying in extraordinary fashion.” This has happened throughout the ages, from the apostles to the Great Awakening. Kendrick says this is our prayer. “For you, for us, for the church, for the world. And ultimately for the glory of God.” How are we continuing praying in such a fashion?

If we desire for revival around us, for Christian revival in the world, we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. “There’s no reason why we can’t see God’s Spirit poured out in abundance on us…” “There’s no reason why we can’t see” transformation of the “whole cultural landscape” around us.

Pray for the harvest. Pray that labourers heed Jesus’ call. Pray that we hear and obey the call to be labourers in the God’s harvest.

Prayer Challenge Eighty-One

DEVOTIONAL: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” 1 Timothy 2:1-3, ESV.

CHALLENGE: In the twenty-first century praying for our authorities can be stressful, or, on the other hand, we just do not do it for personal reasons. News headlines are full of anti-this or anti-that protests, marches or books being released. Instead of praying, generally speaking, we are complaining that we didn’t get our way.

Kendrick opens chapter 33 of The Battle Plan for Prayer with the following two statements: “Actions and decisions made by people in authority create a significant impact on those within their sphere of influence—both good and bad.” “Our authorities either help us in doing the will of God, or they make it harder for us to pursue.”

Kendrick talks about government and how we should pray for them. By doing so we are obeying God our Father.

Whether it is local/city, provincial/state or federal governments, they all are in place for a reason. Kendrick also adds other forms such as “supervisors, parents, officials, law enforcement”. And to top that off “most of us also represent some kind of authority.

Do we want those beneath us to constantly be in rebellion? If we as non-elected authority figures desire peace and obedience, how much more do those in elected office deserve to control a peaceful and respectful country?

Let us pray for those who are in power over us, as well as those who we hold authority over. Pray for our respective nation, each other’s countries, and the world.

Prayer Challenge Eighty

DEVOTIONAL: “…that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” Psalm 78:6-7, ESV.

CHALLENGE: Family members are a big part of our prayer lives, at least they should be: spouses, children, parents, extended family, friends who are like family, etc. We pray for them all, but what are we praying for on their behalf? Kendrick says, “Surely by now, you’re way past the kind of praying that’s content with only asking God to ‘bless’ and ‘be with’ your” family. “Shouldn’t you know what you’re really asking Him for?”

Kendrick gives several pointers in respect to praying for spouses and children. For husbands or wives: “You should pray that both of you would maintain a sense of protective passion for [the] primary function of your marriage. That Christ would be where you run for love, joy and peace, not your spouse. And that you bring” all this back to your spouse. Related to this you pray that your husband or wife “be devoted to Christ” even above their devotion to you.

If we love “the Lord our God” with everything we have then we will love one another “as Christ first loved us”.

Praying for children can be easy and difficult. Whether they are young or grown-up we should pray “that they remain faithful to God in their generation.” How can we be living prayers for the next generations? We need to remain faithful to God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. Be examples of faithfulness in the workforce, at church, to our spouses, and to them, the children.

Let our general prayers, which “can get general answers”, become specific prayers, then “we will praise God more and recognize His handiwork when we pray specifically.”

Prayer Challenge Seventy-Five

DEVOTIONAL: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11, ESV.

CHALLENGE: On the defensive… When the enemy attacks we need to be ready. Kendrick tells us “Christians are equipped with everything needed for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), but many are not ready when the enemy attacks.” When we go into battle unprepared we will be defeated. “God’s Word says spiritual war is taking place around you.” But God does not send us into the fighting to fend for ourselves, we are given the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace (as shoes), the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God), and prayer (Eph. 6:13-18). All Christians as saints have been given these by God, yet we do not use them in our daily lives. Whether defensively, preemptively, or offensively let us “put on the whole armor of God”.

We all go through good times and hard times. The armor is a gift from God to fight this battle as individual soldiers and as an army. Which part of God’s armor do you struggle with the most? Which one is your strength and can be used to lend aid to others?

Prayer Challenge Seventy-Four

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.

Prayer Challenge Seventy-Three

DEVOTIONAL: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” Matthew 9:37-38, ESV.

CHALLENGE: On the offensive… Praying against evil, sin, sickness, or in troubled times is necessary defensive praying. But we also need to pray for the good things in life and the spread of the Gospel message. Kendrick puts it this way, “Part of a goof prayer strategy is knowing how to pray against evil.” But we also need to “focus on going on the offensive in a positive way, meaning praying for the advancement of light, love, and truth.” Whether it is your pastor, a missionary or even you, a prayer warrior can tell you he or she has a “battle plan for prayer”.

The Gospel should be our primary focus:

“Asking God to open doors for the gospel, to send forth laborers into the harvest field, to pour our His Holy Spirit in revival, to fill us with His love and the knowledge of His will, to use our spiritual gifts in His service, and to raise up a generation who will honor His name. Spiritual warfare is about standing our ground against the enemy and taking new ground for the kingdom.” (The Battle Plan for Prayer, Kendrick, 2015. Page 161.)

What is your prayer strategy? Are we praying for the lost around us? For God to equip our churches? Are we praying for more missionaries to heed the calling to enter the harvest field?