A pillar is defined as a chief supporting element of architectural design. Without it, the building will collapse. Pillars are strong enough to stand on their own but a house (natural or spiritual) cannot stand without its pillars. Let me share with you three essential pillars of prayer.
The Pillar of Spiritual Warfare – Eph. 6:12
Although many Christians don’t bother to think about this often, the true battle is in the unseen realm. There is so much in the Word of God concerning angels, demons, prayer and the after life. To use a famous philospher’s quote: “The devil’s greatest trick was to convince the world he didn’t exist.”
In warfare, it is essential to be able to see the enemy. Radar, sonar, sophisticated satellite systems have been developed to be able to track and identify enemy targets. In medicine, we understand that there are micro organisms … invisible to the naked eye which cause disease. Thus being able to identify and “see” what is really going on is of the utmost importance.
As Paul writes in Ephesians, we are fighting a cosmic war in the heavenly realms against demonic forces. Flesh and blood are not the real enemy, Satan is. Thus we must be vigilant in prayer and in the weapons of righteousness. Although spirits manifest through people, humans are not your enemy. It is the ideology and demonic forces influencing and controlling people that we wrestle against.
Let’s see how the devil tries to resist the purposes of God through spiritual warfare.
The prophet Daniel was a holy man. He was a captive in Babylon due to Israel’s disobedience and subsequent judgment by the Lord. Through prophetic revelation, the Holy Spirit revealed to him that the time of the captivity was over. However, they were still captive. What’s going on? Daniel begins to pray to the Lord for an answer… but none comes. Then he begins to fast and pray and “set his face towards Heaven.” After 21 days, the angel Gabriel appears to him and says,
“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” Daniel 10:12-13
This is a profound story on spiritual warfare. Daniel was holy, he was praying… and yet nothing was happening. Many Christians experience frustration at God. Why hasn’t he saved my Mom? Why are my finances such a mess and I’m tithing? Why isn’t there a breakthrough on my college campus?
In the New Testament in Mark’s gospel, the disciples encounter a dilemma. Jesus was gone on the mountain and they were trying to heal a boy that was deaf and mute, but they couldn’t do it. The sickness wasn’t responding to their prayer and command. Jesus finally shows up and casts out the demon. Interestingly, the text tells us that the scribes were disputing with the disciples. Can you imagine what they might have been saying? “Perhaps it’s not God’s will to heal this boy. It’s not his time.” or “This sickness cannot be cured, he was born this way.” or “These people are not holy and that is why this sickness has come upon their child.” Whatever it was they were saying, I am sure they were trying to convince the disciples that their attempt to heal this boy wasn’t working and wouldn’t work. The disciples didn’t have an answer until Jesus shows up. Can you picture yourself there? What would you be thinking? Would you be confused… discouraged… doubtful?
Jesus gives us the answer to this puzzle: “This kind only comes out by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29
It is imperative for Christians to see that there is resistance to the kingdom of God. This resistance comes from Satan. The trouble is most people don’t know when the breakthrough will come and they give up… or worse, they don’t realize that it’s the demonic forces of Hell which are resisting God’s will and they erroneously conclude: “Well… it’s not happening… guess God doesn’t want it to.”
The Pillars of Strength & Wisdom – 1 Sam. 30:6, 8
Imagine your worst day ever. I mean… your car breaks down, you are late to work, you find out your dog just died, you get dumped and the bus drives by at just the wrong time splattering mud and grease all over your nicest clothes! Well…. trust me when I say you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
“Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire, and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:1-4, 6
Here is the modern day equivalent. You come home from work. Your house is burned down and not only yours… the whole neighborhood. And your wife and children are gone… and the whole neighborhoods’. And suddenly all of your friends look at you with murder in their eyes and pick up weapons!
That is an ULTRA BAD DAY!
How many people would have started blaming God at this point? But what does David do?
He strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
You can either blame God or pray to God… but not both.
“So David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ And he answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.’” 1 Samuel 30:8
The place of despair turns into the place of victory because David understood that through prayer he could tap into the strength and divine wisdom of God. Notice that David does not act on his own initiative. His immediate response is to fall on his knees before the Lord until he receives confirmation of victory.
Another example of divine strength is Jesus agonizing in prayer in the garden to the point that his sweat became blood. In Luke’s gospel we see that an angel from heaven was sent to empower Jesus because of the severity of the hour and the battle he faced. I believe that if it were not for this divine strengthening, Jesus would not have been able to wrestle through in prayer until he had achieved total victory.
Jesus was not confused as to his purpose. He knew that he was meant for the cross. He says before the garden, “What shall I say, Save me from this hour? No, it was for this very hour that I came! Father glorify thy name!” The issue was not knowing what was right but doing what was right. Therefore, Jesus wrestled in agony to find the strength to carry out the will of God. All internal resistance had to go. Self had to be crucified before the body could be.
Not My Will But Thy Will Be Done
If you and I are going to live the victorious life that God has for us we must apply the three pillars of prayer. We will face spiritual warfare; we will need God’s strength; we will need his wisdom. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done is a prayer and a calling for us as Christians. The reason we must pray is there is resistance to the kingdom of God inside and outside us.
Whatever you are facing, the Bible says that Christ is both the “wisdom of God and the power of God!” Come to him in your hour of need and you will be able to overcome every fiery dart of the enemy.