The Armor of God Part 7 – Pray in the Spirit

pray-in-the-spirit (1)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

“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.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

One could argue whether prayer is technically included as part of the armor. Dr. Darrell Bock explains, “Prayer frames all that is done in taking up the armor. It is not part of the armor, but is to come along with it.”[1] And Francis Foulkes says, “Prayer cannot quite be described as part of the armor, but the description of the Christian’s equipment for the conflict cannot but include reference to prayer.”[2]

Douglas Magnum comments, 

“Paul concludes his discussion regarding preparation of the church for external conflict in this paragraph. He instructed believers to put on the armor of God (6:11–20), but these verses move away from that running illustration. Instead, here he provides them with a personal call to prayer. Recognizing the schemes of Satan (6:11–12), Paul desires that the Ephesians cry out to God, who should be their source of strength (6:10), for help. He writes that they should pray for themselves and their readiness to oppose the enemy (6:18), and then he says to pray for himself, for he desires to make the most of the opportunities that are before him (6:19–20).”[3]

In his book, The Armor of God, Gregory Brown makes several observations about this call to prayer. We will mention just a few. First, he explains that prayer in the Spirit is to be constant.[4] 1 Thessalonians 5:17 exhorts believers to “pray without ceasing.” Does that mean we must be at prayer every waking moment? No, although I’m sure you’ve had times, as I have, when you do seem to be constantly in prayer over some stressful situation, Rather, as Steve Cole describes, 

“The Greek word translated without ceasing was used of a hacking cough and of repeated military assaults. Someone with a hacking cough does not cough every second, but rather he coughs repeatedly and often. He never goes very long without coughing. In the case of repeated military assaults, the army makes an assault then regroups and attacks again and again until it conquers the city. In the same way, we should pray often and repeatedly until we gain the thing for which we are praying.”[5]

Then, Brown says, prayer in the Spirit is varied.[6] That is to say, your prayers should include such things as “thanksgiving and worship, intercession, confession, lament, and corporate prayer. All these types of prayer have the power to defeat the enemy.”[7]

Further, Brown explains that prayer in the Spirit is persevering.[8] Don’t give up. Keep on praying! Remember Hannah, Samuel’s mother, who prayed to the point of tears that God would give her a son—and He did! Remember the parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8). The woman was so persistent in her pleas that she wore down the judge to the point he finally honored her request. Don’t give up. Don’t stop presenting your requests to God (Philippians 4:7). As Iain Duguid explains,[9]

“The Father is delighted that you have come to speak to him. It doesn’t always feel that way, of course. Sometimes it feels as if you are simply praying to the ceiling, or you struggle with doubts about God’s attitude toward you. But whether you feel it or not, the Bible says that if you are a Christian, you can know that God delights to hear your prayers because his own Spirit indwells your heart.”

The bottom line here is that prayer energizes each piece of the armor God has given us. Prayer keeps us in touch with our Commander so that we can hear from Him what we should do, or how we should utilize the armor in each situation. Prayer keeps the line of communication open the other way as well, as we tell Him our fears, our weaknesses, our failures, and He in turn gives us peace and strength, and encourages us to fight on to victory. 

God has given us some amazing promises regarding prayer:

  • Psalm 17:6 – I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
  • Psalm 145:18 – …the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
  • Romans 8:26 – …the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
  • Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • 1 John 5:14 – This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 

He hears, He answers, He stands beside us in the battle. Put on the armor, Christians, and stand firm!

Go Deeper on Pray in the Spirit

  1. Darrell L. Bock, Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary, ed. Eckhard J. Schnabel, vol. 10, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (London: Inter-Varsity Press, 2019).
  2. Francis Foulkes, Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 10, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1989).
  3. Douglas Mangum, ed., Lexham Context Commentary: New Testament, Lexham Context Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020), Eph 6:10–20.
  4. Gregory Brown, The Armor of God: Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare (BLT Publishing; Kindle edition), p. 93.
  5. accessed 11.28.2014 from https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-62-how-fight-god-ephesians-618-20, quoted in Brown, p. 93.
  6. Brown, p. 95.
  7. Ibid., p. 95.
  8. Ibid., p. 98.
  9. Iain M. Duguid, The Whole Armor of God (Wheaton, IL; Crossway, 2019), p. 107.

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