Prayer Warfare 101
The Bible tells us that the Church of Christ has been given great power to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, perform miracles, and to fearlessly preach the Gospel of Christ.
Matthew 10:7,8 - As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Mark 3:14,15 - He appointed twelve-designating them apostles-that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.
Mark 16:15-18 - He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
Jesus said that His Church would go on to do even greater things than He ever did, in John 14:12-14 - I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Unfortunately, many of us do not have these signs following after us. Jesus said that these signs will follow His Church. He didn't say that they might follow believers, or that they will sometimes follow believers, He said that they will follow believers.
So why is it that this power is not evident in our lives? Even the disciples at one time found that they did not have these signs following them. They had tried to cast a demon out of a boy and had failed. Jesus healed the boy and then explained to the disciples why they had been unsuccessful, in Mark 9:29 - He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer.
Scripture shows us what kind of prayer life the disciples had, in Matthew 26:36-46 - Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." 42 He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"
Three times Jesus scolded the disciples, and told them not to sleep, but to watch and pray.
If signs and miracles were absent from the lives of the disciples of Christ due to their lack of prayer, then perhaps today we do not see the power of God for the same reason. Perhaps our prayer life is not what it needs to be.
Jesus said "And these signs will accompany those who believe:". We would do well to realize that re-worded, this statement would read: "If these signs are not accompanying those who profess to believe, then they are not the true believers." Or, "Those who do not have signs following after them, do not believe."
The signs will follow the believers. They will not follow the unbelievers. If we do not have the signs following after us, then what group do we look like? The unbelievers.
This makes it clear to us that having this power of God is not optional. It is not something that true believers can take or leave if we choose. It is not something "extra" in our spiritual lives. Rather, it is something that is issued to every true believer.
This should remind us of the dangers of being lukewarm. Revelation 3:15,16 - I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
If we do not have the power of God working in our lives, then either we never received His power in the first place (meaning we need to re-examine our lives and the salvation doctrine that we hold to), or else our prayer lives are weak or non-existent.
The Bible shows us that there is a certain power that should be a part of every Christian's life.
Luke 24:48 - You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
1st Thessalonians 1:4,5 - For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
Ephesians 3:16 - I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
The purpose of this manual is to strengthen the prayer lives of Believers, and in so doing, to cause the Power of God to manifest itself in His Church, to the pulling down of spiritual strongholds of darkness, to make a difference in the realm of the spirit, and to affect the lives of the lost for the furthering of the Kingdom of God on this earth. May the Name of Jesus be magnified and the Lord be recognized as Sovereign in both Heaven and Earth!
Part One of this manual will deal with instructing you in the way of prayer.
Part Two will be a Prayer Primer that you can use while you pray.
Many thanks to Derold and Judy Doughty, and the First Apostolic Church of Mattoon, Illinois, for their encouragement, and the inspiration for this work.
Preparation For Prayer
1. Be Pure.
Matthew 5:23,24 - "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
Hosea 6:6 - For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Before you come to the altar of God, first reconcile yourself to those who have offences against you, and also make things right with those who have offended you. Come before the Lord with a blameless heart.
2. Treat Your Spouse Right.
1st Peter 3:7 - Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1st Peter 3:1,2 - Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
Ephesians 5:25-28 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Ephesians 5:22-24 - Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Colossians 3:19 - Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Colossians 3:18 - Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
It is important to treat your spouse right, so that your prayers will not be ignored.
3. Keep a Right Attitude.
Matthew 6:5 - "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
Matthew 6:7 - And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not pray in order to exalt yourself in the eyes of others. Be sincere.
4. Find A Quiet Place
Matthew 26:36,39 - Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."… 39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
Acts 10:9 - About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.
Matthew 6:6 - But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
When you pray, you do not want any distractions. Find a quiet place, apart from other people, where you will feel comfortable in pouring your heart out before the Lord.
5. Your Symbol of Authority
1st Corinthians 11:3-5,7,10,14,15- Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head-it is just as though her head were shaved. 7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 10 For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.
Let's read this passage again, and take it one step at a time:
1st Corinthians 11:3-5,7,10,14,15- Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ,
The Lord is our Authority, our Master. We need to obey his commands, because He is in charge. We can choose to disobey and go our own way, but this does not negate the fact that God is still in charge, and the wayward will receive punishment as a reward.
and the head of the woman is man,
This is a passage that many women today have a problem with. Women today have been conditioned (and so have men) to believe that they are the equal of men, if not superior to them.
They refuse their God-given role of being in submission, and demand equality, even to the point of becoming the leadership of men, thereby having men in submission to them.
This is a total and complete subversion of the will of God, and is a blatant example of Satan working to twist and change all of the laws God has made, planting seeds of unrighteousness, and unholiness, and evilness.
Those who hold to the scriptures are told to get with the times. They are told that the concept of women being under the leadership of men is old-fashioned, ancient, out-dated, and offensive.
The truth is, the Word of God is unchanging, being the same today as it was yesterday, and so it will be tomorrow.
If God decreed that women were to be in subjection to men, then that is the way it is to be, and it makes not a bit of difference what century we are in. The Word of God will always remain the same.
It makes no difference whether the woman is married, unmarried, or whether her husband is an unbeliever, or has passed away. She is always to be under the authority of a man.
and the head of Christ is God.
Jesus was the Christ. "Christ" means "Messiah". Jesus said that he did not come in his own name, but in His Father's Name. He said that the miracles and the works He did were not accomplished through His own power, but through the power and the authority of His Father.
John 8:25 - So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
The head of Jesus was God.
So this is the ranking system of authority: The head of Woman is Man. The head of Man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.
This is clear enough. A man is not to have his head covered.
5 And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head-it is just as though her head were shaved.
This is also very clear. A woman is to be exactly the opposite of the man. While he is not to cover his head, the woman is to make sure her head is covered.
7 A man ought not to cover his head,
Again, this is a repeat of what we have already been told. But why is this supposed to be so?
since he is the image and glory of God;
Because the man is symbolic of God Himself. Why isn't the woman allowed to uncover her head?
but the woman is the glory of man.
Because the woman is symbolic of Man. Man is representing God, who is perfect, but woman is representing Man, who is imperfect.
10 For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.
We see then, that a man is not to cover his head, but that a woman is not to be found with her head uncovered.
What kind of covering are we talking about? Does the Bible explain this? Yes, it says that the woman's covering is her long hair.
If the man is not to cover his head, and the woman is to cover her head, and if the covering itself is long hair, then the woman should have long hair to keep her head covered, and the man is not to have long hair.
This will symbolize the authority between God and His creations, and will please the Lord, for this is how He desires us to live.
Our heads are symbolic of our spiritual authority. It is self-evident that God has no one in authority over Him. He is the Ultimate Authority, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He is our master.
Corinthians explains to us that God desires for this relationship between Himself and His creations to be symbolized by the way we treat our own heads.
A King is the head of a Kingdom, a Governor is a head of state, a Mayor is a head of a city, a man is the head of his wife, and God is the head of us all.
We are to treat our "heads" (our authority figures) with respect, even to the point of symbolizing that honor with regard to the head that sits upon our two shoulders.
Our heads are symbolic of the authority that we acknowledge to be over us.
The Bible says here in Corinthians, that men are the image and glory of God Himself. Men are symbolically representative of God.
Remember, God has no authority above Him, and we are told here that man, representing God, is to symbolize that position of authority by making sure that his head is not covered.
God's power is not covered. It cannot be held down, or suppressed, or extinguished. God's authority is not overshadowed by some other, more powerful God. His authority is not sheltered by another power. It does not require the protection of a higher authority. It cannot be hidden, topped, or overlaid. The head of God is not covered.
Since men represent the authority of God, their heads are not to be covered, either.
On the other hand, women are the image and glory of man, not God. The authority of a woman is Man. She is to be subject to him in all things.
She is not representing God, but rather humanity. As the creations of God, we are subject to Him, and are to submit to Him in all things. God is our Ruler, our Master, our Authority, and our Head.
God may not have any authority that is above Him, but mankind does! Since a woman represents humanity, she is to reflect this power structure by putting a covering over her head.
This is to represent that she acknowledges that her own authority is not supreme, but is in submission to a higher power.
The head of a woman is not free and able to exercise its own authority, but is covered by a higher authority.
Women show that God is their ultimate authority by covering their head.
The Bible says that long hair was given to women for the explicit purpose of covering their heads in this symbolic manner. Hats and veils are not to be used to symbolize this authority. This is the very reason that her long hair was given to her.
Men are to symbolize God himself, by making sure their heads are not covered. In other words, they should not have long hair.
This is not a "church standard", which we are given the freedom to make up our minds about, but a Law of God.
The Bible says that men who pray with long hair are considered disgraceful by God, and women who pray with short hair are equally dishonorable, because they both reject their authority, who is God.
Do not sabotage your own prayers by living in a manner that is displeasing to God. He requires that every man and woman on this earth be a testimony and a witness to Him, by the way they cover their heads.
A woman with short hair is making the statement (whether she realizes it or not) that she has no authority above her, and neither do men. God is not her master, or the master of mankind, and that we answer only to ourselves.
A man with long hair is saying that God is not Supreme. God is not All-Powerful. There is a power that God answers to.
This borders on the blasphemous. Men, if your hair is long, cut it. Women, let your hair grow if it is short.
Do not discredit yourself and deprive your prayers of the good favor of God. Make sure your bodies are living symbols of the Authority of God and Man.
6. Be Holy
Numbers 5:1-3 - The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone who has an infectious skin disease or a discharge of any kind, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body. 3 Send away male and female alike; send them outside the camp so they will not defile their camp, where I dwell among them."
Deuteronomy 23:9-14 - When you are encamped against your enemies, keep away from everything impure. 10 If one of your men is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he is to go outside the camp and stay there. 11 But as evening approaches he is to wash himself, and at sunset he may return to the camp.
12 Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. 13 As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. 14 For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.
Anything that became unclean was to be kept outside the camp. The reason for this was because the Lord dwelled among them in their camp. The Lord, being Holy, could not have remained in their presence if there were uncleanness, or unholiness present.
The Lord warned them to keep their camp holy, so that He would not see anything indecent among them and so have to turn away from them.
Do not allow wickedness to be present in your life when you approach the throne of God to pray. God cannot stand to be in the presence of vileness and sin, and will turn His face from you. Make sure you are clean before you come before Him.
Matthew 12:32-34 - Offspring of vipers! how can ye speak good things, being wicked? For of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man out of the good treasure brings forth good things; and the wicked man out of the wicked treasure brings forth wicked things.
If we are full of wicked treasure, then when we speak to the Lord we are bringing Him wicked things. It is necessary then, that we empty ourselves of the wicked treasure, and fill up on good treasure, so that when we speak, we will be bringing good things before the Lord.
In review, there are six points of preparation:
1. Be Pure.
2. Treat Your Spouse Right.
3. Keep A Right Attitude
4. Find A Quiet Place
5. Your Symbol Of Authority
6. Be Holy
If you follow these rules, you will be preparing a smooth avenue for your prayers to travel. Ignoring these principles will cause your prayers to travel a long, hard, hindered, bumpy road, and they may never reach their intended destination. Even if they do reach the ears of God, they may arrive in such a tattered, unclean, filthy condition, that God will turn His head from them and ignore them.
Prepare your prayers!
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