by Howard and Jeanne Tomlinson


CHAPTER 16

Fighting On Our Knees

“Can God use me for His purposes if I’m weak?  What can someone like me possibly do?”  You will be amazed how much power you can have at your disposal when you bow down and look up.


From an early age, Howie knew about the importance of daily prayer.  But it wasn’t until after he had gone through his “hell week” in early 1993, that prayer became both an urgent priority and exciting privilege in his life.
    During his time of depression, Howie often felt lonely when I had to be out working part-time or running errands.  He started reading a couple of books that had a great impact on him, Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds and The Hour That Changes the World by Dick Eastman.  He began using his time alone to pray.
    After he returned to work in July, Howie was sitting on the couch praying one day.  All of a sudden, he felt a strong inclination to get on his knees, and he has prayed that way ever since.  I gave him the nickname “Camel Knees” and bought him a T-shirt that said PRAY HARD with a picture of pant legs with holes in the knees.
    Howie says, “Prayer makes my day.”  Even when he’s gone for 10 hours on workdays, he wakes up early to spend time with the Lord, sometimes praying an hour a day.  I often wake up to find him on his knees.  His prayer time consists of praise, confession of sin, interceding for others, and giving thanks.
    Howie saw God move in awesome ways when others prayed for him.  He was excited that he could now be used to commune with God for others.  Oftentimes friends come up to him and share requests and answers to prayer, for they know how much he cares.  When he tells them, “I’ll pray for you,” they believe him.  Howie has a very special place in his heart for people suffering with brain tumors.  He prays for several of them.  He has seen many answers to his prayers, including the salvation of lost souls.
    Howie made a list of pastors to pray for every day.  He prays that each would walk in humility and that God would encourage them, give them wisdom and discernment, and protect them from the evil one.  He prays that they would rise early in the morning to seek God’s face through the Word and prayer each day.  E.M. Bounds said, “Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to advance God’s cause in this world.”
    In addition to his private prayer time, Howie understands that prayer with me and our church family is also necessary.  We go to weekly prayer meetings together, knowing this is where the church gets its power.  And Howie and I end each day praying in each other’s arms.
    God has taught me important lessons on prayer, as well.  I learned the power of fasting and prayer in times of crisis.  While Howie was in surgery in 1993, I fasted and prayed through Scripture for him and God gave me the peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:6,7).  I also learned the secret of “pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17), carrying on a private conversation with God throughout the day.
    After seeing the awesome results of prayer for Howie’s surgery, God prompted me to start an email prayer ministry.  In the fall of 1994, I began a Prayer Loop, an email support group of people committed to praying for one another.  This loop of “prayer warriors” now includes people from 25 states and 2 foreign countries.  The members have grown in faith as they’ve seen God do amazing things in response to their prayers.


In our trials and weakness, God was teaching Howie and me that the most effective way to engage in spiritual warfare was to fight behind the scenes on our knees.  In the passage on the armor of God, Paul ended, “With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).  God has designated prayer to be the weapon that will foil the plans of the enemy.  As one has wisely said, “Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”
    Prayer is a very powerful spiritual weapon that is seldom effectively used.  We must be willing to admit our weaknesses and trust in God before we can see His power displayed through us.  When we humble ourselves in prayer, the Lord lifts us up and uses us to accomplish His will.

Keep in mind these prayer proverbs:

  • We are never so high as when we are on our knees.
  • The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.
  • The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.
Prayer is too simple, too obvious a duty, to need definition.  Necessity gives being and shape to prayer.  Its importance is so absolute that the Christian soldier’s life, in all the breadth and intensity of it, should be one of prayer.  The entire life of a Christian soldier—its being, intention, implication, and action—are all dependent on its being a life of prayer.  Without prayer—no matter what else he has—the Christian soldier’s life will be feeble and ineffective.  Without prayer, he is an easy prey for his spiritual enemies....
    How, then, can the Christian soldier hope or dream of victory, unless he be fortified by its power?  How can he fail if in addition to putting on the armor of God he is, at all times and seasons, “watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18)?
        —E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer

For Those Who Hurt

You may be feeling weak and inadequate right now, thinking God could not possibly use you.  But He can in the most awesome way imaginable if you become mighty in prayer.  Fight the good fight of faith on your knees and see God move mountains of difficulty and cause the enemy to flee.  As God’s Word says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).


 


 

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Chapter 15: God’s Special Forces Table of Contents Chapter 17: Developing a Biblical Mind