How often have you heard the phrase “prayer warrior”? Have you ever attributed it to someone who prays a lot or prays with effectiveness?
Interestingly, those two words are not used together in the Bible.*
I wonder if the warrior metaphor is more a construct of modernity and a colonization mentality and not at all what God has in mind. What if God doesn’t want us to be a prayer warrior? Perhaps he desires that we not “war” at prayer, but rather that we “love” at prayer—love him.
However, recall that Ephesians 6:12 says, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and spiritual forces of evil. This does indeed evoke an image of war.
Clearly a balance is called for. If we think of prayer as war, our focus is on the enemy, not God. I don’t think that’s what God wants (but the enemy may like the extra attention).
For me a prayer that devotes more words to warring against the enemy than to loving God is a prayer that is out of balance and focused on the wrong thing.
May our prayer focus rightly reside on God.
*The phrase “prayer warrior” is not found in the NIV, NLT, AMP, or NASB. Interestingly, it does occur once in The Message, but in a negative context: “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant,” Matthew 6:7.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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