"It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." John 16:7
Three years ago, on Independence Day, Dana and I launched out on another step of faith, in our adventure of a lifetime. We have learned to find the joy in the journey of trusting God to make a way when there seems to be no way.
There is nothing like it.
Dana and I met in Fort Worth, Texas on September 9, 1974. For almost 40 years, we have prayed our way together through the stages of life, beginning with roller-coaster dating, an exciting engagement, an amazing marriage, and challenging ministry.
We have been blessed by two beautiful daughters, and one son-in-law. We knew enough about God to lead us in the baby steps that led us to our marriage, but in June of 1980 we took our marriage to another level. Agreeing to pray together, has proven to be the greatest decision we have ever made in our lives.
For some time, we had been praying and preparing for the final years of our ministry together. In July 2009, Dana began sensing an increased urgency to roll out a prayer ministry to encourage husbands and wives to pray together. This had done so much for us, we felt compelled to challenge others to do it. In January 2010, God began to open up doors for us to share what He had put on our hearts. Thank you, Pastor Don Andrews of Haven Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kansas, for being the first church to invite us to present our prayer emphasis, "TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!."
In his book, "Turnaround Churches," George Barna challenged the church (pastors and people- emphasis mine) to "utilize prayer as the world class weapon in the battle against evil." I share Barna's belief that God's chosen weapon of warfare, in the battle against an enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy, is prayer.
With all the armor available to us, we have precious little power to use the arsenal of faith until we "Pray at all times in The Spirit." (Ephesians 6: 18) This is the advantage of prayer. It calls for The Spirit of The Champion to come alongside an intimidated soldier in the ranks of God's army.
"Praying in The Spirit" is how we take up The Armor of God. To make a stand against the world forces of darkness, we must take our eyes off of the enemy and place them on The Champion. Jesus promised His disciples, and us, that it was to our advantage that He go, and He send The Helper. His very name means, called along side to help.
When any trutprayer partners, but especially husbands and wives, parents and children, pray together, they call out to God, in the name of Jesus, for The Spirit to come along side of them. The Spirit's Presence and power gives them an advantage over the enemy seeking to intimidate and annihilate them.
The truth is this. The enemy fears the return of The Champion. When God's people pray, they take their stand against the enemy, in the name of Jesus. Calling out for The Spirit of Christ, in the very name of Jesus, strikes fear in the enemy camp. Hearing His name weakens the knees of those forces of darkness standing in the ranks, shouting insults in the battle line.
Being well equipped and prayerless does not deter the enemy. Prayerless people put a welcome mat out for an enemy occupation that leaves nothing but scorched earth in its path. On this 4th of July, take a good hard look at a nation founded on Christian principles, and ask yourself if you feel like the church is gaining ground or giving it up.
This is not a tough call to make. Just listen to the voices gathered in Austin, Texas this week, supporting a bill to abort children who have spent 20+ weeks in their mother's womb. Did you hear them shouting, "Hail, Satan!" The response of Christians standing against them was a song, "Amazing Grace." Amazing indeed.
Anything that drives you to your knees to pray, God can use to your advantage. How? Prayer is an admission that you have come to the end of yourself, and in need of The Spirit of Christ to come alongside of you to help you. How does He help. First The Spirit confuses the enemy, and then He infuses you.
E.P. Hovey, a great Presbyterian preacher and pastor to the Northwest USA, during the first half of the 20th Century, described The Spirit of Christ as "a blood transfusion for courageous living." He does this in the present tense. He doesn't offer a nostalgic whiff of mothballed battle flags of days gone by. In the stench and clamor of battle, He blows away the fog of war with a blast of a trumpet and reveals the weakness of the enemy.
The forces of darkness don't fear us, but they fear Jesus. The old Gospel song hit the right note. "WE HAVE HEARD THE JOYFUL SOUND! JESUS SAVES! JESUS SAVES!" When the enemy hears the trumpet sound and the mention of His name, they take their eyes off of you. They look up to see if Jesus is on His way back. They believe Jesus is coming again, more than the contemporary church does. Use it against them.
Can you see it now? You are not alone. Jesus has given you a distinct advantage over your enemy by sending you The Spirit. After three years of walking through the roll out of a new ministry, Dana and I have never been more confident of this truth. Every time we have called on The Spirit to come alongside of us, in the name of Jesus, we have experienced the reality of God's direction, protection and correction. There is nothing like the confidence of knowing that praying in the name of Jesus confuses the enemy and infuses us. Join us on the journey.
TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!