Life is war. That’s not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owning largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is as though the field commander (Jesus) called in the troops, gave them a crucial mission (“go and bear fruit,” John 15:16; “make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19), handed each of them a personal transmitter coded to the frequency of the General’s headquarters, and said, “Comrades, the General has a mission for you. He aims to see it accomplished. And to that end he has authorized me to give each of you personal access to him through these transmitters. If you stay true to his mission and seek his victory first, he will always be as close as your transmitter, to give tactical advice and to send air cover when you need it.”
But what have millions of Christians done? We have stopped believing that we are in a war. No urgency, no watching, no vigilance, no strategic planning. Just easy peace and prosperity. And what did we do with the walkie-talkie? We tried to rig it up as an intercom in our houses and cabins and boats and cars—not to call in firepower for conflict with a mortal enemy but to ask for more comforts in the den. It is not surprising then that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den.
God has given us prayer, because Jesus has given us a mission. We are on this earth to press back the forces of darkness, and we are given access to headquarters by prayer to advance this cause. When we try to turn it into a civilian intercom to increase our conveniences, it stops working, and our faith begins to falter. We have so domesticated prayer that for many of us it is no longer what it was designed to be—a wartime walkie-talkie for the accomplishment of Christ’s mission.
The crying need of the hour is to put the churches on a wartime footing. Mission leaders are crying out, “Where is the church’s concept of militancy, of a mighty army willing to suffer, moving ahead with exultant determination to take the world by storm? Where is the risk-taking, the launching out on God alone?” The answer is that it has been swallowed up in a peacetime mentality.
God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer gives us the significance of frontline forces and gives God the glory as a limitless Provider. The one who gives the power gets the glory. Thus, prayer safeguards the supremacy of God in missions while linking us with endless grace for every need.
Church, let us stay awake in the everyday reality of spiritual warfare. Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might, praying at all times in the Spirit. Be strengthened by the grace of God in Christ Jesus who has already won the victory through his death and resurrection. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ (2 Tim 2:3). The final victory is yours in Christ Jesus who has conquered the devil, sin and death.
* Adapted from John Piper’s book, Let the Nations Be Glad!
This week’s bible reading schedule:
|☐||Sun: Exodus 6, Luke 9||☐||Thu: Exodus 10, Luke 13|
|☐||Mon: Exodus 7, Luke 10||☐||Fri: Exodus 11-12:20, Luke 14|
|☐||Tue: Exodus 8, Luke 11||☐||Rest|
|☐||Wed: Exodus 9, Luke 12||☐||Sun: Exodus 12:21-51, Luke 15|