Purpose of this Session
One of the reasons that the least popular meetings in the church are often either the evangelistic outreaches or the prayer meetings is that both of these engage head on with the powers of darkness. Once we are lost to him, satan is fine with us so long as we just stay within the safe boundaries of the church. He will tolerate us worshipping on Sunday mornings, and attending seminars and other Bible classes, but if we begin to pray or evangelise we are intruding on what he considers to be his territory.
This is why, when we venture out in prayer, we not only engage with God at a deeper level, but we also engage with the enemy. We begin to operate in the spiritual realm, and this attracts spiritual attention. Particularly fierce are the battles that are fought when we engage in concerted and persevering intercessory prayer. Satan knows that victory for him is impossible, but nevertheless he seeks to hold his captives, hoping that we, as God’s chosen representatives and enforcers, will give in and back off.
God has given us a number of powerful spiritual weapons with which to fight and establish the victory he so completely won over satan through the cross and the resurrection.
i. The Covenant Word
ii. The Blood of Jesus
iii. The Name of Jesus
iv. A New Nature
We have spoken of the new nature that we received through Christ in previous sessions. It is this new nature that allows us to now live for Him instead of for ourselves; to truly follow Him and lay down our life in love for others. It is from this Christ-like heart that intercession for others will flow:
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NKJV)
Intercession flows from the compassionate heart of God, and we are one spirit with Him when we enter into this kind of prayer.
Revelation tells us:
“And they overcame him (satan and the powers of darkness) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Rev 12:11 NKJV)
Our lives have been laid down with Christ. We have chosen not to love our lives, but rather to lose them and gain new life in Christ. This puts us in a very powerful position spiritually. The person we once were, under the dominion of satan, no longer lives. We have died and been raised to a new life. The covenant connection to darkness has been severed, and our citizenship and loyalty is now to a new Kingdom (Col 1:13). Coupled with a life lived in practical holiness, it is from this place of spiritual authority in Christ that we now exercise powerful spiritual weapons to dislodge the enemy in our own lives and in the lives of others:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Cor 10:3-5 NKJV)
One of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal is an understanding of the covenant we now have with Almighty God. We will cover this important subject in more detail in the next module, but include a basic teaching here in the context of prayer.
The Scripture quoted earlier from Revelation 12:11 says that someone who has lost their life to Christ overcomes the evil one through the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony. Both of these things are powerfully connected to the idea of covenant. [See Module 7: Walking With God: Blood Covenant]
Throughout the Old Testament covenants were made. A covenant is an agreement made between two parties so binding that each party would rather die than break the agreement. Most often blood was shed as part of the process of making covenant to highlight that each party was in essence signing the agreement with their own lifeblood. You and I have an eternal covenant made with Almighty God through Christ. His was the blood that ratified the agreement, making it binding.
Each party entering into a covenant would give themselves to the other. What belongs to me now belongs to you and visa versa. The marriage covenant is a perfect example of this. Moreover, in a marriage the wife takes the name of her husband. She now has the right and authority to use that name and all that it represents. The authority of the husband’s name belongs also to the wife.
As Christ’s Bride, the church has been given His name to use. He conquered satan, death, sickness, poverty and the grave! His name is the name above all others and the name at which all others must bow.
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11 NKJV)
In our use of the blood and the name in prayer we declare the covenant. The word of our testimony is no longer that we are defeated or sick, but that we are more than conquerors. Jesus Himself has given us authority over every demon power.
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19 NKJV)
“And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” (Matt 10:1 NKJV)
This authority can be exercised in prayer as we declare and enforce the covenant that Christ established through His shed blood, and make His Word our testimony (just as Jesus made the Word His testimony when He faced satan in the temptation; “It is written…” (Matt 4)).
It is only as we dislodge powers in the heavenly places that change can occur in the natural realm. We considered this truth in our module on Spiritual Realities. As Wesley Duewel points out in his book ‘Mighty Prevailing Prayer’, “You must overthrow the invisible forces of satan if you would see things and lives changed visibly before you.”
We must remember in warfare that we are not coming against spiritual powers in our own strength or wisdom, but in the Name (as representatives) of Jesus. His authority is behind that name, and when we use it in prayer it is as if He Himself were praying. I am not suggesting arbitrary or frivolous use of the name, nor an immature picking of fights in the spiritual realm, which is both dangerous and stupid, but rather a calculated and informed assault on the powers of darkness through a thorough knowledge of God’s Word, a Covenant mentality and loyalty to Christ, and a revelation of the absolute victory of Christ.
The best book I have found which covers these areas of Prayer Warfare is Wesley Duewel’s “Mighty Prevailing Prayer” (Zondervan, ISBN 0-310-36191-5). In the book he covers subjects such as prayer warfare, the dangers of prayer warfare, militant use of the Word in prayer, and binding and loosing in detail.