We live in a world full of covetousness, crime, and corruption – a world full of sin and ungodliness as prophesied in 2 Timothy 3. Mankind has never been worse off and sadly these negative circumstances that surround us make it easy to become disheartened. It feels, at times, like it may never get better; it feels impossible to stand up and fight it. However, we can actually have more control over our bad circumstances than we may initially realise. Although mankind is full of sin, God has given us the ability to fight evil, to try and overcome sin in our lives through the aid of the most powerful weapon ever: prayer. God does not leave us alone to fight our own spiritual battles, but instead God is constantly by our side to give us strength, we need only ask for His help. So here are 10 ways you can stand fast in prayer (Eph 6:13-18)

(1) Understand there is a war and you are in it

Whether you like it or not we are all at war, a war that takes place in our own body between sin and godliness (Rom 7:23). If you don’t engage in the war, you’ll still be affected by it and you’ll be much more vulnerable to evil than you would if you decided to stand up and fight, as Paul wrote in his first Epistle to Timothy (1 Tim 6:12).

(2) Know your captain and stand on his side

Christ lived with the same struggles as us and was able to overcome them, making him the perfect captain, as is written in Hebrews 2:10: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Who better to lead an army of prayerful victors than the perfect example of one himself (Heb 4:15-16)? Follow his orders to resist the enemy.

(3) Know your enemy

You need to recognise who the true enemy is – yourself. We have a sin-prone nature that we need to be aware of in order to prevent us from entering into situations that may lead us to sin.

Do not let sin have dominion in your body, but rather the ways of godliness and righteousness (Rom 6:12-13). It is a well-known fact that the better you know your enemy the more prepared you will be to stand against it.

(4) Identify the immediate battlefield

When you’re attacked by evil, be as specific as pos­sible in your prayers about where the enemy has taken the battle and try to work on that specific area of your life. Sometimes you know as you enter the battlefield that this is not a fight you will win. 1 Timothy 6:11 tells us to “flee these things…” and withdraw from battle. Joseph is a good example of this in Genesis 39 where he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. Day after day she begged him to “lie beside her or to be with her.” One day, after fighting for a while, Joseph knew the temptation was too much and in verse 15 he “fled and got out of the house.”

(5) Put on your protective armour each morning

A combatant does not go into the battlefield without protection. Put on the spiritual armour that the Bible mentions in Ephesians 6, before engaging in conflict. Start each day with a prayer like David, the man after God’s own heart (Psa 5:3). Jesus was also known to wake up very early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35), or stay up all night and pray in a quiet place (Matt 14:23). Once again our captain was showing us the importance of prayer and being an example to us of how we too should start our day, by finding a quiet place to pray to our heavenly Father.

(6) Work out

Condition yourself to be in the best shape that you can be, doing all you can to stay in a good condition spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Much like soldiers at war, we should be in op­timum shape to be effective. We need to not be easily distracted. If a warrior isn’t paying attention at all times the results may be fatal. Don’t reserve prayer until times are really bad, pray continually (1 Thess 5:17). I like the saying, ‘Make prayer your steering wheel, not your spare tyre.’ We should remember to pray in the good times, bad times, and everywhere in between.

(7) Become skilled with your weapons

Read the Bible daily and incorporate its truth into your life. Joshua 1:8 (ESV) says, “You shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Our relationship with God goes two ways; He speaks to us through the Bible and we speak to Him through prayer. If we are reading God’s words daily it will be easier to focus on Him and His ways throughout the day. Whenever we stop reading we feel ourselves slipping away from the correct path.

(8) Engage in the war, knowing the time in short

Keep in mind that the time until Jesus returns is limited as he said to his disciples in Acts 1:7 (ESV), “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” You need to make the most of the time you have to fight the good fight. Be active believers, not passive.

(9) Try to view the battlefield from God’s perspective

Ask God to show you the full truth about what’s going on in the situa­tions about which you’re praying, as well as how you can pray about each of those situations to be most effective against evil.

(10) Pray for your comrades

We may be fighting a war against ourselves, but everyone else is fighting this war too and Paul commands that, “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (1 Tim 2:1; also see Rom 1:9; Phil 1:4; John 17:20).

Psalm 118:6 (ESV) says, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” How encouraging is this thought! We are instructed in Ephesians 6:13 (ESV) to, “Take up the whole ar­mour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” We are in the last days before Christ’s return and there has never been a more important time to watch and pray always (Eph 6:18; Col 4:2; 1 Pet 4:7).