Monday, June 23, 2003

The military has an interesting way of describing various combat operations. For example, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, they talked about how they were "preparing the battlefield." That means relentless bombing of enemy forces. Most of us were amazed at how quickly the Coalition ground forces were able to move through areas that had been defended by some of Saddam Hussein's best divisions. But those units had been, as the military says, "degraded" by relentless bombing. By the time the ground forces went in, the battle had largely been decided by those pilots who had "prepared the battlefield."


I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Preparing the Battlefield."

Those who prepare the battlefield and soften up the enemy, in many ways, they are the ones who decide the outcome - in military battles and in spiritual battles. And our General in heaven makes very clear what weapon it is that goes in ahead of the battle and makes victory possible.

In James 5:16, our word for today from the Word of God, He simply says, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." The King James Version puts it this way: "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." No matter how you translate it, God is making it clear that praying for a person or a situation is ultimately decisive. That's why the great Apostle Paul pleaded with the Christians in Rome to "join me in my struggle by praying to God for me" (Romans 15:30).

Military officials stress that their battlefield preparation is effective because of the precise targeting they employ. We need to target our prayers, as well, aiming at specific targets that can make a strategic difference. When Paul asked people to join him in his battle by praying, he asked them to pray that he would be "rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service may be acceptable." Right there we have two great targets for our praying: rescue from our enemies and a favorable response.

Here's another target for our prayer "bombs" - "Pray that God may open a door for our message. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly" (Colossians 4:3-4). In other words, Pray for open door opportunities to talk about Jesus and pray for the way to explain Jesus clearly. Great prayers. Powerful prayers. And Ephesians 6 commands us to "take your stand against the devil's schemes," and then to "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." Your praying literally defies what Satan is trying to do and, in Jesus' words, "ties up the strong man" so we can take back what he has stolen (Matthew 12:29; Luke 11:21-22).

So let's not ever again say about a situation or a person, "Well, I guess all I can do is pray." Targeted prayer is the weapon that prepares the battlefield and expels the enemy, changes hearts, removes obstacles, releases the needed resources, and empowers the troops. So many victories may have eluded us because we depended on other weapons to win them - planning, promoting, persuading, politicking - all powerless without the battlefield being prepared by prayer.

When you pray, pray desperately. Pray defiantly against what God doesn't want. Pray decisively. Great spiritual victories are actually pre-won, before our "ground forces" ever go in by someone who has already fought the battle, who has already won the battle, in the Throne Room of Almighty God!



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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