Written by Evi Idoghor
Have you ever felt God ignored your prayers? You've done everything you should have done, kicked sin to the curb, believed that God is big enough to answer your prayers, and then prayed fervently morning and night, confessed scriptures, and yet your problems continue to stare you down.
This is something I am aware of. I recently went through a period of turmoil and it seemed as if the problem I was praying about would not go away. I became upset with God and shook my fists, saying, “God, what else do you want me to do? Why aren't you answering my prayers? How long will this process take?”
Just as you start to feel discouraged, a voice inside your head tells you that there is no point in continuing to pray; perhaps it is not God's will to answer this prayer. There is no way things will change; this is how things will always be. I'm sure you can think of a current situation for which you've been praying – either for yourself or for the benefit of others – and it appears that there is no hope left. So, you lower your shield, remove your helmet and breastplate, re-sheathe your sword, loosen your belt, and remove your feet from its shoes.
Why Should We Keep Praying?
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 and Ephesians 6:10-20 tell us that if we want to succeed against the schemes of the enemy, we must do so by relying on God's word and praying incessantly. 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4 (NKJV) says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…”
Ephesians 6 describes the weapons we need to prepare for battle because the oppositions and trials we face are not the results of mere human actions. As such, we require spiritual weapons to fight spiritual battles. Human wisdom can only take you so far; there will be times when talking yourself out of certain situations will not suffice.
The enemy understands that the word of God (and prayer) is the only weapon that can be used against him, so he works tirelessly to minimize it. Jesus shows us how to use this weapon in Luke 4 when he resisted the enemy with it. Of the three recorded temptations, Christ responded twice with “it is written,” and once with “it has been said...”
Because there is no other weapon with which we can resist the devil except the word of God, the enemy sows seeds of doubt in us when we don't see the result for which we are praying. Thus, he concocts arguments in our heads and constructs strongholds to prevent anyone from reaching us. This prayer thing isn't working, jo! He says quietly. And as a result, you gradually begin to relax your defenses.
Consider yourself a soldier during a war. Now, remove your helmet and bulletproof vest, empty your rifle of its bullets, and remove the boots from your feet. Except if you're Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge, that's a recipe for disaster. Those who are at war with you will immediately tear you apart – that is what the enemy wants to do to you. The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy – Jesus tells us in John 10:10. And unlike the (Nigerian) police, he is not your friend.
So, when he succeeds in convincing you to doubt God's faithfulness, you grow tired of praying, your faith wanes, your belief in God wavers, you find no joy in reading the bible, you throw caution to the wind, and everything is left to chance. That's when he comes in and pounces on you like a roaring lion who has found what he so desperately searched for. Therefore, the Bible warns us not to be unaware of his schemes.
Don't give up if you haven't received your answer yet, as long as what you're praying for is in line with God's will. Continue to stand, as Ephesians 6 encourages us to do. Do you realize that this God you are praying to sacrificed his only son for you? Do you realize he also freely gave you his breath and spirit? According to a passage in the book of Job, if God decides to take away his breath and spirit from us, all humans will perish.
When the enemy realized he couldn't persuade Jesus (in Luke 4) to succumb to his antics, he abandoned him. Another verse in the bible says, “Resist the enemy, and he will flee.” He is aware of this, and he is counting on the moment you lower your defenses to defeat you.
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