PRAYER AND WARFARE

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 6:18-20

“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.”  (Ephesians 6:18)

Paul ends his instructions on spiritual warfare with an admonition about prayer.  Prayer is one of the greatest weapons we have.  “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (II Corinthians 10:3-5).  

John Piper wrote this about prayer — “Prayer is the walkie-talkie of the church on the battlefield of the world in the service of the Word.  It is not a domestic intercom to increase the temporal comforts of the saints.  It malfunctions in the hands of soldiers who have gone AWOL.  It is for those on active duty.  And in their hands it proves the supremacy of God in the pursuit of the nations” (John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad).

When I read this quote from Piper, I realized how shallow some of my prayers were.  Prayer is a spiritual weapon given to us so that we can have victory during our spiritual battles.  It makes perfect sense that Paul ends his discussion on spiritual warfare with the admonition to pray.

We are to pray “at all times in the Spirit.”  This means we are to pray continually in any and every situation.  We are to depend on the Spirit to lead us in prayer and we are to pray in harmony with the will of the Spirit.  When we don’t know how to pray about a matter, we must trust the Spirit to pray for us — “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).

When we are being tempted, we must pray.  When we are under attack, we must pray.  We we face overwhelming trials and difficulties, we must pray.  We are to pray “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”  And we are to “keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”

Lord, I confess that my prayers are often shallow and self-centered.  Teach me how to pray at all times in the Spirit.  Let me arm myself with prayer.  Let me pray fervently and continually.  I am grateful to know that when I do not know how to pray, Your Spirit intercedes for me.  Thank You for the privilege of prayer.

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