Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 32: With spiritual labor comes spiritual warfare

As for the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so they built. And he who sounded the trumpet was by me. And I said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, far from one another. Therefore wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, go there to us; our God shall fight for us.” So we labored in the work, and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. Likewise at the same time I said to the people, “Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard for us, and labor during the day.” (Neh. 4:18-22)

Every worker on Nehemiah’s project was also a warrior. They labored carrying weapons, and when their construction shift was finished, they became part of the standing armed guard. Nehemiah gives the additional detail that they didn’t even take their clothes off except to wash them.

Fortunately, in our society it’s not necessary to have a regiment of paratroopers on a construction site. Still, whenever God has his people engaged in some “great work,” we need to be active and vigilant in prayer. The one who labors must be ready for spiritual battle, even while working. Some who aren’t engaged in the active work of construction at the moment will form a special corps of warriors who will stand guard over the city of God in prayer. But all must pray without ceasing!

Keep us on our posts, O Lord. Make us faithful sentries – never asleep while on guard in prayer. Show us by the Spirit what needs to be covered in prayer. Raise up intercession; raise up intercessors. And even while we are in the midst of our labors, let us keep our sword of prayer, the sword of the Spirit, close at hand.

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