Summary: Up to this point the apostle Paul has instructed us to put on the whole armor of God---every piece of it so that when the day of evil comes you will be able to stand your ground.
Prayer: Our Foundation for Battle”
A small community in Pennsylvania they built a little red brick building that was to be their police department, their fire department and their city hall. Everyone was proud of the building because of all the careful planning that had gone into the building and also because of the great sacrifice they had made financially to build it. When the building was complete they had a ribbon cutting ceremony –it was one of the biggest events of the year.—nearly everyone in town came out –over 6000 residents.
Within two months they began to notice some cracks in the building. A little later they noticed that the windows wouldn’t close properly. Eventually the floor shifted and they began to notice gaps in the floor covering and in the corners. The roof began to leak and a few months later the building was shut down.
They hired a firm to do a study to determine what had gone wrong. They already knew there was a mining area nearby but they discovered that the blasting that was going on there was slowly but surely destroying their building. Deep down beneath their foundation there were small shifts and changes that took place that caused the whole foundation to crack. A city official came and put a sign on the front door that said CONDEMNED….NOT FIT FOR PUBLIC USE. Eventually the building was torn down. What was supposedly a carefully built building was now falling apart….all because of the foundation.
Up to this point the apostle Paul has instructed us to put on the whole armor of God---every piece of it so that when the day of evil comes you will be able to stand your ground and he says that after you have done everything else you will still be standing. The foundation you are on will be stable—and he says that after you have done that to stand.
Now he gives us the foundation for all of this armor—vv.18-20. The foundation is prayer and here is the message. You can have all of the armor in place—every piece but if you don’t have prayer your spiritual life will fall apart. I want to give you 5ways to build a stronger foundation when you pray.
First of all you must be focused when you pray. To do this you have to get alone with the Lord. You have to find a quiet place where there are no interruptions. Spend a few moments even before you start talking to God…spend a few moments in silence just getting you mind focused.
2nd you must be persistent when you pray. There are people and situations I have prayed for years before I have seen God answer. It’s all in His timing. But our job is to pray and to never stop. In other words, don’t give up. Paul says we are to always pray….in another passage Paul says to pray without ceasing. We must learn to be just as available to God as he is to us. You see when we need to speak to Him, we have his full attention. So we He is speaking to use He must have our attention as well. The only way that can happen is if we are persistent in prayer. Billy Graham says that there are 3 secrets to being successful. They are prayer, prayer and more prayer.
Paul says to pray always. Now when Paul says to pray always what does he mean? Well first I think it means that we are to pray on all occasions. You can pray in public worship, you can pray in prayer group with others or you can pray in private. But we are to pray on all occasions. 2nd we are to pray in all places—we can pray in the car---don’t close your eyes—we can pray in our offices—we can pray around the dinner table. We can pray when times are bad—we can pray when times are good. We can pray in the morning—we can pray at night. The Bible tells us that Daniel went to his knees 3 times a day. Everything that we do ought to be bathed in prayer. It ought to be natural. “Lord, show me what to do”….”God help me to understand your will”…Father help me to get through this difficulty.”
All the time-- in every place--for all things. That is persistence.
3. You must learn to pray with boldness. When you petition for something---we often sign petitions—it means we are asking for something. James said regarding prayer, that we have not because we ask not. That is the way God works. Asking is the rule of the kingdom. And it is a rule that will never be altered. God has the resources to meet your need and he wants to give them to you. He not only owns the cattle on a thousand hills, he owns the hills as well. But He wants us to ask. Because He loves to communicate with His children.