Are you constantly praying, but nothing is happening? God has given us many tools for battle. Which one do you use?
Whenever I think of the spiritual fights we encounter as children of God, my mind immediately drifts to David. David's story from the Bible is a truly memorable one for the courage and motivation this small, seemingly-insignificant, probably skinny boy had when he stood before the giant, and won. This example gives us a physical, easy-to-understand perception of our daily battles, and how when we fight them in Christ, we can always win: no matter how giant the enemy may seem.
So first of all, what exactly is a spiritual battle? Is it the same as struggling with depression or anxiety, for example? Well, sort of. What’s different however is that we fight the spiritual, and not just the physical/mental. Ephesians 6:12 says that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
That means that everything, and I mean, everything we struggle with has a spiritual side to it. It all holds an authority. That's why it comes and takes over: over our mind, our body, our identity. These battles are against the powers of the dark, so they obviously bring forth darkness, which in turn means sin and inevitably, suffering.
Everything, and I mean, everything we struggle with has a spiritual side to it.
But, I don't want to get too technical here. Why is it so important anyway to know about the spiritual presence in our lives? Shouldn't we just focus on knowing the authority of Christ? Knowing and recognising His power and simply trusting that that alone will cancel out any other powers of darkness?
Well, yes. And the immediate way to do that is prayer.
When we pray, the all-powerful sacrifice of Jesus Christ comes into play. He fights our battles for us: extinguishes all forms of darkness, and gives us the victory. And yes, this can be powerful and incredibly rewarding. But what if you're in a situation where you've been battling something for such a long time that no matter how much you pray, it doesn't seem to change? What God has made me see over time is that if we feel like our prayers aren't 'working', it's not because we're doing something wrong, it's because He has a reason. It could be that He wants us to learn something new, He wants us to trust Him more, to have more faith, to pray more, or it may be that He just wants us to stand as testimonies of living life in contentment despite the pain. There are many reasons.
What God has made me see over time is that if we feel like our prayers aren't 'working', it's not because we're doing something wrong, it's because He has a reason.
I'm going to tell you something that I don't always like talking about because it used to make me feel incapable, weak and almost like I'm doing something wrong. But this is to glorify God's name and to share my experience on how He constantly grows my faith. It’s all for the sole purpose to encourage anyone who may need the same answer I did. In my situation, I have experienced every one of God's intentions. My battle in prayer has been for healing.
Supernatural healing is a sensitive subject and one that a lot of people don't even believe in. It requires a miracle, and a miracle requires a lot of faith, so healing is not so easy to grasp. As for me, I’ve always adored this phenomenon and the ability we have in Jesus. I've witnessed people getting healed so many times in my life, witnessed pain being taken away in the moment, weak people on the floor standing back up again in a matter of minutes, a mumbling person gaining clear speech in a handful of hours... there are some exquisite stories out there. And so, I've always believed that God can.
Personally, my desire for healing has always been so passionate that I would spend days trying every type of prayer that I could think of in order to be healed. To stop taking medication and finally be free. For over fifteen years, I've struggled with this battle. And I've dealt with it in every way possible: with denial, disregard, total rejection, acceptance, gratitude.
Over time, symptoms changed and I started to improve. However, a few years back, things got worse. Turned out I was taking the wrong medication for over nine months, and it worsened everything. In my confusion, distress and disappointment, I ran back to God, refusing to trust pills ever again after what happened. But God didn't heal me. So I eventually swallowed my pride and went to a different specialist.
I've gotten to a place now where I know my body, and my mind, and I know how I react. I know how to take care of myself, I understand the gravity of it and it's become my normal.
Only, two nights ago, for the first time in fifteen years, I fought this battle differently.
I have a pre-warning perception of when my body is about to shut down. It mostly happens during the night, so when I go to sleep, I feel slightly woozy, in a very reminiscent mood, and I'll be honest, a little nervous. Fear begins to take over, one that I can only conquer with faith: true faith that Christ will always keep me safe in His arms and that in fact, I have nothing to fear for God is an all-knowing, all-powerful, loving Father. But on this night, the fear and anxiety hit me much harder than usual. As I lay in bed, grasping God's peace and yearning for it, I stopped. I seized my usual battle-mode prayer that certainly worked in slowing down the process after a time of interference, but it still left me a little uncertain. Taking a breath—I remembered something.
The church I go to has a girls group where we pray for each other, and a few days prior, we had had a real victory in prayer. The moment God confirmed the victory to me was when we named exactly what it was we were fighting against. And then the battle was ours.
So the same thing happened on this night, I decided, for the very first time in my life, to call this irregularity in my body by its name. To beat the shame, the heaviness it always bore and call it by its name. Speak to it.
Who are you fighting exactly? Stare them right in the eyes and call them by their name.
Illnesses have their own individual spirits of darkness, and I'd never considered that what I was doing previously was fighting sickness as a whole. Therefore, naturally, facing a whole army tired me far too quickly. But this time, God told me, "Who are you fighting exactly? Stare them right in the eyes and call them by their name. Show them that you are not fighting blindly, you are not unaware of its presence or scared of the title it has, for my power and my name is far greater than any that you fight against."
So I decided to call my one giant to battle. My voice trembled quietly as I whispered the name out loud for the first time. But then I said it again, and again, and again until the fear disappeared and my voice was so sure and crisp that power enveloped my whole body. I banished it out of my life in that moment and told it exactly who I was, whose name I stood in and what power I had supporting me. I was done with going to sleep, waiting for it to come in the night: steal my joy, my health, my faith.
I looked it right in the eyes and told it: You are finished here. A sudden flow of the Holy Spirit came over me, right there in my room. I felt total power: a shift in authority. It then struck me with the sudden release of peace, love and this sudden burst of energy and excitement. I fell asleep smiling.
The next day, I woke up feeling rested (although I only slept five hours) and that smile was still on my face. Nothing had come, nothing had happened. I had won the battle before it even began. Now I don't know how many more times this battle will reoccur but at least next time, I will know exactly what weapons to use and where to aim them.
Call upon your enemy's name. Don't be afraid or ashamed to say that name out loud, show the spirit of darkness that you are not afraid of the authority it deems to possess, for Jesus' name is far greater, and all darkness flees and trembles at His glorious name.
Show the spirit of darkness that you are not afraid of the authority it deems to possess, for Jesus' name is far greater.
Who are you battling right now? Remind yourself that it's not a giant but a mere spiritual shadow that is afraid of the light. I don't know about you, but I want to be like David in my battles, I want to call upon my enemy with the same fuming and relentless attitude: "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (1 Samuel 17:26).
What right does this enemy we face today have to stand against a soldier of the most High God like you and me? And not only a soldier that knows how to fight, but a child of the incomparable God, a Father that'll always protect His children, no matter the cost! There is no right, there is no match. This enemy will fall, whatever their name is, they will no longer be overlooked and feared: but fought dead on, aimed at in the very centre of their forehead. And then we will grab the sword of the Spirit ("which is the word of God", Ephesians 6:17) and slay its head with the truths that Jesus has given us— His promises and our identity in Him— so that this enemy will be slain once and for all.