Summary: As Christians, we are engaged in daily spiritual warfare. Heaven has not left us to fend off attacks under our own power, but has provided powerful spiritual resources for Life in the Combat Zone - The Armor of God

July 11, 2020

We have been given a list of Spiritual Armor and a direct command to put it ALL on – Don’t leave off one piece – Don’t get lazy in your battle prep – PUT ON ALL THE ARMOR!!

A potential problem arises when our singular focus becomes the Armor at the expense of the last instruction Paul gives us for preparing for Spiritual Battle --- PRAY.

In war, one of the things an enemy will target is the line of communication between the Generals and the frontline soldier.

Satan targets our prayer life because he knows how vital it is to our war effort. He might plant these kinds of seeds:

• “God knows what I need, so why should I have to ask” --- Thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

• “I don’t get what I want, so I’m going to stop asking” --- Thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

• “I’m way to busy” --- Thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

• “I don’t want to be a nag” ---- Thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

We might think we’re bold and courageous when it comes to Spiritual Combat, but if we make little effort at communication until we want something or we’re in a jam we can’t get out of, our “prayer life” will have no power and no positive impact on our daily battles.

• Clinton Arnold {Ephesians, p. 112} - The writer {of Ephesians} wants his readers to understand prayer as an essential spiritual weapon, but more than a weapon, it is foundational for the deployment of all the other weapons.

Which is why Paul says:

Ephesians 6:18 {NASB} - …. 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.

All Prayer and Petition

A rough cut or natural diamond is pretty, but it has no life, no fire --- it’s not particularly interesting. What makes a finished diamond so highly sought after are the facets, which make it sparkly and fiery and beautiful.

A prayer life can be one dimensional ---

• The mealtime “thanks for the food” prayer

• The I want something prayer

• The I’m in trouble prayer

• The “holy” 20-minute Sabbath morning prayer {you know the ones I’m talking about}

What makes a prayer life VICTORIOUS is its many facets – which are of strategic importance in Spiritual Warfare:

The Prayer of Thanksgiving

• Psalm 100:1-5 - A psalm. For giving thanks. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

The Prayer of Praise and Worship

• Exodus 15:2-3 - The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.

• Psalm 95:6-7 - Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

• Psalm 144:1-2 - Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. 2 He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

The Prayer of Confession and Forgiveness

• Psalm 51:1-17 - Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge…. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me…. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

The Prayer of Deliverance

• Psalm 25:20 - Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

• Psalm 32:7 - You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

• Psalm 71:1-3 - In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

The Prayer for Guidance

• Psalm 25:4-5 - Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

• Isaiah 58:11 - The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

The Prayer of Intercession

• Luke 22:31-32 - Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

• Luke 23:34 - Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.

• John 17:11-15 - I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name-- the name you gave me-- so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

• Acts 12:5 - So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

• Philippians 1:9-11 - And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-- to the glory and praise of God.

The Prayer of Faith

• Psalm 23:4 - Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

• Psalm 25:1-2 - To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.

• Psalm 62:5-8 - Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah

• Matthew 9:28-29 - When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you";

The Prayer of Petition and Supplication

• Psalm 4:1 - Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

• Psalm 55:22 - Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

• Matthew 7:7-8 - Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

• Matthew 26:39 - Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

• Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

• 1 John 5:14-15 - This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us-- whatever we ask-- we know that we have what we asked of him.

The Prayer that doesn’t want anything but just to “hang” with God like you would your best friend.

• Exodus 33:11 - The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend…

Prayer should bring us face to face with God. It is more than a formula. It’s more than the act of getting on your knees. It’s the ZOOM call that brings you into a close and intimate relationship with the God of the Universe.

At All Times

The Victorious Christian lives in an atmosphere / attitude of prayer – it is a part of their life throughout the day. You may be thinking, “Well I can’t spend all day kneeling in front of my sofa praying, I’ve got things to do” A fine excuse, but that is not the idea here. It’s a matter of having God on speed dial……… As you drive down the road. As you stand in line at the grocery store. When you wake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. When a name pops into your head…..

It is from a life of constant and consistent prayer that we gain strength to stand against our enemy.

• 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Note to self…. Prayer is so important to a Victorious Life that Jesus did it while on earth – and HE’S GOD!!

• Mark 1:35 - Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

• Luke 5:16 - But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

With All Perseverance {persistence – tenacity – determination – purposefulness – locked onto the goal}

Those who cross the finish line in an Ironman race do so because they have trained and because they pursue the finish line with determination and tenacity. They simply don’t give up. If they have to walk the entire marathon, they do it. If they have to crawl on their hands and knees to get across that line, they do it.

Momentary prayer has its place, but so does the prayer of tenacity / persistence / determination:

• Genesis 32:26 - Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

At times prayer is sleepless in its demands:

• Luke 6:12-13 - One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:

There is no quit in the Victorious Prayer Life.

Concerning All the Saints

Finally, a Victorious Prayer Life is unselfish. We need to learn to pray for all the saints – those we like and those we don’t – those who like us and those who don’t.

• George Knight {Exploring Ephesians, p. 299} - If Jesus could pray for Judas and for those who put Him on the cross, it seems to me that I should be able to pray for the Judases in my life (whether I feel like it or not).

It’s so important to remember that we are not the only ones fighting a spiritual battle. To coin a phrase --- we’re all this together!! We need each other. There is strength in numbers. You can’t fight alone – you want people around you who can step into the gap – who you know are praying for you as you pray for them….. “We few. We happy few. We band of brothers.” {Wm Shakespeare, Henry V}

Romans 12:4-5 - Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

James 5:16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Wrapping Up

God has provided everything we need for a Victorious Life: The Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shoes of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, the Sword of the Spirit and Prayer.

Rick Renner {Dressed to Kill, p. 461} - No matter what challenge you encounter, your ultimate victory depends on whether or not you use the spiritual weapons God has provided for you. Therefore, if you want to live as more than a conqueror in this life, Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:13 must define the way you face every situation: “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”.