And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Luke 22:31-32
The most glorious part of a spiritual ministry is when the minister can by constant prayer to the Father sustain those under his care, recognizing that whether they are saved or lost depends on the mantle of protection that he places upon them.
When God raises up a ministry on earth He does so with the specific purpose that the minister may present them at the coming of Jesus, as persons qualified for salvation, that no one be lost in the way. This purpose is the basis of operation upon which the Kingdom of God is developed on earth; we see it reflected in Jesus’ own words when in prayer to the Father He manifested,
6I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word… 9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine… 12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. John 17:6-12
Prayer has a spiritual purpose, it was given by the Father as a resource of life and strength, not as a means to “ask” the Father about the things we need to subsist. The first biblical teachings about the value of prayer are found in the book of Exodus, when Pharaoh recognized the authority of the Almighty God of the Hebrews; and he discovered for himself the spiritual cover that Moses and Aaron had over the people,
Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord. Exodus 8:8
And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me. Exodus 8:28
Intreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer. Exodus 9:28
Even Manasseh, the most apostate king of all time in Israel, discovered at the end of his days the spiritual value of being under a mantle of prayer,
and prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God. 2 Chronicles 33:13
Jesus knew Peter’s strengths and weaknesses, knew that by his natural impulsivity Peter might incur at some point in an action that would expose him to the risk of losing the ministry he had received from the Father.
The night when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, Jesus discovered to Peter that Satan, days before, had summoned him into heaven, and had demanded that Peter be subjected to a trial of faithfulness; and what had the most impact on Peter was that the Father had granted it.
We’ve known of these satanic summonses before. In the book of Job we read that Satan demanded that Job be tried in his perfection character, and God permitted it.
8And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:8-12
No matter how righteous and perfect a person may be, struggling alone in the face of any demand that Satan makes for him to be tempted, this person is exposed to perish spiritually; God keeps his soul in heaven, but on earth it becomes necessary for someone to hold him under a cloak of prayer so that he can continue his work; the clearest example we see is when Peter was taken to prison and weighed a death agreement upon him,
Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 6And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. Acts 12:5-7
In real life there are cases, many cases of people who have been exposed to satanic attacks, and have succumbed, and the reason for this is because they have had no one to intercede for them in prayer. So far we have seen prayer as a resource to “ask” for the necessary things, for the person, and even for the church, but not as a spiritual warfare resource to seize satanic jurisdiction over the lives of people in a region. A religious concept of prayer and its use has prevailed, and it is in our interest to dissolve it.
The main function of a minister is to keep in prayer those that God has given to his care, we discover it in the evidence that the apostle leaves us in most of his epistles,
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Romans 1:9
cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; Ephesians 1:16
always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, Philippians 1:4
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 2nd. Timothy 1:3
I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, Philemon 4
The apostle Paul formed and developed in the ministry a team of ministers with the same dedication for the Gospel, and with the same boldness for the Word as he manifested it from the day he made confession of faith for Jesus, they remained firm in the profession of faith until the end; the key to his significant projection was due to the cloak of prayer and spiritual coverage that he sustained on those who worked with him in the extension of the Kingdom with him.
What would have happened if Jesus hadn’t begged the father for Peter? Surely Peter would have been plunged into guilt and regret that he denied his Lord, whom he loved so much, and for whom he had left everything.
The revival of which we have heard preached in our day as a movement of the Spirit of God will not come until we understand the value of prayer and commit ourselves before God to hold under a cloak of prayer to whom the Lord has delegated us, either as a working team, or as members together with those who are part of the body of faith to which we belong. The apostle Paul made it a requirement to help widows that they be involved in a prayer ministry,
Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 1st. Timothy 5:5
The apostle exhorts the Lord’s church to be active in prayer for the very life of the church,
rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12:12
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1st. Corinthians 7:5
We must extend this life experience to entire countries. Pray for our rulers and for our regions,
Pray without ceasing. 1st. Thessalonians 5:17
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 1st. Timothy 2:1-3
We discover that the neglect of this exhortation has caused many of our countries to suffer from the violence caused by the establishment of darkness in governments.
And what about the absence of ministers according to the heart of God? We do not have them because we have not asked the Father for them.
pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:38
Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Luke 10:2
Do we want revival? Let us begin to pray, to pray to sustain spiritually the members of our congregations of faith; and to pray and cover in prayer those whom the Lord has given under our care. We must understand that we are keepers of our brethren,
And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? Genesis 4:9
And the answer to Cain’s question is: yes, we are my brother’s keeper, otherwise God would not have asked him about Abel his brother. Whoever succumbs to Satan is because he did not have a keeper to take care of him, and that is why he died.
All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.
Pastor Pedro Montoya