In our Spiritual Soldier Series we have been going through battlefield trainings on the armor of God and its power to destroy the works of the enemy and protect us from becoming casualties of war.
In our last battle field training we talked about the power of prayer on the spiritual battlefield. This battlefield training continues to talk about prayer but couples it with its powerful ally, fasting.
Not many Christians practice fasting today but it is a very powerful tool on the spiritual battlefield. Come to think of it too little Christians practice prayer. But coupled together these are some of the most deadly weapons against the enemy. Let’s dive in!
- It connects you to Jesus.
I have mentioned this in the previous battlefield training on prayer but it bears mentioning again at every turn. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a real, deepening, and vibrant relationship with Jesus before you take on the enemy.
In spiritual warfare your power and your authority stem from your deep relationship with Jesus. You cannot merely be familiar with Him. Demons can sense this sort of relationship as they did with the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11-20).
Prayer is one of the greatest ways, along with reading the Bible and listening to the Spirit, to stay connected to Jesus. When battle comes you must be prepared to speak with Jesus. This two-way communication gives you that advantage in spiritual warfare.
Notice I did not say one way communication. If you use prayer merely to give Jesus a laundry list of things you want Him to do for you, requests, petitions, and supplications, then you are not praying right. Yes, I can be so bold. You don’t see anyone model this in Scripture.
I have written elsewhere about effective prayer models besides the laundry list of requests. Prayer is two-way communication. Yes you speak to God, but you listen for Him to speak to you. If you are not listening for God’s voice then you are not waiting long enough.
What good would prayer do if we just listed off a bunch of requests God already knows we have? You must be communicating with the Lord through prayer. Listing requests on the spiritual battlefield will help you accomplish nothing. You must hear from Jesus what to do in every situation you face.
- It cleanses your heart and mind.
Through prayer you prepare your heart and mind for battle. One fast way to do this is to ask for forgiveness of any sins. Temptation and sin will take you down faster in spiritual warfare than anything else. They needlessly leave open doors for the enemy to attack you.
Prayer gives you a way to confess your sins before the Lord before the battle comes to you. The Bible teaches that Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us all our sins (1 John 1:9). So you must take these moments before the battle to be fully prepared for the onslaught of the enemy.
Allow the Lord not only to cleanse you but to convey His forgiveness before the battle. One of the lies of the enemy will be that Jesus doesn’t really forgive your terrible sins. He will love to lie about Jesus’ promise is for you.
Here in the Lord reassure you that He has forgiven you and cleansed you from many unrighteousness, and is protected you from all types of temptation from the world and your fleshly desires of old puts you at ease and peace for the battles ahead.
Coming to the spiritual altar in your heart, or even one in a church, is not a bad thing for Christians. It is a place to meet the living God and receive peace. How much worse it is for those who do not go through the steps on a regular basis and remain far from the Lord, as they continue to harbor any sin and allow it to draw them away from Jesus.
- It replenishes your spirit.
I have been speaking of prayer, but consider that fasting coupled with prayer goes even deeper to the heart of God. Prayer and fasting brings a whole new dimension to your relationship and walk with Jesus.
Through these disciplines of the Christian walk you draw closer to the Lord, rejecting the desires of the flesh and the world. It’s easier to focus on the things of the Spirit and keeps you thinking more about Jesus.
You will never get too close to Jesus. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” People who use this phrase do not understand that the more heavenly minded you get the more you become more practical in your practice of Jesus’ teachings and commandments.
The closer we get to Jesus the more prepared we are for the enemy’s tactics and strategies against us. It’s so much easier to see the lies of the enemy and to deny the desires of the flesh in this world when we have crucified the flesh.
The closer we are to Jesus the farther we are from the world and its temptations. The devil cannot distract us with his fiery darts. We stand in victory, and get closer to victory. He cannot trick us or pull the wool over our eyes.
You will never go wrong praying and fasting regularly. This keeps your vision clear and distractions away from you. Prayer and fasting are good for every occasion, but especially helpful when you face spiritual warfare.
- It calls on God’s power.
Prayer and fasting rend the heavens and give you power to fight every spiritual battle. Because they make you extremely close to Jesus the power you can wield on the spiritual battlefield is much greater. The devil cannot stand in God’s presence which is in and all around you.
The strength of the Lord is with you. It’s easier to advance against the enemy. People see Jesus in you and are ready to hear about this incredible and powerful relationship you have with Him. They see and even larger difference in you.
When you hear God’s voice on the battlefield the strategies of the enemy are no match for you. Every way he tries to deceive you, abuse you, accuse you, and every other fiery dart he throws falls short.
The sword of the Spirit attached to your belt of truth is sharper and cuts truer. The breastplate of
righteousness repels more of his blows. The helmet of salvation is impenetrable. The whole armor shines with God’s protection.
- It gives power for casting out demons.
Jesus was constantly prepared for spiritual battle in His ministry. He often took time to slip away from the crowds and spend time in prayer with His Father (Mark 6:46; 14:23; Luke 6:12). In one occurrence His disciples are trying to cast out a demon with little success (Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29).
The father of the sun afflicted with the demon comes to Jesus and asks Him to cast out the demon and He does it almost as if the demon is a pesky flea. Later the disciples In Private Ask Him why they could not cast it out.
He replies that “these kinds of demons only come out with prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29, sometimes footnoted). Prayer and fasting keep you so close to Jesus and give you such spiritual power in the spiritual realm that demons must listen to you when you cast them out.
Some demons have developed more power by staying in people longer or have such a stronghold over them that you must have the spiritual stamina and strength to go toe to toe and cast them out. If you are not spiritually ready for the battle just as you would physically prepare yourself for a hard task you will not be prepared for what these stronger demons have in store for you.
You must be prepared in the power and authority of Jesus before you face stronger demons. No demon has any power over you because of Jesus’ authority and victory over them. The more prepared you are with a closer connection to Jesus the easier it will be to cast out any demon despite the power it thinks it has over you.
- It focuses your priority for spiritual battle.
So many things happen throughout our days, so many things on our task lists and events on our calendars and schedules. It’s easy to be distracted by busyness or the things we face and encounter. Spiritual preparation for battle is not always a high priority.
Neither are fasting and prayer. I believe it was Jonathan Edwards who was asked how he has so much time to pray, usually three hours a day, sometimes as he rode his horse to his next engagement. He replied that his day was too busy with tasks not to spend such time in prayer.
Prayer and fasting must become our priority. We must learn how to do them expertly. The more effective you become in prayer and fasting the more effective you will be on the spiritual battlefield.
They set your priorities for spiritual warfare. You will not walk into battle on prepared for the enemy. Your priorities will be on Jesus and what He expects of you first. You will know how to face off with the enemy. You will keep the souls of those around you in higher regard.
You will know what to do and when to do it on the battlefield. You will not be caught off guard. Everything falls into place when you take time for prayer and fasting. Make these your priority and you will never lack clarity in every spiritual battle.
As you can see, prayer and fasting are essential tools of preparation and power for the Spiritual Soldier on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. They are not only a matter of preparation but useful in the battle.
When you face trials and battles you cannot seem to get the upper hand in, turn to prayer and fasting and see their power cut through the attacks of the enemy. What are some other ways prayer and fasting are effective for spiritual warfare?
We have spent two battlefield trainings on prayer, this one focusing on coupling prayer with fasting for even greater success on the battlefield. Next we will look at a battlefield training on the power of evangelism in spiritual warfare.