Nov 29, 2016

Knowing the Battle Plan




As believers in Christ, we are called to be warriors for His name.  Our job is to stand up against the evil of the world and share the Good News that one day we will once again live in a perfect land of peace, joy, and harmony.  We resist Satan's fiery arrows with our shields of faith, breastplate of righteousness, and helmet of salvation.  We prepare our feet with readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace.  Our waist is buckled with the belt of truth.  But we don't stop there.  No, we not only resist evil, we fight evil with the sword of the Spirit  the Word of God.  We are warriors.  Our lives aren't easy, but we will stand together and declare the truth.  When hard times come our way (and they will!), we won't back down, retreat, or fall away.  We will stand tall with our shoulders thrown back and our face towards the sunrise declaring our allegiance to the one true God.

While all of that is extremely vital as Christians, is that all we should be doing?  Is resisting evil and standing up for good the only task that we have?

For some reason, it seems that we often stop there.  In the middle of the book of Galatians, we pause and sit back with a smile on our face.  What a worthy goal!  What a glorious calling!

Even so, we often forget the very next verse.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying..." Ephesians 6:18 (emphasis mine)

What powerful words!  We are to pray on all occasions.  Always.

What does "always" mean?  A book I read today explains it nicely (and you know I love lists!)...

"It means pray and pray a lot!  Pray when you're alone.  Pray when you're with a lot of people.  Pray when you're in small groups.  Pray on your way in; pray on your way out.  Pray in your closet, in your car, at your desk.  Pray morning prayers, pray mealtime prayers, pray in between mealtimes.  Pray fervently, expectantly, and unself-consciously.  Pray when you're burdened, worried, sick, or brokenhearted.  Pray when you're soaring, setting records, or dancing on a mountaintop.  Pray when you're up, and pray when you're down.  Pray when you're healthy, when you're sick, when you feel like it, and when you don't.  (Especially when you don't.)" Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room

I have a friend in Ecuador whom I love dearly.  We have been writing letters back and forth for more than eight years!  Even after such a long time, every letter I receive is better than the last.  When I open the mail box, my eyes light up if I see a pale, yellow envelope with my name on the front.  I force myself to finish school, my mind always imagining what is inside.  And then the time comes.  I throw open the letter, the eyes devouring every word.  If there is a picture, I treasure it, eagerly showing my friend's smile to everyone willing to look.  After all these years, I have saved every single letter because they are very precious to me!  Every sentence shares my friend's thoughts, desires, dreams, and love.  As I read her words shared on paper, my own heart grows closer to hers.  Even though we have never met, I love her as my own sister.

THAT is why prayer is important.  The #1 way you can build a relationship with Jesus is through talking with Him. (Talking to someone versus with someone is completely different, but I can't cover that in this post)  It is impossible to have a thriving friendship with someone without spending time talking to one another.  If you have an acquaintance whom you don't speak with regularly, you will probably discover that your friendship is not very strong.

How can we get to know God on an intimate level without talking to Him?  How can we love what He loves and hate what He hates without knowing what His plans are?  How can we represent Jesus to the world around us if we don't know who Jesus is?

God has already written a beautiful love letter for us  the Bible!  He shares His plans for the future, His immense affection for those who follow Him, His sorrow when His children stray from Him, and the perfect plan of salvation that He created for us.  All this, God penned for us  His children.  Why?  Because God wants a relationship with us!  If that doesn't blow your mind away, realize what that means.  The Creator of the universe, the great I AM, the One who died for You, wants to know YOU personally!!!  Is there any greater news?

Being a warrior for God is so important.  The world needs us to take a stand and declare what we believe in.  But we will not be effective unless we know Who we are fighting for.  We will only be true warriors if we are reading God's battle plan (the Bible) and talking constantly to Him.

Many people feel distant from God.  I know that I often feel the same way.  Oddly, the times I feel that my relationship with Him is not where it should be are also the times that my prayer life is lacking.  I have never been very faithful at prayer, but it is something that I am going to work on diligently.  Will you join me?

Is your prayer life hot, cold, or somewhere in between?  How has prayer blessed you in your personal life?  Do you have any other thoughts on prayer?  Comment below!

15 comments:

  1. Wonderful blog post, Hosanna! I love how you're shining for Jesus! That quote is so true as well. It's so easy to pray when we "need Him" and are hurting, but we should be praying all the time. Thank you for the encouragement!!

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    1. I'm glad that the post was an encouragement to you, Hannah. =) I also thought that the quotes was very applicable. Prayer should be a way of life, not an occasional thing we do once in a while.

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  2. Beautiful post, Hosanna! You are an amazing example of a blogger who shines for Jesus through every post. ♥
    And what a great quote you shared! It's something we really need to remember. So often, we pray only when we're in trouble or need help, instead of just to talk to God! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Emily! I have enjoyed blogging... it's a way for me to express my own struggles in words and (hopefully) encourage others through it. =) I also loved that quote... so often we forget the importance of prayer! It is definitely something that I need to work on more in my own life.

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  3. I was so excited when I saw that you had posted again. =) This was a great post, Hosanna, and it's on a topic that I think we really need to have imprinted on our minds and hearts!
    I would say that my prayer life is more cold than warm...there are times when I pray pretty fervently, there are times when I just send up a quick request to God, there are times when I'm so distracted it almost feels like there is "no time to pray." Those times are obviously attacks from Satan. I just feel like my prayer life is kind of fluctuating. I know that it shouldn't be, though; do you have any tips that have worked for you on strengthening your prayer life?
    Another thought I had on this topic was something that a speaker at our church said last Sunday; I think the root to my fluctuating prayer life is a lack of FAITH. The speaker was saying that we need to not only ask how our spiritual life is, but dig even deeper and ask 'How is my faith?' Our faith is going to affect every part of our life, especially our prayers. So I've just got to remember that, and have FAITH that God can change the world through my prayers, He will answer them, and they are never ever in vain! =)
    Great post, Hosanna!!
    -Ariel

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    1. Wonderful thoughts, Ariel! I feel very inadequate to give advice on the subject of prayer. I have been trying to improve my prayer life, but I still struggle often. Writing these posts helps me to re-evaluate why I do what I do and how I can improve my spiritual life, with God's help. But please don't think that I am anywhere close to perfection. Lol...even the thought makes me laugh. =)

      One way I am trying to remind myself to become diligent at prayer is having my watch chime every hour. When I hear that gentle "ding", I immediately try to halt what I'm doing and send up a quick prayer to God. It has helped me to focus on Him more throughout the day, though I still struggle at times. =)

      YES. A lack of faith is definitely what keeps us from prayer most often. Do we truly believe that prayer makes a difference? Last week I was able to see a prayer answered, which was a huge blessing and boost to my faith. But already I see myself doubting...are my prayers doing anything? We definitely need to remain trusting in our Lord. If He calls us to pray, there certainly is a reason for it. If only we would remember that. =)

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    2. Yep, that's one of the blessings of blogging. =) And I love your humility, Hosanna! I know that's something that can be really hard for Christians to attain in its full measure...you are exercising it well, though! =)
      That's a pretty good idea! Lately, I've been trying to do a half-hour of prayer each day between three thirty and four in the afternoon. I was wondering...if you aren't too busy, maybe there is a fifteen minute or even a half hour chunk in both of our days when we can both pray at the same time? We could share prayer requests and all that sort of thing...but if you're too busy, I totally understand. I myself feel like life is going by too fast lately. XD HOW ARE WE ALMOST IN 2017?!
      Oh, that's awesome, girl! It definitely is special when we see a prayer answered. I remember one night last summer where there was a sun shower, and my sister and I both wanted a rainbow, so we asked God for one. =) He didn't just give us one, He gave us two! The most vivid double rainbow I have ever seen was in the sky, and we and some of our neighbors were outside looking at it after we noticed it. It was pretty cool!
      -Ariel

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    3. Thank you for sharing that little miracle that God gave you. =) A rainbow...the promise of His love. ♥ Those small blessings are quite sweet, aren't they?

      Lol. I understand about being busy. This week has been possibly the craziest of my life. Thankfully we are starting to get back to normal. =) It will be nice to have this break off school to help catch up. But yes, it would be so fun to have a "prayer meeting" together. =) It would also help motivate me to pray more. What time would work best for you? =)

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  4. I really appreciated this post Hosanna, and needed the encouragement. Prayer is something I struggle to do as often as I should.. but when I do it's always worth it. It would be amazing to be literally always talking with God - something to strive for!

    Thanks for being a blessing, and encouraging us all closer to Him! xx

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    1. Thank you for sharing your struggle, Jessica. I feel the same way. While we know prayer is important, we just forget to do it. We need to be striving to have a constant relationship with God through prayer. How lovely that would be. ♥ Thank you for your comment. =)

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  5. Thank you so much, Hosanna, for this passionate post. Your enthusiasm gets me excited about God. Isn't it great that we're all in this together? We can all remind each other of Who we're serving and get each other riled up again when our affections for Him have grown cold.

    I would like to join you in becoming a faithful prayer warrior in God's power and by His grace. As I begin to dig deeper into this, I think of 1 Timothy 2:1-4 - "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

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    1. So true, Jordy! What a beautiful blessing God has given us...the ability to encourage and push each other on towards the prize awaiting us...without even seeing each other face to face! (though I would love to do that one day) =)

      Thank you for sharing those verses. They show how powerful prayer truly is! They also bring up an interesting question. The list includes "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings." Does that mean that prayer doesn't include supplications, intercessions and thanksgivings? I always considered those as parts of prayer. What are your thoughts?

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    2. I agree, and I look forward to the day when we will meet face to face, whether that be on this earth, or in heaven.

      Oh yes! I definitely asked myself the same question! One thought I had was that perhaps the list was not so much to distinguish different ways of talking with God, but to use repetition of the same sort of idea to ingrain into our minds how important it is to talk with God. A friend recently told me that there are no exclamation marks in Greek and Hebrew, so lists and repetitions were a form of emphasis. We were talking about a different verse at the time, but perhaps it applies in this case, too? Do you think that's a valid thought? Or have you thought more about it since and have a different idea?

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    3. Hmm...that is an interesting thought. I love using lists to emphasis what I am trying to say. Perhaps that verse shows that prayer isn't merely prayer; prayer includes supplications, intercessions, and thanksgivings. Or perhaps, as you said, the different parts of prayer were shown to emphasis its importance. Even though we may never know the true reason the verse was written the way it was, that is an interesting way to think about it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. =)

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    4. And thank you for interacting with me as we both shared our thoughts on the matter. <3

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