Beating the Enemy at His Own Game

A few weeks ago, I had a foreboding feeling that the enemy would attack either my friends or myself.  Some girlfriends from church and I planned on going to a weekend women’s retreat (that’s actually where I wrote a bulk of today’s content). 

If I’ve learned anything from my walk with God over the last few years, it’s that the enemy is just as determined as my God to capture my attention.  We can be certain that if our intent is to spend time in fellowship with God, the enemy would assuredly want to keep us from that sacred time.

I thought about emailing my girlfriends a few days before the getaway: “Beware!  The enemy will get in your head and try to be present in your circumstances.  Do not fall for it! He wants to keep you from going on the retreat as much as the Lord yearns to have you there. Pay close attention to how the enemy tries to get to you through your family.  He loves using what’s most dear to us to accomplish his wicked schemes.”

I never got around to sharing the proactive reminder, but the message still got told as, one by one, friends experienced obstacles, potentially preventing their attendance.  Each time I shared the advice I wished I had shared just days before.

I wasn’t immune to attacks, either.  My youngest called a few minutes after I left: she had a splinter and wanted me to come home to take care of it.  I didn’t, nor did I go home after each of the ten or so times she called throughout the weekend.  She was ok!

The enemy will do anything in his power to keep us from being with the one who created us.  He actually takes delight in it.  So, knowing this, we can be on the offensive and recognize when he is more prone to attack. 

Got a mission trip planned? Gear up. 

Going to a bible study on Wednesday?  Hold your hats. 

Driving to church on Sunday?  Young families, ever notice how getting out the door on Sunday is hardly ever the highlight of your week?  Even if you successfully make it to worship, how present are you, really? If you are stressed from the fighting, distracted from the nagging, and unsettled from the rushing…you’re probably not very present at all.  I wasn’t in that season.

The enemy is unrelenting, but so is our Lord, and He is so much greater than anything the enemy can try to throw our way.  

That said, I do get it.  Real life happens.  For better or for worse, valid reasons come up and our plans have to adapt accordingly.  This is not about those circumstances.

Before I wrap up today, I want to leave you with a quick story of when God provided in the midst of the enemy’s schemes.  

A few years ago, I was away on a mission trip.  I lived in PA, but my mom was back at her home on Long Island with my kids.  While I was away, one of my daughters came down with pneumonia.  No one would have blamed me in the slightest if I packed up and went home. In fact, some may have even judged me for staying…but here’s the thing: the Lord already knew about her sickness when He placed it on my heart to go on the trip.  

My mom masterfully cared for me when I was a sick child, and no one else could have given my own daughter better care than the woman who raised me. Not only that, but there was another woman who also felt led to go on the mission trip: my daughter’s pediatrician was away with me! 

She walked my mom through all the things and even instructed urgent care on how to treat her. When my mom was back home with my daughter, our pediatrician walked her through how to do the nebulizer treatments.

Can you imagine?!  My daughter responded to the treatment by the time I arrived home, and I was grateful for the time away with God.  I was in awe over how He provided! I was also keenly aware of how if I had left early, I would have missed the opportunity for God to show his faithfulness.  Not only that, but I would have handed the enemy what he wanted right on a silver platter. 


Father God, Fill me with your Spirit so I may more easily discern when the enemy is attacking.  Help me to remember that battles between myself and my loved ones are actually battles with the enemy itself. Although I know Satan would like nothing more than for me to believe otherwise.  I must not forget that you supply my every provision, and I will have everything I need in every circumstance.  Do not allow well-laid out schemes prevent me from spending time with you or in the fellowship of other believers. 

In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,


Does Praying Matter?

Did you ever wonder if praying actually makes a difference?  What about when it “doesn’t work”?  Or what about if God already knows what will happen?  Should we still bother? Our reactions to these questions will really depend on what and how we think about prayer.  

If we think that prayer is a mechanism by which we negotiate some sort of favorable outcome with our God, we would be sorely mistaken and misguided. Such a transactional mentality is what will keep us from really embracing prayer for what it is: an opportunity to communicate and be in a personal relationship with the one true God.  

Kings on this side of eternity are hard to pin down.  Someone interested in doing so typically has to seek an audience.  By contrast, our heavenly King is always accessible and lovingly welcomes us into His presence.  Like being still, not only is praying something we should do, but it is also a biblical imperative:

Pray without ceasing. 

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 

1 Peter 5:7 

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.   

Luke 18:1

Just google “pray without ceasing” and see how many other references come up in scripture! 

But doesn’t God already know everything about me?  Of course…but He wants you to go to Him and tell Him what’s on your mind.  Your struggles. Your triumphs.  All of it! 

But doesn’t God already know what will happen?  Yup.  He also wants His children to take a posture of humility and come to Him when they need help with something.  Sometimes it’s more about the submission than it is about the prayer itself.  

But does He hear me even when it doesn’t feel like it or when He is so busy with everyone else’s prayers?  You betchya!  Our omniscient God hears every prayer we lay before His throne.  Sometimes it’s more about cultivating patience in us than it is about answering the prayer itself.  

Friends, time spent in the presence of the Lord is NEVER wasted.  He gives us exactly what we need. He undoubtedly provides what we would also ask for if we already knew what he knows.  He loves us far too much to bend to our every inclination.  Do you give your children everything they ask for at the time they ask for it? 

Communicating with God is NEVER a waste of time, and we can communicate with Him for so many other reasons than when we need something from Him.  When we pray…

  • If we experience a perspective shift, that is time well spent.
  • If we discern a bit more of what God would have us do with our lives, that is time well spent. 
  • If we surrender more today than we did yesterday, that is time well spent. 
  • If we ask for or receive forgiveness, that is time well spent. 
  • If we give thanks for anything, no matter how trivial, that is time well spent.
  • If we cast our fears upon the Lord, that is time well spent.  
  • If we humble ourselves in response to God’s almighty power, that is time well spent.  
  • If we recognize something within us that needs refining, that is time well spent. 
  • If we shout out to the Lord in frustration and anger, that is time well spent. 
  • If we get to know Him, even slightly more intimately, that is time well spent.  
  • If a temptation was kept at bay for just one more day, that is time well spent.
  • If someone’s life is changed, that is time well spent.
  • If someone’s eternity is redirected, that is time well spent. 
  • If we simply rest in the presence of our God, that is time well spent, indeed.

Praying always matters and is never a waste of time!


Father God,  THANK YOU for the gift of prayer and for giving me a way to communicate with you at any time.  I’m ashamed to admit that I often take unfettered access to you for granted.  Please allow your spirit to work within me so that YOU are the first turn I take when I’m elated or anxious, sorrowed or blessed.  I want to start and end my days in communication with you and incorporate prayer into all aspects of my life.  Allow prayer to become a part of my day’s rhythm.  

In Jesus’ Holy and Precious Name,


Be Still Series: Living it Out

Yesterday was Christmas, as I am writing this, and we had a relaxing day, just the five us us at home. Yet, so much goes into the day ahead of time, I can’t help but feel that a good, soulful rest is in order.

In this brief season between Christmas and New Year’s I’m going to follow my own advice. How hypocritical would it be if I wrote about being still if I did not also live it out?! Thank you for extending some grace while I, myself, rest and re-focus this week!

Although I am leaving you with very little content today, in many ways it’s all that you need: God’s own Words. Here are some verses to pray over which reinforce the biblical imperative to be still:

Be still, and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Exodus 14:14

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:7

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.

Psalm 23:1-2

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:9-10

Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!

1 Samuel 12:16

The Lord continues to do remarkable things, just as He did in the time of Samuel. Awe-inspiring works in those around us and in you. Follow me this week in being still and let’s see what divine works we can notice! What may He change or soften in us?!

As as a closing devotional, here is a Jesus Calling reading from this week which seems to be especially relevant to the Be Still Series:

I AM PREPARING YOU for what is on the road ahead…Take time to be still in My Presence so that I can strengthen you. The busier you become, the more you need this time apart with Me. So many people… live and work in their own strength–until that becomes depleted. Then they either cry out to Me for help or turn away in bitterness.

How Much better it is to walk close to Me, depending on My strength and trusting Me in every situation. If you live in this way… Your unhurried pace of living will stand out… Some people may deem you lazy, but many more will be blessed by your peacefulness. Walk in the Light with Me, and you will reflect Me to the watching world.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, December 27