Around us is a spiritual war being fought. It is a war between the angels of God and the demons of satan. Whoever is winning the war controls the affairs of the world and the people on it. God has set things up in such a way that we, the church are the determining factor of who is winning the war. When we pray God commissions angels and energizes them, and the more we pray the more angels get sent into the war and the more power they have to fight. When there are a lot of highly energized angels fighting against the kingdom of darkness, the Word of God spreads rapidly, unhindered, and the church prevails. That is why a great prayer movement preceded every revival. The story of Moses holding his hands up to win a battle being fought in front of him is a picture of us praying. When we pray we win, but when we don’t pray we lose.
Exodus 17:8-13 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
The devil knows this truth, so he fears prayer by the church; he has no defense against it. The devil can’t put thoughts directly into our minds, but he and his demons can talk to us, and we hear them subliminally. He says, “don’t pray, it won’t do any good, it is a waste of time, God won’t listen to you, you are too busy right now, you can pray tomorrow, let the pastor pray, that’s his job.” They are persistent rascals and they absolutely don’t want you to pray so they will jabber and nag non-stop, and we let them win the battle for our minds and then for our wills.
Getting people in our church to pray sacrificially and diligently is one of the most challenging things I do as a pastor. I guess a better way to put it is getting most people to pray sacrificially and diligently is impossible.
When people make excuses and justify not praying they don’t realize that they are letting the devil win and that his winning is going to get easier as we habitually become a people of little, easy, and comfortable prayer. And as he continues to win things in our world and culture are going to get worse and worse. We wring our hands and think if only the republicans were in control, if only we had a different president, if only. . .if only. The truth is that if we don’t pray very much the devil will control whatever party is in power and he will control whoever is president. We don’t just need elections to change things we need prayer, lots of it.