“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:18-20)
One of the ways we can readily apply God’s word in our spiritual battles is by praying the Scriptures. It has been said that prayer is the believer’s heavy artillery. Voicing our praise and thanksgiving, needs and petitions, emotions, repentance, etc., by speaking God’s own words to Him puts us in harmony with God, who is the source and supply of all that we need. Remember, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) The conflicts, problems, struggles, etc., in the physical realm should serve to make us aware of the spiritual battle, so our first and primary response should be spiritual in prayer – drawing near to God to receive His perspective, His will, counsel, strength, and victory. In this way His eternal purposes (as well as His temporal ones) are accomplished and He is glorified. This means we need to LISTEN to God to receive His ‘battle plan’. How often we forget or neglect this aspect of prayer!
Prayer is not just a matter of our communicating with God since He already knows everything we could possibly tell Him. God desires that we commune with Him, that is, become absorbed in harmony with Him. This means to “wait upon” Him (Isaiah 40:31) in the sense of serving Him. Yes, waiting on the Lord does include trusting patiently in God’s timing, but it does not mean inactivity. And while the Scriptures do instruct and even command us to bring our petitions and needs before the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16), it is not for the purpose of focusing us on the problems or ourselves, but to remind us of our total dependency upon God (1 Peter 5:6-7).
Paul completes his lesson on our spiritual armor in Ephesians 6 by giving us some pointers on how to pray. For one thing, we’re told to pray “at all times” – literally, “every when”, meaning whenever there’s an attack or need. Philippians 4:6 says: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Also, we’re to pray “in the Spirit”, guided by God Himself because “we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us…according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26,27) Paul also exhorts us to keep vigilant in prayer, not only for our own needs, but “for all the saints” because “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:5) Lastly, Paul gives us an example of a personal prayer request that every believer should desire and seek; namely, “to make known with boldness [frankness, confidence] …the gospel…as I ought to speak.”
The Greek words Paul used for “prayer” and “pray” in Ephesians 6 not only mean to offer supplication to God, but also have the connotation of worship. One reason the Bible tells us “that men ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1) is so that we keep the right perspective, remembering that God is in control. For the power behind prayer is not generated by the pray-er; nor is it found in the mere utterance of particular words, or the meaningless repetition of certain sounds or phrases. Prayer is not striving to change God’s mind, nor telling Him what needs to be done, but it is our entering into the “holy of holies” through Christ’s completed work of Calvary. While religion relegates prayer to the realm of the mundane, the reality of it should lift the believer beyond the mechanics of praying and into the majesty of God’s Presence. When we behold the greatness and glory of our God, we can’t help but worship and praise Him, and this strengthens us against our enemies’ attacks, for “God inhabits the praises of His people.” (Psalm 22:3) In this way, prayer becomes a part of our armor, as well as being a weapon.
The true power in prayer, then, lies not in our words to God, but in our SURRENDER to Him. Our focus should not be primarily on our needs, nor on our enemies, but on our God. The Lord Jesus is not only our armor, but He is our victory in every battle of life. Therefore, let us put on the whole armor of God; let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ. And to God be the glory in and through our lives, now and forever! AMEN!!!
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds”. (2 Corinthians 10:4)