For some people, it happened in high school. For others, it was a decision made in college. For some, it was a season spanning several months – or years. The circumstances are all unique, but one thing is the same in every case: It won’t let go.
[featured-image single_newwindow=”true” alt=”What do you pray when you are struggling with your past”]
I have been reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians a lot. I was reminded today how Paul’s call to “put on the full armor of God” isn’t only about general spiritual warfare.
What would happen if you and I put on each piece of armor and went to war against the specific past event, decision, or season that doesn’t want to let go?
For today, how about you and I go to war?
No commentary. Just prayer. (Something tells me that’s what you and I need anyhow.)
Armor Piece 1: The Right Mindset
Lord Jesus, Defeater of the devil, Conqueror of death and hell. Help me recognize this isn’t a battle against flesh and blood. This is a spiritual battle against the devil and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The devil has schemes and he is using them to try to convince me that my past defines me. Today, fill me with your Spirit, and help me stand firm, so that in the end, I may stand.
Armor Piece 2: The Belt of Truth
Help me Lord, to speak truth to myself about my past. I confess that I have sinned. I have made choices that don’t glorify You. And yet, these choices, patterns, seasons, and habits are not who I am. While I confess my sin, I profess that what You say about me is true. I am Your child. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I was bought with a price, the price of your precious blood on the cross. I am being sanctified day after day after day. You, Lord Jesus, are the Truth and what You say about me is true. May Your truth always ring truer and louder than Satan’s lies.
Armor Piece 3: The Breastplate of Righteousness
While I know that any of my righteous acts can do nothing to earn Your love or my salvation, I also know that what I do affects and protects my heart. As a breastplate protects a soldier’s heart, may You cultivate in me a desire to live a righteous life, protecting my heart and all that is at the center of who I am in You. May I forget what is behind and strive toward what is ahead, for that is what You have called me to in Christ Jesus.
Armor Piece 4: The Shoes of the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
Even in my imperfections and weaknesses, I am still Your image-bearer. I am Your ambassador. I am the light of the world and the salt of the earth. May my words, my attitudes, my transparency, my brokenness, my restoration, and my whole life be a declaration of Your gospel of peace. May I daily experience Your peace – even with my past – and may I offer Your peace to a world desperately longing for peace.
Armor Piece 5: The Shield of Faith
Faithful God, I trust You. I trust You with my past. I hold in front of me the Shield of Faith. I have faith that when You said I was forgiven, You actually forgave me. I have faith that when You said You have cast my sin as far as the East is from the West and You remember it no more, You actually did. I have faith in Your promise that You will never leave me and You will never forsake me. I have faith that nothing – including my past – will ever snatch me from Your hand or separate me from Your love. I have faith that You are good, and just, and merciful, and faithful.
Armor Piece 6: The Helmet of Salvation
Lord Jesus, as a helmet protects the head, may the salvation You have offered and I have accepted protect my mind. May every lie flee in the presence of Your truth. May the lie that my past sin is who I really am, be but a nearly-silent whisper compared the loud truth that my identity is that I am a chosen, righteous, holy, sanctified, re-born, accepted and adopted child of the King of All Creation.
Armor Piece 7: The Sword of the Spirit
Holy Spirit, You have graciously given me a weapon which allows me to attack, not simply resist. Place in me a hunger to not just read, but abide, in Your Word. The more I soak in the Bible, know it, believe it, internalize it, and remind myself of its truths, the more I will be able to combat the devil’s lies. He wants me to live in the past. Your Word tells me I have a hope and a future. He wants me to believe that my past mistakes are who I really am. Your Word assures me that I am a new creation. The old is gone. The new has come.
This day Lord, I pray You would help me boldly, humbly, confidently, and faithfully walk as the new creation that I am. My past does not define me. You do. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
[reminder]How have you prayed through, processed, or been freed from a past that doesn’t want to let go?[/reminder]