If you are familiar with any of John Piper’s work you know that he speaks highly and seriously of prayer, in Let the Nations be Glad he says what is paraphrased below-
Prayer is meant to be a wartime walkie-talkie used to call in air support, but too many of us use it as an intercom to call more room service from the den.
Paraphrased as it may be, this is very true to all of our lives. We don’t ask much of God at all, and because of that, we think we are doing Him a favor. But God gave us His Son because we are unable to do good without Him. As this is true, we should ask Him for help in everything and live as if we are in a battle. Why else would there be so much military lingo in the Bible in regards to the Christian life (Eph. 6:10-20; 2 Tim. 2:1-4; 4:6-7 and others)?
Carrying it farther
But I would like to take Piper’s metaphor one step farther (if I’m even allowed to add to such a great work!). Look at the military. A ground force is advancing on an enemy target, but have been caught up and trapped behind some rocks. To advance would mean death, and a failed mission; to retreat would mean shame and ground lost. So what do they do?
This is where the air support comes in. The ground force takes cover behind the rocks as they frantically call in the bombers so that they may advance well. The air support comes in, and now the troops have a decision to make.
Advance, or wait…
The ground team has an option to advance where the air support has cleared a path… do they take it? Won’t this be risky? Will some of us die? If they wait, they may call in more air support. This can be good- as it will possibly kill more of the enemy- but it can also be bad- as the land they wish to take may be wasted by the incoming bombs, and the enemy may come from their rocks to find more cover amongst the upturned ground that used to be the battlefield.
So they advance. After calling in the air support, seeing its affect on the battlefield and the enemy, and waiting for some dust to clear… they emerge and quickly destroy all opposition as they take more and more ground.
Do you see?
If Piper is right, and prayer is meant to be used as a walkie-talkie calling in air support, then we need to have the attitude of those soldiers. We need to be willing to advance, even if it doesn’t always seem to be the right moment. Things may go wrong, men may be lost, but the Gospel advances, and that is what the air support was for.
We must remember to call the air support in, trust that it did its job, and be willing to advance based off of the hope that we have in our God.