Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jump Start Your Spiritual Warfare Prayer Life

My friend, Pat Peglow, wrote the following inspiring article to help us "Jump Start" our spiritual warfare prayer life.  It's worth your time.  It could change your life.  - Al Menconi, editor

I was totally caught off guard when I was sitting at a conference for pastors regarding burnout when the first speaker, a medical doctor, spoke these words as the first words out of his mouth: “You have an invisible enemy, who has an organized army with thousands of years of experience, whose sole purpose is to destroy you, your family and your ministry.”   That was the last thing I expected to hear from a medical doctor speaking to pastors, but it rang true in my heart as I considered God’s word and my experience.

The following prayer is based on the fact that we “already have” the victory over the devil through the work of Jesus Christ.  We do not pray this prayer “to get” the victory but in order “to appropriate” into our lives the victory that Jesus has already won. 

This prayer I have prayed for myself, my family, my church and my ministry over the past number of years.  It is shaped by a few passages of Scripture.  The first is James 4:7 which says, "Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” [1]   The order is clear; we must first submit ourselves to God, and then resist the devil, resulting in the devil fleeing from us.  The second passage is found in Eph 6:13: "Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." [2]   Eph 6:10 tells us to put on the full armor so we can stand against the devil’s schemes.  Eph 6:10,13 makes it clear that in order to resist the devil and his schemes we must first put on the armor of God.  So the basic outline of the prayer is first submitting ourselves to God, followed by putting on the armor of God (Eph 6:14-17), and then closing by a submitted believer who is fully dressed in their armor resisting the devil by means of the victory Jesus already won at the cross (Col 2:15) and the gifts of grace He gives us in the use of His powerful name (Phil 2:9-11) and His authority He shares with us as believers.  (Eph 1:20-22 cr Eph 2:4-6)

You may want to pray this prayer out loud the first few times through to get a feel for it.  The idea of this prayer is not for people to pray it word for word but to give you a feel for the direction of a prayer that can be used to resist the devil.  I have underlined the main turning points in the prayer, so once you get a feel for the prayer you could just be led by the Spirit to pray about these kinds of things in your own words.  Hopefully, some day you will be so comfortable praying this way that you will not need this article to encourage you and you will just be led by the Spirit to pray through these things.  

After the prayer is a partial list of the spiritual blessings that God has already given to us as a result of being placed into Christ at the moment we believed.  At times when I have been in intense warfare, I pray through this list, one blessing at a time, just thanking and praising God that these are true of me.  Normally, by the time I get halfway through the list, the oppression is lifted, my head is clear and my heart once again is singing praises to God.  The list of blessings has been taken from Neil Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker (pp. 229 – 234) and then adjusted through my own study and the help of a few friends.
 
My hope is that this prayer can help “jump start” you in Spirit-led warfare praying.
             Pat Peglow, Pastor of Moraine Valley Church, Palos Heights, IL

            Lord, I ask You that the Holy Spirit would empower me and lead me in this time of prayer.

            Lord, You tell us to submit ourselves to You and to resist the devil.   I want to come to You right now and present myself as a servant to do Your will.  Lord, I pray that You will fill me with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that I might walk in a manner that is pleasing to You. I ask that the Holy Spirit would lead me step by step throughout this day.  Lord, I present myself to You as an instrument, so that the Spirit of Christ who lives in me can live His life out through me and do His work through me today.  Lord, I come and present myself to You as clay to the Potter.  Lord, Your goal is to make me like Your Son, Jesus Christ, so I ask You to continue in me Your work as the Great Potter, that You would break away the things in me that need to be broken away and build up in me the things that need to be built up, in order to conform me to the image of Jesus. 

            And then, Lord, You tell us to be "strong in the Lord" and in the strength of His might.  Lord, I thank You today that by Your doings I am in Christ Jesus.  Thank You that I am one with Him, I am in Him, and He is in me.   Lord, I claim all the riches that are mine in Christ Jesus.  You tell us we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Lord, I claim every right and every privilege and every blessing that I have as a co-heir with Jesus Christ.  Lord, You say to "be strong in the strength of His might;" so Lord, I pray today that the Holy Spirit of God would strengthen me.  I also pray that the Holy Spirit would not only be “resident” in my life, but  be “president” of my life.  I ask that He would take control of me and would fill me.  Lord, as a person’s behavior is changed when they are filled with wine, I pray that You would change me, from the inside out, as You fill me with Your Spirit.  Lord, strengthen me today so I would not live by my own strength, but Yours.

Lord, You tell us to put on the belt of Truth.  I pray today that the Holy Spirit of Truth and the Word of Truth would work deep within my heart.  I ask, God, that You would confront any lies that are in my heart and in my mind; not just passing thoughts, but ways of thinking, patterns of thinking, and habits.  Lord, I pray You would get deep down within me, and Your Spirit and Your Word would confront these lies and expose them and expel them.  Lord, I pray Truth will become the stronghold of my heart and the stronghold of my family and church.

            Lord, I thank You for the breastplate of righteousness.  I declare before You today that I have no other claim to righteousness except for Jesus.  He is my righteousness.  Lord, I pray today that the righteous Spirit of Jesus who lives in me would be at work within me, making me more and more righteous.  Lord, I pray that You would make my thinking more righteous, my agendas more righteous, my attitudes, my appetites, my desires, my dreams, my sexuality, my words, everything I am and do more and more righteous with the righteousness of Christ. 

            Lord, I thank You for the shoes that are ready for the gospel of peace.  I want to thank You that through Jesus You have made me right with Yourself.  I am at peace with You because of Jesus.  I thank You, Lord, that You have made me one with You, one with the body of Christ, and in a special way one with my wife/husband.  I pray today that You would grant me the humility and the quickness of heart to maintain that peace and to make every effort on my part to be at peace with all men.   Prepare me both mentally and spiritually to seek peace with those I struggle with right now.  I also pray that You would open up doors for me to share the good news of peace through Jesus Christ with others and that I would be quick to respond as You open the doors for me to share that message.   When You do open those doors would You also give me the boldness to open my mouth and would You fill my mouth with the words You want me to speak.      

Lord, I thank You today for the shield of faith, which extinguishes all the fiery darts of the evil one.  Lord, I pray first of all that You would give me discernment and wisdom to know when I am dealing with a fiery dart from the evil one.  I pray today that my faith would not be my own fleshly attempt to believe You, but rather it would be the faith of the Holy Spirit.  Lord, I need the Spirit’s faith as much as I need the Spirit’s love and the Spirit’s strength.  Lord, I pray today that the Holy Spirit would fill me with a deep sense of belief and dependency upon You.  I pray that You would give me an expectancy that I could walk through today by the Holy Spirit, looking for You to work in my life and answer my prayers. Lord, I pray that like Hebrews 11:1 You would build within me a deep assurance in the core of my being that the things You say will happen in the future are really going to happen, and that the spiritual realities that are unseen I would be convinced in the core of my being that they are real.
           
Then, Lord, I thank You for the helmet of salvation.  I thank You that, because of Jesus, I have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of Your Beloved Son.  I thank You, Lord, that You have made me a brand new creature.  You have dealt with the old man, who loved to live for self and have removed him from me.  Lord, thank You that You have given me a new heart that loves to live for You, You have made me a new person, and You have placed Your Holy Spirit inside me.  Lord, You didn’t only save me from sin and from death, but You have saved me to You and to righteousness and to life.  So, Lord, I pray that the Spirit of God would work in me to sanctify me.  Lord, that salvation I already have, would You make it go deeper within me.  God, would You move into new areas of my life You haven’t gone into yet.  Lord, I pray for areas Your salvation has already touched,  would You deepen those holds, and would Your salvation become the stronghold of my life.  May I not only live trying to avoid sin, but I pray that You would so fill me that I would be living for You and for righteousness.

            Lord, I thank You for the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  I pray today that the Spirit of God would wield His sword deep down within me and that He would wield it through me to others.  Lord, I pray that, like a skillful soldier, the Spirit would take that sword and put to death anything of the world, the devil and the flesh that is within me.

            And so, Lord, having now put on the armor, I want to thank You that Jesus at the cross so defeated Satan that He made a public display of how great that victory was.  I also thank You that Jesus has a name that every person in heaven and earth and under the earth will bow to someday.  And finally, Lord, I thank You that You have been so gracious to share with me the authorities and the rights of Jesus’ ascension so that I am seated with Him at the right hand of the Father, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but in the one to come. 

            So, Lord, I come right now, by the cross of Jesus, by the name of Jesus, and by the authority of Jesus, and I resist every demonic spirit that would be at work within me, my family, within my church, and within my ministry.  Lord, I come in Your name and claim Your promise that says, “Submit yourself to God; resist the devil, and he will flee.”  And Lord, I look forward today with great expectation to the enemy fleeing from my life, my family my church and my ministry.

            I pray in Jesus’ holy and powerful name, Amen.


Riches of God's Grace

Following is a partial list of who “You” have already become because of God's Grace.

Salt of the earth                                                               Mt 5:13
Light of the world                                                               Mt 5:14
Channel of Christ life (branch) chosen to bear His fruit         Jn 15:1,5,16
Christ's friend                                                               Jn 15:15
Dead to sin                                                                         Rom 6:11
Alive to God                                                                Rom 6:11; Eph 2:5-6
Slave to righteousness                                                      Rom 6:18
Son/Daughter of God; God is spiritually my Father                  Rom 8;14,15; Gal 4:6
Joint heir with Christ                                                      Rom 8:17
You are inseparable from Christ love                                    Rom 8:39
Dwelling place of God's Spirit and life                           1 Cor 3:16; 6:19
Member of Christ's body                                                      1 Cor 12:27
A new creation                                                               2 Cor 5:17
Ambassador for Christ                                                      2 Cor 5:20
Clothed with Christ                                                      Gal 3:27
Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise                  Gal 3:29
A saint                                                                        Eph 1:1; Phil 1:1; Col 1:2
God's workmanship, created to do good works                  Eph 2:10
Fellow citizen with the rest of God's family                           Eph 2:19
Righteous and holy                                                      Eph 4:24
We are light                                                                        Eph 5:8
You have been made complete.                                      Col 2:10
You have died and your life is hidden with Christ                   Col 3:3
Chosen of God                                                                Col 3:12
Dearly loved by God                                                      1 Thess 1:4
A royal priesthood                                                               1 Pet 2:9
The people of God                                                               1 Pet 2:10
An enemy of the devil                                                      1 Pet 5:8
A child of God                                                                1 Jn 3:1
One who does not habitually sin                                    1 Jn 3:6




Following is a partial list of some of the “Riches” of God's Grace that we already have been given because we are in Christ.

Freed from all things that the Law could not free us from                  Acts  13:39
Redemption - freed from sin's power                                    Rom 3:24; 1Co 1:30;                                                                                                   Ep 1:7; Col 1:14
Eternal life                                                                        Rom 6:23; 2 Tim 1:1
No condemnation                                                         Rom 8:1
Set free from the principle (law) of sin                            Rom 8:2
Set free from the principle (law) of death                              Rom 8:2
We are one body interdependent upon one another                  Rom 12:5
Sanctified                                                                        1 Cor 1:2, 30
Grace of God was given to you                                              1 Cor 1:4 
In everything you are enriched                                               1 Cor 1:5
Wisdom is available to you                                             1 Cor 1:30
Righteousness of God                                                      1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21
Future resurrection                                                      1 Cor 15:22
God's promises are fulfilled in Christ                                    2 Cor 1:20
God always leads us in His triumph in Christ                     2 Cor 2:14
The veil is removed from our hearts                                    2 Cor 3:14-16
Blessing of Abraham                                                       Gal 3:14
One with all other believers                                             Gal 3:28; Eph 2:14-15
Blessed with every spiritual blessing                                     Eph 1:3
Chosen before foundation of the world                             Eph 1:4
Adoption as sons                                                               Eph 1:5
Grace freely and richly given us                                      Eph 1:6, 7-8; 2:7
Forgiveness of sin - freed from penalty of sin                  Eph 1:7; 4:32; Col 1:14
Obtained an inheritance                                                      Eph 1:10-11
Sealed with the Holy Spirit                                               Eph 1:13
Raised up with Christ                                                      Eph 2:5-6
Seated with Christ in the heavenly places                           Eph 2:5-6
Brought near to God                                                      Eph 2:13
May approach God with freedom and confidence                    Eph 3:12
Truth is in Jesus                                                               Eph 4:21
Have been firmly rooted in Him                                    Col 2:7a        
Hearts have been circumcised                                             Col 2:11
Triumph over Satan                                                        Col 2:15; Col 1:13
Grace of God is more than abundant                                    1 Tim 1:14, 2 Tim 2:1
Grace of God is granted us                                             2 Tim 1:9



[1]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA
[2]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA

Friday, May 6, 2011



Caroline Knorr wrote the following excellent article to help us teach our children how to have good online manners.  We can't expect our children to "know better" unless we teach them proper and reasonable guidelines.  
In His,
Al Menconi
www.AlMenconi.com
How Rude! Manners for the Digital Age
CommonSenseMedia.org
May 5, 2011
Teaching Kids Online Manners
7 Rules for Online Etiquette

Teaching Kids Online Manners
The more my son gets into social media, the more we talk about being responsible online. But a recent incident made me realize that I had completely overlooked a basic tenet of appropriate online behavior: manners. Just as I teach him to keep his elbows off the table, I have to teach him to be courteous in his digital life.
It was a momentous occasion in my home: My son was about to register for an online gaming account. It was his first foray into the world of multiplayer activity, and he was excited to create his own online identity. When the big moment came to choose his screen name, he thought deeply about his digital alter ego -- and typed in a euphemism for a bodily function.
So began our conversation about how there's a time and place for everything. In other words, manners apply online, too.
Lots of kids -- and alas, adults -- treat the Internet like an anything-goes no-man's land.That can be part of the fun. (I put my son's screen name choice in the "harmless fun" category.)
But when people choose aggressively meanspirited screen names, make spiteful comments, hide behind anonymity to be cruel, send around photos to humiliate others, or just act in a way that would be considered rude in the real world, it creates an environment that doesn't allow kids to experience the best of what the Web has to offer. The negativity can actually hurt people and harm reputations. 

Here are some guidelines to make it a little more civil.

7 Rules for Online Etiquette
Context is everything. If kids want to have silly online names that conform to the convention of a particular online community and only their friends will see, fine. But for more formal communication -- like email addresses, posting comments, or anything to do with school -- have them choose a respectable screen name (though not their real name) that they wouldn't be embarrassed to utter out loud in front of, say, their grandmother.
Double-check before you hit "send." Could something you wrote be misinterpreted? Is it so littered with slang that it requires a Ph.D. in Urban Dictionary to be understood? Is it rude, mean, or sarcastic? Don't send it.
Take the high road (but don't boast about it). Chatting, texting, and status updates are all "in-the-moment" communication. But if there's an escalating sense of rudeness, sign off. No good will come of firing off a nasty comment. You can always write out a response to get something off your chest ... without sending it.
Grammar rules. Rumors of grammar's demise have been greatly exaggerated. But again, context is key. An IM to a friend can dangle as many participles as you want, but anything more formal -- for example, a public online comment or a note to a teacher -- should represent your best self. This applies to capital letters, too. By now, everyone knows that writing in all caps means that you're shouting, but it bears repeating once your kid starts interacting online.
Keep a secret. In today's world, photos, texts, and videos can be posted, copied, forwarded, downloaded, and Photoshopped in the blink of an eye. If you think something might embarrass someone, get them in trouble, compromise their privacy, or stir up drama of any kind, keep it to yourself -- and maybe delete it for good measure.
Don't hide. For safety's sake, kids should use untraceable screen names, but using anonymity to cloak your actions can poison the atmosphere -- and hurt people. If your kids want to be contributing members of the online world, encourage them to post productively.
Remember the Golden Rule. Don't say something online that you wouldn't say to someone's face. And, according to BeyondNetiquette creator Marla Rosner, author of Digital Manners and House Rules for Kids: A Parent Handbook, you can actually take that a step further. If you do have something negative to say, discussing it in person is a better way to resolve your issues.
For books and resources to help you connect and communicate values to your kids check out our website at: http://www.almenconi.com/

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