At my job, there are a few ladies who get together for prayer meetings twice a week. They use a short break to gather outside (weather permitting) and pray. First they will ask if there are any specific prayer requests. Then they will read a short devotion. Next they join hands and pray. And at the end, they wrap up the prayer meeting with hugs.
These meetings always prove to be a special time for these ladies. One of the ladies told me that every time they start praying, they feel a gentle breeze, as though the Holy Spirit has arrived. And on one particular day, an older man driving a medical transport bus happened to see them, so he pulled over to join in. The ladies did not know him, but they welcomed their brother in Christ. It warms my heart to think about the way God’s love spread that day (and many other days).
I have gone to these prayer meetings a handful of times. However, they commonly fall at the same time as other business meetings on my calendar. So I cannot attend often. But unfortunately, on a few of the occasions when I did attend, there were subsequent and negative incidents that occurred.
On one particular day when I attended the prayer meeting, I later had a coworker misinterpret something I said and she got riled up about it. We were just going into a meeting, so I didn’t have a chance to say much else at the time. I tried to find her later to clear the air, but I was unable to locate her. So later that evening I sent her a text message, explaining what I truly meant in what I said. And I apologized for the miscommunication. Via the text she acted like it was nothing. (But in person it definitely appeared as something.) Nonetheless, we have since moved on from that incident and get along fine once again.
On another day when I went to one of the prayer meetings, towards the end when each of the ladies hugs one another, one of them looked at my stomach and asked me if I was expecting. In an attempt to laugh it off, I made a joke about being overweight. The lady did apologize at the time. I actually don’t know this lady very well because she is on a different team. And I don’t see her often, because our desks are on opposite ends of the building. So we haven’t had much opportunity to clear the air in this situation. But I did see her once this week and wished her a good morning.
I don’t think it was a coincidence that these incidents happened on the same days when I attended the prayer meeting. I believe they were attacks from the enemy. He knows we are working for the Kingdom of God and wants to steer us off that path. He will do whatever he can to get to us. Spiritual warfare is something we Christians need to be prepared for every single day. How do we prepare ourselves for spiritual warfare?
1 – Put on the Armor of God
Let’s take a look at Ephesians 6:10-17:
The Armor of God
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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In these verses, the Bible gives us detailed instructions on how we should dress ourselves spiritually every morning. This is something we do by faith as we prepare for whatever attacks the enemy might send our way.
Here are two excellent podcast episodes where Dr. Charles Stanley talks about putting on the armor of God:
2 – Be Alert
1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
The first two words stand out to me – Be Alert! Unfortunately I think we often fall short on that part. When we are attacked, we usually point the finger at the person who was involved in the incident. This could be a family member, a friend, a coworker, or even a stranger. If someone upsets us or angers us, we tend to place the blame on them. But the truth is that we are forgetting who the true enemy. These other people are not our enemies. Strife comes from Satan because he knows it will cause us to build walls which ultimately weakens our faith and it weakens the Christian army as a whole. When we are united as one, we are much stronger. So when it comes to spiritual battles, we have to remember that we Christians are on the same team!
3 – Fight Back
When we recognize that the enemy has attacked us, we must fight back. Start by turning to the Lord. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
If you are in the midst of a conflict with another person, it might be difficult to turn the situation around. But if we try to remember Proverbs 15:1, we will see the circumstances change: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
This is important with all relationships. But I believe the enemy loves to attack within our own families first. His number one goal is to destroy. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” So he would love to divide a household, or even extended family. But Ephesians 4:27 says, “Do not give the devil a foothold.” So when we see strife or conflict enter our lives, we cannot allow the enemy to have the upper hand. We must take a stand, seek the Lord’s help, and take action.
In this post, I have been generally talking about strife with other people. However, the points above can be applied to any spiritual battle we face. The enemy does not take vacations, so we can’t either. We must remain on guard at all times. Fortunately, we have our Almighty God on our side. So as long as we remain rooted in Him, the enemy doesn’t stand a chance!