There are many types of prayers. Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of repentance, prayers of intercession, prayers of forgiveness, broadly speaking. Most of us Christians have no problem engaging in these types of prayers. Yet, many of us neglect or reject altogether another very important type of prayer, these are warfare type prayers. These types of prayers, Christians take their authority in Christ to combat the forces of darkness.
Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
I believe these are specifically targeted against demons, principalities and the forces of darkness. Many Christians do not want to engage in the pulling down of stronghold type of prayers as it can be exhausting, some believe that if they avoid these, the enemy will avoid them too. But I would like to encourage Christians to not avoid this weapon of warfare. For one, the enemy doesn’t avoid those who avoid him. He’ll just subtly put you in a place of compromise such that when trouble does come your way, and it will because we live in a broken world, we have little fire to fight back. Don’t fall prey to this enemy tactic. Pray without ceasing. Pray all types of prayers, including warfare prayers. And I believe the Spirit of God will lead us in how we are to pray. For starters, you should first be a Christian, that you may inherit sonship authority. While we are all created by God, we are not all His children. (John 8:44) Don’t bother with anything else, unless you have first given your life over to Christ. Afterwards, the Bible tells us to not be anxious for anything, but let all our requests and petitions be made known to God. (Phillipians 4:6)
Prayer of thanksgiving
It is important to be thankful. Thankfulness is attractive to blessings, complaining attractive to curses. Why? Because unthankfulness was a major concern in the livestyle of the ungodly.
Romans 1:21-22 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
God later (verse 24) gave those kinds of people up to their debauchery. Being unthankful is a slippery slope to foolishness and ultimately destruction (Job 2:9). So let’s give thanks always (1 Thessalonians 5:18), that we may walk in humility which God embraces, but pride He resists (James 4:6). If man gives up on another man, then the abandoned can turn to God. But if God gives a man over to his evil, where can that man go? There is no good apart from God. And no salvation in any other, apart from Christ Jesus. (Acts 4:12)
Prayer of intercession
These involve praying on behalf of others or even a nation. When Peter was jailed, the church prayed for him. Peter was released by an angel. Herod was also killed by an angel. Intercessory prayers can involved warfare type prayer language. It depends on the situation.
Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 8 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
Prayer of forgiveness & repentance
As mentioned, I believe the Spirit will lead us. So if we have something against our brother or sister, we should deal with that too. (Matthew 5:24) Why? Because grudges/offenses are hindrances to our boldness to the throne of grace. And oftentimes there is pride at work. I do believe the right way forward is to talk to God first about the situation and His guidance on how to handle it. Oftentimes, He will keep that person, if another person is involved, on our minds, that could suggest a need to ask for forgiveness if we are the offending party or even discuss if we were the ones offended because sometimes talking over things greatly helps.
Husbands love your wives (Ephesians 5:25). Wives respect your husbands (1 Peter 3). Children honor your parents (Ephesians 6:2). And parents do not exasperate your children (Ephesians 6:4). Employers treat your employees well (this include paying their wages – 1 Timothy 5:18). Employees do your best work. (Ephesians 6:5-9) Do unto others as we would have done unto us. (Matthew 7:12) When we fall short in any of these areas, we ought to ask for forgiveness and if we were the ones hurt, we ought to forgive. This kind of prayer is very important.
Should we always pray that God forgive someone? I believe the Bible is very adamant that we ought to forgive, that we likewise may receive forgiveness. And we should forgive, no doubts about it.
Genesis 50:21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
I also believe there comes a time when a believer becomes so close to God, that He guides on when we are to take a different direction in our response to evil offenses. The key here being, close to God. This leads to further discussion of warfare prayers, especially when the situation involves other humans beings.
Warfare prayers are prayers (or one liners / decrees) that a believer makes against forces of darkness, even if that force is being manifested in another human being. Some might say, surely this type of prayer is forbidden, because of Luke 9:54-55 and even Matthew 5:44. But I would like to offer up a suggestion as to why disqualifying this prayer type is not a good choice.
Luke 9: 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
“Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. “ appears to suggest the disciples were speaking ignorantly. If we don’t know on a topic, we are obviously ignorant on a matter. “For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives”. This coincides well with Ezekiel 18:32. I do not believe though this means that we cannot engage in targeted prayers against evil workers. Why? Because Jesus Himself cursed a fig tree. (Matthew 21:19) And I don’t believe He was cursing the fig tree for the kicks of it. He was making a great spiritual point. Additionally, David many times prayed such prayers. (Psalm 35:1, Psalm 55:15, Psalm 109:6) And Queen Esther, when her people were targeted by Haman, made it clear to the king who was the perpetrator, she named Haman to the king! (Esther 7:6) And in the end, the same gallows Haman built for Mordecai he was hung on. (Esther 7:10) Likewise, the same lions den that Daniel was thrown into, his adversaries were also thrown into and crushed (Daniel 6:24). Some often call these “back to sender” prayers, Biblically the Bible says we reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7)
Acts 5:5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
Acts 8:20 But Peter replied, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in our ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of your wickedness, and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive you for the intent of your heart. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and captive to iniquity.”
Acts 13:11 Now look, the hand of the Lord is against you, and for a time you will be blind and unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
“For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives” then suggests that it means God’s first order is to see the sinner turn and repent, but there comes a time when a person’s heart or a nation becomes so debased, that God destroys them (like Sodom and Gomorrah).
Another thing we note in many of the examples in the Bible are that the people involved are often specific, the information is clear and comes after much warning or chances to change. We may not always see these warnings written, but based on who God says He is and His attitude to see a sinner repent, surely the correct exegesis is to deduce there was opportunity. Romans 1 tells us that none are without excuse, therefore we all have the opportunity to know God and walk in His ways.
The other thing is that those praying such prayers (David, Daniel, Paul …) have a very intimate relationship with God. It is imperative that we have a close relationship with God that we may pray according to His will. And don’t in ignorance call fire on people, when God’s will is for their deliverance and/or salvation. Or moreover, when we are the ones in error and are overly sensitive requiring change and healing in our own hearts.
So why is it important to pray warfare type prayers? Because while we may be able to dodge some of the attacks of the enemy, we won’t be able to wield hits to his kingdom unless we ourselves engage in the war. We pray the Word of God, which is our Spiritual Sword that allows for the cancellation of enemy attacks.
Have you ever seen the movie Top Gun: Maverick? In the final dog fight of this movie, Maverick ran out of ammunition to attack the enemy jet. He could only dodge for so long. Right before the enemy was able to make a lock on his jet, another jet on his team fired a missile at the enemy. Maverick was saved from destruction.
So you see, just like the natural, in the spiritual there comes a time (Ecclesiastes 3:1) when we must fire or be fired. This does not mean we aren’t loving. It means we are operating in wisdom. God leads, we speak, God acts. If Esther didn’t speak up things would have been very different for the Jews. What if Paul permitted Elymas to continue in his sorcery (Acts 13)?
Job 22:28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
And no, this is not saying that every little “itsy bitsy” thing we ask for we get. Sometimes, we ask amiss, that is, contrary to God’s will. That’s why it all boils down to intimacy with Jesus and our motives. In order to know His will we must know Him personally, and read His Word to understand His character. The more we obey, the better we are able to recognize His voice. The more we recognize His voice, the better we will be able to walk in His will, and that includes praying according to His will.
We see God determining the fate of the individuals. Again, let me emphasize, this doesn’t mean we go looking for trouble, calling fire on people in ignorance, as Jesus will just rebuke us as He did in Luke 9. But there comes a time when righteous people are to take by force spiritually things of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
And finally, why should we pray all these prayers? Because I believe everyone of them can be found in the model prayer Jesus taught us. The blueprint prayer found in Luke 11.
|And He said unto them, When ye pray, say,|
|Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.||Prayer of thanksgiving / acknowledging who God is|
|Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.||Prayer of intercession|
|3 Give us day by day our daily bread.|
|4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.||Prayer of repentance & forgiveness|
|And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.||Prayer of warfare / deliverance|
Some Christians may still be convinced to not engage in warfare prayers. I understand. Many movements sometimes pervert what is of God and in our quest to stay holy, unspotted or not carried away in cults and false doctrine, we throw out the baby with the bath water. This throwing out then creates a bit of a new not so correct doctrine, to put it nicely. I would suggest all of us to carefully look into warfare type prayers for ourselves in the Scripture. Holy Spirit did it and we cannot be holier than Him. If He instructs us to tear down, tear down the forces of darkness we must.