Prayer, Praise and Spiritual Warfare

Praying For The Nation

'I exhort, FIRST of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL men' (1Timothy 2:1)

 

Prayer for others is of first importance, a central part of our christian life.  Prayer is like breathing. Breathing is the response of the physical life to the presence of air. So prayer is the response of the spiritual life to the presence of God. 

 

C.H. Spurgeon said: 'Prayer pulls the rope down below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell for they pray so weakly, others give only an occasionaly jerk at the rope. But he who communicates with Heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously with all his might.' 

 

We pray more for ourselves than others. Once a girl said: 'Lord, I'm not going to pray for myself today, I'm going to pray for others', but at the end of her prayers she added 'and give my mother a handsome son-in-law!'

 

Sometimes the reason we don't pray is unbelief (not expecting God to answer). Once a church prayed against the opening of a tavern which was then struck by lightning. The tavern owner took the christians to court. But they denied responsibility. The judge commented that the tavern owner believed more in prayer than the christians!

 

A preacher prayed for rain in the morning service. As he returned for the evening service his daughter asked 'where's your umbrella?'   He said: 'what?'   She replied 'you prayed for rain!'. As they left the evening service it poured down!

 

Are we expecting God to hear our prayers?  'Prayer moves the Hand that moves the world'.

 

Prayer is a major way to fulfill the command to love others, for we release God's life and Spirit upon them. 'Pray one for another...the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man makes much power available.' (James 5:16).  'this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ' (Philippians 1:19) 'If any see his brother sin,..he shall ask and He shall give him life.' (1John.5:16)   If someone backslides, or falls into problems we must pray for them for God to give them life.   It's a way to love our enemies (those we don't agree with, think much of, or have let us down). It's an act of love that's rewarded by our Father. (Matt 6:6)

 

Prayer is a way in which we become the SALT of the earth: 'You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt loses his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It's good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men.' (Matthew 5:13). Salt exerts an anti-corrupting influence. Through our life and prayers we stop the forces of evil in our neighbourhood and nation. In old times when salt was dear they would mix another white substance with the salt to make the quantity seem more. But this caused it to lose it's savour. If worldliness is mixed in with the salt our prayer life dries up and our witness is ineffective, causing us to be useless as salt.   A person consumed by the pressures and pleasures of this life allows his prayer life to be choked. The 1st mark of a backslider is that his prayer life stops. His only prayers are in crisis, or nods to God, but he has no quality time with the Lord. (A worldly christian will stop praying and a praying christian will stop wordliness.) Finally he even stops coming to church. He's been suckered by satan and the world and misses God's plan for his life. We need to have quality times of prayer soaking in God's presence or our life will become overwhelmed with weeds choking our spiritual life.

 

As salt we hold back the spirit of anti-Christ: 'We beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (the rapture) That you be not..troubled..that the day of Christ (the 2nd Advent) is at hand. Let no man deceive you...for that Day shall not come,unless there come the falling away (the 'departure'-of the church) FIRST and that man of sin (antichrist) be revealed...now you know what restrains him (the church = the salt of the earth) that he might be revealed in his time (the tribulation)....the mystery of iniquity already works: only he who now restrains (the church) will restrain, until he be taken out of the way (at the rapture) and then shall that wicked one will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming (2nd Advent)' (2Thess 2:1-8)

 

Prayer involves spiritual warfare. This is why we need persistence in prayer. 

 

Psalm 110 descibes the present situation. 'The LORD (God-the Father) said to my Lord (Jesus Christ), 'Sit at my right hand (this was at his resurrection and ascension), until I make your enemies your footstool (this will be at his 2nd Advent, v5-7)' (v1)  During this present time: 'The LORD shall send the rod of your strength(the Name of Jesus) out of Zion (God's people)-' rule thou in the midst of your enemies.' (v2)   God's enemies are present but Christ has authority to rule over them. He does this through us (Zion) as we use his rod (the authority in his Name) in prayer. In v4 we see Christ as King and Priest.  In him, we also are kings and priests,a royal priesthood. We are to rule as kings through our priestly ministry of prayer,with the rod he's given us. He rules over his enemies through us. We are to volunteer and give ourselves to be used in prayer this way.(v3)  It's a privilege for us for God to work out His plan and exercise His authority through us.  Our prayers bring God's will to pass!  But, few are willing to rise to the challenge of serious prayer. 'I sought for a man..to make up the hedge and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.' (Ezekiel 22:30) God is looking for those who will pray. In this arena so much is left to so few. We're all called to this ministry. It has great reward. We need to make it our first priority.

 

There are spiritual forces over the lives of people and nations. In Ezekiel 28:1-10 we see the prince of Tyre (a man) but in v11-19 we see over him the king of Tyre who is clearly satan. When Daniel prayed and fasted 21 days an angel came to him and said: 'Fear not, Daniel: for from the 1st day that you set your heart to understand, and humble yourself before your God, your words were heard and I am come for your words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia (an evil angel) withstood me 21 days: but, lo, Michael, 1 of the chief princes (an archangel) came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.' (Daniel 10:12,13).  

 

God's will and the manifest answer to Daniel's prayers were blocked by forces of evil but Daniel continued in prayer until the job was done. This released God's angels to overcome the opposition. He prayed through. God has greater power than satan but he's a dedicated enemy. Daniel in keeping his position of prayer for God's will to be done for Israel, changed history. The angel later said: 'Now I'll return to fight with the prince of Persia and when I'm gone, lo, the prince of Greece shall come... there is none with me in these things, but Michael your Prince (over Israel)" - v20,21)  Through Daniel's prayers, God broke the spiritual powers over Persia which was the nation then controlling Israel.   Daniel held a position of authority. His prayers were the channel God worked through to change things in the earth. They initiated the angelic conflict and enabled the good angels to finally overcome (he held his ground)  The spiritual victory led to changes on earth, moving Israel forward in God's will.

 

Through prayer we bind the forces of evil and release God's Spirit so that men's eyes are opened and they can choose God's way.    Angels are released and demons bound. 'Be strong in the Lord... Put on the whole armour of God, that you can stand against the wiles of the devil (to stop your prayer life).   For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places. So take the whole armour of God, so you can stand... and having done all, to stand (hold your position)' (Ephesians 6:10-13).  'Praying always with all prayer...in the Spirit... with all perseverance and supplication for all saints' (v18).   There's a wrestling in prayer because of spiritual resistance (to stop you praying).   We need to depend on God's strength and enlist the help of the Holy Spirit to inspire and direct our prayers and for Him to pray through us. (Romans 8:26)

 

Strategically we need to focus prayers on authorities, for their decisions affect more people for good or bad and for this reason satan targets them more. 

 

'(Pray) for kings, and for all in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.' (1Timothy 2:2-4).  We are to pray: 'Thy will be done'.    God's will is good government, so that the gospel can go forth. We're not called to criticise but pray.   We don't have the right to criticise unless we have first prayed.    We should pray for the Prime Minister for wisdom because he comes under great pressures and spiritual forces.   Our prayers release angels. We should pray for the Royal Family, Judges, Police, Teachers, those in local government and Church Leaders.   God's will for good government so we can pray in faith knowing God hears our prayer and releases Hispower. (1John 5:14,15)

 

Prayer develops unselfishness. It is an antidote to worldliness: 'Pray that ye enter not into temptation.' (Luke 22:40).   It gives us spiritual strength to resist being sucked into the spirit of the world and live like unbelievers. We should pray for the nation, for people in need, for our enemies, for the unsaved and for ourselves to be refilled with the Holy Spirit.  Have quality times praying in tongues and English.   We can find one or 2 others to pray with for 30 minutes.

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