“Our Role in Prayer”
by Aaron Louie
One of the things that often holds me back in prayer is feeling like I’m either in a business meeting or an urgent care center. Sometimes I’ve got a list of requests and just try to get through them, and other times there’s a seemingly endless amount of people in crisis that need help and healing. Praying like this can be exhausting and discouraging if that’s all we do. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
The Role of Prayer in Spiritual Warfare
First of all, prayer isn’t meant to be just a spiritual hotline that we tap into for help. Instead, it’s a dialogue with God in which we realize the power and authority He has given us to affect the spiritual realm. In his book, Spiritual Warfare, Timothy M. Warner encourages us to recognize the reality of the spiritual war in the area of ministry God has given us.
Warner writes, “when God commissions a church or missionary team to minister in a particular location, that church or those missionaries and the prayer team ministering with them can claim authority of our Lord through intercessory prayer over every spirit of the enemy claiming that territory for Satan.”
Our role in prayer, then, isn’t as powerless bystanders trying to get God’s attention so He can change situations and people. Instead, it’s as soldiers on the front line wielding the full power and authority of God in His name. Part of that role involves ‘binding the strong man (Matthew 12:29)’ first through prayer when moving in to minister in the enemy’s territory.
Warner also writes, “prayer is not just Jesus and me having a friendly visit. If it starts that way, it soon involves an enemy who is determined to keep that visit from getting to the point of releasing God’s power against him and of reclaiming territory from him for the cause of Christ. Satan is not unduly threatened by the kind of prayer that stays within the Christian community. As long as we are not expelling him from the lives of people, he will let us be as religious as we wish.”
Roles in Group Prayer
This past month, we tested and held our first online prayer group using a group chat through Skype. It went smoothly and we got some insight on how to make it better, but most importantly it gathered members of our body who normally can’t attend our in-person groups and allowed us to pray together. As the facilitator, it was a little distracting having to organize the requests and keep time, but it was necessary role to fill.
In our face-to-face group prayer, I’m also discovering that there can be different roles. Someone might lead us into listening prayer, someone else might lead us in more of a worshipful prayer, and others may be led to pray for the specific requests. Since we have a group that regularly prays together, I started asking God “what’s my role (if any) in this time of prayer?” Sometimes it’s praying for a specific request, sometimes it’s something else. Our last prayer group I prayed a listening/warfare prayer but actually didn’t pray for any of the requests, which felt strange at first. But then I realized, maybe that was my role in that prayer time. As a result, our group prayer felt more like a team effort, and less like a business meeting.
Prayer is warfare, and as we stand together in group prayer this month, let’s step into our roles and utilize the weapons God has given us!