This was originally published April 19, 2010 on Facebook as a Note. But I publish it here, to help tell about my faith journey.
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I want to share an insight that has been shared with me recently.
We as evangelists, ministers, pastors, or whatever title you have, are servants of Jesus Christ our master. We are asked to routinely engage the spiritual battle. But we know that the spiritual battle can invade our own being, no one engages in any battle (whether physical or spiritual) to emerge unaffected.
Here is what we know, when Paul wrote to the Ephesians he said this (it is lengthy but important):
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
There are many things to cover in that information, but we need only a few. First we are fighting a spiritual battle, not physical (our struggle/battle is against spiritual forces of evil, not people/flesh and blood) because of this we need the full armor of God (this we know), but it is the prayers in verse 18 that I want to talk about.
Consider the fact that battle, even though spiritual, leaves you wounded, hurt, bleeding emotionally, scarred, or perhaps just jaded and becoming bitter. These things can handicap you as God’s servant, because these are things that weigh on our souls. But these wounds do not have to remain.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times, I leave the servants role to return home wiped out, wounded and hurt from the insults, bitterness, and just down right dumb things people (Christians included) say. Sound familiar?
We preach, teach, and demonstrate that Jesus is the physician for those people who are hurting (the people that God wants us to help); but how many of us carry the burden of insult and injury “for the cause of Christ” and it eventually allow that burden to lead us to burnout? This is something we are not to carry. God through Christ and Jesus’ cross, this is to be taken from us. I hope this sounds wonderful to you, because it is helping me.
By Jesus stripes even we, as ministers, as servants, are healed. Listen to this concept.
Back in the Days of Moses, there was a purification ritual for those who engaged in battle (Numbers 31.19-24). There is much to learn from that moment, but for us, we need to know that we engage the Spiritual forces of evil and have to slay the spiritual forces of darkness, and we have to touch the spiritual forces of darkness. In so doing, we have contacted darkness and with God there is no Darkness, no variableness and shadow of turning (James 1.17). It is this darkness that will infect our spirit if we do not purge and purify and regain our light.
We can recognize that this purification ritual has importance in our lives because the “things written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures (which is what the purification ritual of Number 31.19-24 is) might have hope.” (Romans 15.4, KJV) Do you want to be renewed and bandaged? This is what we preach and teach to others, it is for us as well. Make sure that you notice and realize that in Numbers (31.22) the priest said that purification was an ordinance from God, but for now return with me to Ephesians 6.18.
Paul said that it is through prayer in the spirit. So this is the avenue that we are going to take, realizing that by Jesus stripes and his cross even we are healed. But I did not know what to pray until recently. I was blessed to hear a prayer that is about forgiveness, it was about how one person prays in order to forgive someone else. We know from Jesus on the cross that we can ask God not to hold sin to someone’s charge and this is repeated with Stephen while he is dying (Acts 7).
It seems likely and scripturally sound to claim that most people (even we as ministers) do not know what we are doing, and need forgiveness. By praying the following prayer (it is adapted from a Joan Hunter prayer found in Healing the Whole Man Handbook, page 70) you will find that your spirit is renewed and you feel better about your work. The people we are called to serve are no different than the people Moses served, God’s people are a mixed bag (Matthew 13.24-30, 13.47-52), they murmur, they complain, and they do stupid and sinful things that hurt the ones trying to lead, as such we need God to strengthen us, forgiving the people God asked us to serve is healing from above. Here is the prayer:
I know that your word confirms that Jesus bore my sins on his cross and no longer holds them against me.
I know that your word confirms that Jesus bore the sins of my brethren on his cross and no longer holds their sins against them.
I know that your word confirms that the amount of forgiveness I that I give to others is the forgiveness that will be given to me. (Matthew 6.14-15, Luke 6.37-38)
I choose to forgive (insert the needed name or group here-listed below).
What they did to me was sin. Take this sin from them and put it on the cross.
And on the Day of Judgment, when I stand before Your Throne, I will hold no accusation against them.
I know that your word confirms that I am to bless those that curse me, and pray for those that despitefully use and persecute me. (Matthew 5.44)
In the name of Jesus, I ask you to bless them.
Note: Needed Name or Group
The person’s actual name
The people in leadership
The people serving as deacons
The people serving as teachers
The people of the congregation itself
The people of any congregational group that hurt you
If we use this purification prayer/ritual, it is one that will allow God to remove our spiritual wounds. It has helped me, will you allow it to help you? My suggestion is that you have this prayer at least once a week, but it is best prayed following every spiritual battle that sends you home wounded from forces of darkness.
One last recommendation: Copy/Paste the prayer into a file, print it out, and carry it with you.
May our Father bless you. Always learn, always pursue the truth, allow God to renew your mind, remain in the fight, keep fighting the good fight of faith.