WARFARE PRAYING. Victor Matthews

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1 WARFARE PRAYING Victor Matthews

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS SESSION ONE: The Encouragement in Warfare Praying: The Plan of God... 2 Addendum: Satan and the Successful Christian Life SESSION TWO: An Example of Warfare Praying: Vulnerability... 4 Addendum: Taking Charge of Our Thinking SESSION THREE: An Example of Warfare Praying: Vulnerability II... 8 Addendum: Reconciling the Past SESSION FOUR: An Example of Warfare Praying: Vulnerability III Addendum: The Daily Affirmation of Faith Warfare Prayer Suggestions Regarding Spiritual Protection Warfare Praying Page 1

3 The Encouragement in Warfare Praying: The Plan of God Introduction A. One of the most important questions is: What is the purpose or meaning of life? B. All of us have a built-in, intuitive response to life. It is a self-centered perspective. We usually evaluate life on the basis of self-involvement. C. God's plan is explained to us in Scripture. 1. Daniel 7: John 14:13 3. Phil 2: Col 1:14-19 I. The Father's Plan is to Exalt the Lord Jesus. A. His plan is the reason for creation. B. His plan is the reason for our existence. C. His plan is the pattern for evaluating life. II. The Savior's Affirmations Reflected the Father's Plan. A. While He always preached against pride, He said He was number one. B. Consider His many affirmations. C. Consider the prayer in John 14:13. III. The Goal of the Holy Spirit Reflects the Father's Plan. A. Scripture: John 16:13,14. B. Consider His work in the Theocracy and Church. C. Consider His work in the life of individuals. Warfare Praying Page 2

4 IV. The Believer's Calling is Found in the Father's Plan. A. All believer's called to exalt the Lord Jesus: Romans 8:28,29. B. The necessity of personal cooperation: Rom 12:1,2. C. The necessity of corporate cooperation: Eph 4:7-16. V. The Solemn Warning Luke 12: A. All self-centered goals are sinful, unfruitful, and destructive of our spiritual life. B. It is in this practice of error the enemy takes advantage of us. Conclusion 1. His goal is to get our attention away from the Lord Jesus and the Plan of our Father. 2. Our admonition is to "resist the Devil." a. He seeks to dry up our power sources. b. He seeks to develop some "inner control." A. Our encouragement is found in God's plan. B. It is His will we live in freedom from the enemy and exalt the Lord Jesus. C. Warfare Praying is at the center of this freedom. Warfare Praying Page 3

5 An Example of Warfare Praying: Vulnerability Introduction A. Mistakes, misunderstandings, and the practice of error can be, and always is, extremely costly. B. Some mistakes or errors are more costly than others. The most costly are in the spiritual realm. C. The most serious mistake one can make is to misunderstand Who God is. D. The second most serious mistake may be to misunderstand ourselves. It is the failure to grasp in any meaningful way, the Biblical truths regarding our personhood. E. In this area of our life we are extremely vulnerable to the enemy. I. The Truth: You are a Person Created by God. A. God created us in His image. Gen 1:26,27. B. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.(westminster Shorter Catechism, #4) C. From the Bible we understand that God is a Person. He has feelings, makes choices and plans, achieves goals, and enters into reciprocal relationship. He speaks of Himself by use of personal pronouns, and gives Himself names. D. God made us like Himself - a person - with emotions, will, intellect, and the ability to love, hear, respond, choose, worship, and enter into reciprocal relationships. E. As God has rights as a Person, so He has created us and given to each of us many rights. We have the personal right to be heard, to feel, to express our emotions, to have needs, to have our needs met, to have opinions, to be respected, to be cared for, to be responsible, to develop our potential, to learn, to receive and give help, to make choices, to work, and Warfare Praying Page 4

6 to enjoy life. We do not have the right to demand our rights. God, however, always recognizes us as a person and gives us these rights. F. The demanding of our rights is a "fleshly" and sinful way of living. We must give our rights to God and accept the Cross and its death to all sinful activity. G. What rights did God give to Adam and Eve? 1. Gen 1:27 To know they were created by God. 2. Gen 1:28 To be fruitful and have dominion. 3. Gen 1:29,30 To have needs and have them met. 4. Gen 1:31 To know they were created good. 5. Gen 2:15 To be alive and unique. 6. Gen 2:15 To work, choose, be responsible. 7. Gen 2:16 To hear God and choose to obey Him. 8. Gen 2:17 To choose to obey or disobey God. 9. Gen 2:18 To a companion, love, equality. 10. Gen 2:19,20 To use God-given gifts. 11. Gen 2:21-24 To love, be loved, be intimate. 12. Gen 2:25 To be unashamed and enjoy dignity. 13, Gen 3:8 To have fellowship with God 14. Gen 3:9,10 To be heard when they spoke. 15. Gen 3:15,21 To receive redemption. H. Has God withheld any of these rights from you? No! I. Perhaps you were raised in a home without being recognized or treated as a person. Perhaps that is your situation in life now. If that is true then it is inevitable that you have been taught many errors about yourself without being able to recognize what was happening. Such errors will make success in life very difficult and will open the door to the accusations, and intimidations of the enemy. Note the significance of Psalm 19:12; Jer 17:9; John 8:32, John 8:34,44; James 1:22-25; I Peter 5:8,9; Rev 12:10. J. We must ask ourselves, What error am I accepting about myself that is not Biblical? Perhaps you have accepted feelings of inferiority or rejection, or that you don't measure up. Perhaps you do not believe you are worthy of the blessing of God or the care of other people. Because we are fallen each of us has accepted many errors about ourselves. Warfare Praying Page 5

7 II. The Truth: You are Created by God as a Spiritual Person. A. By "spiritual" I do not mean how we live. I am referring to the kind of a person we are. I am using the word to describe the quality of our personhood. B. God created us like Himself: spirit. We are not basically mind, or emotions, or will, or body, or a social creature, we are basically spirit. C. In the new birth we were recreated according to the pattern of our original creation. Once dead to God, spiritually, we are now alive. Note the significance of Ex 19:5,6; Eph 4:24, Col 3:10; I Peter 2:5,9. D. It is vitally important that we accept what God says to us in His Word. And, we must do so, in spite of how we feel. Our feelings are not our authority, nor is our past. III. The Truth: You are the Recipient of God's Grace. A. You are holy I Cor 1:2; Heb 10:10,14. B. You are gifted I Cor 12:13; Eph 4:7. C. You are valuable Is 43:1-7,21; Eph 1:18. D. You are loved Jer 31:3; John 15:9,10; 17:23. E. You are blessed Eph 1:3; II Peter 1:3. Conclusion A. The way the enemy may exert some control over us is through error. II Cor 2:11; 10:4,5; 11:3,4; Eph 4: B. To obey God and resist the Devil we must resist, reject, refuse, to believe the error that makes us vulnerable to Him. It may be important for you to do spiritual warfare praying against the error that has ruined a part of your life. Perhaps a prayer like the following would help. Heavenly Father, I choose to believe You and Your Word. And in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I Warfare Praying Page 6

8 reject the error that I have accepted. I repent for accepting it and confess my sin before You. I bring the power of your truth and redeeming blood against my error and the terrible effects it has brought into my life. I ask You for help to recognize all of the error and sin in my life. Set me free from my sin and the work of the enemy. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Warfare Praying Page 7

9 An Example of Warfare Praying: Vulnerability II Introduction A. In the new birth the believer has been made a new creature. II Cor 5:17. B. As a new creature we are reminded that we are "Complete in the Lord Jesus." Col 2:10. C. Although legally the recipients of this fullness of grace we are warned to be vigilant, selfcontrolled, Spirit filled, growing, surrendered, continually putting off the old man and putting on the new man, constantly renewed in the spirit of our mind, and warned that we are in a warfare with Satan. I Peter 5:8,9; Eph 5:18; I Peter 2:2; Rom 12:1,2; Eph 4:22,23. D. The reason for such exhortations relates directly to our vulnerabilities which we all have this side of Heaven. E. One of our most serious areas of vulnerability, and the area where the enemy is able to influence us the most, is found in those seemingly small and mostly hidden attitudes and patterns of response from our past that cause us to neglect God and His Word, sin against Him, as well as sin against other people and ourselves. F. It is in these areas that we are often influenced by the enemy. The result is confusion and bondage. I. The Truth: We are Vulnerable to Error. A. Because of the fall of man, the teaching of our past, the pressures of the world, the hidden and not so hidden working of the enemy, and our own sin we all have a subtle and powerful network of error, excuses, defense mechanisms, lies, protective devices, wrong conceptions of life, deceptions, wrong attitudes and rationalizations deeply embedded within us. This maze of sin and error produces powerful pressures and needs that often structure our thinking and life even though Warfare Praying Page 8

10 we may be largely unaware of what is happening. Jeremiah described this condition very clearly when he said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?" Jer 17:9. B. Most of our sins and failures can be traced to this hidden network. When we have areas of life in which we find pressure, spiritual weakness and bondage, grudges, anger, bitterness, the desire for revenge and manipulation, doubt and unbelief, rebellion, fantasy, pride, self-righteousness, elitism, racism, worldly habits, obsessive criticism, dogmatism, negativism, etc., the issues can usually be traced back to the acceptance of error usually hidden error. C. The above can be summarized very simply: We are the products of our past! 1. In the days of our childhood and youth we were taught many errors without being able to evaluate what was happening. 2. Such errors became patterns of how we thought, how we lived, how we responded to people, how we evaluated ourselves, how we related to God, and how we established the priorities and goals of our life. 3. It is in such a context that the enemy may become involved in our life. If a believer is an honest, growing, praying, faithful person, if he or she knows how to put off the old man, put on the new, and live in the Spirit by faith, love, and hope and still has areas of life that are not under his or her control then it is time to look for the work of the enemy. Note the significance of such passages as Matt 16:21-23; John 8:32,34; Gal 5:16 23; I Peter 5:8,9. 4. The necessity of evaluating our past in regard to error and sin is clearly taught in the Bible. a. Prov 28:13 b. Phil 3:4-13 c. Titus 1:10-13 d. I Peter 1:14 e. Rev 2:l4,5 Warfare Praying Page 9

11 II. The Truth: Our Past May Develop Strongholds. A. Relevant Scripture: II Cor 10:3,4; Eph 4:27; 5:11; Eph 6:17,18. B. A stronghold would be a hold in a person's life that is strong. It may be in the realm of thought, error, habit, obsession, desire, relationship, pattern of response, an interpretation that would be persistent, compelling, controlling, enslaving, and unyielding even though one was honest, used the Biblical approach, prayed about the area in question, and received help in counsel. C. Suggestions as to how to respond to strongholds. 1. Seek the Lord for guidance and assistance. 2. Become clear as to what the stronghold is. 3. Determine the error behind the stronghold. 4. Determine when and what event or events produced the error. 5. Follow the procedure outlined in II Cor 10:3,4; Eph 5:11; and 6:17. a. "Pull down" "cast down" "rebuke" "expose" the stronghold. The following suggestion may be helpful. Heavenly Father, with Your help, I turn Your searchlight on this stronghold. I rebuke it and any demonic activity related to it. I pull it down in my life and smash its control over me. I repent and confess my sin of accepting and practicing the errors related to it. I choose to surrender this area of my life totally to You. And, I depend on You to help me live above it. b. Maintain an attitude of watchfulness regarding the stronghold. It is common for the Holy Spirit to bring increasing clarity into one's life after the above step is taken. It may be necessary to use the procedure outlined in Scripture a number of times. Be honest, aggressive, thorough and patient in obeying God. God. In difficult cases it may be it may be necessary to seek counsel from a person skilled in the area of warfare praying. Warfare Praying Page 10

12 Conclusion A. The Biblical emphasis on self-control is vital here. God has made every provision for us in His redeeming work. We are responsible to take charge of our life under His guidance and enablement. B. This lesson has been largely negative the tearing down of strongholds. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to put even greater emphasis on the positive facets of the Christian life. Without worship, adoration, thanksgiving, and praise, through Biblical affirmations of truth, the freedom gained in working against strongholds would not be lasting. Warfare Praying Page 11

13 An Example of Warfare Praying: Vulnerability III Introduction A. As believers we cannot be content with a mere intellectual grasp on the doctrines of the Bible. We must learn how to practice the Word of God. B. One of the evidences of our fallenness, personal sin, influence of the evil world about us, and demonic pressure is that we are so content to drift through life without a motivating concern regarding our lack of depth in worship, spiritual growth, personal holiness, believing prayer, awareness of the needs of those about us, being able to help people with spiritual problems, carry out the Great Commission, and practice the presence of God. C. None of us doubt the doctrinal content of the Bible. However, most believers have a deeply-rooted and paralyzing doubt as to whether prayer and the gospel will work in the most difficult and practical situations in life. D. It is clear that our problem is usually not in the intellectual area nor is it a lack of commitment. And while we must grant that all of us do not spend enough time with God in worship, prayer, and Bible study, what appears to be our problem has to do with the way we often feel our emotional lethargy and doubt. E. In our creation God gave us at least four functions: mind, will, emotions, and body. It is in these areas that the Fall, our need for love and instruction, and our own sinfulness will often produce serious hindrances in our life as well as making us very vulnerable to the enemy. I. The Truth: We are Vulnerable to our Functions. A. Important instruction from Scripture. 1. Prov 16:32 Warfare Praying Page 12

14 2. Prov 25:28 3. I Cor 9:25,27 4. II Cor 10:3,4 5. Gal 5:23 6. I Thess 5:6,8 7. I Peter 1:13 8. I Peter 5:8,9 B. Toward Understanding our Functions. Diagram: PERSON W I L L Mind Emotions Body C. Observations Regarding our Functions. 1. God created us with all our functions under our control. 2. Because of the Fall we have lost control of our functions. 3. The Bible instructs us to "take charge" of our functions and bring them under our control as we submit ourselves and our functions to God. a. Rom 6:11-13 b. Eph 4:25 c. Phil 4:8 d. Col 3:8 Warfare Praying Page 13

15 e. I Cor 9:27 f. II Cor 10:4,5 II. The Truth: We Can Develop Self-Control. A. Important Issues Regarding our Functions. 1. We are not our functions. Rom 6: God has given us functions to serve us as we serve Him. Phil 4:8. 3. Our functions are not our authority. A thought, feeling, desire does not in itself tell us truth. II Cor 10:4,5. 4. We must bring our functions under our control in the development of self-control. II Cor 9:27; Gal 5: The presence of a tempting thought, emotion, or desire does not mean we are sinful. We must, however, make sure that we do not respond to temptation by acceptance and practice. Matt 4:4; James 1: We can reject wrong thoughts, wrong emotions, and wrong desires and receive the power of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus as our cleanings enablement. Rom 6:13. B. Our Function May Develop into Strongholds. 1. When we are in bondage to our functions and the above does not work well then we may have some demonic involvement. II Cor 10:4,5; I Peter 5:8,9. 2. After praying for guidance, putting on the armor, it would be helpful to "speak to" the stronghold (as a work of the enemy) and to the enemy behind the stronghold. II Cor 10:4,5; Eph 6:17. Warfare Praying Page 14

16 Conclusion A. We must always keep in mind the promise and instruction of John 8:32. B. Christianity works! If we are honest, know the truth in the area in question, and apply the Scripture and are not able to live with freedom then look for the enemy. I Peter 5:8,9. Warfare Praying Page 15

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