If you’ve been a Christian for even a short time, you’ve already realized that despite God’s promises of both eternal and internal peace, you’re constantly confronted with the enemy’s plans for chaos and suffering!
As soon as you begin to get serious about prayer, the enemy gets equally serious about keeping you out of your “secret place” in a bid to rob you of your peace. He knows, as you do, that prayer is the difference between a defeated warrior and a powerful victor. This is one compelling reason why we pray: because we have a supernatural enemy.
God's "War Room"
Jesus had a special place He used to pray in the Kidron Valley. The garden of Gethsemane at the Mount of Olives was just east of Jerusalem. The Bible says it was His “custom” to go there, and that the disciples knew the place because He often prayed or taught them there. It was a secret garden, private, and the perfect place for a quiet time. You could say it was Jesus’ “war room.”
Gethsemane was the place of Jesus’s greatest prayer battle. Just like us, Jesus knew that He had some amazing promises from God: in a few short days, He would be resurrected, save the world, and destroy the work of the devil. He knew what the will of God was, but He also knew He was about to be betrayed. He knew the price of salvation, and His only task was to surrender to the will of God.
Luke tells us (in Luke 22:42) that Christ knelt down to pray: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will but Yours be done.”
This was the same prayer he taught his disciples to pray earlier: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.” It is one of the toughest prayers we can ever pray, because it means we have to die to ourselves in order to complete the mission of God.
At Gethsemane, Jesus’s prayer went way beyond the typical Sunday School “bless me” prayers. He agonized, wept and sweat drops of blood because the battle was so intense. His entire being – spirit, soul, and body – was engaged in an appeal to the Father. He was fighting a supernatural foe.
Most of us do pray harder when we are attacked. Like Jesus, our first prayer is that God will stop the attack. We’re only human! We call friends and ask them to pray for us when we don’t think we can go on.
While Jesus did ask the disciples to pray, He didn’t rely on them. In fact, His disciples were so grieved at Christ’s imminent departure that they fell asleep from sorrow. You might say they were sleeping on the battlefield!
Jesus, however, went straight to the Father and shared His heart with the only One who could change the situation. He fought a supernatural enemy by interacting with a supernatural God.
Here’s the problem: the external situation didn’t change, despite Jesus’s prayers.
Jesus Prayed To Receive Supernatural Power to Combat a Supernatural Foe
Christ's prayers were not a failure. Jesus knew that sometimes the battle isn’t won by prayer alone, but by walking in obedience to God’s plan. Just as the enemy’s lawlessness causes chaos, so a believer’s obedience brings blessing. Supernatural intervention, for Jesus, meant receiving the strength to go on.
In the middle of Christ’s prayer time, (Luke 22:43), an angel appeared from heaven and strengthened Him. God gave supernatural aid to His Son so that Jesus could obey Him in a humanly impossible situation. (See Hebrews 2:16.)
After the angel strengthened Jesus in the garden, He prayed even more powerfully. Having received God’s strategy, which was to go through the situation, not be removed from it, Christ brought His soul into compliance with God’s will and gathered supernatural strength for the days ahead.
Friends, when your situation doesn’t change, but your heart does; that is power in prayer! Scottish commentator Alexander MacLaren writes of Gethsemane: “Such conformity of our wills with God’s is the highest blessing of prayer and the true deliverance.”
Thanks to Christ’s obedience, we have been delivered from the enemy. It is our job now to enforce Christ’s victory. To overcome a supernatural enemy, we must use the supernatural aid God gives us through prayer. Sometimes our prayers have immediate effect. Other times we must persevere through difficult situations until we reach the place of blessing. In His wisdom, God is allowing a supernatural enemy to refine us for an end-time supernatural reign.
Quiet Time Questions:
1. Have you ever received supernatural strength in prayer? What changes in your situation did you see? Were they internal or external?
2. A supernatural foe requires supernatural strength to overcome. Apart from prayer, how else do you tap into the supernatural power of God as you walk through life’s challenges? Think of a few other biblical ways to tap into the power of God.
3. Someone has said that the enemy is an abuser. Fear and anxiety are the abusive "cycles" he uses to keep believers in a place of pessimism or unbelief. How has prayer or renewing your mind helped you to break this abusive cycle? Share your comments below or post your story on our Facebook “Connect and Pray” Group so that others may be encouraged by your testimony.
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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.