The Enemy Whispers…
Psalm 109:3-4 reads, “3They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. 4 In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.” David is at war; his enemies are rising up. How does he respond to this war? He responds by giving himself to prayer.
Let me ask you: How are you responding to the war? Are you responding in the flesh to all the different things the enemy is throwing at you? The ultimate weapon in war is prayer, and the devil knows it. The moment you set your heart to pray, he is going to put a dozen things in front of you to distract you and take you away from praying. He is going to whisper lies in your ears. “You’re going to pray? Well, you know as well as I do, they are just words. God’s not going to hear from you.” The devil may also say things like, “You know what you’ve done. You know your past. Who do you think you are? Do you really think God is going to listen to you? You should be ashamed of yourself for all the sins you have committed in the past.” The devil starts spinning these lies so by the time you go to your knees, you are thinking, “I don’t believe prayer works. I don’t know if God is going to hear me.” At that point, you are operating with no faith. The devil has absolutely disarmed you. Your words become just words.
I want to take you to Isaiah 36:5 because this is one of the clearest passages in Scripture in regard to how the devil works us over, takes advantage of us, and literally takes authority over us. Some background to this verse is King Hezekiah is ruling Judah. The king of Assyria, Sennacherib, has risen up against him and is coming out to war against Judah. Sennacherib sends his emissary, his Rabshakeh as he is called in Scripture. The Rabshakeh is going to go out on behalf of the king of Assyria and give them an option. He tells them, “Just give in to us. Surrender to us and all will be well. Don’t think otherwise.”
This is what we read in Isaiah 36:5 as Rabshakeh speaks to King Hezekiah, “I say you speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. Now in whom do you trust that you rebel against me?”
Look at this in the context of prayer. This is what the devil will tell you when you are going to prayer, “God is not going to hear you because you are just speaking empty words into the air. Don’t think God is going to listen to what you have to say.” This is what the devil does, and Sennacherib, this king of Assyria, is a typology of the devil, and the devil will send his little princes out, his little demons, to whisper in your ear all of this nonsense.
Moving on to Isaiah 36:18-20, “18 “Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ”
Do you see what the Rabshakeh just did? This is what the devil does to us! He takes you from vertical faith and brings you down to viewing things horizontally. He will show you history, as in the verse we just covered, “Look Hezekiah. Not one Kingdom has survived my hand. I have destroyed all of them. None of these gods delivered them. What hope do you have?”
He will do this to you. He will get you to look at scenarios of all those times past. He will whisper in your ear, “There’s no hope for you.” This is what affects intercessors.
Many years ago, my wife and I went down to the hospital because one of our friend’s daughters had leukemia. This was my first real experience of feeling brutal, spiritual oppression. It was an eye-opener!
As I am walking down the hall of the hospital, all I can see in every room is pure oppression and bondage. These little children are in pain and are suffering. It is absolutely horrible.
I remember my thoughts warring against unbelief. “The doctors are the only ones who can do anything here. If the doctors can’t do anything, then there’s no hope.” As we continued to walk, we learned this little girl’s friend, two doors down, just died of leukemia. Then we heard the little boy three doors down died of it too. The enemy continued to whisper in my ear, “There’s no hope. Look around. They are all dying. What good is your prayer going to do for this little girl?”
This is how he works! This is where the battle is! He is trying to strip the power of prayer from us. He is trying to strip the power of faith of us going into the throne room!
When you are in those moments, you must rebuke the spirit of unbelief and the attacks. The devil knows this. This is the point: the devil knows the power of prayer, and he is coming for you. If you want to be an intercessor, this is going to be something you come up against.
So how does Hezekiah respond? Feel the weight of this because Hezekiah is looking at the fact not one nation on the planet has survived the attacks of Assyria. Remember, Hezekiah had been told by the Rabshakeh, that claiming they will be saved by God is just words. So this is what Hezekiah does. Isaiah 37:1, “And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.” This is בַּיִת תְּפִלָּה(bayith tĕphillah). What did the LORD call His house? He called it a House of Prayer? What does Hezekiah do in response to all this garbage the devil has thrown at him? He goes to prayer.
Well, how does it work? Jump to Isaiah 37:21-22, “21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning him: The virgin, the daughter of Zion, Has despised you, laughed you to scorn; The daughter of Jerusalem Has shaken her head behind your back!’”
In other words, you are a dead man, king of Assyria! Your army is dead all because one man prostrated himself in בַּיִת תְּפִלָּה(bayith tĕphillah), a house of prayer, praying to his God.
The result was 185,000 Assyrians were slaughtered, and the king who went back home to worship his own gods was killed by his own sons. It was total devastation. Why? Because Hezekiah prayed!
This is a portion of “Prayer & Fasting Part 1” presented by Daniel Joseph. The full-length presentation can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/420081469.