United we stand, divided we fall.
Satan, the enemy of our souls, know this truth all too well -- sometimes, seemingly more so than we ourselves do. And since he also knows his time is getting shorter and shorter, he works hard and fast, doing whatever it takes to fulfill his mission -- to steal, to kill, to destroy our unity. Unity with our parents, our siblings, our spouses, our children, our neighbors, our coworkers, our church family (from its congregants on up to leadership).
And ultimately, our unity with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
All you have to do is take a good look around you to see how this is being played out in your own life and in the lives of those with whom you live, work, play, love and serve. The battles are fierce and heated; the attacks relentless and the casualties of war continue to rise daily.
This has been on my mind a lot lately, as I recently became aware that it's been quite a while since I reached out to gather my 'prayer peeps' together to pray. I've been so busy with 'other things' in my life - things I deem to be oh so important in my little sphere of the world -- that I've fallen by the wayside and been disobedient to what the Lord called me to do some time ago. And that was to be His prayer warrior, as well as to be the one to 'round up the troops' to keep us all united in prayer.
I know there are those of us who feel as if we've been in the trenches for much too long. I know there are those of us who are weak and exhausted from the hand-to-hand combat we've experienced and are looking to either hide in the nearest foxhole or are ready to just wave the white flag of surrender and become the enemy's prisoner of war. If you find yourself a member of this group, as I have, I encourage you right now to
Unite in prayer!
And keep on praying some more!!!
For we have a Warrior King -- Jesus -- to fight for us!! The battle, ultimately, is God's.
In the Old Testament Book of 2 Chronicles 20, we learn that the Moabites and Ammonites made plans to attack Judah's king, Jehoshaphat. Men came and informed Jehoshaphat that a huge army was on the way to destroy him and capture his land. The NIV says that Jehoshaphat was 'alarmed' - and hey, who wouldn't be? So what did he do after hearing that information? Did he begin making detailed, strategic battle plans, calling all warriors to gather 'round to prepare for the imminent attack? Did he send the people of his kingdom away to find safety elsewhere, much like King Théoden did for his people when he sent them to the Helm's Deep stronghold in 'Lord of the Rings?'
No. Here is what it says he did in 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 ~
'Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek Him.'
And then, in verse 12, Jehoshaphat says this to the LORD:
'For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.'
Jehoshaphat, wise king that he is, knows that there is no way in the world that he and his army are going to have victory in this upcoming battle against the enemies that are coming against him and his kingdom. He admits to being powerless against the impending attack. But he knows who does have all the power -- God. And Jehoshaphat makes sure to do something the enemy can't stand: he calls together ALL the people of Judah, uniting them before God:
'All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood before the LORD.' (v. 13).
After that, it says that the Spirit of the LORD came upon a man named Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, and he tells the king and all the people:
'This is what the LORD says to you: "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the LORD will be with you." ' ~ 2 Chronicles 20:15;17
Dear ones, when we find we are weak and exhausted, without hope in our spiritual battles and ready to give up, we can be encouraged because, just like King Jehoshaphat and his people, our hope and strength lies in trusting God and in the faithful promises we find in His Word.
God is with us, so we don't have to be afraid or discouraged. The battle belongs to Him and the victory is His, not the enemy's! It states very clearly here in the Old Testament and the New Testament, in Ephesians 6, that we are to stand firm with the full armor of God firmly in place on us. The apostle Paul encourages us to:
'Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.' ~ Ephesians 6:10-11
Take up your armor, put it on and look to the Lord for His strength to stand your ground firmly when you are under attack.
-Seek Him BEFORE the battle to prepare your self for what is to come.
-Seek Him in the midst of the battle. December 3rd's 'Jesus Calling' devotional entry said When you are in the thick of battle, call upon My Name, "Jesus, help me!" At that instant, the battle becomes Mine.'
-Seek Him when the battle is over (for the moment anyway) to thank and praise Him.
God is our Commander-in-Chief and we need to stay in constant communication with Him. Paul also states in Ephesians 6:18 that we are to
'pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.'
When we're under attack and being relentlessly bombarded, it's so easy to want to break from the unit and run and hide. 'Yeah, let somebody else fight the good fight. Let someone else be the one to lift up holy hands and pray. I've had it.' Believe me, I've been in that place more times than I care to admit. It's a cold, dark and lonely place, devoid of all hope.
And it's EXACTLY where the enemy wants us to be. Don't give him what he desires!! Remember, dear ones: we are MORE than conquerors through Him Who loves us! So don't be afraid or discouraged.
Have you ever noticed when you begin to pray for something or someone in earnest, enlisting an army of prayer warriors to join you on the battlefield, that the situation or the person suddenly seems to get worse? I've seen it happen to other people and have experienced it personally. I've often wondered why that is, and I've known other people who have just thrown up their hands and ask, 'Why bother to pray? Things only seem to get worse.' And to be honest, there have been times I've thought that myself. A while back, I read a fictional work by Christian author Robin Lee Hatcher. The book was called 'Beyond The Shadows,' and the main character had this to say about her prayers for her alcoholic husband:
'But the harder I prayed, the more Gideon's life seemed to spiral out of control. The more I prayed, the sicker he seemed to get, the more he seemed to drink, the further away from me he pulled. I can see now how reluctant the enemy was to let go.'
Don't you see now how reluctant the enemy is to let go of what or of whom we are praying for, for those things in our lives and those people that we love which we are faithfully bringing before the Lord?!! It isn't as if the very things and situations and people we're praying for are hopeless. It's not that God isn't listening or doesn't care. It's just a vicious, tug-of-war with Satan. He is reluctant to let go.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil ruler and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12, NLT)
But: remember in Whose grip we rest. And in Whose grip we can place everything. Ourselves, our loved ones, our worries, fears, our needs. Everything. We are in God's hands. And He NEVER lets go.
Yes, my friends. This is war. The battle is on and shows no signs of letting up. I know there are so many of you who have just been pummeled lately, hit again and again by those flaming arrows of the enemy. But again -- don't be afraid or discouraged. The Lord, our God, is on our side. Let's take up our positions, stand firm in the battle, stay alert and unite with one another with fasting and with BOLD prayer. And then watch what our amazing God will do!
United we stand, divided we fall. So stand firm. Stand strong. Stand together.
Do you have the patience, the faith and the trust in God to let Him work in situations and with loved ones while you stand still and watch?
'Be still and know that I am God.' ~ Psalm 46:10
If God is on our side
Who can be against us?
If God is on our side
We won't be afraid
Though the mountains may fall
And the sky will crumble
There ain't nothin' gonna stand in our way ~ On Our Side, by Chris Tomlin