• Julie Osborne

The War is On


Spiritual Warfare

Theoden says: “I will not risk open war.” Aragorn replies: “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.” (“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”)

I was skeptical, at first, as I read this opening quote of the book and then scanned the first chapter. Facilitating a summer study on spiritual warfare seemed a bit heavy, especially for someone like me who knew very little about the subject. Last fall I wasn’t even comfortable talking about Satan, and now I would be leading a discussion on the topic? And even if he actually did exist I never felt compelled to deliberate how this evil force would impact my life and the lives of those I love. Certainly it’s a topic to avoid in casual conversations, parties, and backyard barbecues. Talking about “evil” is much more comfortable and culturally acceptable — just like using the word “God” instead of “Jesus.” But after digging into Priscilla Shirer’s book “Fervent” with my life group this summer and watching the movie, “War Room” (three times), I am now convinced she’s onto something.

The thesis of the book can be summarized like this: There is an enemy trying to dim our passions, steal our focus, derail our families, redirect our identities, remind us of past mistakes, ruin our relationships, and inject constant fear into our lives. This force is an even greater threat than our presidential candidates! This enemy is strategic and deceptive — attempting to take out what we cherish the most. The weapon to fight this battle: fervent prayer. As Priscilla explains, “Despite what we may or may not understand about prayer, God has deliberately chosen this particular vehicle as the one that drives His activity in people’s lives … It is kryptonite of the enemy and to all his ploys against you.”

In seminary, I found it interesting while working as a chaplain in the local hospital how even people who didn’t believe in God asked me to pray for them — especially when they were in their final stages of life. I have friends who do the same in their times of need, even though they wouldn't consider themselves religious people. Sometimes prayer is all we have left when our lives bottom out, health issues arise, loved ones struggle, or we’re left with circumstances beyond our control. I think Priscilla nailed it when she described prayer as a “lifeline and a lifestyle.” This encompasses not only vending machine prayers asking for something but also prayers of gratitude for what God is doing and has already done in our lives. Each day, if we continue to stay committed to fervently pray, it will soon become a habit and a normal part of our lives. We will no longer be fighting our battles alone.

There is a war going on in our world whether we acknowledge it or not. This summer, I am grateful that I gained a new awareness of what’s happening around me and now have the tools to fight back, along with the courage to share what I learned. I hope you, too, read this book so that you may dig deeper into how to fight the right enemy and invite into the battle the only One who can defeat this force, “Because God is the One fighting for you,” says Priscilla, “And He will surely prevail.”

#force #Fervent #spiritualwarfare #Satan #war #prayer #battle #PriscillaShirer #enemy #fight #ferventprayer #God #evil

Meet Author Julie Osborne