Sunday, 11 June 2017
Using the Armor (Part Four)
This passage in Ephesians 6 concludes with “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” (V18).
Note that it does not suggest for us to just pray by asking all kinds of things. It instructs us to pray in the Spirit and to do it at all times. Praying in the Spirit means we pray what the Spirit wants us to pray. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words,” (Romans 8:26). In the light of the spiritual war, which Christians are constantly involved in, prayer is more serious than just giving the Lord a shopping list. The Holy Spirit is very much aware of the spiritual activity in the air, and therefore knows the movements of the evil spiritual forces and their intentions for the children of God. He consequently knows how we should pray.
Although the Lord is sovereign, He is committed to wait until we ask and pray before He acts (Matthew 7:7, Matthew 21:22, James 4:2, 3, etc.). In order to conquer in this spiritual war, we need to stay in touch with our Commanding Officer who knows how to fight the battle. He has already overcome the devil whom He knew for thousands of years, so He understands Satan’s methods and strategies, which is why James exhorts us to first submit to God and then resist the devil (James 4:7). Our prayers therefore should be led by the Holy Spirit and we should pray as He guides us. Praying in tongues is valuable in this. I have often been in deep groaning in tongues, whilst every now and then a thought of something or somebody crossed my mind. As I understand it, the Holy Spirit led my prayers in times like those, while He occasionally made me aware of whom or what I was praying for. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” (James 5:16). Only the Lord can overcome the enemy, which is why prayer is part of the Armor of God.
An essential part of being a soldier is staying alert, which is why Paul exhorts Timothy not to get involved with civilian affairs (2 Timothy 2:4). Being involved with too much of materialistic life distracts us. The war should be our first priority. The devil’s main strategy is to offer us all kinds of things like power, pleasure and wealth which will keep us so occupied that we will not find time to be alert. This is an ideal situation for the evil forces to attack us stealthily and render us useless to the Kingdom work. He tried the same strategy with Eve and Jesus. He succeeded with Eve, but failed with Jesus because He knew how to overcome him.
The last important part of spiritual warfare is support of fellow soldiers, by interceding for them. If all Christians understand this important part of Kingdom living, this army will be a force to be reckoned with.
Lord, I want to be effective in prayer. Please deliver me from materialistic civilian affairs.