“Until you know that life is war, you cannot know what prayer is for. Prayer is for the accomplishment of a wartime mission.”
- John Piper
Life is war. Have you discovered this yet? If not, you’re in a losing battle already. Like the German citizens who ignored the horrors of Nazi Germany, who chose to look the other way when all the signs of atrocity that accompanied the Holocaust were evident – we are in danger of missing the huge kingdom conflict all around us, living outside of reality.
Our casual praying is the evidence of our disengagement.
New Testament Christianity was birthed in persecution and cultural conflict. The early followers of Christ were aware of the life-and-death stakes of the Gospel message. They saw the blood of Christ, then the blood of the early martyrs, their friends and brothers. Many of them shed their own blood.
Inseverable from the reality that war were passionate, desperate, battle-cry prayers. I see this in the Scriptures. I see this in my brothers and sisters battling for the Gospel in India. I see this “life is war” mentality in Cuban pastors and their wives who struggle from birth to death with how to live as followers of Christ in a communist country. I see their tears, their prayers, their dependence on God and their desperation for God’s powerful hand.
I’m beginning to see it, ever so slowly, in my life. I see it unfolding in my family and my church. When the enemy inflicts injury, when spiritual opposition rises up with ugly power, when those we love the most are dragged downward with selfish decisions – we taste this war. It’s evident in the tear-stains on the faces of the people in our church as they cry out to God for personal victory in their lives every Sunday morning in full view. I know it’s real when I see our staff crying loudly for God to bring the break-through we desperately need. I see it in the yearning for victory to occupy our city with the Gospel, that He might knock down the walls that still stand, when we pray for an Unreached People Group to get just a simple opportunity to hear about Jesus. I smell the scent of war in the air and feel the thrill of advance when we charge together like an army.
On the other hand, I know we’re sometimes on the losing end of this conflict when the vast majority of churches have completely given up in the battle for the Gospel. Completely given up. No plan. No leadership. No charge to go the fields with the Gospel. No desperate praying. Just surviving.
When war is not part of our conversation, and when it is not evident in our prayer, we are missing the huge kingdom conflict we are emphatically called to. We are missing the incredible promise of victory that comes from our Commander in Chief.
Get in the battle! Learn that life is war. Cry out to God for assistance and wisdom and courage. Then advance into the fray with bold, audacious praying – expecting that God will come to your aid in the battle He’s placed you in.
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.