Our friend Peter Puddlehead nods off at the end of the television movie. It’s late. Then he starts awake. ‘I’ve got to go to bed,’ he murmurs, yawning and smacking his lips. ‘Big day tomorrow.’
He puts on his pj’s, brushes his teeth and just as he’s anticipating crawling between the beckoning sheets of his bed, he remembers that he hasn’t prayed today. The bed draws him like drugs fascinate a heroin addict but Pete is convinced that spiritual disciplines are necessary for a solid Christian life. Plus he doesn’t want God mad at him so he kneels by his bed for a long period of prayer, five minutes at least.
‘Father, I come in the Name of Jesus’ he pillows his head on his arms as he prays, ‘”and I praise you and I ask you to ” Here his voice trails off as he slips into la, la land. A steady chorus of ‘snxxyrx, snarf, snooooore!’ provides background music.
There’s nothing unusual here because this is what usually happens when old Petey prays. Sometime in the night, he gets a bit cold and slips between the covers, never to think another conscious thought until the alarm shakes him back into this world at 6:30 a.m.
Tonight isn’t a usual night though. At 2:30 a.m. a bellowing voice finds him in his dreamworld and startles him awake. ‘Peter!’, ‘Wha..what? Who?” He rubs the sand out of his eyes and there before him is an ‘no, it can’t be!’ A seven foot angel stands beside his kneeling figure. ‘I didn’t do it! Let’s me alone,’ he stammered. What would you say if you woke up staring in the face of a seven foot angel? (I know you men are going to say, ‘I wake up to an angel each morning.’ You were going to say that weren’t you?)
But this one was real. The room filled with his radiance, the light that seemed to come from God’s throne. ‘Peter, I want to show you something,’ the angel boomed. He didn’t mean to be that loud but you can’t squeak or croon with a voice like his.
‘You know that situation at work that’s been causing you so many problems? Let me show you what’s going on.’ Suddenly the wall looked like a movie projection screen. Peter saw his workplace, his colleagues, and himself. Lately there had been a lot of conflict and frankly Peter was getting sick of it.
But on the screen it was as if he saw vague outlines of unseen forces, striving to ruin the unity of the work team. ‘If you had time to read you Bible, Peter, you would know that you are in a spiritual struggle as well as a natural one. The Lord told you through Paul,
‘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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.’
‘He said one of your greatest spiritual weapons was prayer.’ Peter shook his head dumbly. What could he do but agree? Would you disagree with a seven-foot angel?
‘God told you,
‘pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.’
‘Are you praying, Peter?’ ‘Well, I, yeah, uh, you know, I’m so busy with important stuff.’
‘Like the late movie that was on until 12:15?’ Ouch!
‘Peter, when you start your day reading God’s Word and praying, you’re not just doing your duty, you’re winning battles. You can change the world through prayer. Don’t you know that? Even the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, had to pray in Gethsemane in order to win the battle of the Cross. If He needed to pray, what about you?’
The weary fellow said nothing. What could he say? He just shook his head slowly and prayed, ‘Father, forgive me. Give me the heart of a prayer warrior.’
‘Briiiiiiiiiiiinnng!’ Peter awoke again and looked around. ‘Boy, I need to tell them to leave those onions off my hamburgers if I eat after 10 pm,’ he thought. Then he recalled his dream. But was it a dream?
Peter decided that by God’s help he was going to use this powerful weapon that God had given him. ‘Lord, teach me to pray and give me the strength and will to do it!’