Battling in prayer is not always on the top of the hit list for modern Christians, especially women. We don’t really like to hear about it. It doesn’t sound nice, it doesn’t sound happy and it sure doesn’t sound safe. But Satan doesn’t have any of these hindrances. He want to hurt us and to frustrate our prayers. He does not want us to be Christlike or powerful in prayer.
Is prayer always a battle? No. Often faithful and consistent prayer is quite enough. And sometimes it’s not. These are the times when choices or circumstances threaten us or people we love, and we must go to war in prayer.
When it comes to battle prayer, it is best to prepare for it. Even if there has been an accident or a sudden illness and we are called to pray right then and there, the more we are in a habit of prayer the better we will hear God and pray powerfully in His will. If the situation is one you saw coming — including ones that have lasted a long time like besetting sins — then take the time to prepare for a battle prayer.
- Pray about how to pray. The obvious prayer isn’t necessarily the right prayer. For example, when hard times hit us or others we automatically pray that God takes the trial away. We pray against ill health or home foreclosures or unemployment. And rightly so! We are supposed to come freely and confidently before the throne of God. Yet being relieved of suffering may not be yours or my greatest good. Sometimes even though we pray to be relieved of suffering, that temporary suffering is exactly what you need. So pray for God’s will ahead of time. And when you hear it, pray in power!
- Develop a practice of persistent and regular prayer. Consistent prayer gets you used to hearing God and praying according to His will. The best way to pray effectively is to build up those prayer muscles ahead of time. Prayer is wonderful and blessed but it is hard work! Before you go into battle, ask God to prepare your heart and to help you pray effectively.
- Fast. Jesus said about one healing, “This kind can only go out by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29) When you’re going to pray hard for something big, it’s a good idea to fast before you pray. If fasting from food is dangerous for you then fast from something else, like T.V. or reading magazines if you enjoy doing those things. Release yourself from earthly concerns in order to purify yourself and concentrate on hearing God.
- Rest. Before your prayer day get some rest. Battle prayer is hard work.
- Don’t be afraid. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) You are not operating on your own, but in the full power of Christ.
During the Battle Prayer
- START HERE Consider going somewhere else to pray. It’s fine to pray at home but sometimes we are more free to pray without the distractions and comfort of home. Consider going to the church if you’re not going to be interrupted! Sneak into the sanctuary if you have to. Or consider going to another prayerful place like a convent or monastery whose monks welcome retreatants.
- Get moving. Don’t just sit there. Get down on your knees. Prostrate yourself. Get up and take a walk. If you’re worried about the neighbors thinking you’re crazy, then take a drive into the national forest or to the Abbey. There are plenty of times I’ve prayed out loud and fervently when I’m walking my dog. Sometimes I get people looking at me with worried expressions on their faces, but I just say “Hi!” and walk on by. My dog understands.
- Listen for an internal feeling of completion. You might feel that it’s time to stop for now. Sometimes the prayer gets fully answered right then and there, and you feel a sense that it is done. Other times you know you will pray for this again but you are done for now. Listen to these feelings, God wants you to rest.
- Combine talking to God, imaging, and silence of the heart. Certainly you will talk to God about the problem. Just talk, don’t feel that you have to be holy. Ask Him for what you believe is best, and ask Him to guide and direct your prayers. Ask Him to show you His will beforehand, and then pray boldly! Pray in trust! Combine words with imaging the person or problem you are praying for, and give them over to God. Also be in silence sometimes, not because you are done but because you are praying with another level of your heart and consciousness.
Pray with someone else. Having a prayer partner is a great thing and I encourage you all to do it. But whether you do or not, tell someone you trust that you will be praying for this problem, and could they join you in prayer? “Where two or three are gathered together, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven, for where two or three come together in My name, there I am with them. (Matt. 18:19,20) Now, 2 or 3 people praying against the will of God won’t make any difference. But there is tremendous power in focused, believing prayer when several people are praying together for the same thing.
1. Thank and praise Him! He is working on your behalf and on the behalf of the people you are praying for.
2. Rest. Battle prayer is hard work.
3. Write down your prayer and answers. This doesn’t need to be a book, but jot down what you prayed for, date it, and watch for answers. Note: a prayer journal is a cool thing to do.
4. If you have not received your answer yet, keep praying. Some answers are immediate such as Charlene winning her kids or my miracle when I prayed “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Many answers to battle prayers will not be immediate, such as someone’s salvation. Keep on praying regularly and consistently, and listen to the Lord about praying more battle prayers for this situation. Some will require persistent prayer, such as expelling the demon that Jesus talked about. “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”(Mt. 17:21)
5. Remember that battle prayer benefits the person you are praying for, AND you! God is so good.
Is there a situation that is so stubborn and serious it requires battle prayer? Then ask God to help you prepare, and when you’re ready to start praise God and pass the ammunition!