He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. —Psalm 91:1–4
Twenty years ago, our family of four lived just outside Beijing, China due to my husband’s job. One autumn day, we caravanned with a few other families to a remote part of the Great Wall in our cars, Jeeps, and sidecar motorcycles. To make it even more of an adventure, we decided to bring our tents so we could camp on the Wall that night.
My husband drove the motorcycle with our two little girls and their lop-eared rabbit, Moses, tucked in the sidecar. I followed behind in our car loaded with our tents and cooler of food so we could have a BBQ on the Great Wall of China.
Arriving at our favorite portion of the Wall—free from crowds and tourists—Rick pitched our tents while the girls and I climbed some steep stairs leading to a part of the Wall that resembled a remnant of a castle, surrounded by a high and strong rampart which is defined as a “wall forming part of a defensive boundary.”
Our four-year-old Kelly started singing a Disney movie song, pretending to be a princess, while our six-year-old Christie twirled round and round inside her “castle.” Later that night as the sun began to set, we grilled chicken wings and then roasted marshmallows until the harvest moon lit the outline of the Wall as far as our eyes could see.
Living Like We’re in a Tent
Though it’s a memory we will never forget—and it sounds like a magical, storybook life—our three years in China were actually some of the hardest years on our family. Kelly, tiny for her age, battled many illnesses that often gripped my heart with fear for her safety. Rick’s job was extremely stressful, and just navigating the traffic in Beijing often made me wonder if he’d make it home alive after work. The enemy was also stepping up his attacks on me, especially in the area of escalating fear, and there were days I thought that he would win.
Years later, when our family was long settled back in the States, I found the pictures from our camping trip on the Great Wall. One of the images was of our two small tents right in front of a portion of the Wall that included ramparts, shelters, and strong towers. I realized that for most of my time in China I lived like someone in a tent, fearful and vulnerable to the storms and attacks on my life and family that could sweep us away, while all along we had a God who was our Strong Tower, Rampart, and Hiding Place covering us.
Sadly, that is often how we as daughters of the King, and even as ministry leaders, live our lives on this groaning earth due to the attacks and lies of the enemy. We often live defeated—consumed with fear or resentment and bitterness—as the powers of darkness target our ministries, marriages, and families. In 1 Peter 5:8, the enemy is described as a “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” But, dear leader, we must remember that our Lord Jesus Christ is the bigger Lion with the louder roar! He is the Lion of Judah, seated on the throne, and Satan is a defeated foe. God’s Word shouts the victory we have in Christ because of His death and resurrection:
“Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:15 NIV). And 1 John 4:4 reminds us, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (NIV).
How to Resist the Enemy Through Prayer
In his book Warfare Praying: Biblical Strategies for Overcoming the Adversary, Mark Bubeck writes, “Satan roars to make us afraid and thus more vulnerable, but our purchased right is courage to resist him.”
Through His death and resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ has purchased our right to have authority to stand firm against the evil one! Let’s stop living as if the enemy is winning and we have no power against his attacks. In James 4:7 we’re told to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” One of the greatest ways to resist him is through warfare praying, which unfortunately has almost become a churchy cliché with few understanding what it is. Bubeck defines warfare praying this way:
Prayer is the means by which we aggressively claim our strength in the Lord, appropriating the power of the Holy Spirit and putting on the whole armor of God. There is no substitute for a prayer life that brings the truth of God’s Word into aggressive application.
As ministry leaders, we must know how to resist the enemy through prayer. Here are some practical ways to stand firmly in our victory in Christ:
1. Praying Scripture.
One of the greatest weapons against the enemy is God’s Word, which is described as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17. Our Savior modeled this when Satan came at Him to tempt Him in the wilderness. Though exhausted and starving, Jesus wielded the sword like a mighty warrior against His foe.
As you read that account in Luke 4:1–13, notice how it’s almost like hand-to-hand combat in the battle that was raging between them. The enemy was so crafty that he even quoted Scripture in one of the temptations thrown at Jesus (see Luke 4:10–11 and Ps. 91:11–12). But he wasn’t very smart quoting from warfare-focused Psalm 91. Each time Satan hurled a temptation at Him, Jesus came back with Truth from His Word.
Oh, that we would do the same! Often, when I sense the battle is fiercest, I pray passages like Psalm 91 and Ephesians 6:10–18 aloud to cement those truths of our victory through Christ in my heart and to resist the enemy’s attacks.
2. Wearing our armor.
Just like my illustration of living in a tent when we have our Mighty Fortress right beside us, we often limp through our days defeated rather than standing bravely and boldly because of the armor that covers us. The armor as described in Ephesians 6:10–18 is actually our “purchased right” because of Christ’s death for us. That passage begins with these bold words: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (vv. 10–11, emphasis added).
What a relief to know it’s in His strength and might and armor—and not our own—that we have authority over the evil one. And thankfully, it’s not dependent upon us to “pray on our armor” for us to be covered with the protection that is ours through Christ. However, it is up to us to stand confidently in those truths and walk through our days knowing we are covered . . . because of Him.
Instead of looking at the armor as being dependent upon our own righteousness, faith, peace, etc., how comforting to know that it is our God who is our belt of truth. He is our helmet of salvation, He is our breastplate of righteousness, He is our peace that covers us, and it is His faithfulness that is our shield (Ps. 91:4). May we live as mighty warriors covered in His protection, taking up our sword of the Spirit, the Word, as the offensive weapon against the enemy’s schemes.
While preparing a message on warfare praying recently, I discovered a Puritan prayer, most likely written in the eighteenth century. I love how the prayer ends with this battle cry:
May my hand never weaken, my feet never stumble, my sword never rest, my shield never rust, my helmet never shatter, my breastplate never fall, as my strength rests in the power
of thy might.
May it be so for all of us! Let’s “pray on our armor” daily, not as a ritualistic “if I don’t pray on my armor, I’m not covered” but as a way to firmly stand in His Truth, righteousness, salvation, and peace that covers us.
3. Using worship as a weapon.
We often fail to recognize that worship is another powerful weapon against the evil one. Satan hates it when we worship, and it is a way to resist him and make him flee. Often when the storms of my life are the darkest, often when it seems like Satan is winning the day, I turn to praise and worship.
In a particularly heavy season in my life, I learned to start my time alone with God in worship. I’d begin my prayers by praising Him through His names and attributes or by reading psalms of praise aloud (like Psalm 145). Following the psalmist’s strategy, I’d often journal a sacrifice of praise even when I didn’t think I had much to be thankful for (see Psalm 77). I also fell asleep most nights with worship music playing through my headphones to keep my thoughts captive to Truth. May worship and praise permeate our lives, not just to fight the good fight against the enemy but because Jesus is worthy of all glory and honor and praise.
Dear leader, perhaps you’re in a season in your ministry where you sense the evil one is stepping up his tactics against you. I want to encourage you to take up your sword and read some of the passages I’ve mentioned (such as Psalm 91, Psalm 146, or Ephesians 6). Try writing a worship psalm or a sacrifice of praise in your journal, and pray it back to the Lord. Fill your home or car with worship music, focusing on the lyrics being sung over you.
May we become mighty prayer warrior leaders together—boldly standing in the covering of His armor—while we worship our King of kings and Lord of lords!