Anyone who is involved in spiritual warfare knows that it is a must to press through to victory. It is dangerous to attack the Enemy and not press through to total victory. A wounded but not destroyed Enemy is a formidable foe. What might he not do?
In the battle with Ai, the Bible says,
“Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand towards Ai; for I will give it into your hand.’ And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand towards the city. And the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and as soon as he had stretched out his hand they ran and entered the city and took it; and they made haste to set the city on fire. So when the men of Ai looked back, behold, the smoke of the city went up to heaven; and they had no power to flee this way or that, for the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers. And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and smote the men of Ai. And the others came forth from the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side; and Israel smote them, until there was left none that arrived or escaped. But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua. When Israel had finished slaughtering all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness, where they pursued them and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. And all who fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand, all the people of Ai. For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.” (Joshua 8:18-26).
The outstretched javelin of Joshua was symbolic of prayer. It was goal-directed prayer, directed towards the overthrow of Ai. The javelin did not change direction. He kept it up towards Ai. How it must have been painful for him to keep holding up the javelin towards Ai! However, he just kept it in that direction! There must have been distractions, but he refused to be distracted. He knew that victory depended on that javelin being held as it was held. He knew that the future of the people he was leading depended on the javelin being stretched out towards Ai. He knew that to bring it down would mean defeat for them! He, therefore, put all of himself into the one task of keeping the javelin stretched out towards Ai. The Bible says that he did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. When the last inhabitant of Ai was destroyed, the javelin was brought down. This reminds me of what a school mate used to say some years ago. He often said, “Do not rest until your enemy is buried. If he is wounded, do not stop fighting him. If he falls down, continue to knock and knock and only take your rest when he is buried. If you relax before he is buried, he may recover and hurt you!” Joshua was doing the same. He pressed through in prayer until the victory was established beyond any contesting!
Those who want to win in prayer must press through in prayer until the victory is won and the gains consolidated. We have come to recognize three phases in a fast, phases that have to be taken seriously in prayer. The three phases are: preparation for the fast, the actual fast, and the consolidation of the gains of the fast (For more information on this, read any of our books on the subject: 1) The Ministry of Fasting, Vantage Press, 516 west 34th St., New York, N.Y 10001, U.S.A.; 2) Practical Helps for Fasting Believers, Christian Publishing House, P.O. Box 7100 YAOUNDE, CAMEROON.).
In prayer, we recognize three phases as well. Phase one is waiting before the Lord to receive his will, the direction of prayer and then to work out the prayer topics. Phase two is to pray, i.e. lift up what is needed to the Lord in prayer. Phase three is to consolidate the gains in prayer. This is done by thanking the Lord for the answers and by building a hedge around what has been received from the Lord so that the Enemy does not get at it and destroy the fruit of our labours in prayer. So, the person who is praying for a teaching crusade will pray for the crusade before it takes place, asking the Lord to prepare the people for the ministry of the Word. Then he will pray for the actual ministry, i.e. when the word will be actually proclaimed - the hearing, the convicting, the revelations, the resolutions to apply the Word. Then he will pray for the post-ministry period, protecting the Word from the Enemy; protecting the resolutions from being snatched away or their application being postponed, etc. The prayer battle is ended when the truth taught has become the experience of those who heard it. Then the battle has been won. Then the javelin can be brought down!
MOSES PRAYED THROUGH
The Bible says,
“So I lay prostrate before the Lord for these forty days and forty nights, because the Lord had said he would destroy you. And I prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord God, destroy not thy people and thy heritage, whom thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, whom thou hast brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin, lest the land from which thou didst bring us say, ”Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.” For they are thy people and thy heritage, whom thou didst bring out by thy great power and by thy outstretched arm.’” (Deuteronomy 10:10-11).
Moses pressed on to victory. He had gone to battle with the Lord until the judgment and destruction which Israel brought on herself was lifted. It must have been a fierce battle. It was so fierce that there was no time to eat food and no time to drink water. It was so fierce that he had to lie prostrate before God, humbled and pleading not only from the heart but also by his prostrate posture. He pleaded the first day, but no victory was won. He pleaded the whole of the first night, but he did not succeed. The battle passed unto the second day. The Lord was adamant. Israel had sinned repeatedly, and this time they had sinned most grievously. The Lord wanted them to have what they deserved. Moses continued. On the seventh day, things were still extremely difficult. The same condition was maintained by the Lord after thirty days. Moses was getting weak and tired from the fasting. However, he pressed on. His body was sore and full of pain from his lying prostrate before the Lord. However, that did not distract him. What was at stake was such that any price had to be paid for it. Finally, on the fortieth day, victory was won. The Lord said to him,
“I have pardoned according to your word.”(Numbers 14:20).
Then He proved that He had actually pardoned by saying to Moses,
“Arise, go on your journey at the head of the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give them.”(Deuteronomy 10:11).
What if the Lord had not answered Moses on the fortieth day? One thing is obvious: He would have continued to intercede. Even on the fiftieth day, he would have continued to intercede. Even if he knew that he would die, if he did not stop his fast and intercession, he would still have continued to intercede. He would have preferred to die rather than let the people of the Lord be disinherited. He had earlier staked his place in the kingdom of God by praying,
“Alas, this people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if thou wilt forgive their sin - and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written.” (Exodus 32:31-32).
It would then not be impossible for him to sacrifice his physical life for them.
Moses thus pressed on to the end. Those who go into prayer warfare must go into war such that they are prepared to put their all into it. To stop short of victory is to fail completely.
The problem is that most people pray from ease. They have nothing at stake. Their prayer requests are such that even if God does not answer, things will go on normally and smoothly. Is it not surprising that there are no mighty interventions of God? My beloved, let me ask you a question: “Are there any prayer requests being made by you to the Lord that are of real consequence? Are there prayer topics that, should the Lord not answer, would result in much personal loss? Are there prayers being made by you which, if answered, would lead to major losses in the kingdom of Satan? If such prayers are absent in your prayer life, then it might be difficult for you to have the burden that will compel you to press on at any cost until victory is won.
RETREAT IS FORBIDDEN
The painful thing to notice is that, for some believers, the pathway ahead has been abandoned and retreat has been accepted. They have given up the high call of Christ Jesus and accepted something in its place that is distasteful or tolerable. They have given up pursuing a life of unclouded holiness. They have given up pressing on to deliverance from every sin in thought, word, and deed. They have accepted the infancy of yielding to sin and then confessing and being restored and then afterwards falling, being raised and falling again. They have abandoned the pathway of loving all the saints. They have abandoned the pathway of loving their neighbours as themselves. They have abandoned the pathway of loving the Lord with all of their spirit, soul, and body. They have abandoned the pathway to the mission field. They have forsaken he pathway of living sacrificially on the barest minimum and investing all the rest in ensuring that all over the world every human being hears about the love of God manifested in the Lord Jesus and that those who believe in Him render total obedience to Him in everything.
Are you one who once lived and loved the Lord as mentioned above ? Have you faced many difficulties and frustrations? Do not give up. Press on in prayer. Victory is guaranteed!
It may be battling for the conversion of a partner, child, relative or friend. It may be battling in prayer for deliverance from some form of bondage or the other. It may be battling for healing from a wasting disease. It may be battling for the enabling to accomplish the call of God in your life. Whatever the problem is, the answer lies, not only in prayer warfare but in pressing through to victory. May the following Scriptures comfort and encourage you.
“Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.”(Isaiah 62:6-7).
“And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily.”(Luke 18:7-8).
“I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, Ask (Actually, it is ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives, and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds, and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, it will be opened.), and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”(Luke 11:8-10).
Moses lay prostrate before the Lord, for forty days and forty nights. He only arose when God said to him, “Arise, go on your journey at the head of the people.” He dared not arise on his own, because that would have been to arise without a people to go on with his journey at their head. May we tarry and press on, not taking the initiative to go away! May we tarry in prayer until the Lord calls us to arise from prayer when the battle has been won! Then we shall arise in triumph - His triumph and our triumph. Glory be to His holy name! Amen.