Twice in my life, when counseling people who had been sent to me, I have looked into another’s eyes and have seen no anger, no suffering, no life – I have seen nothing, only darkness in the eyes that stared back at me. On one of those occasions, my assistant had gone elsewhere on an errand, and I was alone in the presence of an unpredictable evil. On both occasions, I prayed for courage and for safety. I knew also the truth of these words:
“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6 ESV).
Jesus characteristically both prepared for and reacted to temptation with prayer. He emerged from those prayers with greater spiritual focus and resolve. Whether threatened by direct attack by Satan, or the lure of a ministry of healing, or the appeal of political power, or the threat of eminent death, he prayed. He prepared for temptation by praying and learning Scripture. He advised Peter, James, and John to pray so that they would not fall prey to temptation (Luke 22:46). His example and the writings of Paul concerning the armor of God urge all followers of war to pray with purpose and with full awareness of the dangers we face each day.
This past month I spoke to groups in Missouri and Arkansas about prayer and spiritual warfare. My study for those engagements persuaded me that I needed to add a session to the Call for Fire Seminar about this aspect of prayer that is so closely tied to the concept of calling for fire when under attack. I invite you to consider having a Call for Fire Seminar at your congregation. Information about the available sessions is found on this site under the “Call for Fire Sessions Summaries” tab. You may contact me through a comment to this post or through the Call for Fire Seminar Facebook page that is linked to the blog to schedule a seminar or to get more information.
O God who prepares us, Help us to take seriously the dangers that confront us, and to order our lives so that we will remain strong when under trial. Help us to identify triggers that expose us to attack from forces of evil; help us to neutralize those triggers. You want justice and compassion; root out selfishness and cruelty from our hearts. May we seek what is best for others. May we not shy away from spiritual combat, but enter the fray with courage built on a foundation of love for you and for those whom you want to save. In Jesus’ name, amen.