My parents taught me the importance of one particular prayer each day.
Every morning, when I hop into my car, if I haven't declared a version of this passage, I do so right then and there. Can you guess what it might be?
Maybe you thought of the Lord's model prayer from Matthew 6:9-13? That's a good choice too, but the one that I daily abide in comes from Ephesians 6:10-20.
My armor of God gets a good polish as I visualize each element. The belt of truth is tightly wrapped around my middle to strengthen and align me with God's truth; the helmet of salvation is firmly on to cover my thoughts, reminding me of my identity in Christ. The breastplate of righteousness is positioned over my heart, guarding it from any self or unrighteousness that might try to set up shop. I lift my shield of faith and keep my sword of the Spirit close at hand, ready to defeat fear and declare victory.
The imagery that the apostle Paul used in this passage is spectacular, so much so that we can almost overlook one of the most vital lines in the entire passage. It is sitting there at the end, humbly, nondescript, yet in verse 18, we find the tactical instructions that ensures the success of the soldier—prayer!
Paul says: "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 Lord's people" (Eph. 6:18, NIV). Paul is finishing his persuasive imagery of the Roman soldier with this powerful imperative—pray. The rest of the armor needs prayer for it to be successful.
What is the type of prayer that Paul is teaching us to pray? It must be powerful prayer, prayer that befits a soldier, a warrior.
There are five keys we can find in this verse that help us to understand Paul's purpose.
1. Learn to stand firm by training and equipping yourself. In verses 10, 13 and 14, Paul repeatedly tells us that posture is purposeful. He reiterates the phrase "stand firm," giving the image of a soldier who plants his feet as he faces an enemy. A soldier is trained in warfare so that they can defeat their enemy. Likewise, we can learn to stand firm in the face of our enemy by training ourselves in spiritual warfare.
2. Listen more than you speak. Prayer is not a monologue; it is a dialogue, and we are not the smartest one in the conversation! We need to listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him teach us what and how to pray.
3. Discern Kairos moments. Learning to pray a "now" or rhema word helps us to pray in season. This means that we are praying targeted strategic prayers that get to the heart of the matter.
4. Be aware, alert and persistent. Being alert to what is happening around us in essential for survival. Understand the signs of warfare and learn to deal with them quickly. Be persistent until you sense the breakthrough come.
5. Be grounded in His love. It is God's love for us that enables us to fight and have the victory. Remember His faithfulness in every prayer that you speak.
When we apply these five keys from Paul to our prayer lives, we will find that our prayers will begin to prevail where they may have failed in the past.
Charissa Steffens is a writer and teacher with a passion for the prophetic and Scripture. Through her ministry Abiding Matters she loves to see people come closer to Father God. She hosts the podcast Abiding Matter with Charissa Steffens on Charisma Podcast Network and writes for various online Christian publications. She is the former editor-in-chief of Indulge Magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Business, post graduate diploma in education, and a Master of Arts in biblical studies. To contact Charissa or learn more visit Abiding Matters.
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