(May 10, 2021) Brian Bell shares a follow-up meditation…
Last month I shared a meditation about David (See David-and-his-Giants). In it I referred to David’s encounter with Goliath and suggested several ‘Spirit-filled’ characteristics which I believe David displayed but I did not elaborate on them in that article.
For several weeks now I found myself meditating on the Holy Spirit and I was drawn back to David’s encounter with Goliath and an emphasis on how the Holy Spirit enabled David. I will try to relate it to how the Holy Spirit enables us as believers in the ‘battleground’ of prayer.
The encounter is found in 1 Samuel 17: 38-47 and in verse 45 we find –
1. David came in the right name (v45: ‘…in the name of the Lord Almighty’)
I am sure some of you will be familiar with a Power of Attorney. It’s a legal document giving a person the authority to act on behalf of a nominated person – very often an elderly relative – but only in their best interests. This reminds me of the words of the Lord Jesus ‘whatever you ask in my name.’
This term ‘whatever’ is not an opportunity for me to come with a personal wish list of selfish requests (while I can bring personal needs in prayer), it is an opportunity to seek those things which are in the best interests of the Lord’s divine will and purpose and those persons or issues the Holy Spirit may lead me to pray for.
As David approached Goliath he did so with the authority of the sovereign Lord. If you are a believer can I encourage and remind you about this Power of Attorney which you have in the name of the Lord Jesus exercised through the Holy Spirit.
When we enter into prayer, whether personal or in company with others, I believe we are entering into a battleground. It doesn’t matter if you tend to be quiet or you are more outgoing and expressive; it doesn’t matter when we were saved or how; it doesn’t matter whether we may have a specific role even a leadership role in our church fellowship or simply count ourselves among the flock, through the Holy Spirit we can come to the Father in the name of Jesus, Jesus is the right name.
2. David came in the right attitude (v46NLT: ‘the Lord will conquer you’)
The important point for me is that David’s confidence was in the Lord’s enabling. David had past experience of the Lord’s enabling when he physically tackled lions or bears which had threatened his flock of sheep.
David was not intimidated by Goliath’s threats and with the eye of faith David was able to see Goliath as no more of a threat than these wild animals. It was David who offered to go against Goliath; it was David who chose the sling and stones; it was David going in the knowledge that it was the Lord’s battle.
I am reminded of the words of the apostle Paul: ‘I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.’ When we come in the attitude of prayer it is not in our asking; it is not in our posture; it is with confidence because as the writer of Hebrews reminds us ‘let us come boldly (with confidence) to the throne of our gracious God, there we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it.’
Don’t be worried about what to say or how to say it for ‘we don’t know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.’
Let me encourage you to sling your shot in prayer and be confident in the Lord.
3. David came with the right weapon (v47: ‘the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people’)
Goliath had sneered in contempt at David’s approach as he saw what he called ‘a stick’ but it was in fact the shepherd’s staff he carried.
I believe the staff David carried is significant, in Psalm 23 David says, ‘The Lord is my shepherd… …your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.’ The staff I believe we can say represented the Lord’s presence to protect and comfort David. For us as believers today, while he can’t be seen, The Shepherd (the Lord Jesus) is present with his people through the Holy Spirit, and he will protect and comfort us.
Paul shared with the Corinthian believers ‘we don’t wage war with human plans or weapons, we use God’s mighty weapon’ (See 2 Corinthians 10:4).
In the armour as set out in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, there is only one weapon, a sword, a type of God’s word… and when we come in prayer, I believe the Holy Spirit will enable us to use God’s word in prayer (Ephesians 6:10-14).
Have you not often in personal or corporate prayer known the Holy Spirit bring a verse of scripture to your mind or heard another believer speak a relevant word or read a scripture passage which may have encouraged you?
In English history, Mary Queen of Scots is reported to have said she feared the prayers of John Knox more than all the armies of England – now there was man who knew how to use a spiritual weapon effectively — something I can’t say I have mastered.
Paul writes to the Ephesians ‘pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Spirit, stay alert be persistent in your prayers.’ These words are what I would describe as a battleground strategy for believers and prayer is a vital weapon in our arsenal.
Even after many years as a believer I still feel I have so much to learn in this area and in our fellowship as we gather each week for prayer, I realise its purpose and need is as vital for us today as when Paul wrote those words.
4. David came as a good example (v52: ‘the Israelites gave a great shout of triumph… rushed after the Philistines)’
In verse 51 of the chapter we are told how after David felled Goliath with a sling shot, he took the giant’s sword and decapitated Goliath. In the context of that generation, I believe this was a way to be sure and demonstrate the enemy was fully defeated.
We find the result of David’s action – his example – as described in verse 52 above was that the Israelites were no longer afraid and with that shout of triumph rushed their enemies!
David’s Spirit-filled action rallied and gave heart to his previously despondent and very possibly disillusioned people and this has a relevant lesson for us as believers today.
Like many fellowships, our ‘home’ fellowship has been using the internet as a means to meet for prayer. A few weeks ago in our mid-week gathering, a young woman joined us from hospital. This young mother has been battling cancer and the side effects of treatment required hospital care. That evening she lifted her heart and voice to the Lord in prayer.
It was a Spirit anointed prayer not addressing her own very real need, but as she remembered the needs of others it brought a real blessing and encouragement to those who were there, some who are also under treatment for various cancers. She gave the right example which had the benefit to encourage others.
Most often when I ‘pen’ these little articles I am led to the words of a song. For me, songs may be used to good effect in our times of prayer as a source of encouragement.
Here are some words from the song Did you Think to Pray by American hymnwriter Mary A. Kidder (1876) – ‘O how praying rests the weary, prayer can change your night today, so when life seems dark and dreary, don’t forget to pray.’
Perhaps there are some who may read this article and you feel weary, maybe even disillusioned, the demands, cares, responsibilities and sicknesses of life can impact us to that degree. Perhaps some who feel a ‘dark night of the soul’ is on them and darkness clouds the way.
Let me encourage you to do as David did, face the enemy and remember…
- Come in the right name – the name of Jesus, our almighty friend.
- Come with the right attitude – remembering it is confidence in the Lord, which is important, not confidence in ourselves.
- Come taking up the right weapon – prayer, knowing we are in a spiritual battle.
- Come being the right example – asking the Holy Spirit to enable you to be an encourager and by your example to rally others who may be despondent, disillusioned or battle weary.
Brian Bell is a diaconate member, Christ Church (Congregational) Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland, and a volunteer with Disabled Christians Fellowship Ireland. He describes himself as ‘grateful for the privilege and opportunity given me to serve my Lord.’