PRAYING BEFORE THE BATTLE

If you were the leader of a country and discovered you would soon be attacked by a brutal, invading army, what would you do? You would do everything plausible to quickly prepare for war.
This is also what we must do in prayer. We must first fight our battles on our knees before the battle rages in the natural realm. The Bible says we have a real spiritual enemy who is out to steal, kill, and destroy us. It says, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8 nasb).
As some have mistakenly claimed, Satan is not merely a catch-all symbol of evil. And until Christ returns and is reigning on the earth, we must stay on alert and overcome him by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Rev. 12:11; 20:1–10). He is real. He is evil. He is crafty. We must learn to pray preemptively, lifting our calendars, commitments, and coming opportunities to the Lord.
One thing that will help you is to understand how the enemy attacks. His playbook and patterns have been the same for millennia.
Distraction. Misdirection is Warfare 101 (Ps. 55:2–3). Many times in Scripture we see good and kind people lured away from God’s purposes to waste time on side issues.
Deception. Jesus said whenever Satan speaks a lie (which is all the time), “he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Strongholds, addictions, and sins are founded upon lies. Sin will fail you, let you down, and leave you empty. Satan displays the pleasure and hides the consequences. We are not strong enough to stand against his deceptions unless we’re on our knees, staying instructed in what is actually true.
Derision. When he’s not lying, he’s usually running you down or running down someone else in your mind. Bringing up things from your past (Rev. 12:10). Christ came in love to save you. You need to be studying the Word, finding your identity in Christ, and praying for wisdom and discernment.
Division. One hallmark of the gospel is the loving unity it brings to people of all nations, all backgrounds, all ages, and demographics. Satan knows “if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:25 nasb). Disunity paints Christians and our faith as being weak, hypocritical, and phony.
We should pray for God to help us stay focused on His will, for His Holy Spirit to keep us walking in truth, for false accusations to be thrown down, and for love and unity to reign in our relationships (Eph. 6:14–18).
The question is whether you’re going to prepare in prayer first or wait until the devil has you in a headlock before you call on the One who has already defeated him.
And we’ll “watch and pray” on the alert and be victorious by God’s strength.
For more, see chapter 27, The Battle Plan for Prayer.

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