A Facebook post about prayer as a weapon grabbed my attention this week. It led me to listen to the corresponding radio interview. It was a good interview and much of what was discussed effectively encouraged Christians to pray. I liked it. However, identifying prayer as a “weapon,” while well-intentioned, could give people the impression that prayer was about God doing our will, instead of us doing His. The verses mentioned in the interview rightly encouraged prayer, but they did not support the point of prayer as a weapon. Such a point is logical, not biblical. We need to discern the difference.
Prayer is a tremendous gift given to us from God’s abundant love and grace in order to bridge the gap between us and heaven. It allows us to talk with God our Father, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit by means of the Son’s sacrifice upon the cross. Prayer is all about deepening our relationship with God, growing spiritually, serving effectively, expanding our understanding of Scripture, and asking our Father to intercede in life’s challenges—no matter how difficult. Prayer makes possible the most personal and intimate relationship that we can possibly have.
How can casting prayer as a weapon be negatively understood? Let me illustrate. A few months ago, two young boys were arguing over a trivial issue in front of our house. The bully threatened the other saying, “Oh yeah, I’m gonna’ have my father sue your father.” To follow through on his selfish threat, he would have to weaponize his relationship with his father in order to financially destroy the other boy’s family. Hopefully the young man’s father, as would our Father in heaven, saw this as a growth opportunity and had him humbly apologize to the intended victim. However, the bigger issue was the boy’s attempt to use the father’s influence to exact retribution for his friend’s insignificant, and possibly trumped-up, offense. As a father, such a request would break my heart.
Our relationship with God is precious. It was established by the blood of God’s Son. Understanding it as a potential weapon is the antithesis of Christ’s message on the Sermon on the Mount, His prayer in the Upper Room, and the example He set for us. Spiritual warfare is real, Jesus engaged in it every day of His earthly ministry. Ultimately, He fought it upon the cross to destroy the works of Satan.
We fight it today with “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Eph 6:17). By correctly handling the Scriptures (2 Tim 2:15) we can demolish arguments that oppose God (2 Cor. 10:4-6). By developing our personal righteousness (2 Cor. 6: 7) we can be living examples of Christ. This is how the New Testament instructs us to engage in spiritual warfare. The goal and the focus of our prayers for this endeavor is to help others grasp the height and depth of Christ’s saving love for them.
God loves us. Our relationship with Him is personal. Deepening that intimate relationship is achieved by being transparent with God and trusting Him to heal or change what He finds in our hearts. It is a precious, loving relationship. There’s no place for weapons.