FORTIFYING THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU LOVE
By Priscilla Shirer
All of our marriages and families are a huge deal. Yours and mine. They’re all that big of a deal . . . because each one is a billboard for the eternal, unchangeable love story between God and humankind. Each of their successes or failures is of great importance, both in God’s eyes and, therefore, in our enemy’s eyes.
So he targets them. All of them. He targets our role as wives, targets our husbands, and targets our children. He brings dissension, infuses tension, unravels our sense of peace with disunity. Because ultimately he wants to destroy our families — all of our families — so that billboard message they’re designed to project to the world is a picture that is, at best, laughable.
The Bible says our children are “like arrows in the hand of a warrior” (Ps. 127:4). We raise them up to shoot them out into the culture, bearing the image of Christ to the world. Sounds again, then, like a place that would qualify as a major area of concern for an enemy who doesn’t want any vestige of Christian valor and virtue running loose out there where . . . I don’t know, they might take bold stands of faith and influence around their college friends. Might pastor a church or run a business or become involved in missions and ministry opportunities that honor Christ and actively serve hundreds of people. Worst of all, they might marry and raise up a whole other generation of little Christ-followers, keeping your family burning red hot on enemy radar long beyond your lifetime, spinning up a legacy of faith that spirals forward undaunted into the future.
Your enemy can’t be having any of that, now, can he?
So don’t be surprised when he starts coming after your kids. And don’t think it’s all because they’re being headstrong or peer dependent or careless or lazy. Satan knows the parts of their character — both their strengths and their weaknesses — where he can worm in and try stunting their growth, their potential, and their confidence.
One of my sons, for example, has always been prone toward fear and anxiety. Ever since he was a small child, he’s shown a noticeable bent toward this kind of emotional response to external stimuli. Knowing this — spotting this — I’ve been very specific in praying for him, out loud over him, even when he was just a baby. I’ve routinely asked the Holy Spirit to instill courage within him, to be a wall of protection against the enemy’s attempts to exploit my son in this sensitive area.
Three or four years ago, night after night, he started seeing something he described as a man in his room. It couldn’t really be a man in there, of course. The outside doors and windows were locked. Nobody was getting inside. Part of me wanted to write it off as nothing, tell him to go back to sleep and not worry about it. But he was able to tell me in rather striking detail what this “man” looked like, where he was standing in relation to my son’s bed, how paralyzing it felt when he sensed this presence in the room, as if a heavy blanket had fallen on him, suffocating him.
That did it. I started to pray over him even more specifically, to pray over their room while the boys were away, to command this spirit of fear to leave my son alone in the name of Jesus. One day in particular when this issue seemed to be reaching a climax of intensity, I stormed into that bedroom like a rocket. I paced the floor, I quoted Scripture, I posted passages on the wall, I laid hands on the doorposts and window ledges.
And I’m not joking here, that was the last day my boy ever mentioned that man. As far as I know, he’s never been bothered by it since to that degree or in that precise way.
Let the enemy run roughshod over my kids? No way. And I have a strong feeling you won’t allow him to do it to yours either.
An enemy is after your children, I’m telling you. Believe it. Know it. But most important, deal with it — by tunneling deep into your prayer closet and fighting back with every parental and spiritual weapon at your disposal.
Excerpted from Fervent Prayer by Priscilla Shirer. Copyright 2016 B&H Publishing Group.
Priscilla Shirer is a wife and mom first, but put a Bible in her hand and a message in her heart, and you’ll see why thousands meet God in powerful, personal ways at her conferences and through her books. She and her husband, Jerry, lead Going Beyond Ministries, through which they provide spiritual training, support, and resources to the body of Christ.
This article originally appeared in ParentLife Magazine (March 2016) ParentLife.