“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Satan is on a search-and-destroy mission. And his primary target is the church leadership team. If he can destroy your bishop’s testimony, or your pastor’s, the catechist, or the choir director, the collateral damage to the average pew-sitter is usually devastating.
Of course, even those who do nothing more than sit in the pew each Sunday are not safe from the devil’s stratagem. Every Christian, even the laity, has a bull’s-eye painted on his or her soul. If the devil can destroy any Christian’s testimony, then think of the collateral damage he causes in the person’s family, among friends, co-workers, and neighbors.
Anyone who walks close to Jesus knows that the days in which we live are evil. A deeply visceral, spiritual darkness has spread across our world like a rancid shroud. That’s why every Christian must remember, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
Here is what the apostle also wrote to the church at Ephesus: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:12-13)
I am reminded of Peter’s bravado when speaking to Jesus: Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” (Mark 14:29) To which Jesus responded: “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” (verse 30). But Peter protested, this time vehemently: “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” (Verse 31)
Oh, how often have I sounded like Peter! Perhaps you have, too. No wonder the Holy Spirit warns us: So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Any Christian in the pew -- and perhaps especially in leadership -- can weaken, bloodied in the Satanic battle for our souls. The fight is too serious to enter the fray unprepared. It is too deadly to wage on our own. Oh, Holy Spirit! Remind us of that full armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-18). Remind us, Oh, Lord, to daily “pray for one another,” because “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)
Oh, Lord, hear our prayers.
My book of prayer strategies, although written specifically for a Catholic audience, has sufficient overlap to other Christian groups to assist your prayer efforts. http://amzn.to/2jltojF