A tribal chief from Africa was introduced to a body builder and after an impressive show of his strength and muscle the chief asked what else he used his muscles for. The chief said what a waste to have all that muscle and not use it. Our struggle is not against the physical world but principalities and power and world forces. Whatever is plaguing you today emanates from the spiritual realm.
So if you and I do not address the cause you can’t get to the cure. One of the toughest things for God to get his people to do is to look at life and live life from the spiritual frame of reference and not from the reference point of the five senses.
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Here are some highlights from this message about the enemy from Tony Evans.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” ESV translation The enemy (Satan) doesn’t want you to know or take seriously that it emanates from the spiritual realm because then you might address it spiritually. As long as he can keep you dealing with the fruit and bypass the root, he can keep you hostage. Regardless of what you’re going through in the physical realm, in the spiritual unseen realm Jesus Christ has already gotten victory. You are victorious in the invisible even though you may be thoroughly defeated in the physical. Ephesians 6:18-19 says, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition for all God’s people. And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news.” When you understand prayer it changes that you pray, how you pray, whether you pray, and your expectations having prayed.
At 5:37, Tony addresses the effectiveness of prayer:
Prayer for many people has no relevance to what’s happening. For example before we eat we really don’t need our minds because it’s going to be the same thing we say every day, “Lord, bless this food and nurture it to our bodies. In Jesus name, Amen.” It’s a routine without meaning for many of us. Prayer is like a spare tire, we want it there in case we really need it. If you understand prayer in the context of this section it will change whether you pray, how you pray and it will change what you get when you pray. I would like to define prayer as earthly permission for heavenly interference. Why does heaven need permission? You have to understand how God organized the world to work through people. God has given us rulership over the earth and he joins us when invited to do so. He does not intervene or participate unless requested to do so because God has given you and me the right to leave him out. Prayer doesn’t force him or cajole him, if God doesn’t plan to do it I don’t care how much you pray about it prayer does not force God’s hand. But what prayer does is it calls on God to intervene in ways he wants to intervene anyway, but won’t do it until requested to. In James 5:16 he says the effectual prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. Elijah was a righteous man and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it stopped raining for three years. He prayed again that it would rain and it rained. God said it was going to rain, but what God said didn’t come true until Elijah prayed. In other words, prayer called down what God already had intended to do. Prayer is not making God do something he never planned to do. Prayer is grabbing what God intended to do and driving it down.
At 17:11, Tony explains that prayer is receiving by faith what is already planned:
Prayer is earthly permission for heavenly interference predicated on the fact that this is what heaven intended to do. If you don’t know what God has said or you don’t know what to expect from God then you will pray empty prayers, you’re not connecting it with the spiritual realm. We spend allot of our time talking to men about God and very little time talking to God about men. In a thing called prayer you’re not making God do something, you are simply receiving by faith what he’s already planned to do. The spiritual realm is totally surrounding you right now, there are angels and demons in this room. Prayer is the means of contacting the invisible spiritual realm and bring it down to the visible physical realm. God wants us to pray at specific times when we need to take all the full armor of God so that you may be able to resist in the evil day. That’s the day when all hell breaks loose, when you feel like you’re going lose your mind, when nothing’s going right because you’re under attack. That day demands the armor of God be worn by you in all of God’s power. One of the reasons we don’t see God show up is that we don’t earnestly talk to God when we need him. When you pray in the Spirit it means that you’re making a spiritual connection. You can quote scriptures in your prayer or you can take a principle of Scripture and place it in front of God. When you tell God “remember you said you would supply all my needs according to your riches and glory in Christ Jesus” and I have this emergency situation going on right now. When you bring spiritual truth into your conversation with God you are praying spiritually, you’re not just praying fleshly, randomly or routinely or rote. When you can’t make it another day but you bring spiritual truth into the presence of God, the Spirit takes over and he lifts you up in a way you cannot lift yourself up. He knows what’s happening up there in the invisible realm. He knows what the evil one is doing to you. You don’t keep praying to get God instead of the answer, you are now praying for God to intervene to keep Satan from blocking the answer he’s already given.
At 44:47, Tony concludes this message with the following statements about the enemy and prayer:
Lions roar after they get their prey, it’s their declaration of victory. He says to keep your eyes open when you pray because when you’re calling down heaven, hell wants to block that. So keep your eyes open, that is spiritually open to see what’s going on around you. When you are trying to pray distractions show up so many times. When you’re trying to pray you’re sleepy, or something pops up because the lion does not want you to interfere with his trying to block the answer from getting to you. The enemy does not want that prayer to go through and so he’s going to try to distract you from prayer. Allot of stuff you asked for has already been pre-approved, it’s just that in the spiritual realms there’s the attempt to block it. If you will persevere God will send the help needed to break it through so that you see it revealed in the physical realm.