Model Prayer and Spiritual Warfare

QUESTION: Model Prayer and Spiritual Warfare


I’ve greatly appreciated John Piper’s insights about model prayer and the reality of spiritual warfare encapsulated in a message more than twenty years ago:
    “We must talk first about war. Because life is war. And it is utterly impossible for people to know what prayer really is until they know that they are in a war, and until they know that the stakes of that war are infinitely higher. . . .

    “But most people do not believe this in their heart. . . . They believe we are in peacetime, not wartime. . . .

    “[But] until people believe this, they will not pray as they ought. They will not even know what prayer is. . . .

    “Prayer is the communication by which the weapons of warfare are deployed according to the will of God. Prayer is for war. . . .

    “Prayer is for the accomplishment of a wartime mission. It is as though the field commander (Jesus) called in the troops, gave them a crucial mission (“Go and bear fruit”), handed each of them a personal transmitter coded to the frequency of the general’s headquarters, and said, “Comrades, the general . . . has authorized me to give each of you personal access to him through these transmitters. If you stay true to his mission and seek his victory first, he will always be as close as your transmitter, to give tactical advice and to send in air cover when you or your comrades need it.”

    “But what have millions of Christians done? They have stopped believing that we are in a war. . . . And what did they do with the walkie-talkie? They tried to rig it up as an intercom in their cushy houses . . . not to call in fire power for conflict with a mortal enemy, but to ask the maid to bring another pillow to the den.”1
Model Prayer, Spiritual Warfare, and Battlefield Communications
All of this suggests a higher echelon of model prayer. Prayer in the midst of ongoing spiritual warfare for the advance of the kingdom has been given the highest priority at the throne of heaven. We have been given Jesus’ name to invoke for prayer from the battlefield. Battlefield prayer is tactical. Prayer for rations and tents and gas for the Humvee are strategic prayers, which have a different priority level because the quartermaster knows from experience what supplies the troops need even before they send in their requisitions in triplicate on the proper form. But the tactical situation on the front lines is fluid and requires communication that reaches HQ directly. It is stamped with the name of the field commander who promised he will never leave nor forsake his troops. Make no mistake: battlefield communications have a unique and very special importance in the kingdom of God.

Rendered with permission from the book, Navigating Your Perfect Storm, Dr. Bob Wenz (Biblica, 2010). Compliments of Dr. Bob Wenz and his ministry, Renewing Total Worship. All rights reserved in the original.

1 John Piper, Prayer: The Work of Missions, ACMC Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, July 29, 1988, (accessed April 30, 2010).

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