For the past few weeks, the Lord has been bringing to my mind a vision as I’ve reflected on prayer. The scene is so unlikely to ever happen in the natural that it is almost humorous! Yet the Lord is impressing on me that this scenario happens daily in the lives of many believers, and spiritually, it can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Today I’d like to share this vision with you because I believe it identifies a particular problem we face in prayer and gives us a strategy for greater victory. This vision could be the one major reason why Christians are defeated on the battlefield, and I don’t want you to be a casualty!
I see a picture of a battlefield, with allied trenches on one side and enemy trenches on the other, a great no man's land dividing them. All is dark and dreary; there is little light by which to see. The scene reminds me of a time when battles were fought at close range, perhaps during World War I or II.
The difference is that the “allies” in my vision are Christians in the Kingdom of God and the enemy is, of course, Satan’s devilish army.
As the scene unfolds, I see Kingdom believers fire a shot over to the enemy’s side, full of hope and joy because they know they will be the victors in this war! In prayer, they launch the Word of God that they have chosen for this battle, hurling it into Satan’s trenches with all their might.
Strengthened by their boldness, the believers relax. They haven’t left the battlefield, but they have done what God commanded them to do and are satisfied with their work.
Moments later, though, Satan’s hordes begin a counterattack. In any other battle situation, this would absolutely be expected. Yet in the vision I see that the believers are surprised by this retaliation.
In fact, the Christians do something counterproductive: they cower in the trenches, exclaiming: “They’re firing back at us!” Instead of returning fire and holding their position, these believers crouch down in fear, hoping the counterattack will stop. It doesn’t.
Friends, this scene would be completely humorous to me if I didn’t feel that there was some truth to it. Apart from knowing the Word personally for ourselves (our obvious and primary strategy in war), I believe the #1 reason why Christians are defeated on the battlefield is that we don’t keeep firing during counterattacks. We want a quick and easy victory. We forget we’re in a war.
Satan will use bullets of doubt, fear, and physical symptoms to try and overpower us once we choose a godly confession. When we fire off our first positive confession of the Word, he will retaliate with a handful! This barrage of mental and physical attacks is meant to do exactly what I saw in my vision: stop us from firing back.
The trouble is, as soon as we retreat into the trenches of fear and self-protection, we lose our advantage. Here’s the funny part: the Bible says our battles should look just the opposite:
The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. - Deuteronomy 28:7, NIV
It should be believers who fire seven times harder, not the enemy!
A Strategy for Prayer
Proverbs 3:5-6 contains a three-part strategy for warfare prayer. It contains three commands along with a promise:
In other words, by taking control of your heart, mind, and mouth, you can be victorious in warfare.
1. Your HEART: Your commitment to the Word of God and His ways must be wholehearted (all your heart must trust Him). How do you know when your heart has some unbelief? The same Word you are firing into the enemy’s camp is able to discern the thoughts and intents of your own heart (Hebrews 4:12).
Choose your Word-Sword (your Scriptures to fire in battle) but remember to also allow for personal time in the Word to deal with areas where enemy "bullets" of unbelief or doubt are penetrating your own camp!
2. Your MIND (your mental understanding of the situation) is secondary to the faith you have in your heart! The faith you have in your heart, not what you see or understand with your physical mind, should be where you “camp out.”
Once you discover bullets from enemy fire in your mind, don’t “lean into” them or spend any more time than you have to there! Don’t give the enemy’s thoughts free rein in your mind.
3. Your MOUTH: I like the NIV version of this verse, which reads “in all your ways submit to Him” (many translations say “acknowledge;” the Hebrew is actually “yada,” to “know” Him). It reminds me of James 4:7, whose war strategy is “Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
This third principle here is to address your confession - your mouth - and to repeatedly speak faith-filled words that acknowledge God’s power and truth in your situation. Don’t be like the believers in my vision who stopped firing after just one round!
4. He will make your paths straight - God’s promise is to level the ground for you, removing the obstacles that hinder you from reaching your victory.
As a well-known preacher has said, “Love motivates us to go to the battlefield; faith keeps us there.” 2 Peter 1:6 adds that perseverance must be added to faith for it to be effective. Don’t be surprised when the enemy keeps attacking - it’s what he’s trained to do! Realize that God is training soldiers in His own army to stand firmly against the devil’s retaliation.
I know what it’s like to be under sustained attack, and I’m sure you do, too. Instead of retreating into fearful, defensive mode, let’s maintain our prayer positions and keep firing those confessions of praise, faith, and victory until the devil is fleeing in seven directions!
We have God's guarantee that our ammunition is ALWAYS effective. And we have promises that God Himself will level our paths as our enemy flees.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.