"The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil." Proverbs 19:23
Paul Revere's name has become synonymous with a ride made during the tumultuous days leading up to the American Revolution. His purpose was to warn the "Minute Men" of New England of an impending crisis. They were in danger due to the imminent arrival of the British forces that were marching towards them from the city of Boston. His message was not a symbolic gesture made in anticipation of inevitable defeat. It was not meant to sound a retreat in the face of overwhelming odds. He initiated a call to patriots to take a stand against a formidable enemy. The rest, as they say, is history.
I find it interesting that the name of our patriot horseman was Revere. "Revere" is an English word often used as a synonym to provide a contemporary expression of the phrase, "the fear of the Lord." Paul Revere was certainly an instrument used to put a sort of "the fear of the Lord" in the hearts of his fellow patriots. By their quick response to run to the sound of the guns, the "Minute Men" would effectively put the enemy on the run, and chase them back to Boston.
God's wisdom instructs us that, "The fear of the Lord leads to life." God expects His children to revere, respect and respond to His voice. There are times God's voice provides a calming, soothing touch to the restless heart that brings satisfied sleep in the face of a fear. On other occasions, God's word calls His children to awaken from their slumber, and to take their stand in the battle line beside their Champion, Jesus Christ.
There are times that a soul-satisfying sleep is a great expression of worship. It reveals a trust in the Omnipresent, Sovereign God to protect His children. Frantic and fearful children are not faithful representatives of The Father's loving concern for them. When they stay up all night talking about a crisis, or wrestling with it, they rob themselves of the rest they need, and they reflect poorly upon the Father's reputation in the eyes of others.
This Old Testament admonition is matched by the New Testament concern of The Apostle Paul, when he warned the Church at Ephesus, "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time because the days are evil...being subject to one another in the fear of Christ." Ephesians 5:15-21
Soldiers have always had to respond to the call to take their stand in the line of battle, if there was to be any hope for victory. Three times, in Ephesians chapter six, Paul urged Christian soldiers to take their stand. They were not called to charge or retreat, or to discuss or debate. They were expected to stand next to their Champion, and to be "strong in the strength of His might." (Ephesians 6:10) They were reminded to put on "the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." (Ephesians 6:13)
In his book, "Turnaround Churches," George Barna described prayer as the church's world class weapon in the battle against evil. Prayer turns the eyes of prayer warriors towards the face of their Champion. Praying shifts their attention from their enemy, and locks their eyes onto the One who has already defeated, death, hell and the grave. They take their marching orders from their Commander in Chief. If Jesus doesn't panic, they will not panic. If Jesus stands firms, they will stand with Him.
The purpose of prayer is to provide the courage to stand and the boldness to speak in the face of an intimidating and relentless enemy.
"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel." Ephesians 6:19
Prayer is the means by which the warrior calls on Jesus for the power of His Presence to demoralize and to defeat the enemy. There is no secret code ring necessary to tap into this power. There is no glib phrase or a magic mantra that unleashes the Manifest Presence of Jesus. His sole purpose in life is to respond to the call of God's children and to intercede for them. He is not trying to hide His Presence from God's children. Jesus, throuch His Spirit, is constantly calling His followers into His Presence. The feelblest prayer from the faintest saint ovepowers "spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Prayer reminds fearful prayer warriors that they are not alone, and provides them the courage to stand firm and speak up. Prayer reminds the enemy that their defeat is as certain, and His shield is more than "able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one."
There is an appropriate time for deep, satisfied sleep. There is a contentment and peace in knowing that God has taken the field, and Jesus keeps us untouched by the evil that surrounds us. There is also a time to hear a call from God's Spirit to awaken from slumber and to take a stand against evil. There are times when evil takes the field in defiance of God, and unless prayer warriors take their place beside their Champion, holy ground is given up that need not be conceded to the enemy.
There is a prayer movement taking place throughout the world. The Church has begun to hear the wakeup call to take their place in the battle line in an unprecedented way. This ride of The Spirit of God warns of a spiritual invasion that need not be tolerated. The Spirit calls for God's children to revere His voice and respond with courage to stand and boldness to speak against a spiritual enemy that has already been defeated. The battle trumpet rends the air. Run to the sound of the guns. Take your place next to your Champion. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. He will turn your fear into cheer. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
"The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless study, prayerless work, or prayerless religion. He mocks at our wisdom, laughs at our toil, but he trembles when we pray." Samuel Chadwick