Fervent Prayer

fervent

During the month of March I have been taking part in a study at (in)courage looking at the book “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer.

I had never heard of this book before, and it was a last minute decision to take part, but I am so glad that I did because God has used it to teach me a lot about prayer and to speak specifically into various areas of my life.

The book is based on the idea that the devil has strategies to bring us down in different areas of life, but that we can create our own counter-strategies, using God’s Word, to fight back through prayer.

To give an example from Strategy 6, which looks at the area of fear (probably the most relevant one for me), Priscilla Shirer writes, “If I were your enemy, I’d magnify your fears, making them appear insurmountable, intimidating you with enough worries until avoiding them becomes your driving motivation.  I would use anxiety to cripple you, to paralyze you.”

We can fight against this by using verses such as 2 Timothy 1:7- “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” and Psalm 56:3-4- “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can mere man to do to me?”

I found this approach really helpful and there are three main points I have taken from the book:

It opened my eyes more to the devil’s work- that he has active strategies to fight against us, to prevent us from drawing close to God and living effectively for Him.  Looking back at certain situations in my life I can see more clearly how the devil’s strategies were probably behind them.

About a year and a half ago, I felt that I had really lost my passion for God.  I was struggling to pray or read the Bible, and when I forced myself to do it I felt that I wasn’t connecting with God at all.  I wasn’t sure why.  I had been dealing with a particularly difficult situation with a friend but I didn’t feel that I had deliberately turned away from God, and yet I supposed it must be my fault as it couldn’t be God’s.

Despite the fact that I had got through that and regained my passion, it had continued to bother me.  I didn’t really understand what had happened or how to prevent it from happening again.

Then I opened this book and Strategy 1 was on this very topic of passion: “If I were your enemy, I’d seek to dim your passion, dull your interest in spiritual things, dampen your belief in God’s ability and His personal concern for you, and convince you that the hope you’ve lost is never coming back- and was probably just a lie to begin with.”

I felt that described exactly what had happened, and it helped me understand the situation more clearly, as well as equipping me to fight against this in the future.

We need to fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons, not worldly ones.  There is a relationship in my life that has been difficult lately.  It’s not really that either I or the other person have done anything wrong, just that we are very different in personality and there has been a tension.  I had really been making an effort to be kind and encouraging to this person and to think the best of them, but their responses to certain things had annoyed me and I could tell that I was having the same  effect on them.

As I read this book I realised that it was probably largely a spiritual battle.  I prayed about the situation and then forgot all about it, until I suddenly noticed that things had changed.  They seemed to be responding completely differently towards me and in one aspect of their behaviour, which had been annoying me, they did the exact opposite of what they usually do.  The efforts I had been making were completely ineffective but prayer invited God into the situation and He made the difference.

The third thing I gained from the book is that we can fight back.  God’s power is greater than that of the enemy and in Scripture we have the tools we need to put together strategies to fight.  As I said, the area where I really need to do that right now is fear and anxiety.  Instead of either just accepting that they are part of who I am, or getting annoyed with myself for being afraid and anxious, I need to hold to God’s promises and pray God’s promises.  This is an area where the devil has succeeded too much in my life, and I still have some work to do on the counter-strategy, but I feel that this book has equipped me for the fight and I’m sure I will be coming back to read sections of it again in the coming weeks and months.

If you haven’t read this book, I would highly recommend it!

>      Literacy-Musing-Mondays- where we celebrate reading!        Holly Barrett

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30 thoughts on “Fervent Prayer

  1. I did Priscilla’s Armor of God Bible study last fall after the movie “War Room” came out. It was powerful! I bought this book as well but have not read it yet. Like you, I realized I had been in spiritual warfare for months! It has made me aware the I need to put on the Armor of God everyday! Thanks for this review and your insights! I look forward to reading the book.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting. It is a great book- I’m sure you’ll find it helpful. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I definitely want to now.

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  2. Glad this book was helpful. It’s interesting just how many things like that are simply spiritual struggles. And, no, fear and anxiety definitely aren’t part of who you are. At least, God doesn’t want them to be.

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  3. I love this, Carly. I’m glad this book helped you. This particular line jumped out at me – “The efforts I had been making were completely ineffective but prayer invited God into the situation and He made the difference.” Sometimes we can try so hard and get more and more frustrated because nothing works, but when we give a situation into God’s hands, we see results. I have a problem of trying to “fix” things myself, but I’m trying to let go and let God. He has all things in His hands and He has the power to move mountains!

    A link to your 31 Days Healing Abuse is in my post today. I have included it on my Hope Harbor page. Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Thanks, Trudy. Yes, I am also very good at trying to “fix” things by myself instead of turning to God straight away. It’s silly really when he’s so much better at dealing with things than I am. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing the link on your page. Praying that it will reach the people who would benefit from reading it.

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  4. It’s only been in the past few months that I’ve started following Priscilla, but I can so identify with her purpose and calling. Our enemy is deceitful and scheming and much like you I’ve felt those fear and anxieties magnified during attack. So glad that we can fight back with the full armor of God and the sword of His word. It’s a very intentional and purposeful attack! Thanks for sharing, Carly. Visiting from #tellhisstory.

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  5. This sounds like an amazing eye-opening book! It reminds me of CS Lewis’ book about the devil..I’m forgetting the name of it..When I come aware of spiritual warfare and I’ve had my share this last 6 months, I try to remember the words in scripture..something like “pay no attention to the devil, and he’ll flee”..this gives me the sense the devil is really not that powerful, however, without the armor of God the devil can really pull us down..
    I love the examples you give from the book on what to look for! Great book review/post!

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    1. Thanks. Yes, the devil certainly is powerful and shouldn’t be underestimated, but we can have confidence that God’s power is infinitely greater.
      I think the CS Lewis book is The Screwtape Letters- I haven’t read it but I’ve heard it’s good.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, it’s been great to read it with others. This is the first book club like this that I’ve taken part in and it has been really helpful.

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  6. Oh, Carly, I just saw this film about a month ago and, as someone who has never actively prayed, it made a huge impact on my life…..so much so that I *have* now been praying every night and throughout the day (even if some of my prayers are ‘simple’ thanks). It’s already making a major difference in my life. I would love to read this book: it’s obviously one of those books that’s choosing me as a reader rather than vice versa…Helen xx

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    1. I finally watched the film a couple of days ago. It is really inspiring and has made me pray more too and reminded me of how important it is. I’m glad it’s made such a difference for you. I’d definitely recommend the book. It applies the principles to different areas of life in such a helpful way. xxx

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      1. Thanks Carly…I’ll have to see how on Earth I can find a copy of the book. My prayer life has been enhanced so much, through the film which, (obviously!), has, in turn, enriched our lives immeasurably. I’m so thankful He placed the film in my path for me to find! Helen xxx

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  7. Thanks for your comment on my FMF post as it led me to your blog and this post! I hope to finish this book and put up a review on my blog this week! To read what you took away from the book is so great! To see how it has changed others in their prayer life and ultimate battle against the enemy is encouraging!!

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      1. Thanks, Jena. It is great to hear what others have thought of the book and what they are taking away from it. Look forward to reading your review when you post it.

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