“Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. Then the people fled from the Philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. And the Lord brought about a great victory” (2 Samuel 23:11-12).
The field belonged to the Israelites. When they saw their enemy gathering as a troop, they fled before them. One man stood before their enemy and would not relinquish that which God had given, that land which had been promised to their forefathers. He was prepared to fight and either win or die for what was his. This also pertains to prayer.
It has been my experience, not always but often, that the church has been anemic in the realm of prayer. It’s not that the church does not pray or believe in the power of prayer. It’s more that the prayers often fall in the realm of what I would call “wish list” prayers. These are prayers that carry a sense that it would be good if God would hear and if possible, answer them. They would wish them to happen but if they don’t, they move on.
Some prayer meetings can be compared to the oriental practice of writing out prayers on pieces of paper, wrapping them in mud and tossing them at their deity. If they stick, they will get answered. If not, then the prayer was not in accordance with their deity’s will.
In Matt. 12 Jesus is accused of casting out demons by the devil. He reminds them that Satan cannot cast out Satan for a kingdom divided against itself will fall. But then He says this, “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (26). There is a kingdom of darkness that has intentionally set itself against the kingdom of God, holding captive those who have not been set free by the power of the cross. These are “dead in trespasses and sins, walking according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2: 2-3).
The premise of the New Testament is that people are eternally lost, living in the realm of darkness. Only a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ can enable them to enter the Kingdom of God. Almost always it is prayer that has first taken the ground and then held it.
Prayer must find itself under the anointing presence of the Holy Spirit and take its stand, relinquishing no ground to the enemy. Only then will the eyes be opened and the people turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, receiving forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ (Acts 26:18).
What is the ground that the Lord has given to you? Who are those that the Lord has placed in your life? Are you willing to take your stand and fight for their souls?