Quick Overview of Spiritual Warfare
There are many approaches to spiritual warfare which is why I like the above picture so much. You have the bad guy pacing around trying to intimidate his opponent; the good guy is at rest; and the young apprentice is anxiously watching. It’s so hard to find practical advice in the Christian community because of this diversity. I hope to lay out a quick backdrop and then give some practical prayers to help Christians feel powerful when it comes to spiritual warfare.
It is important to know how the enemy likes to operate. Their primary form of operation is in the shadows. They reign in darkness for that is their kingdom. If the enemy can get you to not see them, then they can execute their plan unhindered. They win the battle because we don’t show up.
Second, if they are exposed, the enemy will threaten you. They hope to produce fear and/or anger in you. The enemy knows that if they can get your focus on either of these two things, you will lose hope and lose sight of Jesus. If the enemy can find success in this area, Christians will either run from the battle or run into it without the covering of God’s presence.
How Jesus Engaged Spiritual Warfare
Now there are other resources that can give you a deeper study into the work of the enemy, but this should give us a good start. The question I hope you are now asking is, “how do we engage in spiritual warfare?” For this answer I want to look at Jesus’ example.
First of all, it is important to realize that Jesus did not diagnose every problem as something to exorcise. The woman at the well had five husbands and the man she was currently with was not her husband (John 4:1-26). There was a good chance this woman had some demon problems. However, Jesus never address her in that way. In fact, He only exposed her shame; He never even asked her to repent or confess anything.
The woman who had the issue with bleeding for twelve years probably also had an issue with demons. Not only did she have a long medical problem, but she also had let the doctors of her day ‘practice’ on her to try to get her well. In this instance, Jesus didn’t do anything except walk by (Luke 8:40-47).
A lot of the times in which Jesus did come into more direct spiritual warfare, it was because the demons were initiating with Him. They would start screaming, “we know who you are!” These examples are important because spiritual warfare is real, but most of the times you will win the battle without confronting them directly. We need to be aware when we are to directly engage and when we are just simply to make no room for the enemy to stay.
10 Prayers for Spiritual Warfare
With this overview of spiritual warfare in place, here are ten declarations/prayers that will position you for breakthrough:
- I will not let my awareness of the problem exceed my awareness of God. God is always greater, therefore, I will worship Him in the midst of the battle. As I stay connected to God, I will overcome the enemy.
- Jesus went to the cross to publicly humiliate the enemy (Colossians 2:13-15). I have no doubt that He would not now also come and remove the enemy that is before me.
- Jesus sent me out to drive out demons and advance His kingdom (Mark 3:14-15). He also commands me to love others (John 13:34-35). He will give me a plan of attack that removes the enemy and respects the person.
- Jesus has already won the battle. He laughs at the plans of the enemy (Psalm 2:4). If spiritual warfare is hard, I haven’t received God’s complete plan of attack.
- We overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21), therefore I will focus my attention on the goodness of God in response to the evil in front of me. It is this goodness that I will declare and make known.
- For though I live in the world, I do not wage war as the world does. The weapons I fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. I demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and I take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
- My struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). I will stand my ground with truth, righteousness, and peace, and I will defend the enemies attacks with my faith. I will advance against the enemy by speaking out the word of God applied to every situation (Ephesians 6:14-17).
- Holding firm to the truth will bring freedom (John 8:31-32). When the enemy speaks his lies to me or others, I will declare God’s goodness and my steadfast belief that He is for us (Romans 8:31).
- I have been given authority in Christ, therefore when confronting the enemy, they will recognize it and have to respond accordingly. I will first quiet the enemy, then determine whether the person who is effected wants to be free.
- No matter what power the enemy manifests, God is greater still. When I tell the enemy to leave, I can command them to come out without manifestation. The person does not need to be embarrassed or felt like a victim. The person is powerful and has control of him/herself.
I hope you find this list helpful to you as you approach spiritual warfare. Each time it will be different and you will need to have your faith and trust in God, but these prayers will refocus you on a battle plan for success. Even Jesus had demons not obey him at first (Luke 8:28-31). Don’t be discouraged. Hold your ground and trust breakthrough is coming.
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Original image courtesy of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace