by Keith Hassell | August 16, 2010
Remember the movie "Star Wars" which portrayed the galactic struggle between those under the influence of the dark side of "the Force" and those under the influence of the good side of "the Force"? Well, it seems the church could have its own sequel called "Prayer Wars". For instance, have you ever been in a prayer meeting where you expected to hear the "Star Wars" theme song strike up as intercessors clashed their prayer sabers against one another in "spiritual warfare"? You know--one person prays their agenda while another attacks that agenda as they thrust in another competing agenda. While biblical prayer is designed to bring petitions and supplications before God in a spirit of humility, this relatively new form of so-called "prayer" succumbs easily to pride and the lust for power that easily drives a wedge of division in the church between those under the influence of "evil" and those under the influence of "good". This kind of prayer or intercession--whether prayed in public or in private--is nothing more than a spiritual power struggle for control. Usually the goal is to impose our agenda (which we are convinced is God's agenda) upon the pastor, the leadership, the church, or upon one individual or group within the church. Those who oppose "our" agenda confirm that they are under the influence of the devil. Those who agree with our agenda confirm that they are "led by the Spirit". How childish! How self-deceived can we be? It is blatant pride at best and satanic at worst. Personally I have witnessed the spiritual upheaval in relationships and in the church caused by this kind of prayer. I have witnessed well-meaning intercessors become spiritual casualties filled with bitterness as they blame everyone else for their demise. Are we in a spiritual battle against the devil and his demons? Yes. But spiritual warfare is not directed at people but against God's enemy the devil and his agents (Ephesians 6:12). AND it is not fighting the devil in order to defeat him. God has already defeated the devil We fight from a position of victory, seated with Christ in heavenly places in order to hold the ground that Christ has already won for us (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). When we enter into a cosmic spiritual battle against one another, we treat one another--rather than the devil--as our enemy. We fight against one another rather than fighting for one another. One kind of "prayer" is motivated by pride, control, anger and vengeance while the other is motivated by humility, love, reconciliation, and forgiveness. A true intercessor is a humble servant of God who stands in the gap to hold back the enemy's onslaught against those who are broken, weak, and stumbling (see Ezekiel 22:30). When we figure out who the real enemy is, then we can become a unified army bonded and motivated by God's love. It is time to put down our prayer sabers, repent of our pride, ask forgiveness, and then join hands in unified prayer that God's kingdom would come and His will would be done. Who knows, when we start praying like that, we might find ourselves in the middle of a revival. In that case the devil loses and we all win. Now that's a nice thought! What do you think?
For further reading check out my article Intercession and Spiritual Warfare.