If you’re a women’s ministry leader (or really any kind of ministry leader), you can be assured that when you are planning a program, an event or a worship service, you are going to face spiritual attack.

Our office is one week away from our largest annual event. We are expecting more than 2,200 women for a weekend of meeting with the Lord. We have a keen understanding that many women arrive with lots of burdens and spiritual needs.

So why would we not expect to encounter struggles?

In the matter of two hours yesterday, our office felt the impact. There were three phone calls that involved conflict resolution. One of our key retreat team members was called for jury duty. One team member might need surgery. One team member has cancer. All I could say was, “God must be up to something great if the enemy is working this hard.”

If we’re to expect spiritual warfare as a leader, then how do we respond? Here’s some practical things to remember when you are under attack:

1) Prayer is an essential weapon. Yesterday, Kristin (my assistant) and I just stopped and spent time praying. One of my team members sent out an email to our leadership team and called on them to pray. Ephesians 6:18 in The Message says,  “In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Even in the midst of what was happening around us, prayer kept us focused and gave us peace. I loved a tweet I saw from Louie Giglio this week that said, “If we knew what was really happening when we pray, we would pray more.” Agreed.

2) Recognize your weakness and depend on God’s strength. God has a good way of humbling me and reminding me that I can’t complete tasks without depending on Him. When was the last time God asked you to do something bigger than you could do in your own power and strength? In the same passage in Ephesians, Paul says, “You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own.”

3) Be prepared before you head into battle. There are many things Godly leaders must do on a consistent basis to prepare themselves for spiritual battle. Spending time in God’s word and putting on the full armor of God happens before you go into the arena–not when the arrows are aimed straight at you. Paul begins Eph. 6:13 by saying two simple words, “Be prepared.”

4) What you do has eternal significance. I sometimes think ministry leaders don’t fully realize this. We battle for keeps. When you hear about conflict, struggles and unforeseen circumstances from others who aren’t in ministry, be mindful of the differences. While I don’t want to negate the struggles others go through, I think ministry leaders should recognize that the work of their hands has eternal value. I can’t say it any better than Paul did in this passage when he wrote, “This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”

How are you handling spiritual warfare today dear ministry leader? Let’s get out the sword of God’s word and do battle for the Lord. I’m glad I’m on the Victor’s side.