When He had gone indoors, His disciples began asking Him privately, “Why were we unable to drive it out?” He replied to them, “This kind [of unclean spirit] cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
I recall being a child and running around the playground saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.” This was more of a game than anything, but it speaks volumes about our attitude toward the words we try to use to damage others. Although sometimes feelings are hurt, this is nothing like the physical pain experienced in actual battle. We have this idea that waging war against the enemy must take the form of a physical struggle that we can see with our eyes and feel with our hands. It is true that in this temporal world wars are waged using physical power and might. Words can only do so much to damage the enemy, and they rarely can disarm him. When it comes to spiritual warfare, this is not the case. In fact, God invites us to wage war in prayer to call forth his will.
Ephesians 6 reminds us that our warfare is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers of evil in the heavenly realms. In today’s passage, we read about a boy possessed by an evil spirit that could not be driven out with fists or with fire. No mortal might could deliver this child from his bondage. After Jesus delivered him, his disciples inquired as to why they could not drive the spirit out of the child. His answer is clear. There is a warfare that can only be waged through prayer. There are things God wishes for us to accomplish that can only be accomplished through prayer. This is not war as the world envisions it. This is war as it exists in the very real spiritual world around us. The words we speak in prayer are our weapons to defeat the enemy according to God’s will. We are doing nothing more than asking the omnipotent God to prevail over our adversary, and God cannot be defeated.
I am not sure that we have received a more versatile gift from our Father than that of the gift of prayer. If we need comfort, we need only pray. If we need power, we need only pray. If we need wisdom, we need only pray. If we need provision, we need only pray. When the enemy rears his ugly head and tries to storm the gates of our lives, we need only pray. We must remember that we do not rely on our own power and might when we engage in spiritual warfare. We rely on God to bring the victory, and He has already gained it. Let us use our prayers to speak into existence the victory that God will have over the enemy. Father, thank You for the power that You make available to us through prayer, and remind us that we need only bring our battles to You to be victorious.