Topic: Ephesians 6:11-13
Do you sometimes find it difficult to pray? If so, you're not alone.
But why is prayer often so hard? Especially when the Holy Spirit will help us when we pray: "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8:26)
Prayer is a spiritual act, the most intimate communication between you and God. Since this communication occurs within the spiritual realm, we should be aware that demonic forces may be at work, attempting to frustrate our prayers. Paul explains: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)
Certainly demonic influence is not always the cause of ineffectual prayer (for example, part of the problem may be laziness or being distracted by worldly things) but we should be aware of the possibility of spiritual interference. How should we approach "spiritual forces of evil" as Paul calls them? C. S. Lewis wrote:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. (C. S. Lewis, preface to The Screwtape Letters)
Jesus' death and resurrection has defeated Satan once and for all (Hebrews 2:14); therefore "we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." (Hebrews 6:19) By being aware of Satan's evil influences and that he no longer has any power over our lives, we can proactively guard against spiritual evils. Be aware of the spiritual battles occurring, but do not be afraid, because Jesus, strong and mighty, is always with you.
What can we do to try to prevent "spiritual forces of evil" from negatively impacting our prayer lives?