The emphasis on the power of God’s word and prayer that we offer to God was the most powerful component of participating in my spiritual warfare class because of the active participation and spiritual formation that occurs when practicing these two disciplines. I enjoyed the Bible memorization components of this course. Neil Anderson’s book The Bondage Breaker and the The Steps to Freedom in Christ booklet that we went through in this course offered some of the most biblical wisdom and insights that I have read in my whole theological education. Learning that “the center of all spiritual bondage is in the mind” was very powerful because it impressed the importance of having God’s word in my mind so that the negativity and depression that I often experience due to grief doesn’t become an opening for demonization in my own life. Knowing who God is, the implications of our relationship to Christ, and our responsibility for engaging in spiritual warfare is discovered and sustained by continual Scripture reading. I have found that reading through the Psalms on a daily basis has helped me in expressing my emotions to God and learning how to trust in him more. Also, understanding the truth’s in God’s word was helpful when applying the prayers in Neil Anderson’s The Steps to Freedom in Christ because they are all very strong doctrinal prayers.
I was blessed by my study on prayer that I did in conjunction with teaching a one-hour class during this semester. I have a clearer understanding of what prayer is, it’s purpose, and benefits and difficulties in and around it as a spiritual discipline. I was offered different definitions of prayer such as: “Prayer is personal communication with God,”; “The Shorter Catechism says: ‘Prayer is the offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies,’”; and “Prayer that is spiritual and genuine is both a call and a response: a divine call and a human response.”
I have come to understand that while prayer may include requests (petition or intercession), confession of sin, adoration, praise and thanksgiving, and God communicating to us indications of his response that it is important to not be lobbing prayers at God that are outside or against God’s will and that prayer be a vehicle to praise God for his work in our life no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. It is amazing how God is continually calling us to himself, to be in communion with him. We should continually come to God to be transformed by renewal of the Spirit, thanksgiving, and a life of sacrificial worship (Romans 12:1-2). I learned three purposes behind prayer. “First, prayer should be effective and should accomplish something. That seems logical for anything we do. Second, prayer should lead us to Christian maturity. It should be a spiritual discipline that trains us to be mature believers. And third, prayer should build endurance in our lives. It should not be a vehicle by which we constantly try to elude either (1) the trials needed to grow us into adult, faithful, enduring children of God or (2) the reality of the fallen world around us.”
I also reflected on the benefits such as learning how to pray by doing it with others and reading on the subject, that we can know ourselves and be reminded of our needs daily by giving them to God, and we can know God more fully by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Rom. 8:26-27; Eph. 6:18). A few difficulties are our own doubts and anxieties that can occur when we bring situations that are out of control to God, and finding time to be still and listen to God.
Anderson, Neil T. The Bondage Breaker. Eugene, OR. Harvest House Publishers. 1990. 52.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids. Zondervan. 2000. 376.
Watson, William. Prayer. New York. Published by Eaton & Mains.13.
al-Maskin, Matta. Orthodox prayer life: the interior way. Crestwood, NY. St. Vladmir’s Seminary Press. 2003. 21.
Hauff, Thomas R. When God Says “NO”: reshaping prayer and learning to listen. Eugene. Wipf and Stock. 2011. 65.