Bedtime has always been a battle around our house. Getting the kids in bed on time with their lunches packed, assignments signed and book bags ready for the next day has always been a struggle. But for the last month bedtime has taken on a more personal battle, a spiritual battle for Andrew.
It all started the first of December. For reasons I can not explain, Andrew began to have a battle in his mind and it was especially worse at bedtime. At first, Chris and I thought his “bad thoughts” were due to lack of sleep, but weeks went by and his thoughts were not getting better. Each night, Andrew’s prayers were getting longer and more specific. Andrew prayed “God, thank you for my family and thank you that you love me” and then a voice in his head would say “God doesn’t love you, your family doesn’t love you” etc. Chris and I would pray with Andrew together and separate and yet this pattern of lies verse truth invaded his mind-nonstop!
Andrew chooses to pray out loud so he can himself speak truth, but the bad thoughts continue. One night, Andrew was still awake two and a half hours after bedtime praying. All the while Chris and I were praying too!
It seems that Andrew’s fears far exceed his age. He has always been a sensitive child and sensitive to the plight of others. For example, his bathroom reading material is a World Watch List booklet by Open Doors about the persecuted Christians. While most boys would be reading car or sport magazines, Andrew chooses read about how to pray for Christians in highly persecuted countries. I call Andrew my little Nehemiah, because he has began to become a young leader and a young man of great prayer.
Night after night, the bad thoughts continued. One night I mentioned that praying is how we talk to God. But if we want to hear back from God we need to read his word. I suggested the next time he can not sleep, pray and read the bible. That night Andrew took my recommendation and found this comfort: “The righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:19 NIV)
Another night Andrew said he was worried God wouldn’t forgive him of his sins. With that insight, I researched what God does with our sin when we ask for forgiveness. Here is a snapshot of what God does with our sins:
Tramples on them and throws them into a sea. (Micah 7:17-18)
Washes us white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18)
Removes our sin as far as east is to the west. (Psalm 103:11-12)
If we confess, God is faithful to forgive. (1 John 1:9)
As believers our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Rev 20:11)
I also told Andrew that when we call upon the powerful name of Jesus Christ, the evil one must flee (James 4:7-8). I told Andrew that the evil one can not be in the same room when the name of Christ is being proclaimed. I also explained that when he asked God into his heart the Holy Spirit put a seal on him (2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:14) and as our Pastor says that seal states “Property of God Forever!”
Property of God Forever!
This was a break though realization for Andrew. I further explained that God is quick to forgive as soon as we confess. God doesn’t want us moping around the house, feeling guilty over mistakes. Pray-Confess-Repent-Move On! God wants us doing a happy dance like the Pharrell Williams song Happy. It is that happiness and joy that will attract others to Christ.
Yesterday, I asked a friend to pray for us. She reminded me of the importance of putting on the full armor of God. She identified Andrew’s bad thoughts as fiery arrows from the devil. Tonight, Andrew and I read about putting on the full armor of God. Using Andrew’s Nerf gear as an example, I explained that the evil one will shoot you with all the darts, bullets, and fiery arrows he can fire. This is why we need to always have our armor on, especially the helmet of salvation. The evil one will try more than anything to make you doubt truth! I showed Andrew that helmet of salvation is not like a bike helmet where your ears are exposed. The helmet of salvation is more like a medieval helmet where it completely covers your face and ears. If we can cover our ears and control what we listen to, then we can control what we think.
The Whole Armor of God
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT)
Today, another prayer warrior told me to watch a video series titled “Crash the Chatterbox” from Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in NC. Instantly, I knew this was another divine appointment. This series of messages is based on his book with the same title. The subtitle of this book is “Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others”. Clink on this is a link to view first message on Crash The Chatterbox. Over the next few weeks our family will be watching this message series.
Hearing God’s voice above all others is the key. Everyday we are inundated with media, news and nonsense. But if we are walking in our full armor we will be able to tune out the chatter and listen to truth.
Please pray for Andrew and our family as we continue to fight this battle.