The Art of War…Preparing for the Battle (Part 1)

“…as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, even so will you do.”

You know the value of prayer: it is precious beyond all price, Never, never neglect it. – Sir Thomas Buxton

In any military setting, one thing is for sure: you’re going to obey orders to the letter.  And if you don’t obey written orders, or spoken orders, then you will have to give an account before your superior officer as to why you chose to disobey a direct order.

Luther spent his best three hours in prayer. – Robert Murray McCheyne

The Word of God is our written orders. And written orders are for a reason. They were written up by One who has quad-trillion’s of years of experience.  He knows all about war, and He’s won every war He’s ever been in.  His track record is flawless.  If His orders are carried out to the letter, there will be no casualties of war on His side.  He’s the greatest military strategist of all time; His military mind and might remain unsurpassed by any.  Every war He’s ever been in is recorded in its perfect historical setting and with great accuracy.

The great masters and teachers in Christian doctrine have always found in prayer their highest source of illumination.  It is recorded that Bishop Andrews spent five hours daily on his knees. – Canon Liddon

And one of the first orders He gives is to pray.  You’ll remember that in the Garden of Eden God and Adam were communing together.  They were talking to one another.  This is prayer dear reader, in its purest form.  Adam had nothing to hide; he had no moral compass to interfere.  Their fellowship together must have been the absolute sweetest thing happening on the planet.  Watchman Nee once said that we will never have an understanding of how far we have really fallen.  If you can just imagine Adam naming 17,500 species of animals in one afternoon…it won’t even come close to what his mind could do (because it was governed completely by his spirit). “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Eph. 4:23

The leading defect in Christian ministers is want of a devotional habit. – Richard Cecil

And here we see Adam spending time in prayer.  He didn’t have to be told to…he just did.  Several bible commentators feel that this time of fellowship happened twice a day.  For a couple reasons: the “cool of the day” happens in the morning and in the evening.  And look at the tabernacle in the wilderness and you will remember that the altar and the candlesticks were to be tended in the morning and in the evening.

I spend five hours a day in prayer, and when I come to America, I find I must spend seven hours a day in prayer, because of all your devils that you allow to roam freely here. – David Yonggi Cho

Prayer was a part of Adam’s life.  It came spontaneously to him.  He lived in the spirit of prayer.  Why?  Because he was holy, and when you’re holy all you want to do is to be with the Author of holiness.  He loved God so much…and oh how God loved him!!  All God wanted to do is be with him.  Proverbs eight brings out that His pleasure was to be with men.

If I should neglect prayer but  a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith. – Martin Luther

But…a serpent was on the loose with a twisted and forked tongue and he perverted this time of prayer.  And what was once not commanded, but lovingly done by our own initiative, has now turned into a command to us.  “And He spoke a parable unto them, that men ought always to pray.” (Luke 18:1)  The word “ought” in the Greek bears out that it is an established command, a necessary exercise, and what is due to God.  The Lord here has commanded us to pray.

Be sure you look to your secret duty; keep that up whatever you do.  The soul cannot prosper in the neglect of it.  Apostasy generally begins at the closet door. – Philip Henry

Prayerlessness is a sin.  “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray” (1 Sam. 12:23)  The Lord Jesus said in Luke 11, “When you pray.”  This isn’t a suggestion, or a lofty idea.  He’s expecting you to be praying.  Jonathan Edwards in his book entitled Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer brings out the truth that if a person professes to know Christ, yet fails to pray or even believe in prayer, than his conversion was a false one and he has deceived himself into thinking he will make it to heaven; for how could a prayerless saint ever claim to know God.  One of the truths that the Lord is bringing out in His “Depart from Me, I never knew you” is that these ones did not pray.  They sure did a lot of things…they just never prayed.  They never wanted to develop a relationship with Jesus.  They wanted everything on their terms – their way.  It’s lawlessness in its purest form.  It’s as un-Christian as sin itself.  Imagine a wife that never wants to be with her husband or speak to her husband.  How will this make the husband feel.  He may want his wife to love him and speak to him and want to be with him…but he cannot force her to love him.  Love carries action with it.  If you love the Lord, you will make time for Him…and if you don’t, then you won’t.  It’s actually very simple.  If you don’t pray, then you probably don’t love the Lord.  You can give any excuse you want.  In the gospels they gave many excuses to the Lord…many excuses.  All that excuses do is soothe over a man’s conscience by a false hope that he is accepted.  Excuses build nothing more than a house of cards.

Of all the duties enjoined by Christianity none is more essential and yet more neglected than prayer.  Most people consider the exercise a fatiguing ceremony, which they are justified in abridging as much as possible.  Even those whose profession or fears lead them to pray, pray with such languor and wanderings of mind that their prayers only increase their condemnation. – Fenelon

The gospel of Luke has more to say about the Lord’s prayer life than all the other gospels combined.  In Luke 3:21 we see the heavens opened “as He prayed.” In Luke 5:16 we see the Lord “often withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” (the word “often” was added by the translators in this verse. Sometimes added words are wrong, not necessary, or placed in the wrong setting contextually; and sometimes they are right.  But it has to be proven by other scriptural evidence.  In this case, the translators were probably drawing from the term “as was His custom” in other places.  In other words Jesus had habits that He had formed, and prayer was one of them).   In Luke 6:12 we see that He “continued all night in prayer to God.”  In Luke 6:29 we see that “as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His clothes were white and glistening.”  And in Luke 11:1 we see that “as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

Perfect prayer is only another name for love. – Fenelon

So much can be gleaned from the above verses in Luke.  All I can share with you is the little that I have gleaned from them: we see in the Luke 3:21 verse that the heavens were actually opened to Him…when?  While He was praying.  We see in the Luke 5:16 verse that He purposely withdrew Himself from the immediate situation of ministering to go and be alone with God, the real source of all ministry.  In Luke 6:16 we see that prayer was more important to Him than sleep (but it’s usually just the opposite with God’s own people…sleep is much more important to them than prayer).  In Luke 6:29 we see that real transformation is only seen and accomplished on the mountain of prayer.  Because prayer doesn’t change God, it changes you.  Prayer can do anything that God can do…and only God can move mountains or stop the sun in its course for a day.  But also take special note that His clothes became white and glistening.  This is representative of His living, His holiness, and His righteous acts. (See Psalm 45:13-14 & Rev. 19:8…or just do a study on linen garments from the Old Testament and the New Testament).  And in Luke 11:1 we see that when we are in prayer, others can see it and they will want what you have and will ask you to teach them. And then also take note that John the Baptist was teaching his disciples to pray and how to pray.

We say we have no time to pray secretly.  We yet have time for all else; time to eat, to drink, for children, yet no time for what sustains all else.  We say we have no private place, but Jesus found a mountain, Peter a rooftop, the prophets a wilderness.  If you love someone, you will find a place to be alone.  – Thomas Manton

So many people are so busy with their many meetings that they schedule, that the most important meeting of all is neglected.  And they really think that by their busyness of helping others and keeping themselves occupied with their many duties for the Lord, that they’re in the ministry.  I have news for you, your ministry is on your knees in heartfelt prayer before an almighty God with Whom we will all answer to here very briefly indeed.

Prayer takes self off the throne.  To be broken twice, yes even thrice before God is a great thing, a mighty thing.  David said, “create in me a clean heart, AND renew a right spirit within me.” God broke Jacob during prayer.  Heartfelt searching prayer pulls the veil back on our unseen self-righteousness and self-ability and reveals our true selves to ourselves.  God already sees it…but we are blind to it.  We go right along thinking we are ok, when in all reality we are poor, blind, miserable, and naked.  Only prayer can bring the light to expose us for the wretched creatures we really are.  Real prayer from the heart is the foundation upon which a mans house is built.  The tapestry of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” can only be interwoven into the fabric of your being through prayer. – Robert Hammond

Solomon said in Song of Solomon 1:6 that he tended everyone else’s vineyard (he had many meetings with people to help them and minister to them and instruct them and nurture them), but his own vineyard he did not keep!!  You are the vinedresser of your own vineyard (the vineyard being your heart), and let me share with you what will happen to that vineyard if prayer is neglected:

I went by the field of the lazy man,
 (he who loves his sleep)

And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;

And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; 
Its surface was covered with nettles;
 Its stone wall was broken down.

When I saw it, I considered it well;
 I looked on it and received instruction:

A little sleep, a little slumber,
 A little folding of the hands to rest;

So shall your poverty come like a prowler,
 And your need like an armed man.” Proverbs 24:30-34


A final note of instruction: a person will only pray if they have the Word of God in them to cause them to pray.  Consider the following text (and this exact same sequence can be found throughout all of scripture): “It is not desirable that we should leave 1) the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually 2) to prayer and to 3) ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:2-4).  First the word of God – then prayer – and then with these two mixed together one can do the ministry.  To do any ministry without the word of God and prayer is lawlessness, no matter how good your intentions are.  I refer you back to Matthew 7:21-23 for further proof of our last statement.

There’s a date in history that I love very much. It was Wednesday, August 13, 1737. A little group of people in Moravia were waiting in a prayer meeting. At 11:00 suddenly the Holy Spirit came. Do you know what happened? The prayer meeting that began at 11:00 lasted 100 years! That’s right. That prayer room was not empty for a century! It’s the longest prayer among men and women that I know of. Even children six and seven years old travailed in prayer for countries the names of which they couldn’t even spell. – Leonard Ravenhill

I don’t understand why, but at the last minute I felt the Lord wanted me to add this video for anyone who is really struggling in their walk and in their living with the lord.  Click here for “I Miss the Way” by Michael W. Smith

  1. Michael BondanzaMichael Bondanza01-14-2013

    awesome word!

  2. LauraLaura01-14-2013

    thank you. so much insight!

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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Joel 2:1