Chapter 10: Praying against the Powers

In Chapter 10 we explore the fact that prayer itself is a spiritual battle. What does it mean to ‘pray against the powers’? How does prayer help us to overcome the evil strongholds in our own lives and in the lives of others?

Sermon accompanying chapter 10

Preached by Chris Band at Headington Baptist Church, Oxford on 21st March 2010
Download the study guide.

Questions

  1. To begin, ask group members to briefly share their understanding of the person of Satan and the demonic. Do they agree with Charles Hodge’s evaluation of the spiritual battle that we are in [pp.175-176]?
  2. Read the excerpt from C S Lewis [p.177]. How do the group’s opinions about the powers of evil influence their daily discipleship and inform their practice of prayer?
  3. Read Ephesians 6:10-20. What part does prayer have to play in being ‘strong in the Lord’ / in ‘standing against the devil’s schemes’? In what manner of ways are we urged to pray in v18?
  4. What importance does Paul give to prayer for the specific battle that he is facing as he writes the Epistle (Ephesians 6vv19-20)?
  5. Read the two stories on pp.178-180. Does the group agree that Christians can be significantly oppressed by the demonic? What insights do James 4:7 & 1 Peter 5:8-9 provide us with? Do group members have any personal experiences of spiritual oppression that can be shared sensitively and appropriately?
  6. Read Matthew 12:22-29. Jesus talks here about ‘binding the strong man’. What role might prayer have to play in this?
  7. Why might a purely individualistic approach to spiritual warfare be dangerous [p.187]?
  8. On p.184 S D Gordon is quoted as saying: “Prayer is striking the winning blow; service is merely gathering up the results.” Have the group received any fresh insights as to why prayer is so important for spiritual warfare and mission?
  9. Read Luke 10:17-20. How here does Jesus redirect the enthusiasm of the ‘seventy-two’ after their own experiences of exorcism and deliverance?
  10. To conclude, read the summary bullet points [p.188] and then pray for one-another.