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-- © GodSpeak International 2007 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: John DeLaughter <john.godspeak@sbcglobal.net>
Editors: Teresa Seputis and Sue Spaulding

Prayer-School Course #38

Praying To Obtain God's Best

By John DeLaughter

Lesson 21
Satanic Roadblocks to Obtaining God's Best
(Part 2 of 2)

There are seven common satanic strategies that the devil uses to hamper our prayers. The good news is that it is possible to beat each of them if we understand what they are and what counter-strategy to use ageist it. These strategies are:

1. Satan attempts to crowd prayer out of our schedules.
2. Satan tries to silence our prayers with intimidation.
3. Satan seeks to disrupt our prayers in progress.
4. Satan questions whether we are holy enough to pray.
5. Satan questions God's willingness to hear us.
6. Satan implies that God doesn't need our prayers.
7. Satan questions if we have enough faith to pray effectively.

We looked at the first five strategies in the last lesson, and now we will focus on the last two, discussing how to beat them.

Strategy #6

Sixth, Satan implies that God doesn't need our prayers.

We touched on this thought in a prior lesson. Theological debates rage over the role of a person's will in their salvation. Controversy aside, how does God achieve His purposes after you're saved?

The enemy says that God can do His work without us. If we buy into the falsehood, prayer ends. After all, what difference does intercession make?

God has His own ideas. While the Lord could do everything Himself, the Bible teaches that He chooses differently. Of the many avenues open to God, He chooses to work through people. For instance: "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'Once again I yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them..." (Ezekiel 36: 37).

This passage shows how almighty God yields to our requests. For example, Moses' prayers stopped the Lord from destroying the children of Israel (Exodus 32: 11-13). God often limits His interventions to our intercessions (Matthew 18:18-19). Why? The Lord conforms our burdens to His wishes. When we pray over what troubles us, we offer petitions that overlap His will. While God's benefits profit everyone (Matthew 5:45), prayer solutions begin where that goodness ends. That is why intercession is important. Your prayers count (Ezekiel 22:30). God depends on them.

If we ignore the burden, the Lord will look elsewhere (2 Chronicles 16:9a). But it takes time to break in an intercessor. Often, the process takes a generation or two to raise up another (Judges 2:10-19).

Strategy #7

Seventh, Satan questions if we have enough faith to pray effectively. He says, "If you doubt, prayer is useless. So why continue?"

If that were true, the Hall of Faith would empty fast. When is enough, enough? There's a difference between doubt in your head and faith in your heart. For instance, the early church had sufficient faith to obtain Peter's deliverance: "So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him" (Acts 12:5).

But these successful intercessors were also plagued by unbelief: "..she [the slave girl] was so overjoyed she ran back...and exclaimed, 'Peter is at the door!' 'You're out of your mind,' they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, 'It must be an angel'" (Acts 12:14b-15).

So, Satan's lie that God denies prayers offered by people with misgivings isn't accurate. True faith prays despite doubts, and the Lord answers those prayers. In fact, persistent prayer demonstrates prevailing faith (Luke 18:8). The doubt in our heads mustn't drown the faith in our hearts. But, what can you do about doubt? Confess your concerns to Jesus and ask the Savior to increase your faith (Luke 17:5). The father of one demonized boy voiced that plea: "'If I can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.' Immediately, the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief'" (Mark 9:23-24).

God also didn't condemn Gideon's caution. The Angel of the Lord called Gideon to a task beyond his abilities. He felt overwhelmed. In addition, to act in God's Name without His direction was a sin (Luke 4:12). Yet, God dealt kindly with him, despite the fleece tests (Judges 6).

Why would the Lord be any less gracious with us? God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Praying through doubt tests our resolve and tempers our faith. When light narrows, it intensifies and burns through walls. Some call it, "focused like a laser." Likewise, concentrated intercession cuts through doubt. Barriers vaporize. God enlarges our vision to match the mountain He wants moved. And our Father expands our view of what He can do.

As we've seen, God expects prayer to achieve more than we do. We envision a ration line; God offers a banquet table. In turn, Satan's lies become gates in our minds that stop us from praying.

A scene from the Wizard of Oz illustrates how the enemy would have us view the process of bringing our requests before God:

"As Dorothy gazed...fear... [she] heard a voice say:

'I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?'

It was not such an awful voice as she had expected...so she took courage and answered:

'I am Dorothy, the Small and Meek. I have come to you for help.'

Then said the voice: 'Where did you get the silver shoes?'

'I got them from the Wicked Witch of the East, when my house fell on her and killed her,' she replied...

Then Oz asked, "What do you wish me to do?"

'Send me back to Kansas, where my Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are,' she answered earnestly. '...And I am sure Aunt Em will be dreadfully worried over my being away so long...'

'Why should I do this for you?' asked Oz.

'Because you are strong and I am weak; because you are a Great Wizard and I am only a little girl.'

'But you were strong enough to kill the Wicked Witch of the East,' said Oz.

'That just happened,' returned Dorothy simply; 'I could not help it.'

'...You have no right to expect me to send you back to Kansas back unless you do something for me...In this country everyone must pay for everything he gets. If you wish me to use my magic...to send you home ...you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you.'

'What must I do?' asked the girl.

'Kill the Wicked Witch of the West,' answered Oz.

'But I cannot!' exclaimed Dorothy...

'You killed the Witch of the East...There is...one Wicked Witch left... [When] she is dead I will send you back to Kansas -- but not before.'

The little girl began to weep... [And said,] '...how could I kill the Wicked Witch? If you...cannot kill her...how do you expect me to do it?'

'I do not know...but...until the Wicked Witch dies you will not see your uncle and aunt again...the Witch is... tremendously Wicked-and ought to be killed. Now go...do not ask to see me again until you have done your task.'

Sorrowfully Dorothy left the Throne Room and went back where the Lion and the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman were waiting. 'There is no hope for me,' she said sadly, 'for Oz will not send me home until I have killed the Wicked Witch of the West; and that I can never do.'"

God's court is just the opposite of the Wizard of Oz's hall of audience. Outside our thoughts and feelings, no fences exist. If Jesus is your Lord, God invites you to come boldly before Him: "Therefore, since we have a great High Priest Who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One Who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

No padlocks bar the entry to God's throne room: Our Father's door is always open to His children.

-- © GodSpeak International 2007 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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