Preparing for Battle

Each year in late August, the reports trickle in. By mid-September, you hear of them almost daily. If you’re not prepared to do battle before you spot large brown spots in your pasture, you lose. What do farmers and ranchers in east Texas battle each year as we transition from summer into fall? Army worms!

These little carnivorous insects cause millions of dollars in crop and forage losses each year. With a lifespan of 2 to 45 days (four stages), these little buggers have a voracious appetite. Depending upon how bad an infestation you have, they can devour an entire pasture in less than two days. With a sweet tooth for Bermuda grass, if your pasture is nearing its hay cutting, army worms can cost you a couple hundred dollars in hay per acre.

From one year to the next, we never know how bad they’ll be. Smart farmers and ranchers prepare for them here in Texas as early as June by making sure our spraying equipment is ready to go. We lay in supplies of needed insecticide and personal protective equipment (PPE). We also ask our neighbors to watch for them and look for telltale signs. Since they like to eat early morning and at dusk, we watch our pastures morning and night. We look for an increase in birds in our fields, small light-colored moths (adults) in our pastures at night, and translucent tips on the leaves of grass. Each adult army worm will lay up to 2,000 eggs, which guarantees next year’s infestation.

At one and a half inches long in caterpillar stage, you have to look very close to find the little rascals. With Bermuda grass in the yard around our home, I usually spot the caterpillars first on the carport between our house and the workshop. Once spotted, I spring into action. Just like fighting spiritual battles in our lives, success depends on how well you are prepared.

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Battling army worms means moving the cattle, water tanks, feeders, and mineral tubs. Once you prep the battlefield, it’s fire up the tractor, mix up a tank of insecticide, and the war begins. In preparing for spiritual battles, which happens every day (in my life at least), I find it’s best to always be on alert.

Some ways I prepare for spiritual battle include studying God’s word, seeking Him in prayer, and leaning on the fellowship of other Christians to join me in the fight. I have to do the same for them.

Another key component to a successful engagement with the enemy is the right tools and equipment. In the spiritual arena, my PPE is the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). I suit up by reading or reciting The Warrior’s Prayer each morning before I begin my “God time.” For years, I’ve kept a framed copy on my desk. I was first introduced to this prayer when my adopted mom sent me a copy while I was serving in the military.

If you’re not familiar with this prayer, you can get a copy of it using this link.

http://files.faithgateway.com.s3.amazonaws.com/freemiums/warriors-prayer-printable.pdf

I pray it helps you to prepare each day for the coming battles. Knowing I never fight these battles alone is the greatest blessing in my life since my salvation. The Lord of hosts (as uttered by Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:11) defends His children with heaven’s army.

God’s blessings,

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38 thoughts on “Preparing for Battle

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed Ms. Dottie. Your statement of “so evident” is very true. It’s when we understand and can recognize that many of the ills we face are a result of spiritual battles and influence, we can find it easier to deal with the very real battles we find in this world we’re sojourning through.

    1. God’s blessings to you also sweet friend. Even in my marriage, I’ve found that putting on the Armor of God helps me defend my family against Satan’s attacks; even when there’s been times that he’s attempted to use my family to wage battle.

  1. Oh the effects of sin on our world. Army worms-aptly named. We have Gypsy moth caterpillars that devour our oak trees. Such devastation.
    And, the enemy worms into our lives as well. Your battle plan is planned by the One who fights on our behalf. Thanks J.D.

    1. Amen Ms. Jeanne. It’s when we don’t even realize the enemy is sneaking into our camp that he can do such damage to our journey in faith. Such a great observation ma’am. I remember Gypsy moths; and yes ma’am, they can be very devastating also. Pesky too as I recall. 🙂

  2. Love your analogies! I would not like to have those ugly worms! I’m glad they don’t live up north, they must love that warm weather you have.
    Ephesians and the armor of God is one of my favorites of Scripture. So thankful God has given us His armor!

    1. I’m glad for you they don’t either Ms. Stephanie. As a little boy in IN, I remember picking off and squishing potato bugs from the plants on my hands and knees, and I remember locusts that could make a mess of things too in the summertime. I guess no matter where we are, the plague that is harmful insects doesn’t escape us. Thank you so much for commenting ma’am. I’m a big fan of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians too. Good instruction for us.

  3. J.D., I’ve never heard of army worms, but they sure sound horrible! And the analogy to spiritual battles in being alert, preparing ahead of time, and staying consistent to the enemy’s tactics and our weapons to fight, all play in our favor.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Karen. They are indeed pesky little buggers. Much the way those little irritating sins can start out seemingly unnoticed, but before you know it, they’ve eaten a big hole right in the middle of your faith. It’s hard to control them once the damage is done isn’t it? God’s blessings dear friend. Am sure glad God can equip us ahead of the battle; and is willing to fight along with us. I love it when I see a battle looming, and all I have to do is turn it over in prayer and then be a praying spectator. He fights for us!

  4. On the ranch, the farm, in the workplace, and even in the home, we face those spiritual battles on a daily basis. I also go to Ephesians for the assurance that God is with us as we face those daily battles. Th Book of Psalms also gives us confidence that God is always present with us during these hard times. And sometimes, when the attack is so harsh, I stop that instant and PRAY. We are so blessed that God is with us every step of the way. Thanks for sharing this blessings today.

    1. It seems the battlegrounds are expanding to encompass every part of this world Ms. Katherine. Great observation ma’am. In the past couple of years, I’ve felt them even in church. Any place that the world encroaches upon, we can expect to have to defend it can’t we ma’am. Am so very glad I stand on the field of battle alongside mighty warriors like you ma’am.

  5. I think this year has been filled with spiritual battles that are difficult to detect. With much of our time with the body of Christ curtailed by the pandemic, it is so easy to not recognize those holes in our fences!

  6. Army worms! Oh my, those sound even worse than scorpions, but that’s Texas for you, LOL. I bet you do indeed wage a fierce battle against them. I hope you win, J.D. 🙂

    Thanks also for the printable–very lovely. I also put on the full armor of God each day, and I taught my daughters at a young age to pray those Scriptures over their lives, too. I love the beautiful reminder. Blessings, my friend!

    1. I sure gave them a run for their money anyway Ms. Karen. A thousand gallons of water and over two gallons of insecticide later, so far so good. 🙂 As for the Armor of God; it’s something I don’t think we can survive without ma’am. Especially when those unforeseen attacks find us. Always better to be prepared. So glad you enjoyed the prayer. God’s blessings gentle friend.

  7. Hello, J.D. The battles exist everywhere we turn and are more evident. Thank you for the wonderful analogy and link to the Warrior’s Prayer, as well. I’m going to print it for my children.

    Blessings,
    Tammy

  8. I think it might help to visualize our spiritual enemies and temptations as this gross looking pile of worms. The temptation might then not be so appealing.
    I had seen/read The Warrior’s Prayer before, but appreciate seeing it again. A great way to “pray the scriptures”, and a great way to start the day. Thanks, J.D.!

    1. Very well said Ms. Gena. If we view sin not as the enticing, worldly, seemingly pleasurable thing it is, but a heaping pile of destruction, decay, and life-robbing thoughts and actions it is, then perhaps our withstanding temptation in this life would be easier. Still, as we journey through this sin-stained world, we are bound to get some on us. Preparing for that by adorning the Armor of God is the best way I’ve found to survive and remain victorious. Too many times, it seems we forget that we are fighting from a position of victor. Praise God, the war has already been won!

    1. Thank you Ms. Linda. You are sure correct ma’am; it’s a never-ending battle in this world. Am so looking forward to eternity without it. We must always be prepared my friend. God’s blessings.

  9. I had never heard of army worms – wow! Despite how aggravating they are, I am almost impressed when small creatures can repeatedly give our modern lifestyle/technology a good fight.

    1. They are certainly tenacious Ms. Robin, I’ll give you that! 🙂 They return year after year about this time to do battle yet again. I somehow think they’ll be around damaging crops and pastures long after God has called me home my friend. I can’t help but think of them as tiny, one and a half-inch spawns of Satan in that they appear to have no goodness or redeeming qualities about them. Interesting how we can say the same about those stubborn, willful sins that are part of our sin-filled human nature that keep returning. To overcome those, we must surrender the battle to God and ask His supernatural power to help us defeat them, for we can never fully do so on our own. God’s blessings young lady.

  10. I’ve long made it a practice to stay alert to spirit blessings. Going forward, I plan to maintain the same alertness for spiritual battles. Those things can sneak up on you.

  11. Well, when you are facing an army, it requires PPE like you said. However, the current PPE equivalent to God’s armor is more like: helmet = surgical cap, boots = medical booties, breastplate=gown, shield = gloves, sword = sanitizer!

  12. Another great analogy, J.D. It’s a spot on reminder that the enemy likes to keep his presence as invisible as possible for as long as possible. It highlights the value of Peter’s admonition for us to be “sober” and “vigilant” (I Peter 5:8). Just like you have to be on the lookout for these voracious little pests, we have to look for signs of the devil’s presence. Thanks again for giving us another window into the pragmatic value of the Word of God in our daily lives.

    1. Thank you Mr. Ron. We certainly do have to maintain a constant vigil again Satan. Sometimes it seems the more we try, the harder he comes at us. I’m sure glad I don’t have to stand against him alone my friend. My Christian brothers and sisters, and most importantly my God, are always ready to stand with me in my spiritual battles. God’s blessings my encouraging friend.

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