Prayer and Spiritual Warfare (1 Timothy 4:1) - Radical

Prayer and Spiritual Warfare (1 Timothy 4:1)

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times, some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”
(1 Timothy 4:1)

Wow. What a verse. The Spirit expressly says that in later times, which applies to the time in which Paul was writing to Timothy and even more so to us 2000 years later, some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons. This is talking about people and the church. You continue reading through First Timothy chapter four and it’s clear. There is a spiritual battle going on around us, around you and me at this moment. There is, the Bible teaches clearly, an adversary and countless demons who are working actively for our destruction, for your destruction and not just your destruction or my destruction, but for the destruction of others.

There is a spiritual battle going on around us at this very moment. God has given us prayer as weapon to fight the good fight of faith.

I think about my kids, there are demons who are working for their destruction. Your kids, your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors, members of your church, there are demons working for their destruction. And how do they carry out their work? Through teachings, through teachings of demons and deceitful spirits, the Bible says. Not by showing up with red pitchforks and saying, “Here, here’s the devil pulling you away from God.” No. Deceitful, deceptive spirits who seem to be speaking that which is good, but it is not. You just think about all the lies this world is promoting all around each of us, kids, neighbors, coworkers, just the people around us, members of the church. We are constantly bombarded with deceit, with deceptive teachings. “This will satisfy you. This will be good for you. This is profitable for you. You want this.” It is constantly bombarding and so we must be on guard.

That’s why First Timothy talks about fighting the fight of faith. And I just want to encourage us that prayer is a weapon that God has given us in the fight of faith, so let’s use it accordingly. Let us not go through our lives, don’t go through your life ignorant of the spiritual warfare that is happening all around you in your own heart, in the hearts of people you love, the people who are right around you, ignorant of that and prayerless in that battle. Be prayerful in that battle. Let’s pray even now in light of this battle.

God, we know, we know Second Corinthians chapter four, verse four, “The God of this world is blinding the minds of unbelievers,” that there’s an adversary, First Peter five, “who is like a lion on the prowl looking to devour.” God, help us to see this. Open our eyes to see this right around us in our lives, our marriages, to know that there’s an adversary who wants to wreck our marriages. There’s an adversary who wants to wreck our families. There’s an adversary wants to wreck our friendships and our future and us, our eternity, people’s eternity around us.

So God, we pray. We pray because we want to engage in the battle. We pray for your truth to rain out over deceitful spirits. God, we pray that you would use our lives to proclaim truth, to share truth with those who are in the body of Christ, to guard one another from deceitful spirits, to encourage one another with your word. Lord, for those who are lost, who are apart from you in their sin right now, God, we pray that you would help us to proclaim truth, that you would bring people to Christ. Don’t let them die apart from Christ, we pray. Use us. Use us. Use us in this spiritual battle for the hearts and souls of people around us who are blinded right now and people far from us.

God, for the Southern Luri in Iran, a million of them, no known followers of Jesus, God, please, we engage in the battle for their souls right now. God, please, please cause laborers to go to the Southern Luri of Iran to spread the gospel there. God, we pray that you would open eyes to the beauty of Christ. Those who are blinded from seeing the light of the gospel, may you open their eyes. God, do that among this Southern Luri. Do that among friends and family members around us.

And God for those who are in Christ, help us, help us not to be lured away by deceitful spirits and teachings of demons. God, we pray you’d help us to fight this fight, and help us to do it in prayer. God, don’t let us be prayerless people who are lulled to sleep in the middle of spiritual warfare. Help us to pray like we’re in spiritual battle for our own hearts and minds, for the hearts and minds of people around us and people far from us. We pray that you’d help us to fight the good fight, faith through prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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