A weak prayer life will make you feel more guilty than anything else. One reason for this is that you know how crucial prayer is to everything you do. As believers, we are continually drilled about the preeminence of prayer.
Let us examine a typical morning in your life. You wake up frantically. You are in a race. The slightest misstep will put you perilously behind schedule. As you are about to blast out the door, you feel an overwhelming shame that you have not prayed. Is this Holy Ghost conviction? Most likely it is a very subtle, but debilitating, assault from Satan.
This attack is comparable to a common mistake made by moms and dads. Their child has just behaved foolishly. Out of exasperation, one of the parents snaps at the youngster, “How could you do something so stupid!” This comment was meant to teach the child to think before they act. The actual result, however, is just the opposite. The child feels embarrassed, ashamed, and yes, stupid.
If all this damage to the child’s esteem was done by accident, imagine, then, what shame can be like in the hands of Satan who is purposing to destroy you! The voice that is assaulting you as you walk out the door in the morning is not trying to get you to pray, but to feel ashamed; so ashamed, in fact, that you won’t enter God’s presence, and you will postpone prayer indefinitely. Hear me, Warrior: Satan can be more dangerous barking at us to do what is right than he can when he tempts us to do what is wrong.
Of course. the answer is not to feel exempt from prayer just because we have uncovered his devilish plot! No, it is just the opposite. We are now alert to the fact that Lucifer is trying to destroy our prayer life.
The key is to distinguish between the voice of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the Evil One. There is a classic difference between the two. The Holy Spirit provokes prayer from within, not with an angry tone, but by warming the heart and making us lonesome to be with God.
Jesus called the Holy Spirit “The Helper.” Beware, then, of inner urgings that seem right but don’t help you. It is the impulse of the Spirit of the Lord to “fan into flame” any spark of God that is within us.
There are three great misunderstandings about prayer, and three greater answers to those misunderstandings. They are:
1. I have gone a long time without prayer. I dread the anger of the Lord I will feel once I finally do pray.
The most amazing experience of your life will be when you see how glad God is to hear from you. There will be no mention of the separation, except that He missed you.
2. I must wait until I have time to pray for hours.
Some may deem my next remark as unspiritual. It is not as important to the Holy Spirit how long you pray as how often you pray. You can begin with five minutes a day. Do not be afraid to start small.
3. I truly have no time to pray.
While some would never believe that remark, for many people, it is totally true. They need to see the power prayer has to create time. It liberates time. Prayer replaces all the time it uses and gives back so much more. Here is how: (a) There are many things you do that take much longer than they should because you are not refreshed, alert, and strong, and (b) there are many thieves of your time you cannot see except through the eye of prayer.
When you face the fear of interrupting your routine and steal off to meet the Master, a divine order will dispose the chaos in your life. You will be free at last. Prayer will then become addictive! Soon you will be ready to make the quantum leap from a prayer life to a life of prayer.
The Old Testament showcases men and women who were granted extraordinary intimacy with God. The Bible says that Moses knew God face to face: “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend [Exodus 33:11]. This strange and wondrous friendship grew to harness history itself! Daniel 11:32 says: “But the people who know their God .. will be strong and carry out great exploits. Daniel knew that at the end of the age there would be people who would experience a rare intimacy with God and would do greater things than had ever been done before.
This intimacy is provided by the righteousness of Jesus Christ and is credited to every believer by the faith that Jesus imparts. So righteous is this impartation that we are granted audience at the throne of God which exceeds what God gave to Moses!
Intimacy is what your next secret is about. It is called communion with God. This celestial secret has an earthly counterpart. In this case, it is a principle of war known as “lines of communication.”
Von Claiusewitz described lines of communication this way: “They link the army to its base and must be considered as its arteries. The roads are in constant use for all sorts of deliveries, for ammunition convoys, detachments moving back and forth, mail carriers and couriers, hospitals and depots, reserve munitions. and administrative personnel. All this together is vital to the army.” 31
Lines of communication. then, are all the routes, whether by land, air, or sea that connect an operating military force with its base of operation. All of their supplies and reinforcements move along these routes.
Sun Tzu called lines of communication doctrine when he said. “By doctrine I mean organization, control, assignment of appropriate ranks to officers, regulation of supply routes, and the provision of principal items used by the army.” 32
Napoleon said, “An army marches on its stomach.” How well he knew that! Twice he lost major wars because his supply lines were disrupted. On those occasions he had violated his lines of communication.
There are two precautions a general must keep in mind in regards to lines of communication:
1. He must secure his lines of communication or the enemy will cut off his supply routes.
2. He must not outrun his own supply line. Even if he wins a battle, his resources will be depleted and will likely allow his opponent to regroup in a counteroffensive.
Effective supply lines give an army significant advantages: (a) they allow it to continuously advance, and (b) the army arrives at its goal with strength and reserve. This guarantees victory because it is a double dose of morale for the soldiers. They feel excited because they are on the move. taking enemy territory, and they are not cold, hungry, or low on ammunition.
Many immediate comparisons can be made to God’s army.
1. We must not allow our supply line to be disrupted. Our Supplier is the Holy Spirit. We remain constant in prayer because the warfare is intense and dependence on God is more essential than ever before.
2. We must not outrun our supply line. This is when We become overextended. Paul said he avoided this in II Corinthians 10:13-14: “We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us – a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not over extending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ.”
In Psalms 106:13 it says, “They soon forgot His works: they did not wait for His counsel.”
Natural armies experience overextension because their supply lines cannot keep up, but with Christians, it may be because God will not keep up.
The provision of the Lord is for the vision of the Lord. There is no room for human counsel or pet projects on the front line of our war! Our program must be for the pleasure of the Lord.
Jesus did what He saw His father doing. ‘. . . My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” [John 5:17]. His communion with His Father was His line of communication! This was His supply line to keep moving and taking new ground. But there is still more! Communion has three very amazing features.
1. Communion is Intimacy.
“And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” [Exodus 31:18 KJV].
Before Moses could receive the commandments, God insisted on communion! It is hard to relate this mystery. What did Moses and God do for those forty days? The answer strikes at the heart of why God made us – to commune with Him. Just as God had intimate walks with Adam in the cool of the evening, now Moses experienced that same intimacy.
The demands of the Lord grow out of a relationship. Until we behold the wonder of His glory, love, and goodness, we cannot see the power and rightness of God’s principles.
David said, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law” [Psalm 119:18]. Religion is, in essence, rules without relationship.
Ask a child the difference it makes in their ability to learn when they love their teacher!
But even Moses could not enjoy full intimacy with God. Fullness of intimacy came when Jesus offered it to the disciples. This kind of intimacy had not been seen since the Garden of Eden. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing: but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” [John 15:15].
Everything we do for God must be the secondary result of an eternal bond. The next verse is a prelude to what grows out of communion: “You did not choose Me. but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” [John 15:16].
2. Communion is Provision. Anyone who has walked with the Lord in intimacy will tell you that God makes big demands and gives big rewards. There is an unalterable fact about our Master: He provides more than enough for His purposes.
Earthly armies have to wait for supplies. We don’t, because our provision from God is instant, open, and abundant.
We need never let up our penetration of evil territory to wait for ammunition or supplies. The promise of never having to let up on the attack is seen in II Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Remember, I told you how high it makes the morale of soldiers climb when they penetrate enemy ground and are well equipped. Our morale can be infinitely greater!
First, we plunge into an eternal love bond with Jehovah. This gives us unbroken intimacy. Next, we go out freely to press the assault, knowing clearly that our great cause is born of God. Our supply line will continually overtake us!
Here is Paul’s proclamation of communion provision: “. . . that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” [Ephesians 3:16-19].
3. Communion is Heaven’s Prayer
Once in a great while someone will pray a fervent and availing prayer. In fact, this prayer is so effectual that it crosses the veil and permits the petitioner to peer into heaven. The person praying catches a glimpse of Jesus in intercession. This is both glorious and painful at the same time. The petitioner rejoices at the revelation, but is cut to the heart by how much higher and purer the intercession of Jesus is than his own.
Our best prayer can still be cluttered with self-interest. Too often we are jockeying in prayer to find a short-cut out of failure. Then there are the prayers asking for relief from crisis without appreciating the deeper intention of the trial. Daniel could have easily justified a panic prayer time. He had been kidnapped and taken to Babylon.
Daniel’s future plans had been cut off. He prayed and looked into heaven. There he saw and understood that God had business for him in Babylon. Daniel replaced his own prayer with heaven’s prayer.
For some reason we cannot accept the fact that God will not act on Man’s behalf outside of prayer. There is a continual, divine quest for someone to stand in the gap, and with an all consuming passion, pray the prayers that have been orphaned by our neglect. It is as if Jesus is saying, “Here, take this prayer and nurture it to fruition”.
Every great revival can be traced to an astonishing gushing out of unselfish prayer, prayer that found its beginning in God.
Communion can give this prayer to you! You can be emptied of all your own affairs and pray in supernatural conformity with the deepest yearnings of Jesus. Arthur Mathew described it as this: “It is the overflow of a heart that the Holy Spirit has rendered sensitive to spiritual issues in earthly situations poured out in a steady, uninhibited stream of undiluted longing.” 33
Now can you understand the kind of soldier these three elements would create? A warrior, who is eternally bonded in love with his God, marches forward, never letting up on the attack. He draws on a never-ending supply of all that he needs for victory. He prays down the very power of heaven without limitation because his heart reflects the passion of his God.
Tell me, then. can you imagine anything that can terrify Satan more than a warrior in communion with God?