“Soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armor on. Strong in the strength, which God supplies through His eternal Son. Strong in the Lord of Hosts, and in His mighty power, who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.” (Charles Wesley, 1749)
How often we have sung this hymn in our churches? Do we know what it means? It is easy for Christians to talk about being “weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up), but do we ever take up arms with the authority given to us through Jesus Christ in God’s word? Honestly, I did not feel well prepared for this battle. After suffering through numerous battles, it has become obvious that the problem is the method of fighting in those battles—self-reliance instead of self-sacrifice and reliance on God alone. Over the course of the past 4 years, God has been teaching us to abandon these fruitless, energy-sapping ways. A breakthrough occurred as I read a book about 2 ½ years ago called Praying God’s Word. The idea expressed in this book calls us to pray back to God the words that He has given us in the Scriptures. The Lord has changed the focus of my prayers away from asking God for things than praising Him for Who He is. Fortunately, He is patient and kind and wants us to draw near to Him (James 4:8: Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded). Learning to pray Scripture has helped to place focus on His praise and to lean upon Him and His promises. He has been teaching us to desire Him above all other things. The same author has talked about craving spending time with God in prayer and in His word, which was a foreign concept to me. I began to ask God to help me to crave Him and His word above all other things. He is always faithful, gently holding my hand through this journey of learning.
In the past few months, the Holy Spirit has been working to change my focus. It has been a struggle to express this in such a way that God is glorified, and I desired that the focus of this story be on Him. Through the hand of God, I am not teaching at KICS this year and I am no longer directing the Peace Through Business® program here in Rwanda. I have been asking Him to make His path clear, and the response has continually been, “pray.” He has been leading me to pray and to call others to pray, especially our team here in Rwanda. Scriptures such as Jeremiah 18:11-12 are before us:
11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”
The words in these verses have pierced my heart! Our team began to commit to pray weekly, and we have been doing so for the past few weeks since that time. During this time period, we learned that our colleagues, Dave and Jana Jenkins, who answered God’s call to begin the work here at the school and church in 2005, were going to return to the US to help to strengthen the organization in which our group serves. This transition will likely be met with resistance from the enemy of our souls, as he seems to seize every opportunity to attack the Lord’s churches. We are thankful in the overriding knowledge that God has already won the victory in Jesus Christ (I John 4:4: You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world) and that our duty is to be still and to watch Him do the fighting (Exodus 14:14: The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still). It is tiring to be a soldier in this fight, even if we are standing still. It is hard being so far away from our families, but God has spent the last four years training us to trust that He knows what He is doing and that He knows why He is doing it.
I Corinthians 1:3-7, NIV:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
Please share with us, if you will, in praising God for His constant provision. Please pray for this time of transition, as the Jenkins will leave for the US at the end of May 2012. Please pray for them and pray for us as we seek God’s wisdom and direction for the work He established here in Rwanda. We greatly appreciate and rely on monetary donations, but we cannot survive without your daily, prayerful support. Thank you in advance for joining us in this fight that is not about flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:10-12: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms), praying for our protection and endurance through the One Who gave His life for us and for all the people of Rwanda. Pray that God is glorified in all that we do, and pray that many will come to know Jesus as Lord of their lives.
Written by Dr. Holly Hixson 10 October 2011
 Moore, Beth. Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds. 2009.