III. THE POSITION OF GOD’S ENEMY
We shall now look at the position of God’s enemy. Speaking of the spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6 tells us that God’s enemy, the power of darkness, is in the air. Both in Ephesians and Colossians there are several places which tell us that the rulers and the authorities are in the air. So the position of God’s enemy is in the air. On the other hand, the Bible also shows us that the sphere of the activities of God’s enemy is on earth. Satan usurps the air as his dwelling place and controls the earth as the sphere of his activities. So the Lord Jesus wants us to pray that God’s kingdom may come and that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. The whole earth today, on the one hand, is under God’s rule. But on the other hand, if you observe the situation everywhere, you will sense that no one cares for God’s will and God’s authority, for the whole earth has been usurped by Satan.
If you can visualize the situation, you will see that God is in the heavens, Satan is in the air, and man is on the earth. The entire earth is under the control of the air, and man is under the control of Satan. Daniel chapter ten reveals that as Daniel prayed earnestly and set his heart to understand, God sent a messenger from the heavens telling him that his prayers were heard. The angel encountered the prince of Persia in the air and was not able to get through. The fighting lasted three weeks. Eventually Michael came to help the angel, who was then able to get through the air and come to Daniel on the earth. Such passages in the Bible make known to us the spiritual things in the universe. Satan usurps the air and controls the earth. If Hades, which is underneath the earth, is added, then three out of the four places in the universe are held in Satan’s hands. Only the heaven is left for God. Such is the position of Satan.
IV. THE POSITION OF PRAYER
The position of prayer is the position of ascension. All who do not pray from the position of ascension fall under the control of Satan. Genuine prayers are always uttered in the heavenly realm. Mrs. Penn-Lewis once said that one must first see clearly the position of ascension in Ephesians 2 in order to have the fighting prayers in Ephesians 6. Once you fall to the earth you are under Satan’s hand, and you will not be able to deal with him. Daniel’s prayer was, on the one hand, on earth, and on the other hand, in the heavenly realm. His condition and nature were entirely heavenly, so his prayer was able to deal with the enemy.
Take the example of a family where both the husband and the wife are saved ones. One day, however, the husband and wife quarrel with one another. Being unable to settle the dispute between themselves, both come to the responsible brothers to present their accusations. The husband says how much the sister is giving him a difficult time, and the wife says how much the brother wrongs her. Upon hearing the case, some immediately say, “This sister is unreasonable! She is altogether out of line. She doesn’t have her head covered, nor does she stand in her position.” But some who stand on the sister’s side say, “That brother is unreasonable. How can he be so unsympathetic and inconsiderate?” May I ask you, when a brother and sister quarrel in this way, are they in the heavens, on the earth, or in the air? I believe we all know that by quarreling everyone invariably tumbles down from heaven. Maybe a week ago we were praising God, saying, “We have been seated together with Christ in the heavenlies, hallelujah!” But before we have sung hallelujah for very long, we all tumble down from heaven. We all are on the earth. And not only so, even those who have heard this brother and sister’s case also become involved and fall from the ascended position. Some fall to the earth together with the sister, and others fall with the brother. Those in defense of the sister and those in defense of the brother all come to pray. Those who take the side of the sister go before God saying, “Lord, see how unbecoming that brother is. We cannot imagine that one who serves You can be such.” And those who take the side of the brother also pray, saying, “Lord, what shall we do? If even such a sister who serves You behaves like this, henceforth, how can the church help the sisters?” Let me ask you, what are these prayers? If you would allow me such an expression, I would say that this is a prayer of rolling on the ground. It is a prayer of the blood and of the flesh. Blood and flesh are earthly, so these are prayers of the earth.
You must be an ascended one in order to pray for others. If you are stirred by a particular matter and act in your flesh, you fall from the heaven to the earth and cannot pray. You cannot pray for those things until the Lord shows His mercy, and you recover your ascended position. One who is unable to pray surely is on the earth. When others quarrel and you become involved in it, you lose your position to pray. Under such circumstances, you have no way to deal with God’s enemy.
After reading Daniel’s prayer, you must admit that he was really one who had ascended to the heavens, entered the Holy of Holies, and touched the throne. Although he was one who lived on earth, he lived in the realm of the heavenlies. Therefore, his prayer was powerful, being able to solve the problems of God’s people on the earth.
This is the principle of prayer, not only when we pray for big things such as God’s will and God’s work, but even when we pray for ourselves—our health, our family, and our business. Always keep in mind that Satan’s position is in the air. Therefore, if we pray on the earth, we will be under his control. But if we move to the heavens and pray, we pray down from above. In military strategy, this is to observe and control the situation below by occupying the high ground. This is exactly like the prayers in Revelation 8. As far as fragrance is concerned, the prayers ascended to God; but as far as God’s accomplishment is concerned, the prayers were prayed down from heaven. They were poured down from heaven, because they were all uttered in the heavenly realm. Concerning God’s acceptance, our prayers should be like sweet-smelling incense ascending to the throne; but with regard to the dealing with the enemy, our prayers should be poured down from the throne. All true men of prayer are seated together with Christ in the heavenlies and pray from the throne.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)