I met a lovely Ukrainian pastor at one of the Ellel Centres recently, and listened as he shared his heartache, appealing to the group of us he was addressing, to ‘Please pray, pray, pray… even if you can only speak out, ‘God bless Ukraine’ again and again as you go about your day’… ‘The smallest prayer,’ he continued with absolute conviction, ‘is a powerful weapon.’
We all joined together in prayer for Ukraine there and then, but the urgency with which he spoke, set me thinking: How much do we underestimate the power of prayer, especially in these most tragic of times? Have you, like me, ever said, ‘All we can do is pray’, as though it was second best, when the reality is, as the words of the chorus declare, ‘Every prayer’s a powerful weapon! Strongholds come tumbling down and down and down!’
Our hearts are breaking as we see the daily news reports of the war raging in the natural realm. But how vital it is that we also see the spiritual reality: that this horrific fight is ‘not against flesh and blood, but against principalities… powers… the rulers of the darkness of this age… spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 6:12) and engage in the spiritual battle as members of the Body of Christ, the intercessory bridge God has called us to be, ‘standing firm against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:11).
For many people, though, fear and timidity (often birthed through negative experiences of life) are a big blockage to daring to rise up, take up the powerful weaponry of prayer and declare the victory Jesus has won over these principalities and powers of darkness. Having come from such a place of fear that I was once too scared to even express my own opinion, I can certainly relate to that sense of trepidation at the thought of addressing the spiritual hosts of wickedness. But I learnt that fear and timidity had bred a deep belief in me that I was powerless, which led to spiritual passivity. And this played right into the hands of the evil one.
I am so grateful for those with fervent intercessory hearts, who taught me that it was imperative I recognised the spiritual battle and began to dare to rise up in my spirit. For the spiritual hosts of wickedness were and are contending in all-out war against Almighty God’s purposes - His light, the abundant life Jesus won, His safety, protection and peace. It is exactly as Jesus warned us, ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy’ (John 10:10a).
I have since been so inspired by those, who like me have come from harsh backgrounds, and yet have never given in to that victim mentality, but instead, even in their woundedness, lived out the truth that Jesus won the victory, and in His Name, we have ‘his incomparably great power… far above all rule and authority, power and dominion’(Ephesians 6:19-21).
We are called ‘be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people’ (Ephesians 6:18), and there is an urgency today to resist the helplessness we feel in our humanity in the face of horrifying news reports, trusting instead in our faithful God and the immense power of prayer, holding up the banner of truth that Jesus overcame all the powers and authorities of darkness at Calvary, He triumphed over them at the cross and the gates of hell shall not prevail.
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