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Prayer is a force. It touches eternal powers and sets them in motion; it moves God to action. It is the inner ministry before God’s face, which is the ministry that is most feared by Satan because prayer is a force, the unfolding of an intense spiritual labor that results in great visible works.
The highest form of prayer is an inner, conscious, clear-sighted spiritual work in harmony with our great High Priest to carry out God’s plan with His church. Prayer requires that the body, soul, and spirit be subjected to the power of the Holy Spirit. It requires quietness; for only by hearing His voice can the same prayer that Jesus prays penetrate our spirit.
Satan’s attempts to keep you from praying
It is imperative for Satan that you do not pray. Prayer interferes with his power, disturbs his plans, and destroys his kingdom. He fills your body, soul, and spirit with unrest. Your body is tired, your mind is harassed, and your spirit is depressed. This is all Satan’s work to prevent you from praying.
When you kneel down in prayer, you become aware that your body does not want to be in a kneeling position. Your whole body protests with restlessness; you wriggle for a while, and then you get up. Satan has gained the victory through your body. Your body is to be a holy and acceptable sacrifice to God. The body is to be kept in subjection – under the control of the Spirit. It must not rule, but be ruled.
Satan influences your soul life to the point where you cannot pray. He influences your feelings, and then he tells you that you are not “in the mood” to pray and that you do not “feel” like praying. He inflates your feelings into a light, meaningless state of happiness or he deflates them into discouragement so that you become weary. He causes your mind to be harassed by outward toil; he tells you that now you must take it easy. He puts pressure on your spirit so your mind is weighed down, or he lets your thoughts wander far and wide. Your mind becomes unusually active when you want to pray. Then Satan whispers, “Wait for a more convenient time.”
Thus Satan robs God’s children of their most fruitful work. Here we get a little glimpse of one branch of Satan’s activity. Paul says, “We are not ignorant of his devices.” 2 Corinthians 2:11.
Notice Satan’s wiles when you have overcome and have come into wonderful communion with God. As soon as you have tasted the blessing of God’s presence, Satan will whisper, “Now it is enough.” You get up and thank God for what you have received, but Satan has fooled you. God wanted you to abide in prayer. God is not hasty in His work, as we are as human beings. The intention was that you should not only pray until you had this blissful feeling in your heart, but that you should pray for a fullness of blessings so that you would never go empty-handed to anyone, but bring with you a fullness of spiritual blessings. We do not live this life just to receive a little bit for ourselves. We are indebted to the others to bring them rivers of blessings.
Prayer is a spiritual battle
After you have prayed down blessings into your own soul, Satan will say, “Now it is sufficient; now you are blessed.” Do not listen to him. Now that you have experienced that you can pray down blessings over your own soul, you should also know that you can pray down blessings over other souls. Herein lies the inner ministry. Do not only pray for your next of kin and a few others you hear are having difficulties. Enlarge the place of your tent. Pray down rivers of blessings over dry hearts, over dry places. Through prayer pour out a fullness of grace over the church and all those whom God has appointed in the church to serve the saints. Their blessing will be a fruit of your work before God’s face. You will detect progress in their work; their inner life grows, and God cleanses them.
You can enrich God’s people with heavenly treasures in quietness before God’s face without anyone knowing about it. There is no other ministry as fruitful; therefore, Satan hates no other soul as much as the one who knows how to pray. Consequently, such a soul is also engaged in warfare. This is a battle in the spirit world. As followers of Jesus it is everyone’s duty to enter the ranks.
Rest in God is not the same as spiritual laziness. A passive rest is the bridge that leads to idleness. Be along in the work so that Jesus’ bride, the church, can be presented pure before His face. It is a privilege to be along. Enter into the secret chambers of your heart; there you can live with your God in a life of laboring prayer. You will never leave this place if you want to overcome fully.
This article was first published in Norwegian in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in 1912, with the title “Prayer is Work.”
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