I have been reading Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and it has completely changed my prayer life (she is the main character in War Room. If you haven’t seen that movie – I highly recommend it as well!) The theme of the book is that prayer is our strongest weapon against the Satan and his attempts to destroy the people of God. The book description reads:
“You have an enemy . . . and he’s dead set on destroying all you hold dear and keeping you from experiencing abundant life in Christ. What’s more, his approach to disrupting your life and discrediting your faith isn’t general or generic, not a one-size-fits-all. It’s specific. Personalized. Targeted.“
Satan is real, and so are his attempts to take down the people he is threatened by. He is scared of God’s soldiers. He is terrified of the people doing God’s work and spreading His word and love all over the place. And he should be scared, because as God’s children we have the power to kick him where it hurts and send him right back to hell.
If you and I have accepted Jesus as our Savior “the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in [us].” (Romans 8:11).
Pretty cool, right?
For me, studying this empowering truth also highlighted a struggle that I have had for some time. I have often been afraid to ask God for things because I am scared of the answer being “no”. Ironically, I am not as scared of the results that “no” will bring as I am the questions it puts in my mind about God and His character. I wrestle with what it means about Satan’s strength against Jesus inside of me.
If God is so powerful, why would He not heal the person I am praying for?
I prayed for my depression to go away and it is still here, what does that mean?
The root question: Does this mean Satan wins?
Nope. Satan CAN’T win. Even when bad things happen, even when pain persists and darkness lingers despite our prayers to remove it. Jesus’ death and resurrection already defeated him once and for all.
I realized that my trust in God was depending more on “yes” than it was on who He is and what He has done for me. I know that God is good. He has proven it over and over again. Death on the cross can’t be mistaken for a love that falters.
If our faith leans on whether or not He answers us the way we think He should, we will constantly be on a roller coaster of doubt and fear.
Before Jesus was crucified, He asked God to let Him out of the situation. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). But God knew that as excruciating as Jesus’ death would be, it would bring the gift of salvation to all of humanity. He knew that the temporary pain would bring more joy and freedom than anyone could possibly imagine.
Does God say “no” sometimes? Yes. But the beauty of it is that He can see the whole picture that we can’t see. He doesn’t always explain Himself to us, and that is where faith comes in.
What if we changed the way we pray to mirror Jesus’ prayer? What if, instead of begging only for our desires, we also pray that His will be done.
When we learn to pray for His will to be done instead of our narrow view of what a better situation looks like, we find that we can walk in the freedom of knowing the battle is already won no matter what happens.
It’s perfectly fine to ask God for whatever we want to, but when the answer appears to be “no” we can trust that He will bring good out of even the worst situations just like He says He will. We can lean on His wisdom instead of a “yes”.
Faith means that we trust He is working and moving even when we don’t see the evidence.
So when we command Satan to leave in Jesus’ name, we know that he leaves. Just because our struggles linger doesn’t mean that he has control over us. We can defeat him every single time because of the power God has given us.
In the Bible we see Jesus speaking to some disciples who say “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:17-19
Notice that the verse doesn’t say “you will never have to walk among snakes and scorpions.” It says that even when we walk among them, we can crush them. Even if they bite us, we won’t be fatally injured. Let’s laugh in Satan’s face when we feel the sting of a bite, and remind him that he can’t win as we crush him with our faith.
“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” Romans 16:20
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)