The Conflict

The Conflict


The prince of darkness and legion

Go forth in this world to win

The invaluable prize of the conflict

The immortal souls of men.


Heaven aligns its forces.

The battle lines are drawn.

Eternities hang in the balance.

In fury the war rages on.


Humanities blind to the conflict,

Though they the victor’s spoil;

Insensitive to the battle,

Due to lives of earthy toil.


Where are God’s gallant warriors,

Who wax valiant in the fight,

Who turn back the torrents of darkness,

Clad in the armor of light?


O Lord chasten your children.

In haste wield the rod.

Force to their knees your people

That they may rise and take hold of God.


Then God’s mighty princes

Who are destined to prevail

Will scale the citadels of evil

And snatch men from the clutches of hell.

Prayer List for the Lost

  • Pray that God will burden you for the lost souls He wants you to pray for.
  • Pray that the Gospel will be preached to the lost so that they can believe and be saved. (1 Corinthians 1:21)
  • Pray that God will speak to your heart concerning His elect so that you can partner with God in the elect’s salvation by praying for them the prayer of faith. (James 5:15; Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 3:9)
  • Pray and plead the blood of Jesus Christ over the lost so that the prince of this world will be cast out of their lives. (Luke 4:5-8; John 12:31; Revelation 5:1-10)
  • Pray that the redeemed of the Lord will say so and be saved by confessing the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 John 2:2; 2 Peter 2:1; Psalm 107:2; Romans 10:9-10)
  • Pray that the lost will receive Jesus Christ and be given by Him the power to become the children of God. (John 1:12)
  • Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers into His harvest, for the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. (Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2)
  • Pray that the Lord will daily add to the church such as should be saved. (Acts 2:47)
  • Pray that the Lord will send you or a fellow-laborer to preach to the lost so that the lost will be able to hear about Christ, believe in Him, call upon His name, and be saved. (Romans 10:13-15)
  • Pray that the Lord will daily lift up your eyes to see the fields that are white unto harvest so that you may be used by Him to gather fruit unto eternal life. (John 4:35-38)
  • Pray for those in authority so that we will have a quiet and peaceable society in which all men will have an opportunity to come unto the knowledge of the truth and be saved. ( 1 Timothy 2:1-4)
  • Pray for God’s angels to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation by sealing and safeguarding them until the day of their salvation. (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 7:1-8)
  • Pray for God to work His greatest miracle—THE MIRACLE OF SALVATION—on behalf of the lost. (Mark 10:26-27)
  • Pray that God will give the gift of faith to the lost. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Pray that faith will be born in the hearts of the lost as God speaks His Word directly and personally to them through the person of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 10:17)
  • Pray that the lost will not provoke God to anger by hardening their hearts on the day they hear His voice. (Psalm 95:7-8; Hebrews 3:7-8,15)
  • Pray that the lost will recognize the day they hear God’s voice as the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
  • Pray that God will grant repentance to the lost so that they may acknowledge the truth, escape from the snare of the devil, be converted, and have their sins blotted out. (Acts 3:19, 5:31, 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25-26)
  • Pray that God will give the gift of tears to the lost by breaking their sinful hearts with godly sorrow, which alone produces repentance to salvation not to be repented of. (Psalm 51:17; 2 Corinthians 7:8-11)
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict the lost of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (John 16:7-11)
  • Pray that God the Father will draw the lost to Christ. (John 6:44, 65)
  • Pray that God’s Spirit will not cease to strive with the lost. (Genesis 6:3; Romans 1:24, 26, 28)
  • Pray that the lost will not commit the unpardonable sin by hardening their hearts and becoming calloused to the conviction of the Holy Spirit; God’s final call to lost humanity. (Matthew 12:31-32)
  • Pray that God’s commandment: “Let there be light,” will be spoken in the darkened and veiled hearts of the lost so that they will see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Genesis 1:1-3; Ephesians 4:18; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16)
  • Pray that the lost will receive the Gospel by a divine revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
  • Pray that God the Father will reveal to the lost that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:13-17)
  • Pray that the lost will be enlightened and enabled by the Holy Spirit to confess: “Jesus is Lord.” (1 Corinthians 12:3)
  • Pray that Christ will be lifted up to the lost so that He can draw them unto Himself. (John 12:32)
  • Pray that the lost will come to their senses, even if it takes the pigeon to bring them to themselves. (Luke 15:11-24)
  • Pray that God will bind the strongman and spoil his goods by stripping him of his armor and pulling down his strongholds in the lives of the lost. (Matthew 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21-22; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Matthew 16:13-19, 18:18-20)

Covenant Prayer

In Matthew 16:13-19 and 18:18-20, our Lord gives us God’s battle plan for pulling down strongholds, for binding the strongman, and for seizing spiritual spoils. The prayer strategy Christ provides for despoiling the devil and stripping lost souls from his clutches involves binding and loosing. Contrary to the teachings of Roman Catholicism, the power to “bind on earth” what is “bound in heaven” and to “loose on earth” what is “loosed in heaven” was not given exclusively to Peter. Instead, as these two passages show, Christ gave the power to bind and loose to all of His disciples.

When it comes to the power to bind and loose, it goes without saying that we will never be able to bind anything on earth not bound in heaven or to loose anything on earth not loosed in heaven. We can no more step outside of God’s will or strip sovereignty from His hand in this area of binding and loosing than we can in any other area. To step out from under the authority of heaven by attempting to do anything Christ has not commanded or commissioned us to do is to doom our best efforts to futility. Nowhere is this more true than in our supplication for lost souls.

The all important question in this critical matter is how we can know what is bound and loosed in heaven in order to pray accordingly upon the earth. According to Jesus, this is accomplished through covenant prayer. Covenant prayer occurs when believers “gather together” in the name and presence of Christ. As they pray, Christ will reveal His will to “two” or more believers. Afterward, these believers, having been brought to agreement in regards to the divine will by divine revelation, can covenant together in praying for God’s will to be done. Once they do, Christ promises their prayer will be answered.

Prayer meetings for lost souls should be held in the name and presence of Christ. In these meetings, we should seek divine revelation as to the Satanic strongholds in the lives of the lost for whom we are burdened to pray. Once Christ reveals to two or more of us the particular stronghold keeping some lost soul from coming to a true knowledge of God, we can covenant together in prayer for the pulling down of that stronghold. Afterward, we can rest assured that the strongman has been bound and the lost loosed to come to Christ for salvation.

This matter of binding and loosing, of pulling down strongholds, and of bringing men to obedience to Christ, should never be undertaken by the fainthearted. All who drop to their knees in this struggle for men’s souls will find themselves fiercely assaulted and assailed by the adversary. Nothing provokes Apollyon more than the audacity of small bands of prayer warriors invading his territory to spoil his goods—the lost souls of men.

Sample Prayer:

I praise you Lord Jesus for destroying the works of the devil. I thank you for giving to your church the power to bind and loose. As one possessing this extraordinary power, I ask you to bind the strongman and spoil his goods by stripping him of his armor and pulling down his strongholds in the lives of the lost for who I am burdened to pray. I also pray that the lost who are loosed by your binding of the strongman will be brought into such obedience to Christ as to prevent the devil from ever regaining any place in their lives. Amen.


What is a stronghold? In biblical times, strongholds were fortresses erected for men’s protection and defense. Spiritual strongholds, like the ones referred to by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:4, are demonic fortresses erected by Satan in the lives of people for his protection and defense. Hidden in their strongholds, the devil and his demons are able to keep themselves securely entrenched in people’s lives.

In Ephesians 4:27, Paul gives us this solemn warning: “Don’t give place to the devil.” Unlike most people today, Paul understood that Satan’s strongholds begin with simple footholds. All the enemy initially requires is a little room in our lives to begin his operations. Once given a little elbow room, the enemy quickly proceeds from there to a full-fledged hostile takeover of our lives. The next thing we know, Satan has erected a stronghold and our only hope of deliverance is divine intervention.

Perhaps, the most famous biblical example of a stronghold is Jericho (Joshua 5:13-6:27). This enemy stronghold stood between the people of God and God’s will for their lives; namely, the conquest and possession of Canaan. It had to be overcome, even though overcoming it was humanly impossible. Its walls could not be dug under, tunneled through, or climbed over. Israel’s only hope of victory was divine intervention, for only God could pull down the walls of Jericho.

Many of your lost loved ones and friends have spiritual Jerichos in their lives. These strongholds of the enemy are keeping them from knowing God. Though it is humanly impossible to demolish these spiritual strongholds, they must be brought down; otherwise, there is no hope of your lost family and friends ever coming to know God and His will for their lives. The demolishing of these strongholds requires God’s miraculous intervention and our fervent intercession.

It was Samuel Chadwick who said, “The devil laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” It is no laughing matter to Satan when the saints bow their heads and bend their knees on behalf of lost souls. Therefore, all prayer warriors volunteering for front line service in the war for men’s souls should expect the fiercest fighting. The hoards of hell are not about to stand idly by while we drop to our knees in a strategic offensive designed to demolish demonic strongholds in the lives of the lost. Instead, they will counterattack with a ferociousness that only prayerful importunity can prevail against. Are you up to the fight?

Binding the Strong Man

In Luke 11:14-20, Jesus cast a demon out of a dumb person. Afterward, the mute spoke and the people marveled. To counter the wonderment of the people, some accused Christ of “casting out devils through Beelzebub the chief of devils.” Dismissing their accusation as ludicrous—“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against [itself] falleth.”—Jesus claimed that His casting out of demons “with the finger of God” was actually proof that “the kingdom of God” had come.

Jesus continued to speak of the demonic in Luke 11:21-22. Here, He compares demons to heavily armed strongmen. According to Jesus, demonic powers will never give up their “palaces” and “goods” until someone stronger comes along and strips them of their “armor.” Only then can the goods of strongmen be taken and the spoils divided.

Jesus Christ is stronger than demons (1 John 4:4). He came into this world to strip devils of their armor and to spoil their goods. This is why the Apostle John wrote, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Christ’s whole ministry consisted of displacing, defeating, and dispossessing the devil.

In Matthew 12:29, Jesus asked, “How can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?” Satan claims lost souls as “his goods.” Therefore, we can’t “spoil his goods” until we first “bind” him in the lives of the lost. Only then can Satan be despoiled and lost souls stripped from his hands.

The Apostle Paul taught us the absolute necessity of spiritual warfare in bringing men “to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). According to him, this struggle for men’s souls could not be won “in the flesh” or with carnal weapons. Instead, it had to be fought in the Spirit and with “mighty” weapons given to us by God. Only then can we pull “down strong holds,” cast “down imaginations,” and demolish false arguments that keep men from “the knowledge of God.”

If our prayers for the lost are to become effectual, it is imperative that we come to understand that winning lost souls is not a simple matter of a well-rehearsed gospel presentation or a well-chosen outreach program for our church. It is a matter of spiritual warfare. Prayer is a “mighty” weapon from God to be wielded by us in bringing men “into captivity…to the obedience of Christ.” Although all prayer might be characterized as spiritual warfare, no prayer is more so than a prayer prayed for the salvation of a lost soul.

“I think there is no greater labor than that of prayer to God. For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies, the demons, want to prevent him, for they know that it is only by turning him from prayer that they can hinder his journey. Whatever good work a man undertakes, if he perseveres in it, he will attain rest. But prayer is warfare to the last breath.” (Abba Agathon – Sayings of the Desert Fathers)

Praying for Prodigals

The fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke is all about lost things. Jesus tells a parable about a lost sheep (vs. 3-7), a parable about a lost coin (vs. 8-10), and a parable about a lost boy (vs. 11-24). This is the only time Jesus used three consecutive parables to emphasize a single point. The point, therefore, must be extremely important. What is it? Is it not that what really matters to God is the lost?

Along with stressing the importance of the lost to God, Jesus also insinuates in these three parables that all lost people are not the same. While all lost people are equally lost, some are like the lost sheep, some are like the lost coin, and some are like the prodigal son.

Sheep get lost because of their own carelessness. They get their eyes on a clump of grass here and a clump of grass there. The next thing you know they’ve wandered off from the flock and are lost. A lot of people are lost because of their own carelessness. They’ve been careless all of their lives about the things of God. They’ve had their eyes on a clump of worldly pleasure here and a clump of worldly possessions there. Their obsession with worldly things has resulted in their carelessness about spiritual things.

The lost coin, unlike the lost sheep, was not lost because of its own carelessness, but because of the carelessness of another. If the woman had not been careless with it, she would have never lost it. Some people are like this lost coin; that is, they’re lost because of the carelessness of others. Maybe it was the carelessness of their parents who failed to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Maybe it is the carelessness of a Christian friend who has failed to pray for them and witness to them. Or maybe it is the carelessness of a nearby church in reaching out to its community.

When we get to the lost boy, we’re talking about a horse of a different color. He wasn’t lost because of carelessness, but because of callousness. The prodigal son represents the hard-core lost souls of our world; that is, those who live their lives with a clinched fist in the face of God. They demand from God their due—health, wealth, and happiness—but insist upon living their lives as though God were nonexistent.

Prodigals live riotously in this world with no thought of the Heavenly Father until their riotous living leads them to ruin. It is only when they hit rock bottom—sitting there peering at the slop in the trough of the devil’s pig pen—that there is any hope of a prodigal coming to himself or herself and turning to God.

Many a time I’ve been asked by a loving parent to pray that God would spare their prodigal son or daughter from the pig pen. However, the Father in Christ’s parable never intervened to keep the prodigal from the pig pen. He knew it was the prodigal’s only hope of coming to his senses and repenting of his sins. In light of this, shouldn’t we pray prodigals into the pig pen rather than attempting to pray them out of it? Otherwise, they’ll never suffer the full consequences of their spiritual callousness, have any incentive to repent of their sin, or ever come to their senses and the Father’s house.

Sample Prayer:

I praise you my Heavenly Father for welcoming a sinner like me into your family with open arms. I pray now on behalf of the prodigal souls for whom you have burdened me to pray. I ask you to bring them to their senses, no matter what it takes, so that they will come to Christ in confession of their sins against heaven. Amen.

Lifting Up Jesus

In John 3:14-15, Jesus said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

The Hebrews had been bitten by poisonous serpents. The serpent bites were proving fatal. However, God provided salvation from the serpent bites. That which saved, the brazen serpent, was made into the form of that which wounded, the fiery serpents. Yet, the brazen serpent, unlike the fiery serpents, had no venom. Once lifted up on a pole by Moses, all who looked upon the brazen serpent in faith were saved.

Mankind has been bit by a serpent (the devil). The serpent bite (sin) suffered by our original parents in the Garden of Eden has proven to be lethal to the whole human race (Romans 6:23). God, however, has provided a remedy. He came into the world in the form of a man so that He could die for our sins on the cross of Calvary. Yet, Christ, the God-man, unlike all other men, was without sin. Now that Christ has been lifted up on the cross, all who look to Him in faith are saved.

In John 12:20-22, some Greeks entreat Philip, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” Unaccustomed to such a request—wanting to “see Jesus” rather than receive something from Him—Philip appears uncertain about what to do. Thus, he goes to Andrew, who together with Philip report the Greeks’ unusual request to Jesus. In response, Jesus speaks about His impending death upon the cross (John 12:23-27).

Why, in response to being informed of the Greeks’ desire to see Him, does our Savior speak of His death on the cross? Is it not because the only place where anyone will ever truly see Jesus is on the cross? No wonder Jesus went on to say, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Until Christ was lifted up on the cross, men could neither see Him as the Savior of the world nor be drawn to Him for salvation.

The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear to the Galatians that his whole purpose in preaching the gospel in Galatia had been to “evidently set forth” before their eyes the crucified Christ (Galatians 3:1). Wherever Paul preached, his aim was always the same, to lift up “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23; 2:1-5). Paul, unlike many a modern-day preacher, understood that it is only through the preaching of the cross that men come to see Christ as their Savior and are drawn to Him for salvation.

Do you remember how those old-timers used to pray for God to hide the preacher behind the cross? They understood that the need of the lost was to see Christ upon the cross, not their preacher in the pulpit. Tragically, most of the contemporary church has lost total sight of this most significant truth, a fact proven by the array of things currently obscuring the cross from plain sight in modern-day churches. Making matters even worse is the growing number of present-day church goers and pastors who actually see the cross as an obstacle rather than the church’s great drawing power.

Sample Prayer:

I praise you O God, for you are high and lifted up. I thank you for lifting up your Son on the cross of Calvary so that all who believe in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. I pray that you will use me or a fellow-believer to lift up Jesus to the lost for whom I am burdened so that they may see Him as their Savior and be drawn to Him for their salvation. And may I never be ashamed of the message of the cross, which is the power of God unto salvation, nor of obstructing the cross from the plain view of others. Amen.

True Confessions

According to the Apostle Paul, “No man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). That the Spirit’s enabling is essential to one’s confession of Christ was brought home to the Apostle Paul in a most extraordinary way. As Paul taught the Galatians, the gospel he preached was not “taught” to him by man, but received “by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).

Jesus Christ revealed Himself to Paul on Damascus Road. When He did, Paul made a miraculous U-turn in his life. The great persecutor of the church became the great preacher of Christ. This former pupil of Gamaliel and valedictorian of rabbinical school became the great missionary apostle to the Gentile peoples of the world.

It took a revelation of Jesus Christ to reveal the truth of the gospel to the church’s chief persecutor. Furthermore, nothing else could have possibly transformed so notorious a sinner into such a champion of Christ. Believe it or not, it takes nothing less for the truth of the gospel to be revealed to your lost family and friends. They too must receive a revelation of Jesus Christ if they are to be miraculously transformed.

When Peter made his magnificent confession of Christ in Matthew 16:16, our Lord commended Him by saying, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (v. 17). Peter did not figure out Christ’s true identity for himself, nor was he taught it by some other man. Instead, he received it by divine revelation; God the “Father” revealed it to him.

In order for the lost to confess Christ as their Lord and Savior they must receive divine revelation. The truth of Christ must be revealed to them by God. Whereas men may know “Christ after the flesh” with the help of human tutelage (2 Corinthians 5:16), no one will ever see him as Savior and Lord apart from the enlightening and enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Sample Prayer:

I praise you Heavenly Father for revealing divine truth to ordinary men so you can transform them into your extraordinary servants. I ask you to grant divine revelation to all the lost for whom I am burdened so that they can confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. May the Holy Spirit through His enlightening of them enable them to confess Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Amen.

Let There be Light

According to the Apostle Paul, the “lost” are “blinded” by the “god of this world” to “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Contrary to popular opinion, it takes more than a gospel tract or a preacher’s three points and poem for unbelievers to see the truth of the gospel. In order for them to see “the glory of God in the face of Jesus,” it takes, as Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 4:6, God, “who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,” to shine His light in their dark hearts.

Although we may persistently and proficiently proclaim the gospel to the lost, they’ll never see its glorious light through the blind eyes of their unbelief. Their darkened hearts will never be illuminated with the light of the gospel until God speaks in their hearts His command: “Let there be light.” Only then will the Satanic shroud be lifted from their heart so that the glorious light of the gospel can shine in.

Before God commanded “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), “the earth was without form, and void” (Genesis 1:2). “Without form and void” could be translated “meaningless and empty.” Thus, the earth was meaningless, empty, and covered with darkness before the “Spirit of God” began moving “upon the face of the waters.” After the Spirit began to move, God commanded, “Let there be light,” and suddenly the darkness was dispelled and the earth was no longer meaningless and void.

To the darkened hearts of unbelievers, the glorious gospel of Christ is both meaningless and empty. It means nothing to them and holds nothing for them. However, when the Spirit of God begins to move on dark hearts and God speaks within them His command “Let there be light,” suddenly the darkness is dispelled by the light of the gospel and the gospel is no longer meaningless and empty. Blinded eyes are miraculously opened to behold for the first time “the glory of God in the face of Jesus.”

Sample Prayer:

I praise you Father of lights, in whom there is no darkness at all. I pray that your Spirit would begin to move upon the hearts of the lost for whom I am burdened to pray. I also pray that you would illuminate the dark hearts of the lost by speaking within their hearts your command: “Let there be light.” For only then will the Satanic shroud be lifted, the blind eyes of unbelief be opened, the glorious light of the gospel shine forth, spiritual darkness be dispelled, and sinners enabled to see your glory in the face of your Son, our Savior. Amen.

The Hound of Heaven

According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit has come into the world to convict us “of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:7-11). When it comes to convicting men of sin, the condemning evidence presented by the Holy Spirit is man’s unbelief. There is no greater proof of the sinfulness of man than his rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. All the proof needed of man’s dark-heartedness is provided by the torn and bloody figure of Christ on the cross of Calvary. What other explanation is there of history’s darkest deed than the indescribable wickedness of the human heart?

When it comes to convicting men of righteousness; that is, of their own attempts to make themselves right with God, the condemning evidence presented by the Holy Spirit is Christ’s Ascension to the Father. By resurrecting His Son from the dead and by exalting Him to His own right hand, God the Father showed that He was completely satisfied with the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work for our salvation. This serves as proof positive that there is no other way to be right with God apart from faith in the person and work of God’s resurrected and exalted Son.

When it comes to convicting the world of judgment, the condemning evidence presented by the Holy Spirit is the judgment of “the prince of this world.” Satan is already judged; he has been convicted and sentenced (John 12:31, Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). All that awaits him is the carrying out of his execution. His condemnation is settled and his fate sealed.

In John 3:18, Jesus says, “He that believeth on [me] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Notice, all unbelievers, just like Satan, are “condemned already.” Far from escaping God’s judgment, as many mistakenly believe, sinners are already under the judgment of God. All that awaits them is the carrying out of God’s sentence against them, which could occur at any moment.

In the title of his famous poem, Francis Thompson dubbed the Holy Spirit “the Hound of Heaven.” The poem tells of how Thompson was pursued in his life by the Spirit until the Spirit finally drove him into the arms of God. This is the purpose for which the Holy Spirit dogs the heels of sinners. He came into the world to drive the lost into the arms of infinite love. He accomplishes His mission by “convicting the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

Sample Prayer:

O God, I pray that you will unleash the Hound of Heaven on the lost for whom I am burdened to pray. May He convict them of the guilt of their sin, of the filthy rags of their own righteousness, and of their urgent need of salvation under the ever-present possibility of eternal damnation to which they are already condemned. May the Holy Spirit dog their heels night and day until He drives them from their sin into the loving arms of the Savior. Amen.