Using prayer as a first defense, not a last resort. I get this backwards a lot.
Before a battle, a priest would go to the troops and pray over them.
1-4 When you go to war against your enemy and see horses and chariots and soldiers far outnumbering you, do not recoil in fear of them; God, your God, who brought you up out of Egypt is with you. When the battle is about to begin, let the priest come forward and speak to the troops. He’ll say, “Attention, Israel. In a few minutes you’re going to do battle with your enemies. Don’t waver in resolve. Don’t fear. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. God, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win.” Deuteronomy 20:1-4, The Message.
God teaches a lot about honor in these chapters. When a neighbor’s ox is wandering, don’t look the other way: help out, restore. Honor. Not just honoring a neighbor, but how to honor the land, a captive woman, a first born son, a family, purity, God.
When the soldiers were upon nearby enemy territories, God told them to destroy everything–because he knows how weak man is. He knows how the flesh is tempted.
18 This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 20:18, The Message.
Jesus is in the garden praying, the night of his betrayal and arrest. He knows about weakness–as Peter, James and John were with him, they fell asleep.
37-38 He came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don’t be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Mark 14:37-38, The Message.
Said another way:
37 Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 38 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Mark 14:37-38, NLT.
Jesus, our priest, who prayed before battle. His prayer, God honoring.
35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
43 And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. (Mark 14:43, NLT)
He is outnumbered, and the reading reminds me of Old Testament–the priest praying over troops.
Honor, prayer, enemies, battle. God fights for us.