Equipping the Believer

Prayer and Our Spiritual War

Eph 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the Wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery Darts of the wicked one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;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 --19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. NKJV

This message was preached July 13, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at ToulonBaptist.com

Paul wants his readers to know that we struggle against spiritual forces. Now one of the ideas of spiritual forces is that they are not physical. The evil physical forces that good people must always be engaged with are really the result of spiritual forces.

The devil and his angels are not physical beings and therefore physical weapons will not win us a victory. Even though the battles fought in WWII were definitely physical yet Paul wants us to know that the real power behind all the physical struggle we see around us is really a spiritual power beyond the realm of mankind without prayer.

Have you noticed that the major threat to peace in the world continues to change. In WWII it was Fascism and then Communism, and now Radical Islamic Fundamentalism.

As each of these evil forces have fallen another has almost immediately arisen. The reason for that is quite simple. The names of the present evil force may change from the Babylonians to the Persians to the Greeks to the Romans as in Bible times but the forces of darkness behind them are unchanging. Paul understood this. Therefore he cautioned his readers from getting all caught up in physical remedies to spiritual problems.

Poverty is the physical symptom of greed, avarice, or laziness and slothfulness. But the latter are spiritual not physical. So it is with any number of other world problems. For the Christian this is significant. For we realize that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers of wickedness. Once we realize that we find our real weapon PRAYER. Prayer calls on a source of greater spiritual power than the forces of evil. It pleads the Name of Jesus to accomplish God's plan to destroy the works of darkness and bring them into subjection to the Son of God.

  1. The simplicity of prayer
    1. Just a talk
      1. Although it is personal it is reverent.
      2. We can be candid but we are also mindful to whom we are speaking.
    2. Sharing our struggles
  2. The earnestness of prayer
    1. A genuine exchange
      1. Jer 29: 12. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, NIV
    2. Involves a confession of sin
      1. Psa 66: 17. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; NIV
    3. Involves a confession of weakness
      1. The song goes "I am weak by thou art strong."
    4. Involves a confession of doubts
      1. Mk 9:23, 24 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.'' 24. Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!'' NKJ
  3. The personalness of prayer
    1. It is intimate
      1. It is honest
      2. It is not contrived or rehearsed
      3. If I came to you and read everything from a card, you would wonder what is up.
    2. Not a long distance call
    3. It is an eye to eye engagement.
      1. Eye to eye because we know God and He certainly know us.
      2. Sometimes people say they do not know the will of God but I think mostly that is because they know they do not want what He wants.
  4. Faith required
    1. If there is no faith there will be no prayer
      1. Little prayer is a sign of little faith
      2. Faith is developed by an active trust.
        1. Trust involves a measure of risk
      3. Faith is a long term relationship
        1. God will do us good all in all
  5. Relationship the force behind it
    1. Like any other relationship it becomes stronger over time
    2. The basic relationship is based on the new birth
    3. It is a father - child relationship
    4. Comes out of a heart of love and develops a heart of love
      1. Ps 42:1-3 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, "Where is your God?" NKJV
      2. Ps 84:1-4 How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young - Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. NKJV