Binding and Loosing Prayers

As previously discussed, the real Biblical binding and loosing meaning is originally a Jewish phrase and is the authority to declare what God’s mind is on a matter of doctrine or practice. And we saw that Matthew 12:26-29 does address the issue of Satan and demons but is not what many erroneously teach. Jesus was showing the foolishness of the Pharisees statement by saying, that if Satan were casting out Satan, his kingdom could not stand. Jesus continued by saying it is by the Spirit of God that he drives out demons, which He can do because He is the stronger man. So Jesus used a metaphor to illustrate His mission. He was saying that no one can enter a man’s house and take his goods unless he has first conquered him. And hence was effectively saying, if I am not the Messiah, stronger than Satan, how could I spoil him? Luke 11:21-22 records the account but note Luke does not use the term bind, but says the stronger man...overcomes him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.

Thus the word bind as used in Matthew 12 is metaphorical and not some magic word that stops the activity of Satan or demons or evil spirits if you prefer. The fact that Luke’s account does not even use the word bind verifies this. Bind is incidental to the picture of a strong man’s house being plundered. Whether victory is accomplished by binding, overpowering, disarming, etc., is not as consequential as the fact that it is a stronger man who must do it. The meaning is that Jesus is stronger than Satan and that the casting out of evil spirits in His ministry proves that fact. The goods that are plundered are people, previously held in bondage. The coming of Jesus and the binding of Satan liberates the souls of people who were subject to slavery their whole life. The Bible does not leave us in the dark as to how this is accomplished. It is not done by people constantly shouting, “I bind you Satan” into the heavenlies! Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying.

And as we also saw previously on page one, the apostles never said, “I bind you, Satan?” Not even once is such an utterance recorded in the entire New Testament. And hence it is not credible to assume that they understood the teaching of Jesus as an instruction to “bind Satan” through prayers and verbal declarations and then never follow the instructions personally. The Church today should not understand and practice the teachings of Jesus differently than the Church of the first century. If it does, then the authority of Scripture is depreciated.

So what does the Bible teach in regards to spiritual warfare prayers? James explains the basic manner in which this should be done. Do not miss that there are two steps to be followed here. The first and very important step is to submit yourself to God in every way and the second is to resist the enemy and he will eventually flee.

James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Satan of course is to be seen as an enemy and is to be opposed as such. The whole armour of God should be taken and made use of and particularly the weapon of prayer, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and the shield of faith and all used with the grace of humility, which is the opposite to him. Satan is a proud spirit and endeavours to encourage men to have selfish pride, and if he succeeds in doing so then he is master of them and can manage them as he pleases. On the other hand, a humble believer that God dwells within, to whom He gives more grace, and hence has submitted themselves to God by continuing to bow to all his decisions and dispensations leaves Satan with nothing to work with, and as such will flee. Paul is our next best example of spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:10-18 he says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

In verse 10 Paul gives the secret of victory which is by being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We abide in Him or our strength fails (John 15:4–7). The apostle Paul in this passage pictures the vast armies of evil gathered together to overwhelm the Church. The contest seems desperately uneven with the advantages on the side of the enemy, except for when the Church makes an alliance through faith with the resources of omnipotence. (all power)

The whole armour of GodPaul frequently uses the term of “putting on” as seen in this passage. In Romans 13:12, 14 (put on the armour of light); 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 (put on immortality); Galatians 3:27 (put on Christ); Colossians 3:10 (put on the new man) and 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation). So in this passage the idea is to put on a protective armour for the believer. It is suggested Paul is referring to Isaiah 59:16-17 which says, “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. 17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.” Others say Paul refers to the armour of the Roman soldier because he was chained to one for several years. In any case, this particular armour belongs to God because He is the one who provides each particular piece of equipment. Paul shows that we are to put it on this armour and to fight valiantly but it is the One who forged this armour that guarantees its effectiveness.

If our conflict were only with man then the need for the armour would not be so apparent. But we have to face the stratagems and cunning of the devil, and the temptation of Christ reveals the subtlety of the devil’s methods. It is much easier to deal with open enmity than it is with deceit which the enemy so often uses. So the armour of God is calculated to defend against cunning attacks that would otherwise destroy the Christian warrior.

When Paul says, “our fight is not against blood and flesh” he did not mean that Christians would not find enemies among men as the Church has always suffered at the hands of wicked men. But Paul is referring to those spirits and powers that are superior to men in intelligence as well as in evil cunning. So the whole armour of God is available for us and the Christian is urged to put it on daily as an army must be fully equipped before it enters battle. So the Christian must be prepared with every spiritual defence before doing battle with the devil so he will not suffer defeat. And we need to put on the whole armour as a half armed soldier is vulnerable as the enemy is bound to seek out his unprotected parts. The Christian is vulnerable in many spots and it is often that characteristic he thinks is his strongest turns out under temptation to be his weakest. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link and so the Christian is no stronger than the weakest element of his character.

It is the breastplate that covers the heart of the soldier and righteousness preserves the life of the believer and protects the “vital organs” of spiritual life. Since the breastplate defends the vital parts of the body, the idea here may be the integrity of life and righteousness of character such as holiness, integrity and purity. A lack of integrity leaves a man exposed to the assaults of the enemy. We need the righteousness which God alone can give to make us perfectly invulnerable to all the arrows of our foe. Isaiah 59:17 says, “He put on righteousness as a breastplate.” And while it is true that we put on the righteousness of Christ being sinners, this does not mean wilfully disobeying the law of God. John 14:15 says if we truly love the Lord we will keep His Commandments. And Paul said in Romans 2:13For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Wilful sin is a sure way to let the enemy have victory in your life. The document saved by grace through faith gives clarity if needed.

The legs of the Roman soldier were covered by greaves with sandals on the feet. This was necessary in order that his movements over rough ground should not be impeded. If he was to be able to stand the assault, he must have a sure footing. The gospel of peace in this instance is not so much the gospel to be proclaimed, but the gospel that has found lodgement in the heart of the Christian. It is a beautiful and encouraging thought that the warrior in the midst of spiritual conflict can stand firm in peace. So essentially, the gospel is the good news that men need not die, and that is a welcome word to the warrior facing relentless foes. He stands firm on the knowledge of Christ incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended—the heart of the gospel and the reason for peace.

The Roman shield was a large oblong shield made of wood and covered with leather. It measured about four feet by two and a half and was large enough to cover the body. The faith is active like the shield in that it is raised to catch the fiery darts. It is also passive in that it trusts in God for deliverance. So under the impact of temptation of any kind it is faith that restores confidence and enables one to carry on the battle. Moreover, “without faith it is impossible to please him” as Hebrews 11:6 states. Faith stops the arrows of temptation before they become sin in the soul. The fiery darts or ancient arrows that were used sometimes had combustible materials and were ignited on the head of the shaft so as to set fire to whatever they hit. This is an appropriate image for the fiery temptations that come to the child of God. They may take the form of fear, discouragement, impatience, unholy thoughts, envy, anger, or any other vice. But faith in God held in the air like a shield catches them, snuffs out the flame and makes them fall harmless to the ground. And of course the wicked one referred to hear is the devil and the leader of the assaulting armies.

The helmet is needed because the head needs special protection as being a most vital part of the body as it is the seat of the mind, which holds the hope of salvation by Christ that is a defence against false doctrines and Satan’s temptations. In 1 Thessalonians 5:8 the helmet is called the hope of salvation. Isaiah 59:17 says, “He put a helmet of salvation on his head.

While the other parts of the armour are defensive only, the Sword of the Spirit on the other hand is both defensive and offensive. The phrase, “word of God,” is not limited to the words of Scripture that existed then either. When this epistle was written, the New Testament Scriptures were being produced. It is with the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, that the Christian can cut his way through all circumstances.

And praying always means literally, “praying in every season,” or “on every occasion.” Prayer is not directly another weapon but rather it is the spirit and the manner in which the whole armour is to be worn and the battle fought. Paul is Binding and loosing prayerhere urging it as a perpetual state of mind. That is, as a continuous attitude of communion with God.

Hence what Paul is saying in Ephesians 6 is that we are totally dependent on God. This armour comes from God and it is Him we need. We need to trust in God every moment of every day and that the only way we can succeed as a Christian is by leaning completely on Him. If we move ahead without God, we will fail. Leaning completely on God means changing your whole lifestyle. Be it how you think (the helmet of salvation), or what you use as your foundation for truth (the sword of the Spirit), or your loving obedience to His Commandments, and faith in Christ when we fail (breastplate of righteousness), we must fully depend on God. Without God we will fail. But with Him we can do all things. (Philippians 4:13)

Below is a warriors prayer based on James 4:7 and Ephesians 6:10-18.

Lord, I need you and I am totally dependent on you. I put on the whole armour of God daily, and I do that by changing how I live. This starts and ends with complete submission to you Lord. All through the day I will rely fully on you. You are the source of my strength and the source of peace. You are the one I trust in completely. Amen.

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