#WarfareWeek: The Weapons of Our Warfare

Hello, lovelies! I hope you’re enjoying Warfare Week as much as I am! It was great to talk about what God is working out in my heart with advocacy and I loved connecting with Emerald about her testimony about the fight to love yourself.

Today, I’m excited to welcome Kandi J. Wyatt, author of the incredible middle grade fantasy series, Dragon’s Courage, and medieval retelling of Hagar’s story, The One Who Sees Me. Right now, she is also sharing the Holy Week story from a unique perspective on her blog, which I’ve been really enjoying. To say the very least, Kandi is an incredibly gifted author, and I’m grateful to have her join me this week to talk about the ultimate spiritual warrior and some weapons for battle.

Please join me in giving Kandi a warm welcome!

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When I think of a warfare, I think of a warrior—standing in the gap, willing to lay down his life for another, obeying orders to the end, holding out against all odds. Therefore, when I was asked to write about spiritual warfare, I immediately thought of a warrior—a prayer warrior. Phrases such as “Get down on your knees and fight like a man” came to mind as did the song, “She’s a prayer warrior down on her knees, wrestling with angels and principalities.”

My image of a warrior being in prayer formed early in life. I remember learning verses in Awana clubs. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) “Casting all your cares upon Him for He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) These verses were emphasized through both Mom and Grandma. They taught me that Jesus was a friend that I could talk to at any and all moments. He was a living part of our home.

As I grew older, I was introduced to Frank Perretti’s books This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. These novels added to my image of prayer as warfare. They give a unique glimpse into the angelic realm and portray angels as ready to wage war but waiting on our prayers to give them the victory! At the same time, my late teen years, I had three ladies who were my prayer warriors. They were either old enough to be my great-grandmother or in bed with cancer or both. They had not given up on life, however. They fought tooth and nail in prayer—prayer for me, prayer for our church, prayer for their families. I was about twenty-years-old when they died. I physically felt the gap from the loss of their prayers and said I would take up the banner and pray.

Being young and naive. I didn’t realize the war that took place when one is down on his or her knees. I have not been able to pray as earnestly as those three prayed for me, but I did find ways to pray. I’ve struggled and even now need to take my own advice and pick up the mantle to pray again.

In the hustle and bustle of our lives, I discovered it helped to pray when I had a specific list and a specific time. Living in a rural area, I found myself in the seat of a car on a regular basis. I drove past the homes of people I knew. I began to pray for them. My list began as I left the driveway, praying for my own kids. Then I moved on to pray for my extended family, from there, a person from church whose road I passed, then my son’s friend. Sometimes, I didn’t pass a specific person’s home, but a friend of theirs. To facilitate this type of prayer, turn off music until your prayer time is over, then you can add in some worship songs to finish praying. Know what to pray for. I prayed for salvation of loved ones, that they would be drawn close to God, that they would be kept pure for God and the one they would one day marry, for their marriages, for wisdom raising children, and if there was something specific going on that day or week. This type of prayer can also happen on a walk if you live in town and have a semi-regular walking schedule.

Another way my prayer life blossomed was through Moms In Touch, an organization that helped moms pray for their school age children. The format was intimidating at first—gather with other moms to pray for a full hour! Yes, you read correctly. Pray, not talk to your friend, but pray for a full hour. The more time I had with the group, I found we often had to limit ourselves to an hour. With the format it became easy to pray for that long. We began with praise to God focused around a specific verse. We would praise God for who He is based on an attribute or something He had done listed in scripture. Then we would have a time of silent confession of sin, again with a verse to guide our prayers. Next we would use a different verse for thanksgiving, thanking God for what he had done in our lives or the lives of our children that week. The meat of our prayers then focused on our kids and their schools. A verse guided our prayers. It is amazing the power of praying a verse for a person. You can pick it apart and pray many specific things for them. Finally, one person closed the prayer. The amazing thing with Moms In Touch was the way we prayed together. One person would pray a thought and someone else would pick up and echo or expound on that thought. It was a time that bound us together as moms. To this day, a lady at church still prays for my kids and I pray for hers.

Several years ago, I read the book, Radical by David Platt. It explained how the American dream has filtered through to the church and its teachings. I was challenged to pray around the world. Being a literal type of person, I found the CIA fact book and began reading an entry each day and then praying for that country. If I knew missionaries in the land, I’d add them to my list. After a year or two of using the CIA fact book, I discovered a 10-40 prayer calendar. It gave a specific people group each day of the year to pray for with some detail of their needs at the beginning of the month.

Prayer calendars are handy. Besides the 10-40 calendar, I also have one for praying for your kids and one for praying for your spouse. These two give you a verse to pray each day of the month for the specific person.

As the years have passed, I have struggled with prayer. The routine gets old, the enemy whispers lies in my ears. I need encouragement. So, writing a post on prayer has challenged me to return to praying. What tools have you used to keep up a consistent prayer life? Please share. I’d love to hear them and let you know which one I pick up next.

Prayer Warrior

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You can connect with Kandi on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And please show her some love by sharing the tools you’ve found helpful in your prayer life.

Thanks for joining us, Kandi!

Nehemiah

In my trek through Old Testament History books, I find myself in Nehemiah this National Day of Prayer.

If there’s something Nehemiah is known for, it’s prayer. (Well, and restoration, of course). In fact, the first thing he does is call out to God when he hears about the distressed state of his people and Jerusalem. When he needed wisdom in a particular situation, he prayed before addressing it (Nehemiah 2:4b). He leaned on God in times of opposition (Nehemiah 4). He sought God’s favor in everything he did (Nehemiah 5:19; 13:31). He responded to threats and fear by asking for the opposite (Nehemiah 6:9b).  He was a worshiper (Nehemiah 12).

Today, though, I was mulling over chapter six.  Nehemiah has been building, and the gaps are closed, in spite of opposition from Sanballat.  (I know, that just sounds like the name of a villain, doesn’t it?)  The only thing still needed are doors on the gates, so you would think the bad guys would recognize this as a lost cause and give up, but no.  In this chapter Sanballat tries to lure Nehemiah away from his project four times, and when Nehemiah doesn’t respond, he accuses the builders of plotting a rebellion.  Nehemiah shrugs it off, and continues working, so the enemy tries to plant seeds of fear: They’re weak and tired and they’re never going to finish.

Then what does Nehemiah do? He prays four words, “Now strengthen my hands.”

Honestly, I tend to think I would have given up back in chapter four, when Sanballat and his buddies first started coming around, but I almost certainly would have thrown in the towel at this point.  I’d probably be so sick of the threats and the distractions, I’d just say, “You know what? You’re right.  I am weak and tired and I’m not ever going to finish.” Probably.

Not Nehemiah.  He was so focused on his calling – restoring Jerusalem’s walls, and in many ways, its people – that he treated Sanballat as exactly what he was: a distraction.  He knew the only reason Sanballat was coming around was because the gaps were closing, and he remained undeterred in his task.

At the beginning of my twenties, I asked God to use this decade of my life to make me a prayer warrior. Six years in, I see so many circumstances that I’ve given up on in sheer discouragement.

And, I’ve got to be honest, there’s something going on right now that I want to give up praying for.

That thing is Seattle. After four years of upset plans regarding Seattle, once again, I find myself in not quite the right timing. After four years, I’m weak and tired and I wonder if I’m ever going to get there, or if I’ll be stuck in the state of Texas forever.

Here’s the thing: even though I know it’s not time for me to go to Seattle in September, and even though I have no idea when it will be time, I do know I will go when the time is right.  So, I have two choices: I can give up and try to never think another thought about Seattle again (hahaHA), or I can keep praying the vision God has given me, and be at peace with the fact that when it’s time, I’ll be there.

I’m going with option two, even though I am tired and weak and everyone who’s followed this journey with me is going to roll their eyes and secretly think I’m never going. There will probably be days when I think that myself, and not-so-secretly.  But over the past four years, God’s been cultivating this vision in me. He’s nurtured it and made it blossom, and I believe with all my heart that any delay is because He’s not yet brought me to where I need to be for this transition. In the meantime, I’m exactly where I need to be.

Yeah, I’m tired.  I’m weak.

But with God’s help, I am going to see this vision through.

Now strengthen my hands.

 

 

Prayer That Is Hard

“Faith fights for the lives it loves.” ~from a teaching on Abraham and Lot (I wish I knew who said this, but it’s just a notation in my Bible, and I can’t find it in any old sermon/teaching notes.  I only know I did not come up with it!)

Confession:  For nearly two years now, I have neglected part of my calling from God.  You see, five years ago in April, God called me to be a prayer warrior.  He called me to do battle on my knees.  And I did, for about three years.  Three years ago it began to dawn on me that the people I was battling for were not even doing battle for themselves, and that brought with it tremendous discouragement, but I ploughed on anyway.  Two years ago I became tired and succumbed to feelings of hopelessness, and I stopped.

I didn’t stop praying,  I just stopped doing battle.  I stopped putting my blood, sweat, and tears into praying for other people.

God has been prompting me to go back into battle for a long time now, and I am ashamed to say, I’ve kept telling Him no.  I have resented the target that’s been on my own back as I do battle for others.  I have resented the emotional exhaustion of pouring out my heart to God on behalf of others and nothing ever changes.  I have resented the people I’m battling for as they don’t know or care about the intercession going on for them and they don’t change.

In the past year, I have begun to do battle for myself once more, to pray more boldly about what God will do with me, but I’ve held off fighting for others.  In my heart of hearts, I have been guilty of thinking that it is easier for God to change me than for Him to change others.

Last week, I was doing some thinking, and I heard God say to me,  “This is not what you prayed three years for.” And I just said back, “Are You even going to do what I prayed three years for?” (Oh, me of little faith).  And I breathed a little prayer right then, and almost promptly forgot about it.

Until what I prayed about happened.

I was then forced to reckon with the fact that the three years I spent doing battle had not gone to waste.  My prayers had been seen, heard, and known by the Sovereign of the universe, and He has always intended to do what I’ve done battle for.  And again, He asked me to do battle.

And so I did.  And I will continue to do so, hard as it will be.

Spending that kind of time and energy in prayer is never fruitless!