New Year’s Theme (2016)
“Entering the War Room of Prayer” (Ephesians 6:10-12, 17-18)
William McKinley (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination in September 1901, six months into his second term. But, McKinley would leave his mark as the President who led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War. Although the main issue was Cuban independence, the ten-week war was fought in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. US naval power proved decisive though, allowing expeditionary forces to disembark in Cuba against a Spanish garrison already brought to its knees by Cuban insurgent attacks and were further depleted by yellow fever. John Hay, U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, called the conflict (because of its quick victory), “a splendid little war.” Because it demonstrated to the world the superiority of the American military.
BUT- IT WASN’T THE U.S. NAVAL CANNONS NECESSARILY, THAT HELPED WITH THE DECISIVE VICTORY, BUT, THE USE OF THE TELEGRAPH (a communication of coded signals, to send/receive from a distance).
So, what was interesting in the success of the Spanish-American war, was President McKinley’s War Room which really was the telegraph room. The telegraph was the tool used to communicate vital war strategies where Benjamin F. Montgomery, maned the telegraph desk. So, McKinley used this telegraph room (to send/receive top-secret communications) as his “War Room” to map the movements & current status of troops and supplies in battle (located with a telegraph and marked with pins on a map).
D.L. Moody– “Those who have left the deepest impression on this sin-cursed earth have been men and women of prayer. You will find that PRAYER has been the mighty power that has moved not only God, but man.”
So, communicating to God, not through a telegraph but, by entering the “Spiritual War Room through Prayer” is what we need to start the New Year’s with!
S.D. Gordon –“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing; but it is the chief thing. The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray.”
Fact is, we can only make prayer relevant, not by talking about it, or not necessarily reading more books on prayer, but, by SIMPLY PRAYING!
Paul urges Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:8 to preach on the vital importance of prayer– “I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”
II. I want us to look at some strategies, for “Entering into the War Room of Prayer”
Paul uses the Military to illustrate to the believer the Spiritual Battle with Satan. It illustrates for us that the Christian life is a battle ground vs. a playground. Now that all of life is ALWAYS THIS INTENSE THING….not so, but, it’s not playing patty-cakes either. Here is Paul, chained in a Roman prison no doubt seeing Roman Soldiers dressed in military gear, gets a spiritual revelation.
Three Things that we must consider, regarding “The War Room of Prayer.” It involves:
1. A PLAN against the Enemy (Who are we fighting?)
In the Army, the Military Intelligence Corp- primary mission is to provide timely, relevant, accurate, and synchronized intelligence and electronic warfare support to tactical, operational and strategic-level commanders. In other words, vital information as to “Who” you are fighting is imperative!
In Ephesians 6:10-11– Paul gives us a picture of UNDERSTANDING THE ENEMY. Because, unless we know who the enemy is, where he is, and what he can do, we WILL have a difficult time defeating him!
(V.11)– Says that we stand against the wiles or schemes of the Devil– this word means “accuser, adversary, tempter, murderer and liar.”
Warren Wiersbe writes- “The important point is that our battle is not against human beings. It is against spiritual powers. We are wasting our time fighting people when we ought to be fighting the devil who seeks to control people and make them oppose the will of God.”
2. Prayer involves, A PLACE (A location where the Fighting is being conducted)
Matthew 6:6- “But you, when you pray, enter into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.”
The idea is: PICK A SPECIFIC LOCATION. SHUT EVERYTHING ELSE OUT…IT’S YOUR TIME WITH GOD!
Jesus daily practice of prayer included a location to get a hold of God:
In the Morning– Mark 1:35- “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” First thing in the morning, Jesus Prayed. Picked a location, FREE FROM DISTRACTIONS AND THE BUSY-NESS OF THE DAY, AND FIRST GOT A HOLD OF GOD!!
Often, At night-Luke 6:12- “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” That often times before major decisions, period of special prayer was needed. He was going to choose leaders/disciples.
The idea of this Prayer Closet is a “chamber”, a secret place, fit for meditation and prayer. IT’S YOUR WAR ROOM!! YOU ARE THERE TO DO BUSINESS!! THERE TO STRATEGIZE
It was said of Pastor Samuel Chadwick- “He was essentially a man of prayer. Every morning at 6 AM, he would walk into a little room which was his private sanctuary for his quiet hour before breakfast. He was mighty in public prayer because he was constant in private devotion….When he prayed he expected God to do something. Toward the end of his life he said, “I wish I prayed even more.”
FACT IS, PEOPLE NEED TO GET A HOLD OF GOD, AND GOD NEEDS TO GET A HOLD OF PEOPLE!!
3. Finally, Entering the “War Room of Prayer,” includes involving the PERSON of the Holy Spirit!
Romans 8:26-27– “26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Paul mentions a weakness common to all believers, that in their NATURAL/PHYSICAL CONDITION…THEY ARE LIMITED IN THEIR PRAYER. Because, prayer is not working yourself into an emotional frenzy.
But, Paul here speaks of the Spirit as a PERSON- who indwells in the believer and who makes the Christian a vessel through which the Holy Spirit offers prayer and intercession.
Oswald Sanders– “All Christians need more teaching in the art of prayer, and the Holy Spirit is the master teacher. The Spirit’s help in prayer is mentioned in the Bible more frequently than any other help. All TRUE PRAYING comes from the Spirit’s activity in our souls.”
This is important because Prayer a Spiritual Battle– In our text, Paul says in Eph. 6:18- “Praying always with ALL PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION in the SPIRIT..” Paul in Ephesians tells us to put on the whole armor of God in order to stand against the forces of Hell. So, PRAYER HERE IS NOT PASSIVE PROTECTION (defense), but rather IT’S AN OFFENSIVE ATTACK!!
Recently National Geographic ran an article about the Alaskan bull-moose. The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk. There is a lesson here for us. Spiritual battles await. Satan will choose a season to attack. Will we be victorious, or will we fall? Much depends on what we do now–before the wars begin. The bull-moose principle: Enduring faith, strength, and wisdom for trials are best developed before they’re needed.
THUS, Prayer is not a weapon, but, it’s the actual battle itself!
This is why, I Thessalonians 5:17, 19 says, “Pray without ceasing…DO NOT QUENCH THE SPIRIT.” Don’t let the fire go out! Although the war is won and we have Victory through the Blood of Jesus Christ, the fact is, that we are still behind enemy lines and in the thick of the Battle itself; thus, you and I NEED GOD’S HELP AS WE ENTER INTO THE “WAR ROOM,” OF PRAYER!!