Summary: Paul calls Christians to utilize the most powerful ‘spiritual weapon’ they possess: prayer . . . ALWAYS!
Focus: Paul calls Christians to utilize the most powerful ‘weapon’ they possess: prayer . . . ALWAYS!
Function: To encourage Christians to re-discover the power of prayer in their lives.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world
and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The weapons of war . . .
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have
done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in
place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the
shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the
Spirit, which is the word of God. (NIV)
Finally, the ultimate weapon . . .
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all
the saints. (NIV)
History records that on August 6, 1945 after four long years of war with the Axis of evil and after years of research and development which took place not too far from here, President Harry S. Truman gave the order. United States troops on board
the B-29 plane, the Enola Gay, dropped the Atomic Bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”, on Hiroshima, Japan. One minute after being dropped, the bomb exploded into a fireball with a magnitude of which had never been seen before! That and the bomb dropped
on Nagasaki three days later brought a clear and decisive end to years of death and destruction during the second world war.
Today in our current war in Iraq, I’ve heard a lot of talk about the M.O.A.B.- the Massive Ordnance Air Burst Bomb. It’s the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) bomb ever developed and its being used right now in Iraq by Allied forces.
Sometimes in war, the situation calls for the most powerful weapon at your disposal. In this battle against the spiritual forces of evil . . . in this battle for the souls of men and women- the most powerful weapon at our disposal, SADLY, is often the weapon we pull out last . . . Prayer.
In the text that ______ just read to us, let’s notice Paul’s final prayer requests of the Ephesians.
1. Notice, Paul calls on Christians to pray ALWAYS!/ in EVERY SEASON!
Though Paul saves it for last in this list- I believe he does so because it is the MOST IMPORTANT WEAPON of battle! Not that it should be used as the last resort, or when all else fails! No! He says that Christians are to pray ON ALL OCCASIONS! And
to ALWAYS KEEP ON PRAYING! He had told the church at Thessolonica to ‘pray without ceasing!’ (1 Thess. 5:17). Why?
This is the foundational weapon of war!
Folks, to use the language I used last week, there’s a war on! It’s a serious war against a serious enemy, but we have a secret weapon at our disposal! Like Special Operative troops I’ve read about. They aim their sophisticated lasers at specific locales
and call down laser-guided missiles from fighter jets overhead to destroy specific targets! That’s how prayer works. In prayer,we can call down power from on high and focus it in on a specific target! And it makes a difference!
But, Paul is calling for more than specific prayers . . . he’s calling for a lifestyle of prayer! While there are certainly times which
we are to go into our prayer closets and spend specific and pointed quiet time with God; this is a call to see all of life as communion with God. I DO think that we should see prayer as a kind of ‘spiritual breathing’, something we do naturally, almost without thinking about it.
2. Notice, too, Paul calls on Christians to pray IN THE SPIRIT.
What does it mean to pray, ‘in the Spirit’? Is this different from ‘just praying?’ According to a recent survey almost 90% of Americans regularly ‘pray’ in some regard. But just because one says he is praying, does that really mean that he is truly speaking to God?
To pray ‘in the Spirit’ is to pray ‘under the influence of the Spirit.’ Back in 5:18 Paul had exhorted his readers ‘not to get drunk on
much wind, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.’ Christians are to live their lives under the influence of the