Posts Tagged Ephesians 6: 11

Armored Prayer

Ephesians 6: 18

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.

This week and last we looked at the armor of God as listed in Ephesians 6: 10 – 17. I thought you might be curious to know that upon concluding his list of the armor the very next words Paul wrote were encouragement for us to pray at all times. Could it be that the two thoughts are connected? I believe they are.

First, we are instructed to put on the armor of God, but having donned the armor Paul teaches us to enter into prayer as if the two are related. If you are in spiritual warfare, prayer is probably well advised. Paul says to pray at all times IN the Spirit. What does that mean to you? There would seem to be an insinuation that we connect with the Holy Spirit in this prayer. This prescribed prayer is not a barrage of words from our minds leveled at the gates of heaven. No, there is something entirely different going on here. Remember that Paul’s letter was advice as to how to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6: 11). Paul is continuing to teach how to overcome the devil’s attacks. So, when the devil attempts to bring trouble into our lives, we are advised to first put on the armor of God and then secondly, to open up the prayer chest and begin to pour out Holy Spirit inspired prayers.

When we pray with the Spirit, he gives direction to our prayers. This becomes much more than only praying our thoughts. We connect with God, since the Holy Spirit is part of the triune God head. Hence we pray to God through God. As we allow the Spirit to guide our prayers, we pray exactly what God knows we need to pray. The Spirit gives voice to our prayers so that we pray as we should. Isn’t that exciting?

Paul doesn’t even stop there, though. “While you are praying,” he says, “be on the alert.” Isn’t that what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5: 8, “Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour” (NOG). Paul doesn’t end this thought there though. He goes on to entreat us to pray with perseverance for all the saints. You see, the person whom the devil finds who can be devoured probably isn’t you because you have on your armor and are standing firm. Therefore, prayers should be made for all the saints. Satan is on the hunt for some unsuspecting, vulnerable person who he can take advantage of. We have the power and the authority to pray for all those who may be vulnerable to attack.

This is so typical of how God sees the world. First, He meets our needs. Then, with our new found truth and growth, He employs us to help others. As those people learn and mature in spiritual matters, they reach yet more people. When we all do our little part, the multiplication process can, quite literally, reach around the globe. So, it begins with our realizing truth in our own battles against the powers and principalities of this world. As we increasingly attire ourselves in Jesus’ victory, we stand firm in his word praying for others. That is the paradigm, get free and then help someone else to get free. The Holy Spirit is here to guide our steps and our prayers. Let’s put on our armor and get down to business.

Dressed for Battle

Ephesians 6: 11

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Perhaps you have heard many teachings on the armor of God. Well, today I wish for you to think of it a bit differently. First, let’s look at the five pieces of armor. There is first truth, then righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, and salvation (v. 14 – 17). After donning this raiment of protection you then take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Having put on all of these shielding characteristics you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil and defend yourself from his fiery missiles. 

When you pull this scripture apart in this manner you may find something curious. Each of these characteristics is reminiscent of a particular person. Look again. Who are you reminded of when you hear truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God? Well, of course, each one of these is Jesus. He is the truth, our righteousness and so on. So the revelation this scripture should lead us to is that we need to put on Jesus. The essence, then, of triumphing in spiritual warfare is to put on Jesus. 

So, how do we don Jesus? Paul had the right of it. He told us that we must put off the old self with all of its encumbrances and put on this new self in Christ which is in the very likeness of God, which Paul tells us, is accomplished by renewing ourselves in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4: 22 – 24). This is very much like the teaching he gave to the Romans, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12: 2). 

We put on Jesus which is the equivalent of putting on the protective armor of God and then we are able to stand “strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6: 10). We are to abide in him and him abide in us (John 15: 4). Picture yourself taking on all that Jesus is. Imagine him stepping into your body even as you integrate yourself into him. See yourself so enmeshed, so intertwined that it is difficult to tell where you end and he begins and vice versa. Now, how would that impact your life? Might your priorities shift a little? Would your thoughts and meditations be different? This isn’t about behavior modification it is about letting Jesus live with you, letting him be a part of every part of your day? It’s not about imagining what Jesus would do or have us do and try to live that but rather to live him; to put him on and just be. This is the armor of God, living in Jesus, living with Jesus; making him a part of us and everything we do. He is our breath and our life. He is our victory.

Suit of Armor

Ephesians 6: 11

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul gets a chance to teach us how to withstand the plots of the devil. The first thing that I noticed is that Paul did not use the word attack or assault relative to the devil’s activity. The first thing the devil does is to plot and scheme. He roams around trying to find someone he can devour. Then he starts scheming. We want to make ourselves unattractive as targets. Then using the teachings of Paul and Peter we proceed to thwart the devil’s schemes.

Paul goes on in this chapter to detail the armor God has provided us. There is first truth and righteousness. Then there is the preparation which is in the Word of God. Then we take up the shield which is faith and the culmination of our armor is salvation. Having put on the full armor of God we are able to withstand the “flaming missiles of the evil one” (Eph. 6: 16). This armor is our defense. This is the protective covering God has given us so that we will not be victims of the devil’s schemes. God has provided the means for our protection, defense and security.

God has also given us a weapon. It is the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The Word is your weapon. It is the tool which you use to strike back at the devil. He hates to hear the Word quoted to him. It defeats all the lies of the devil.  

Lastly, Paul instructs us to “pray at all times” and “be on the alert” (Eph. 6: 18). That sounds very similar to the teaching of Peter. Keep on the alert knowing that there is an enemy out there who would like to take you out if he can. Pray keeping yourself built up in your most holy faith. The shield of faith will “extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one” (Eph. 6: 16).