Summary: The vital place of prayer in spiritual warfare.
READ: Ephesians 6:10-20 (Text: v18)
Ephesians chapters 4-6 are all about “Spiritual Warfare”. It seems unfortunate to me that these days, because of the influence of popular books and seminars on the subject of “Spiritual Warfare”, the term has become loaded with a fairly narrow meaning. I know that as I mention the term tonight, the first thing that would be coming to many minds would be a picture of someone engaging in a very militant style of praying. The “language” of this understanding of “Spiritual Warfare” is filled with “binding and loosing” and “rebuking evil spirits”. That is the sum total of what some people refer to as “Spiritual Warfare” - so that if they say they are going to “do some spiritual warfare”, they mean that they are off to pray ... loudly.
That to me is unfortunate. NOT because I’m against loud or militant praying (don’t get me wrong). I’m all for passionate prayer. I like the story my dad tells about how when he was a boy in Wales, his pastor (Pastor Danny) used to love to pray very loudly in the prayer meeting. One night a lady said to him, “Pastor Danny, God is not deaf!” To which he replied, “No, but He’s not nervous either!”
But the reason I think it’s unfortunate that we think of “Spiritual Warfare” as just militant praying is because the message of Ephesians chapters 4, 5, and 6 is that “Spiritual Warfare” concerns the whole of our lives as Christians! This is the scope of our warfare ...
Ephesians 4:1-16 ... Living in unity and co-operation in the local church.
Ephesians 4:17-5:21 ... Living a life of holiness and purity.
Ephesians 5:22-6:4 ... How we live with our family.
Ephesians 6:5-9 ... How we conduct ourselves in our work place.
... IS ALL SPIRITUAL WARFARE.
And when we come to Ephesians 6:10-20, the famous passage on the armour of the believer, it’s speak of how we ought to stand arrayed IN EVERY PART AND ARENA OF LIVING OF OUR LIVES! It’s all spiritual warfare - and the armour never comes off!
BUT HAVING SAID ALL OF THAT, please understand that prayer IS VITAL in our warfare as Christian soldiers. With prayer we “buckle on” our other armour; it must undergird our whole fight. If we think we’ve put on the armour of God, but we’re not PRAYING - we’re kidding ourselves: we are leaving ourselves with defenses down. Your relationship with God, your spiritual walk, your Christian experience, will never rise higher than your prayer life. Prayer is of the utmost urgency for every believer.
Paul comes to the end of his list of the Christian soldier’s armour, and he writes (verse 18) ...
“... praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; ...”
Do you realise how important “communications” are in any battle? If an enemy can cut off a battalion’s communications, they become immediately isolated, helpless and alone.
Now for the Christian, PRAYER is our line of communication with our Commander-in-chief. God knows our situation (better than we do) - and He knows the enemy’s position too - but God moves in response to prayer. If the enemy can deter us or distract us from PRAYING, then he has us where he wants us. We quickly become isolated, helpless and alone, WITH ONLY OUR OWN RESOURCES. And God does NOT intend for us to fight with our own resources - they’re of no use in a spiritual fight. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says: “For the weapons of our warfare are NOT carnal, but they are mighty through GOD to the pulling down of strongholds”. If we’re not vitally in touch with God - what are we fighting with?! Our weaponry? Our own resources? GOD HELP US!
And so the enemy is very concerned to keep us involved in any other thing, as long as he can keep us from prayer.
“Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon their knees!”
All right, tonight talking about this Prayer of Christian Warfare, I want us to consider three simple things:
1. The PRIORITY of Prayer
2. The POWER of Prayer
3. The PERSEVERANCE of Prayer
1. THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER
In verse 18 there is one very important little word that we should observe. It’s obviously very important because it appears several times in that one verse. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to work out that the Apostle Paul is trying to make a point. The word I’m referring to is the word “ALL”, and it’s associated word “ALWAYS”:
“Praying ALWAYS with ALL prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with ALL perseverance and supplication for ALL saints;”