Friday, June 9, 2023

The War Zone

 Many of us at Spring Creek have been in a major spiritual war for the past 15 months. There has been gut wrenching pain. Demonic activity. Setbacks. Delays. Wicked schemes. Lies. Slander. Pure evil. At times it seemed the forces of hell were released against us. 

We prayed. We interceded. At times we warred through prayer. Tears fell. Hearts bonded through fervent intercession. The battle was fierce. The progress seemed very slow. We wondered why God did not intervene faster. Through it all we clung to God through prayer. Even when weeks turned into months of waiting and evil prevailing. Still the church prayed. 

Finally, God pushed back the forces of darkness and victory was won. In the end, intense spiritual warfare happened over a 24-hour span. It meant some intercessors getting up early in the morning to battle. Others prayed throughout the day as the war waged on. A small band gathered at the church and prayed when evil seemed to prevail. God won in the end. God moved the mountain that had stood for 15 months. God lifted a heavy burden that felt unmanageable at times. God won. Satan lost. Now the saints rejoice. 

I do not let my guard down. I know other prayer battles will follow. I am not hanging my armor so as to rest. There is much more to believe God for. Many more skirmishes to fight out in prayer. There are other victories to secure. There are other strongholds to be broken. With sword strapped on and the shield of faith I prepare to reengage in battle. Soldiers do not come out of battle unscathed. Wounds happen. The body and spirit weaken. This is not the time to grow weary and faint hearted. Too much is at stake. May the army of God rise to fight the forces of darkness another day. May we stay in the war zone advancing the cause of God against the forces of darkness that stand in our way. All things are possible with God. 

Prayer Retreat

 Tonight, Spring Creek will host a prayer retreat. Over the years I have been on numerous prayer retreats. Some of my most memorable encounters with God happened on prayer retreats. I felt a burden to lead our church to do the same thing. While there will be some teaching on prayer, a good portion of our time together will be spent praying. Some of those times will be personal in nature. At other times the group will pray together. 

There will be one session tonight followed by two sessions Saturday morning. The intent is not to spend all our time teaching about prayer, but to actually pray. Few have signed up. Large numbers were never the intent. We wanted people to gather who really have a heart to pray and to learn to pray more effectively . 

Several questions will propel our first session. Describe the level of satisfaction of your prayer life? What do people hope to get out of the retreat? Explain the motivation for attending the retreat? List the topics of prayer that are most interesting to you? 

Prayer is a fascinating topic. Many preachers have preached on it. Many teachers have taught on it. There are no shortages of seminars, prayer conferences, books on prayer, and videos on how to pray more effectively. I cannot possibly add anything more tonight. I can try to gently lead people to have their own encounters with God through prayer. Once people experience God through prayer, they are much more likely to want to experience more of Him. 

We will not offer shortcuts to effective praying. We will provide the opportunity to grow in prayer. Our time together will be no more effective than the devotion we are willing to devote to it. The devotion we are willing to devote to seeking God. I pray for some real God stuff to happen this weekend. 

Jesus retreated for prayer. See [Mark 1:35] So should we. In our hurried rat pace world, we should slow down and retreat with God from time to time to get our priorities in order. God is willing to be found for serious seekers. Read [Jer 29:12-13]. I trust God will reveal Himself to God chasers this weekend. I hope you come with expectation.