What you should pray against
What are you praying against?
Today I read Ephesians 5-6. Although the words are very familiar--I have a lot of it memorized--one section jumped out at me. It's where I've been living and struggling.
It's time to face the music.
The passage introduces a reason and a strategy for defeating everything that's wrong in the world and everything that's wrong inside me. All my anxiety and stress. All my misguided competitiveness. All my pride and confusion. All my "righteous" indignation.
I'm reminded who and what I fight against. What I've forgotten to fight against.
Reading this liberates and challenges me in my focus. Perhaps it will help you as well...
Finally, 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.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
And now to turn this into a prayer:
Oh Lord, God,
my great Defender--
the Prince of Peace and the Avenger of my soul.
Fight for me.
Show me how to fight for the gospel
with my brothers and sisters in Christ (instead of against them).
Forgive me for my misguided anger and focus.
I pray against the devil's schemes in Jesus' name.
In Jesus' power, break down the lies that bind up this world
I pray against the influence of my culture's values, systems, and ethics.
I pray against his deception of the church,
the lies that tell us we are better than one another,
that the lost are the enemy.
I pray against the deception that says the church should meet my needs,
instruct my children,
and make me feel comfortable and cozy.
I pray against the lies I tell myself:
that my perspective is correct,
that my sins aren't wrong,
that my spiritual condition is just fine,
that I don't need the body of Christ to challenge me toward holiness,
that I can manage just fine without daily worship and instruction from your Word.
I pray against blaming my fellow-citizens for their sin,
especially when I haven't told them how to become holy in Jesus' name.
I pray against judging others' mistakes when I'm not willing to confess and forsake my own.
I pray against the urge to hop on social media or gossip behind closed doors.
Strip me of my desire for vengeance.
I pray against slandering non-Christians, Christians with different doctrines than me,
and anyone who disagrees with me about anything.
That's vanity and insecurity, and it's offensive to Almighty God.
I pray against my own blindness to a heart that's open to the world's influence
and closed to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I pray against spiritual laziness, lukewarm Christianity, and consumerism in myself.
I confess my sin in Jesus' name.
I want your power at work in me.
I want to hear you speak.
Help me to see myself and my world as it really is,
a mission field that only You can change.
In Jesus' life-giving name,