The Pharisees considered themselves the
‘prayer warriors’ of Jesus’ time. Jesus castigated them for perverting
prayer and making a public display of it for their own glory (Matt 6:5-8).
Time has moved on, and so has the subtlety
and cunning of Satan, whose chief target is the elect of God. He deceives to
lure people into spiritual traps where he can strip away humility and
righteousness, injecting you instead with his pride and presumption.
When Jesus illustrated a right approach in
prayer, His first emphasis was the opposite of what we see today in those
who profess to be ‘strategic prayer warriors’! He said, “Don’t make a big
show of it in public. Start from the basis of humility and pray in private
if you might be tempted towards vanity.” (Matt 6:5,6 paraphrased.)
“Recognise your own inadequacy (Mt 6:11-14),
your sinfulness and need for forgiveness (6:12; Luke 11:13), that you are
deserving of no ‘glory’ but that all the glory belongs to God” (Matt 6:14).
Yet we see many charismatic ‘prayer warriors’
getting puffed up or elevated, thinking that they and their
efforts are central to the attainment of God’s plans and purposes in
Britain or elsewhere! A subtle transference has taken place in which church
leaders have usurped divine prerogatives. They have taken Jesus’ place as
the One who makes intercession for those who need it (Heb 7:25; Rom
The very subtle – but very wrong – teachings
of intercessory ‘prayer warriors’ are blasphemous! They are not
taking cities for Christ! If Jesus is going to do that, HE will do it, and
those He uses as intercessors will invariably be people behind closed doors
whom very few others know what they are praying for. Why? Because Jesus
knows it is harmful to you if you become a great celebrity through His
achievements which He may give you the privilege in sharing. (Not sharing
the glory while you are in the flesh, but sharing the work load.)
Always remember prayer’s primary purpose –
it’s to change you first and foremost. When you pray for others,
you change; your nature changes; more of the love of God enters; more
gratitude, humility and other godly virtues are borne.
When prayer lifts people up, or makes them stage personalities and
celebrities, something is very wrong. If they think that they are
important or even indispensable in God’s schemes – ‘strategic’ – they have
actually disqualified themselves (1 Cor 9:27).
Malcolm B Heap,