21 Days of Prayer
August 9, 2021
Today we kick off our 21 Days of Prayer. Perhaps you might be wondering why we call it that.
Why 21 days? A function of prayer is to be warfare. Warfare prayer focuses on using prayer as a weapon to do battle with the spiritual forces of evil, especially in regard to one’s daily life, habits, and struggles. Almost always, warfare prayer is just what it sounds like: prayers prayed for the purpose of waging war against an unseen enemy.
A passage from the story of Daniel gives us helpful information:
Then he (an angel) said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was standing in opposition to me for twenty-one days. Then, behold, Michael, one of the chiefs [of the celestial] princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision is in regard to the days yet to come.” Daniel 10:12-14
His prayers were heard the first day, and an angel came in response to these words, so what did fasting and praying for 21 days accomplish? Was it necessary?
The actual and true basis of intent of fasting is for spiritual connection. We seek a more intimate relationship with God while ridding our physical body of unnatural, self-gratifying food and drink. Your focus is to be on God. Too often, the focus of fasting is on the lack of food. Instead, the purpose of fasting should be to take your eyes off the world to focus completely on God
Priscilla Shirer's Bible study, The Armor of God, studies Ephesians 6:10-20, the warfare passage. We typically think of six pieces of armor listed there. She says there are actually seven. "When Paul talks about spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, prayer is the seventh piece of armor. It activates all of the rest of the spiritual armor," she says. "When we refuse to pray, it's like having a refrigerator without plugging it in. Prayer is the divinely authorized mechanism God has given us to tap into His power. Without prayer, we'll be ineffective in spiritual warfare. But with it, we will be victorious."
According to Shirer, we tend to see our problems and struggles in non-spiritual terms. Therefore we tend to seek non-spiritual solutions. "Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world… The effects of the war going on in the unseen world reveal themselves in our strained and damaged relationships, emotional instability, mental fatigue, physical exhaustion, and many other areas of life. Many of us feel pinned down by anger, unforgiveness, pride, comparisons, insecurity, discord, fear… and the list goes on. But the overarching, primary nemesis behind all these outcomes is the devil himself."
Our biggest problems are actually spiritually rooted, which is what Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12: "For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens."
We also need spiritual vision. We must understand who we are in Christ. God has provided us with everything we need to win the spiritual battles we face, but we need to know that, believe it, and act on it. Prayer enables us to use the weapons of spiritual warfare.
During our 21 Days of Prayer, we must pray for the spiritual vision to see the enemy's activity and to be more aware of the spiritual resources we have to disarm and defeat Satan. Victory comes as we pray for God's help in the battle.
Satan is a very strategic deceiver. He wants us to believe lies about him, about God, about ourselves and about what's important and true. "The enemy's attacks are always wrapped in the packaging of deception, always designed to manipulate the truth about God, and about your value in Him. He desires to lead you into sin so that fellowship is broken between you and God—this way you'll be disconnected from the Source of true power and strength. The evil temptations that appeal to your specific desires and happen to show up when you are most vulnerable are not accidental. They are his deceptive tactics (and that of his evil entourage), specifically designed, timed, and personalized in hopes that you fall prey to his demon ploy and miss out on experiencing an abundant life in Christ” (Shirer).
Priscilla says the enemy often attacks us at points of strength, influence, and weakness. That requires us to prayerfully discern where the attacks are likely to come from and take action to defend ourselves in the power of God's strength. "Consider your areas of greatest strength and greatest weakness. Keep a close eye on both of these areas and safeguard yourself through prayer. These areas are likely the places where you can expect the enemy to target his attacks against you. When you know where to look, you can see him coming a mile away. He's really not that clever. He's just cunning.”
"Prayer is simply an outpouring of your heart to God and then making room in your life to hear back from Him in His Word and as He orchestrates your circumstances. God wants to have a conversation with you. He longs to hear what is really on your heart. He wants openness and honesty. Your prayer needs to be authentic and heartfelt. There is no need for ten-dollar words and poetic prose. Just be raw, frank, and real with God. I believe prayer works. Prayer has been more effective in my life than human solutions. Time and time and time again, I've seen that lasting change comes only through prayer. When I pray—release it into His hands—God accomplishes what I can't do in my own strength."
When you consistently experience an intimate relationship with God, He moves with awesome power, flowing through you into the lives of those around you. God wants you to experience Him in this way! I challenge you to spend the next twenty-one days participating in the devotionals and spending time connecting with God. If you are willing, God Himself will make sure you will experience His presence, power, and peace. You will experience moments with Him that will transform you from the inside out and take you to the next level in your relationship with Him. You will be used to change the world.