A Step Toward Unceasing Prayer: A Wartime Mentality

There is a reason we lack urgency in responding in prayer to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is because we ignore or forget the reality of war.

Once awakened to this reality, we either crumble in inadequacy, or turn to God in desperate prayer.

It comes down to this: Without an understanding of the spiritual war we are in, prayer itself becomes a novelty. It is a mere ornament and easily shelved. We will understand the privilege of prayer in theory and then turn and neglect it because we lack urgency in putting it to use.

Catch a glimpse of the war, though, and reality will demand of us constant prayer. Prayer, then, is a statement about our eyesight. If we a lacking in prayer, we are certainly lacking a clear perception of the reality of war.

Concerning the need for a wartime attitude when praying, John Piper writes in Let the Nations Be Glad,

“So the truth is reaffirmed: God has given us prayer because Jesus has given us a mission. We are on this earth to press back the forces of darkness, and we are given access to headquarters by prayer to advance this cause. When we try to turn it into a civilian intercom to increase our conveniences, it stops working, and our faith begins to falter. We have so domesticated prayer that for many of us it is no longer what it was designed to be-a wartime walkie-talkie for the accomplishment of Christ’s mission.

“We simply must seek for ourselves and for our people a wartime mentality. Otherwise the biblical teaching about the urgency of prayer and the vigilance of prayer and the watching in prayer and the perseverance of prayer and the danger of abandoning prayer will make no sense and find no resonance in our hearts. Until we feel the desperation of a bombing raid or the thrill of a new strategic offensive for the gospel, we will not pray in the spirit of Jesus.

“The crying need of the hour is to put the churches on a wartime footing. Mission leaders are crying out, “Where is the church’s concept of militancy, of a mighty army willing to suffer, moving ahead with exultant determination to take the world by storm? Where is the risk-taking, the launching out on God alone?” The answer is that it has been swallowed up in a peacetime mentality.”

Enjoy this post? Subscribe to blog updates via email or via RSS

14 thoughts on “A Step Toward Unceasing Prayer: A Wartime Mentality

  1. Daniel,

    Great post! You nailed it with your statements, “Without an understanding of the spiritual war we are in, prayer itself becomes a novelty. It is a mere ornament and easily shelved. We will understand the privilege of prayer in theory and then turn and neglect it because we lack urgency in putting it to use.”

    How true that is in my own life, I’m sad to say.

    God bless you and keep up the great work!

  2. Thank You Daniel, for the excellent post! You said: “Prayer, then, is a statement about our eyesight. If we a lacking in prayer, we are certainly lacking a clear perception of the reality of war.” This is so right-on, and I am asking the Lord for better eyesight, a clearer perception of the spiritual warring realities going on around me. One tends to forget (at least to some extent) when the world around appears peaceful (where I live, anyway) and get complacent.

    No More!

    Bless you,

  3. Pingback: Take A Step Towards Unceasing Prayer « Disciple Rob's Personal Blog

  4. Hello again, more great ideas here. Understanding the overwhelming need for prayer is so important. We need that continual communion with Him to understand His heart, discern the Spirit’s guidance, and fight our daily battles with the devil.

    I just finished reading Eric and Leslie Ludy’s book Wrestling Prayer. Setting up the need for and scope of gritty, fighting prayer is a major focus of the book. I did several blog posts, journaling my reading process, and in one of those, I shared about my own battle to keep this wartime mindset. In my journey, the devil works through direct and blatant attacks, but probably more dangerously, he works by subtly lulling me to “sleep” or a state of not realizing the importance of continual, fervent prayer. This sleepiness of body and spirit always reminds me of the disciples’ behavior while Jesus prayed in the garden…and it’s something I fall into. Thanks be to God for reminding, urging, and drawing me back into frequent and passionate prayer and communion with Him!

  5. Thanks for this reminder. Easy to pull out the bombs and grenades during a battle.. but so easy to forget in the peaceful night under the stars that danger is still out there.

  6. Robert, thank you for the support! Really appreciate the link.

    Lorraine, Ruth, j shelton…I’m right there with you in feeling that gentle slip into complacency. It is easier to write and read books than it is to be disciplined and warlike.

    I appreciate every one of you.

  7. So when it comes to prayer – mostly intercessory prayer – how much , how often? People reading this, how much do you spend just praying and how much praying alongside your other activities? For eg. I often pray for the lost, persecuted, missionairies I’ve heard about, situations etc… while cooking, tidying the house et al. My days are often so “rambly” that it is sometimes hard to discipline myself to longer periods of intensive prayer. I think if there were others around to do it with it would be easier (is easier always better?) but everyone is so busy, or at least ‘occupied’.

    I’m praying for MUCH grace for self discipline!!! Man, I should just get off the stupid ‘puter and pray!!

  8. Lorraine, I hope to hear from some of the others as well…here’s what my prayer life looks like
    Outside of trying to respond to unscheduled impulses to pray, Saturday mornings are reserved for praying with a group of men. The core group has been meeting for 40 years, so there is a lot to learn from them.
    My goal is also to start each day with 10-15 minutes in prayer after reading and meditating. I had been having that time at night, but I am working to move it to the morning hours.

    Lord willing, I’ll cover the issue of personal discipline as it relates to prayer in upcoming posts.

  9. Hi Lorraine, here’s my bit of input.

    Honestly, my prayer time/life is a bit all over the place at the moment, as I try to follow advice and God’s guidance on how to do this best! Like Daniel mentioned, I too have been trying to follow any prompting of the Spirit to stop what I’m doing and pray. I believe God has been challenging me lately to stay focused – on the task at hand when I am working or conversing or blogging, etc. and then, all the rest of the time, to turn my thoughts to Him and give all my thought-life over to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5, Ephesians 6:18). Praying as we do daily activities is a good way to keep our thoughts useful and good while our hands are busy. I like to pray while I’m driving; moving along the road, especially in the sunlight and some of the beautiful back roads I drive on during the commute to and from work, gives me energy and delight as I share with Him and plead for HIs strength and power to move through my life and the lives of my brethren. Still, just praying alone, just me and God with no other thoughts or activities going on, is a something nothing else can substitute for! I love the idea of Daniel and his group of men praying together on Saturday mornings; I have been praying for God to lead me into true, challenging fellowship with other Christians like that… we’ll see what He has in store.

    Good bloggy conversation, everyone!

  10. Sorry I’m a little late to the party! 🙂

    Lorraine, I must confess that my prayer life is more spontaneous than it is planned out. Aside from bedtime prayers and saying grace, I pray on an as-needed basis. If I hear a siren or see emergency personnel on the road, I either bless them or pray for them and their patients, depending on the situation. When the kids are in bed and the house has quieted down I bless my kiddos and offer up thanks for the moment of peace. If my kids are driving me up a wall, I’m praying for patience (this one happens quite frequently!). My husband works a grueling 12-hour graveyard shift with an hour-long commute, so naturally I pray for his safekeeping as well as the safety of the people he carpools with.

    Every chance I get, I say something to God. Probably still not as often as I should, but I try. Even if it’s just a quick little prayer of thanksgiving, or a silent prayer of blessing upon someone as they go about their day. It helps reinforce my relationship with the Sovereign Father, and reminds me that He is listening. It also reminds me that the battle is still going on, even if I may be far from the front lines.

  11. Daniel, Ruth and Denita ;

    Thanks so much for sharing! It sounds like we are all in a similar place in that the spontaneous, pray-as-you-go/do conversation with the Lord is quite normal – what a wonderful fabric for our days with Him! Now, we are praying to add more substantial, just-prayer times to our daily routines. As I posted in Daniel’s most recent post on discipline, I am believing 2Peter1:2-3, that I have already been given all I need for life and godliness (I’m thinking obedience to the call to prayer is part of that), through my knowledge of Christ.

    Thanks so much for sharing, and I will pray for you all today too.

  12. Guilt…guilt…guilt!

    Good intentions – good starts – dreadful failures.

    Reminds me of Gethsemane.

    Daniel, I get up in the morning around 6:30 – go to my ‘puter and catch up on overnight emails – spend about an hour doing so.

    Pray God – give me the discipline to start with a minimum of 20 minutes each morning in prayer.

  13. Well, I am a prayer warrior and if anyone on here understands what that means, you know that the Holy Spirit will wake you up or tell you to pray at sporadic times. But, I have sort of a personal quota that I try to meet when praying and that is at least 30 minutes of undisturbed prayer to our heavenly father. God has also led me in dreams to wake up early before the sun has set to seek his face, worship, praise and communion with him. This time doesn’t include continual or fervent fiery prayer but just simply communioning with him in a more relaxed way.

    But as Christians, we need to take the time to have some undisturbed type of prayer because the earnest and effectual prayer life of righteous people move the hand of God. Sometimes, I pray for more than 30 minutes because it is essentially, talking to my heavenly father. And one thing I notice that helps when I may not physically feel like praying in my natural tongue is to pray in tongues. It’s like the Holy Spirit gets me amped up and I find myself sometime later praying to our heavenly father in my natural tongue.

  14. Daniel, Thanks for your excellent post. I have been on a dire search for a way to pray our way to victory and peace in Cote d’Ivoire where we are suffering a political crisis. Your truths and reminders concerning the context of prayer (that it is a privilege) have reignited the urgency of getting back in contact with the Holy Spirit who consoles and communicates our needs to the Father. Sometimes I forget these things that Jesus told us and keeps reminding… Again, thanks

Leave a Reply