Prayer and Spiritual Warfare

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If you keep a spare tire in the back of your car, you’ll know that it’s only kept there for when something goes flat. Tony Evans says many Christians treat prayer like a spare tire—if nothing’s going flat in life, there’s no need for it. But the Bible says to pray at all times, and in this message, you’ll find that by doing so you’re preparing yourself for the inevitable occurrence of any spiritual warfare that may strike.



faith must always precede site. Once you put site in front of faith, you’ve negated faith. Faith is based on what you do not see. If you got to see it first. You won’t see it. The euphemism of walking in the bible means to live according to because you’re moving with the mind of christ, you’re not just doing that on sunday morning when it’s church time because he wants to know that you want him. So if you’re in distress, don’t let that drive you away, draw you near closer so that you like Jacob and say, I’m not gonna let you go until you answer me when you get close and want to live for him, want to please him, want to honor him, want to exalt him, want to draw near to him. Then heaven opens up and he lets you find, he lets you find welcome to the fire. When you’ve lived long enough, it becomes pretty clear that life is not a playground but a battleground. When you’ve lived long enough, you’ve come to realize that life is not always easy. And while we cherish those times of fun and frivolity and play and excitement, we dread those times of pain and anguish and struggle. Someone has said that life can be described as being bittersweet. It has those sweet moments that we cherish and embrace and those bitter moments that bring us to tears hurt and pain. Paul is writing and he concludes his treaties to the church at Ephesus to talk to them about the battleground of life. We call it spiritual warfare, but he’s not just talking about any kind of battle. He describes this one specifically by calling it the Evil day, The evil day. The evil day is when all hell breaks loose on you. The evil day is when you are overwhelmed. Yes, life has its normal ups and downs, but that’s not what he’s talking about here. He’s talking about when you are under major attack, When your world is being shattered, your dreams are being destroyed, your hopes are being dimmed and where you look out and all you see is the light of an oncoming train. He calls that the evil day, the day when hell is after you and your name has come up. He says when that day comes, when that period of time, when you’re under major assault comes. He says, I want you to understand how to how to approach this. Because he says on that day, you’re going to need the strength of the Lord verse 10 normal stuff is not gonna work. And playing church sure enough won’t work. He says on that day, you’re going to need the supernatural. And so he goes into these verses leading up to the subject of prayer to tell us how to approach this time in your life in my life. Now, I want to make sure that I’m not wasting my time on this sermon. So does anybody here know what I’m talking about. When I talk about an evil Day. Evil Day when you’re under massive spiritual assault. Well, let me remind you that everything visible and physical is preceded by that which is invisible and spiritual. Everything visible and physical is preceded by that which is invisible and spiritual. So paul wants you to know if you want to address in the time of your attack, the visible and physical, you need to do it from the perspective of the invisible and spiritual. He gives you the term that he uses throughout the book of Ephesians of heavenly places, heavenly places means the spiritual realm. And what he’s saying is that when you are under assault, when your life is being shattered, you’re trying to be in the will of God, you’re trying to walk with God, but you’re being attacked. Your well being is being attacked, your dreams are being attacked, your health is being attacked, your stability is being attacked, your resources are being attacked, your future is being attacked. You are just under assault. He says during those times, you have to view things from the location of heavenly places or the spiritual realm. If you’re going to be strong to walk through work through the times of those attacks and he wants to set the plan in place for how you’re gonna make it through the evil day. For those of you who have not yet been to the evil day, keep living, it’s coming when you are under assault and your stability, your world is being shaken. He says during those times three times, he says, I want you to stand firm, Stand firm, stand firm, don’t quit, don’t quit. Don’t quit because the temptation is easily to throw in the towel when your world is collapsing right in front of your eyes. He says. The first thing I want you to understand is that you wrestle not against flesh and blood. In other words, people aren’t the source of your problem. They may be the conduit for your problem, but they’re not the source of your problem for we christians wrestle not against flesh and blood, but Principalities and powers and world forces that are located in heavenly places or the spiritual realm. So if you address the resource without addressing the source, all you’ve done is created a delay for it to come back up again because you have not gotten to the root of the problem. We’re just addressing the fruit of the problem. And so what he is saying is the source is spiritual. He first of all wants to set the stage by saying on the evil day when you’re in this season of attack, I want you to stand firm, which means to hold your ground in the Lord. He says be strong in the Lord to hold your spiritual ground. It is easy to be swayed and moved off of center when you’re suffering, it is easy to be swayed and moved off of the source of your hope when you’re going through it and you see no exit sign, it is easy to be moved. But he says, during those times when you are under assault and your world is being stripped from right underneath you. He calls it the evil day. He says, during that time, I want you to grab more tightly. Your faith don’t loosen it up, Stand firm when you’re under the fire of the evil one. When you’re under fire of demonic attack, when you’re under the fire of suffering, you do not run away from God. When you are in the evil day, you have to run to God when you’re in the midst of the evil day because you’re now engaged in spiritual warfare, he says, stand firm, hold on to your faith. He didn’t tells you how to dress for spiritual success. He gives you the armor of God, he tells you, I want you to get dressed for the battle. Now when you’re in a war and when you’re in a parade, a military parade, they show the weapons when you’re in a war, you use the weapons because in the evil day, this is not showtime at the Apollo, this is time when you’ve got to get dressed. He says, you’ve got to put on truth, put on righteousness, put on peace. He goes on, he says, you gotta put on faith, he says, you got to put on the helmet of salvation. Then he says, you’ve got to use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, he gives these six pieces of spiritual arsenal or spiritual armor that the believer is to utilize when it comes to taking a stand in the evil day or when you’re under spiritual attack and spiritual oppression that’s affecting your physical, financial, circumstantial emotional family. Well being take your stand harder than you’ve ever taken it before, but put on this armor. But now you may not remember all the pieces of the armor. So let’s make it easy because Romans chapter 13 verse 14 says put on christ. If you can’t remember all the pieces, remember this one put on christ. Why? Because he says, I want you to be put on truth, Jesus says, I am the way the truth and the life he says, I want you to put on righteousness, scripture says christ is our righteousness. He says put on peace, Jesus said in this world, you will have tribulation, but I give you my peace. He says, put on the helmet of Salvation, scripture is clear, Jesus is the author and finisher of our salvation and then he says, put on the Word of God, use the sword of the spirit, john 11 says in the beginning was the word, the word was with God. The word was God verse 14 and the word became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus says he is the word. So if you don’t remember truth, remember jesus, If you don’t remember righteousness, remember Jesus, if you don’t remember peace, remember Jesus, you put on christ, you become centered in him. This is not belief in God, this is centered in God’s son, who is the revelation of God, the manifestation of God who is the power of God to manifest himself particularly in the evil day. Now you want to do it all the time, but you better do it in the evil day when the doctors don’t have answers, when the bankers don’t have answers, when your friends don’t have answers. And sure enough, when you don’t have answers, you need to be centered on the person of jesus christ and all the tools that he offered you. But he says you got to put him on. The question is how do you put him on? That’s where verse 18 comes in. Let me read it again, He says in verse 18 with all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the spirit and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. The way you put on christ that is practically utilize him to equip you to move through the battle you face is with prayer. Now prayer is relational communication with God. A lot of people want to pray with the in spiritual warfare who have not prayed until they got the spiritual warfare. In other words, they don’t know how to stand strong in the Lord because they haven’t been standing with the Lord, but now that they’re in an emergency, they need the Lord. He’s talking about staying in touch with him all day. That’s why. First thessalonians 5 17 says pray without ceasing in other words, stay in touch with me. Now let me explain why this is so important. The evil day is Principalities powers and world forces. This means you are under attack. This means that this attack is coming from the devil and demons. It is unfortunate that far too many christians have lost sight of demons. Demons are angels that went rogue. Demons are the spiritual mafia that attacks us in the spiritual, that brings about our pain and the physical and the bible has an answer to demons. The answer to demons are angels. So here’s how this works. The bible declares every christian has been assigned an angel and the job of the angel is to look after the well being of the believer. So every christian has an angel that is assigned to you by God, one of the jobs of your angel is to throw a wart, the demonic attack that is coming against you because angels know how to fight angels and so when the demonic angel comes to bring pain and anguish and defeat in your world and in your life you have an angel. The bible says when we pray, we engage God the Holy Spirit and I’ll talk about him in a moment who who activates the angel assigned to you to deal with the demonic oppression that is coming against you. So he says with all perseverance, but he tells you something else and it’s the key. He says, pray in the spirit verse 18, don’t just pray meaning, don’t just have conversation, but he says, I want you to pray in the spirit questions, what does that mean? The bible talks about the role of the spirit is to deliver the mind of God. First Corinthians chapter two Verse nine and 10, but just as it is written, things which I have not seen and here is not heard and which has not been entered into the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love him for to us. God revealed them. He’s not about heaven and earth to us. God revealed them through the spirit for the spirit searches all things. Even the depths of God. See when you’re in the evil day, that means folks can’t help you when you’re in the evil day, they have limitations that they can do for you and you need something that I have not seen. Ear has not heard and the imagination is not conceived of, You need the supernatural to enter into the natural. Now being in the spirit is opposed in scripture to being in the flesh to be in the spirit. Let me start with the the part of simple end, he wants you to be in the spirit So he does not want you visiting and exiting, he wants you operating in the realm of the spirit. What is the realm of the spirit? The realm of the spirit is a spiritual mindset in romans chapter eight verses 1 to 13 he gives this extended discussion about the spirit and he says when you have the spirit, you have the mind of the spirit. So this has to do with how you’re thinking the mind is your thought. He wants you to think spiritually not secular early. He wants you to think biblically, not worldly. He wants you to think the mind of christ, not the mind of man Galatians five verse 16, but I say walk by the spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit and the spirit against the flesh. For these are in opposition to one another so that you may not do the things that you please. He says there is a battle and it’s a battle between the spirit and the flesh. Let me define the flesh. The flesh is the desire to please self independently of God. The flesh is the desire to please yourself as opposed to pleasing God. We all battle with the flesh. Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the desire. Please don’t misread that he didn’t say you won’t have the desire because the flesh wants what it wants. So you will have the desire but the spirit will override it. Don’t read the verse in reverse, don’t read to get rid of the desire of the flesh. Walk in the spirit, that’s backwards, walk in the spirit and it will overrule the desire of the flesh, it will overrule it. The capacity to do what you need to do or what God wants done will be activated in your experience as you walk in the spirit. Now many times people will say I’m praying but nothing is happening. Well let me explain, many christians pray, they’re doing the right thing, but they’re doing it in the flesh, they’re doing it in the wrong environment. And if you’re doing the right thing in the wrong environment, the right thing won’t work. So just because you say your prayers in the morning, say Grace at dinner and say your bedtime prayer, that’s the right thing. But the question is, have you been walking in the right because if you’re not walking in the right environment, doing the right thing won’t work. And in fact it can help kill you quicker. So he says all all all all I want you to be consumed with being in my presence, walking in the flesh, he says will put you in a spiritual graveyard. But walking by the spirit will put you and here’s how you know because you’re no longer having to force things when you’re in the spirit. But the bible calls the spirit a wind, a wind that blows the bible says the holy spirit guides us. He pulls us now you can walk, you should walk but you’re walking on some power, your walking on some undergirding, you’re walking on some strength because you’re walking with the mind of the spirit consistent with the revelation and word of God so that he can override and so you begin to flow in it even though you still have to walk and even though you may have a ways to go, he says pray always in the spirit spiritual lead and so he’s my only out and so we cry out to God and trust God but you have your evil day or you will and if we make prayer a lifestyle walking in the spirit of lifestyle and not a visit, don’t treat the spirit like you treat church, don’t just come for a visit. No, he says, you roll with me and you stay in contact with me all day every day short, long, fast slow when we contact God, if the timing is wrong, he’ll say slow. If the request is wrong, he’ll say no if we are wrong, he’ll say grow. But if the request is right, the time is right and we are right sooner or later he’ll say go so I want this to be known as a house of prayer, praise God for great music, praise God for preaching all of that’s critical to worship. But if we don’t make contact with heaven, all we did was come to an event, a religious event. But if we as a church will cry out to God and when God meets you in your evil day, however, that happens sometimes he takes you through it. Sometimes he delivers you out of it and sometimes he just gives you the strength to deal with it. He does it in all kinds of ways. But but however he decides to do it, you’ll know he’s right there in the midst, he changes your perspective in the midst of your evil day. And you know, you can go a long way with a change of perspective, mm hmm, mm hmm. There’s a battle taking place in the invisible realm that affects us in the realm in which we exist. It’s called Spiritual Warfare. We’ve got a dress right for this battle. It’s called the armor of God. We have to dress for success. You’ve heard that phrase, how do you put on the armor? You know, there’s six pieces of armor that are given to us that we’re supposed to be wearing and utilizing to defeat the enemy on what’s called the evil day? That means today when you, you’re under major, you under made your salt. That is an offensive against you and you know what that feels like when all hell breaks loose and things are bam bam bam bam hitting you from every direction, as soon as you think you have one crisis, you wind up into another crisis and another conflict, well you gotta keep your attire on and the way you do that is through prayer. That’s why we’re told to pray without ceasing. That doesn’t mean you’re on your knees. That means you’re staying in contact with God. You know, we all have cell phones, we all live on our cell phones because we stand in contact with somebody. Okay, well guess what God wants to be, he wants to be on your cellphone of life where you stay in contact with him so that you catch things early. You deal with things early. Youth Award things early. Why? Because you’re in contact with God as a way of life and not as a, you know, sunday morning worship service or even a morning devotion, but as a regular, bringing him into decisions, bring them into your thoughts, bringing them into your relationships, bring them in to your decision making because he’s part of every aspect of your life. Now. You’re doing spiritual warfare. You know when you, when you, when you’re in a war, you have to stay alert, you have to stay awake. You have to know that the enemy can come at you at any time, particularly times a weakness and the enemy like he studies are game film, he knows our tendencies or weaknesses where we’re apt to respond and he comes after those areas where he can see he has an opportunity to enter in and bring about destruction. But if we stay in contact with God through the spirit by means of prayer, then we will be alerted. You know, a signal. You know, we have alert on our phone, right stuff just pops up. That’s what God’s spirit does. He like to bang bang bang you let stuff pop up so that you become aware and sensitive to what’s happening around you. So you can respond to it based on God’s truth. I wish I could take you out the war. But the war is gonna find you. But we can’t have victory in the war because of our prayer and dependency on the spirit of God To keep us one step ahead of the Devil. Mhm. Mhm. When you’re in the spirit, but the bible calls the spirit a win a wind that blows my opinion. Nobody’s opinion. When it conflicts with God is to be considered as truth, the bible says, let God be true and every man alive, Mother nature doesn’t work without daddy. God. That’s because truth. They are the just because if it comes from God, it’s true because God has absolute standard by which reality is measured. All right. I’m standing here in Alaska, one of the most glorious places in God’s great creation. And I want to invite you to join me in our urban alternative family for the Alaskan cruise, we’re going to have a magnificent time, in God’s word and in God’s creation, we’re going to enjoy great Fellowship, great fun, great food. And I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting you on r t u a Alaskan Cruise Register to be there. Can’t wait to be with you.

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Tony Evans Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and...

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