Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)
Daniel crawled into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin. He was exhausted! It seemed like he never got any rest anymore. School was so much more work this year and his soccer team had made it to finals so there was twice a week practice. Dad had increased his responsibilities around the house and it just seemed like he never had time to get everything done. On top of that he had just lost an argument with his dad about church and Sunday school. His other friends got to sleep late on Sunday mornings. He had to get up and get going so they could get to church and Sunday school. Daniel had begged for a Sunday off. Just one.
Dad had said no, that Daniel was going to church and Sunday school tomorrow like they had been doing for awhile now. Dad reminded him that God never takes a day off from watching over them and that going to church was a way to thank Him for all His blessings. Daniel had argued that they could say thank you at home. But Dad had told him that God gives us so much, the least we can do is give Him the thanks and worship due Him.
Daniel remembered how much he used to enjoy going to church and Sunday school. Mom always said it was the best part of their week. And it was. He enjoyed hearing the stories in the Bible and meeting the children of the other ladies that were part of his mom’s Bible study.
The alarm sounded even louder than usual that Sunday morning. After some coaxing – and a few mild threats – Daniel finally threw the covers back and made his way out of bed. Reluctantly he put on his nice church clothes and made his way downstairs. His mom and dad, along with his little sister, were already at the breakfast table. Cereal was being passed around and milk was being poured. Daniel ate his breakfast in sullen silence and only mouthed the words to their morning prayer.
For several years, Daniel, his mom and his little sister had gathered at this table nearly every morning, thanking God for all their blessings and praying for the Lord to touch and change his dad’s heart. They had prayed for Dad to come home to Jesus and home to them. That prayer had been answered a few years ago. Dad had come home, a changed man from the inside out. Daniel didn’t understand why they were still praying that hedge of protection around their family. God had fixed it, hadn’t He? God had brought his dad home.
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. Ephesians 6:13 (NLT)
After breakfast, Dad took his little sister upstairs to finish getting ready for church. Daniel helped Mom clear the table. As they loaded dishes in the dishwasher, Mom started to speak. “Daniel, I understand that you don’t want to go to church and Sunday school anymore. Is that right?” Daniel nodded.
“Do you think that just because God answered our prayer for Dad that we don’t have anything to pray about anymore?” she asked. Daniel just shrugged.
“Oh, Daniel,” Mom continued. “Let me tell you something. The enemy is still hanging around, looking for a way in to our family. He would like nothing better than to break apart what God has put back together. It is even more important now that we pray for our family, to put that hedge of protection around us. Without our prayers – and our praise – the enemy is sure to find a foothold. Both we and God worked very hard to make this family whole again. Giving the Lord a little of our time on Sunday mornings is the least we can do.”
Daniel thought about what Mom had said. She was right. He remembered how easily the enemy had come in to steal and destroy his family. It hadn’t taken much. Daniel would hate to have that happen again.
As the family drove up to church, the sermon was posted on the outside display. “Don’t Give the Devil a Foothold,” it said. Daniel had to smile. God always has a way of speaking to us, doesn’t He?
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 6:17-18 (NLT)
A Stander in Nebraska