As many of you who follow my blogs know, the Study Group that I lead just finished a study of the book Prayer Warrior: Praying Your Way To Victory by Stormie Omartian. One of the things that we learned about being a prayer warrior is that, just as any soldier, it’s necessary to be consistent in our training and conditioning, and in the use of our weapons. We must physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared and ready for battle at all times.
1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
God has already equipped us, but it’s up to us to be consistent in our conditioning so that we don’t lose our edge.
2 Peter 1:3 (NLT) By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
Ephesians 6:13-18 (NLT)Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Spend Time with God in Prayer
We get power because we spend time with God in prayer.
Acts 1:4-8 (NLT)4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Live in a Way That Pleases God
The first way to please God is to keep His commandments and laws, and we get them from the Bible. That’why it’s important to read and study it.
Hebrews 2:1 (NLT) So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.
Jesus equated keeping the Commandments and laws with loving Him.
John 14:23-26 (NLT)23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
Acknowledge God’s Call to Holiness
Holiness is a desire of the heart to please God and an invitation to the Holy Spirit to do what it takes in us to make us more like Him. A life of holiness is a life of power and significance because God can use you powerfully and significantly.
1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
Get Rid of Anything in Your Life That Is Not Glorifying to God
Things of the flesh don’t glorify God. Separating ourselves from things that do not glorify God is a matter of reverencing Him. It means we have the fear of God in our heart. And having the fear of God means we know there are consequences for not having it—the greatest of which is separation from God.
Galatians 5:19-23 (NLT)19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Refuse All Pride
Pride is the main characteristic of the enemy. That is what caused Satan’s downfall. When we become full of pride, we align ourselves with the enemy.
Isaiah 14:12-15 (NLT)12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.13 For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’15 Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.
While we shouldn’t see ourselves as worth less than God sees us, we should never think of ourselves as worth more than anyone else. Pride causes us to compare ourselves to other people when we should only compare ourselves to God’s standards.
Romans 12:3 (NLT)3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
Fulfill God’s Command to Love Others
This doesn’t mean that you have to hang with everybody, but it does mean that you must care about their welfare, not talk about them or ignore them. Even with those of us that are the most unlovable.
Matthew 22:34, 36-36, 38-39 (NLT) But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
John 13:34-35 (NLT)34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
1 John 4:20-21 (NLT)20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.
Take Care Of Your Body
Now we know that we all age and with age come some limits on what we can physically do. But we shouldn't do things that we know cause sickness or break down our bodies. We need to do what we can do to protect the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NLT) Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Separate Yourself from the Ungodly
If you hang around the ungodly you can be contaminated.
Galatians 5:9 (NLT) This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NLT) Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”
Proverbs 6:27 (NLT) Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?
2 Corinthians 6:14, 17 (NLT) Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord . Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.
Don’t Dwell on What You Are Not
Too many believers don’t know what God says about them. They think about what someone else has said about them, or what they keep telling themselves in all their self-criticism. Don’t let this happen to you because this is not of the Lord and it only weakens you. Don’t allow the enemy to put thoughts in your head of all that you aren’t. Instead, think about what you can be. Don’t dwell on what you think you should be. Think about what God says you are.
Romans 8:31-39 (NLT)31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Bold mine)
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Walk in a Way to Produce the Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
As the fruit of the Spirit grows and develops. We become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.
Romans 8:28-29 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Be Renewed in Your Mind
Filter out all the negative things from our past, and all the distractions of the day, , and focus on the goodness of God and His love for you.
Romans 12:2 (NLT)2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Ephesians 4:25-32 (NLT)25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Be Forgiving at All Times
In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to forgive us just like we forgive others
Matthew 6:11-12 (NLT)11 Give us today the food we need,12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
Unforgiveness is a sin and if we have unconfessed sin we have a problem.
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Psalm 66:18 (NLT) If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Watch What You Say
This does not mean only foul language but includes everything that we say.
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
She’s talking about everything that comes from you mouth.
Proverbs 20:19 (NLT) A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.
2 Corinthians 12:20-21 (NLT) For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.
James 4:11 (NLT) Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.
Proverbs 10:19 (NLT) Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.
Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
To be effective prayer warriors and to be effective as witnesses we must be consistent in our training otherwise we may not be prepared when attacked or given the opportunity to witness to the glory of God and salvation through Jesus Christ.
Paul talked about consistent training in his letter to the church in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT) Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
Greg Laurie says that abiding in Jesus is the consistency that we need for spiritual growth and I would add that it also makes us more effective prayer warriors.
The Need for Consistency?
By Greg Laurie
Imagine if I planted a tree in my front yard, but after awhile, I decided it would look better in my backyard. Then after a few months, I realized it would be better in the front yard. So I dig it up and plant it again in the front yard. Not only will that tree fail to flourish, but it also will struggle to just survive.
Yet some people are like that with God. They decide to go to church, read their Bible, and pray regularly. They do this for a month, and then they uproot themselves and disappear for a few months. Then they come back again. Then they uproot themselves and go back to the old life again. Eventually they come back and are at it again. But they never will grow spiritually that way.
Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). That is the secret of spiritual growth: to abide. To abide means to stay in a given place. For believers, it means to maintain unbroken fellowship with God. It is regularity. It is consistency. And it results in producing lasting fruit.
Another way of abiding is walking with God. As 1 John 2:6 says, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” Walking speaks of consistent motion. That means making time for the Word of God and for prayer every day. If you are too busy, then get up earlier. Go to bed earlier. You will find time for what is important.
The true mark of conversion is the test of time and results in your life. Are you producing spiritual fruit?
Taken from “The Secret of Spiritual Growth” by Harvest Ministries (used by permission
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.