In a recent column, I introduced you to the process of starting each morning with a victory prayer. This time I want to bring your attention to another type of prayer – one to use when under temptation from satan. This process is taken from the book Keys to Living Like You’ve Been Saved by Mark and Shauna Manfredine of Lighted Way Ministries. The book can be downloaded free at www.lightedway.org. Along with a few of my own thoughts, I have summarized from their book with their permission.
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. In the verses immediately preceding this we are given a list of the works of the flesh. We can measure our thoughts and actions using the fruit of the spirit as our litmus test. Any time you have a thought that doesn’t pass the “fruit test”, meaning that it doesn’t reflect one of these nine fruits, we need to realize that this is not the Holy Spirit working in our lives, and it must instead be coming from the spirit of demons. Ask yourself: Can this thought or idea be described as loving? Does it cause joy? Will it bring peace? Continue through all nine fruit of the spirit, and if the answer to even one of the nine is “no”, then you know that this is not from the Holy Spirit.
If you find that satan has some strongholds in your life (areas where you give into temptation and sin) which cause problems for you and those around you, there is hope for deliverance, as shown in James 4:7 (submit to God and resist the devil) and in James 5:13-16 (prayer, anointing, healing).
The first step is to really search your heart, and ask God to reveal any wickedness in your character (Psalm 139:23-24). I remember the first time I did this as a new Christian. I felt like I had lived a good life even outside of the faith, as I had never committed any criminal activity, but this prayer was very humbling. I realized that I had been proud, boastful, judgmental, selfish and a host of other undesirable traits. Prayerfully ask God to reveal the areas of your character that he would like you turn over to him for cleansing and renewal. Along with the list, find several specific Bible promises that you can claim whenever you feel yourself tempted by these faults. You will find a useful appendix in the Keys to Living book which lists many Bible promises to get you started.
The second step of the process is to find a suitable elder, preferably one who has gone through this type of Biblical anointing himself and has done it for others. Ask them to perform the prayer and anointing to release you from these strongholds of satan. Have this person perform the anointing according to scripture, as outlined in the Keys to Living book.
Step three is the post-anointing process, during which time satan will try to wrest back control of your life. Just as he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he will also wish to tempt you back into your sinful behavior. But praise God, we are not left defenseless in this battle. Hopefully, you are already starting each day with the victory prayer we covered previously (see it here), and you are putting on the full armor of heavenly weaponry each day. In addition to this armor, there are seven other weapons to help you in your time of temptation.
The first of these is to follow the example of Jesus, the angels, and the disciples: audibly rebuke satan in the name of Jesus and his blood. (Jude 1:9, Matthew 16:23, Acts 16:18). Then pray and ask God to send angels to fight on your behalf. (Psalm 91:11). Next, quote the scripture texts that you gathered in step one which apply to the particular temptation you are facing at the moment. These three steps should always be done immediately and in this order: 1) rebuke, 2) pray for heavenly intervention, and 3) claim your Bible promises.
There are four additional steps that you may wish to add to the above, as needed. You can sing praise songs (1 Chronicles 16:8-10) or read Scripture aloud until the temptation passes. The only offensive weapon in all of the armor of God is the sword, which is the word of God, so use it when you are being attacked. You might not always have your Bible at your fingertips, so memorize key texts for moments such as this. If nothing comes to your memory, as an alternative, speak aloud your praises to God (Psalm 105:2-3), praising him for specific answers to prayer in your life. Finally, if you are with someone during this time of temptation, share with them your testimony of the wonderful works that God has done in your life (Revelation 12:11).
Scripture tells us in 1 John 3:3-6 that we are to purify ourselves as Jesus is pure, and to abide in him without sin. If we don’t work diligently to resist temptation and to remove sin from our lives, we could well end up like the group mentioned in Matthew 7:21-23, who thought they were doing the works of God, but were called workers of iniquity and told to depart. I pray that we all work to eradicate sin from our lives while there is still time.