Contending in prayer
I think there is a context in which prayer has an element of struggle, striving and battle to it; where it involves courage and tenacity. I’ve included the above picture, which many of you will remember having recently been imaged around the world. It captures the bravery of a small Catholic nun, Sister Anna Roza, in Myanmar. Her courage and posture stopped the advance of ruthless security forces (at least temporarily) from harming the lives of defenceless protesters. It’s the imagery here that I want to focus on, rather than the specifics…more later.
Let’s begin with worship:
(‘I choose to worship’ by Rend Collective)
The very fact that you are reading this strongly indicates that contending in prayer is part of your personal experience. You are…
- Persistent in prayer (Luke ch18 v1-8)…stubbornly refusing to back down.
- Fasting as a part of your prayer life (Matt ch6 v16-18, 2 Chronicles ch 20 v1-25)…a subject on its own but hugely powerful in unlocking and changing situations (and us!).
- Standing firm (Ephesians ch6 v11,13,14)…an attitude of faith in the face of opposition.
- Engaged in corporate prayer (Acts ch 2 v42, 12 v12, ch13 v3)
I thought today that we could add a practical element to this ‘fight’ of prayer.
As part of our intercession, keeping the above Scriptures in mind, I’m going to suggest that you stand in front of an open door.
Now think of a situation in which you are prayerfully fighting for something(s) to stop. It might be a family issue; a problem within Teesside or something at national/global level.
Seeing in your mind’s eye the spiritual context behind that issue, close the door firmly on it, you may even want to lock it, whilst praying against it with your in-Christ authority.
Maybe now you could think of a reverse set of situations in which you are praying for God to open something up (it may help to go to another door!).
Strategic intercession is a ministry that all of us, in one way or another, are called to be part of together.
There is something about the corporate ‘fight’ of prayer that is quietly percolating and growing, particularly on the internet at the moment. My sense is that as society opens up again, this momentum has an exciting potential to build. The internet is part of the picture but there is more. Physically gathering adds another dimension (that corporate posture, cry, clout, roar, groan). Perhaps the future of this may even be an outside setting?
Could we please finish by taking another look at Sister Anna. Let’s kneel with her whilst we listen to an updated rendition of an old Graham Kendrick song from his 1978 album ‘Fighter’. I personally have found these rousing words with their prophetic element challenging.
(‘God put a fighter in me’ sung by Sheila Walsh)