~ 2 Strategies & 2 Principles of Prayer from “The Whole Armor of God” ~
Fundamental Lesson ~ The Christian must put on the whole armor of God if he/she is to be prepared for spiritual victory. In the previous post we looked at four tactics and in this final post we consider two strategies to enable God’s power to work through you and two principles of prayer from this passage.
Strategy #1 (armor up) ~ “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness [His righteousness], and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace [offering to others the peace you have]; above all, taking the shield of faith [trust in God alone] with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation [protect your thinking], and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God [How well do you know the Word of God?]” (Ephesians 6:14-17). Armor is useless unless you put it on, so armor up for the war you are in.
Strategy #2 (pray in the Spirit) ~ “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18a). We are to pray always—but always in the Spirit. Prayer is the battle cry of the Christian.
Principle #1 (pray with alertness and perseverance) ~ “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful [alert] to this end with all perseverance and supplication [petitions, requests] for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). In other words, we are to be alert like a military guard on duty. Several sub-points are clear; 1) prayer is a form of worship (“in the Spirit”), 2) we are to be bold with our requests (“supplication” mentioned twice in this short verse), 3) it is a spiritual discipline with the mind of Christ—His heart and His priorities (“in the Spirit”), and 4) prayer is not me-centered but God-centered and His kingdom-centered (“for all the saints”).
Principle #2 (pray specifically for boldness in witnessing) ~ Paul’s final comment in this passage is a request, “for me [Paul], that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20). Twice in this single short passage the Apostle Paul asks that his fellow Christians pray that he might have boldness in witnessing. The first time is in reference to having freedom and wisdom in choosing the right words. The second relates to being fearless regardless of consequences.
Summary ~ Paul concludes his description of the “Whole Armor of God” with an emphasis on prayer. You may have complete and capable armor, but if you not fighting the war in constant communion with your commander, you are heading for failure.
don’t miss this ~ 1) A good soldier will not be negligent in his prayer life. Prayer is the means by which we draw spiritual strength from God. Without reliance upon God, our efforts at spiritual warfare are empty and futile.
2) God has given the equipment and everything we need to succeed for Him. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
a final word ~ “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. 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.
“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. 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” (Ephesians 6:10-18, The Message).
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW
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