Have you noticed that most of the prayers that most of us pray regularly tend to be in response to situations that require our immediate attention? We pray when a friend gets struck with a disease when tragedy comes across the screens that are forever before our eyes, or when we need a parking space “right now.” When it comes to praying, most of us tend to be responsive and reactionary. While nothing is wrong with this, as with all wartime strategies, we must be on the offensive and the defensive. Please make no mistake; the scriptures (Ephesians 6:12) are correct when they say we are in a spiritual battle.
I recently read the book of Deuteronomy, chapters two and three, where we see God’s preemptive strikes in defeating the enemies ahead. In these verses, Moses is reflecting on God’s faithfulness, thus far, through the wilderness and thinking through, with God, the battles that lie ahead. It’s almost as if God and Moses are strategizing in God’s war room on how they will move the people and purposes of God forward. Within this dialogue, there are at least three things that God does preemptively as His strategy to love and dwell with His people is revealed.
- God says that He will begin today to put fear into the hearts of those who are against us (Deuteronomy 2:25). Many of the responsive prayers that we find ourselves praying are because we are the ones who are fearful about what is happening. Fear is not a trait of the kingdom (the perfect love inside us drives it out - 1 John 4:18), but God uses fear to divide, confuse and defeat our enemies. God preemptively causes our enemies to fear the movement of God. As we study our culture, we see that many of those who have set themselves up as enemies of God act out of fear of Him. Fear never wins; love always does. So Jesus sets his enemies up to fear his people so that love can prevail.
- God preemptively made the enemy King, King Sihon of Heshbon, obstinate and hard of heart (Deuteronomy 2:30). Basically, God made him hard of heart so that his plans to foil and obstruct would fail. Experience teaches us that the obstinate, those who stubbornly refuse to change or adapt, never win. By making him obstinate, God is beginning his demise. Preemptively, God makes some people obstinate so that obstinance can lead to their demise.
- As Moses was preparing to fight a battle with King Og, God revealed to him that He had preemptively given the king and his people over to the purposes of God. Can you imagine what confidence this filled Moses with – the battle he was about to fight had already been won, and all he needed to do was show up and win it… because God had been acting preemptively.
As Moses is looking back on his journey thus far, he repeatedly sees that God was working, as He works ahead of us preemptively. In addition, God invites us into His war room to pray about what He will accomplish for us preemptively. God has a great plan ahead for us as we are focused on His commands, and we are invited to “preemptively pray” into what God wants to do. There are barriers, unforeseen challenges, opportunities to grab, and enemies to defeat that lie ahead for us. And we can pray that God will do what needs to happen today so that He and we can win tomorrow.
What do you need to pray for today preemptively? What challenges do you foresee that you can ask God to address today? Pray on the offensive and not the defensive.
Pray with strategy rather than such a reaction. Pray that God will help you win the battle you have already won.