Tracing back over several hundred years, the battlefield technique of suppressive fire was enhanced in World War II by the introduction of hand-held automatic weapons. The thrust of the tactic is to respond to a threat with a barrage so powerful that the enemy is forced to temporarily stand down or withdraw from a battle, allowing safer maneuver of troops. In modern media, a protagonist such as 24‘s Jack Bauer will request suppressive fire with a phrase as simple as “cover me.”
In Afghanistan, Master Gunnery Sergeant Peter Proietto of the U.S. Marine Corps was on a patrol ambushed by Taliban fighters. Rather than retreating to safety, the isolated and targeted Marine used suppressive fire to support and protect his fellow Marines and earned a Bronze Star with Valor for his actions. His heroism is also a model of the spiritual response to demonic assault.
Applied to the walk of faith, suppressive fire in the spiritual battle is employed through prayer. When the enemy seeks to deceive us, lead us astray or challenge our faith, we are attacked with the flaming arrows of the evil one. Our response should be from God’s Word, just as Jesus quoted Scripture when the devil came to tempt him in Matthew 4:1-11. In his description of the spiritual armor of God, the Apostle Paul instructs believers in Ephesians 6 to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” in order to “take your stand,” “stand your ground,” and “to stand.”
Scripture doesn’t teach retreat from the enemy, but to advance. When Peter identified Jesus as the Christ, he was told by the Messiah that the gates of Hades could not overcome the church. Gates do not attack – they defend. Why should followers of Christ retreat from gates?
The Bible also teaches us that we should flee immorality and resist the devil. Too many times, we get it backwards – we try to resist sin and flee from the devil. That’s not what God says to do – He says we should flee from sin and fight the adversary (and the devil will flee.)
We also shouldn’t wait until we’re under assault to pray – rather we should be faithful to pray, in everything, without ceasing. Jesus didn’t pray for His disciples to escape the world, but to be protected from evil (John 17:15.) So if you’re ready, will you ready your spiritual weaponry, and pray with me?
Especially while our team is in Haiti this week, let’s lay down a constant stream of suppressive fire and pray for:
- Bold proclamation of the Gospel
- Repentance and faith for the lost
- Freedom for those enslaved by voodoo
- Revival among the Haitian people
- Unity of the team in faith and love
- Health and safety, strength and endurance
- Our families in our absence
- Whatever else the Holy Spirit brings to mind