The Armour of God #8
“To be a Christian without prayer in no more possible than to be alive without breathing” – (Martin Luther)
We’ve just completed a series on the armour of God.
In Ephesians 6 Paul gives us six pieces of armour or six ways to defeat the enemy.
But there’s actually a seventh way.
Ephesians 6:13-18 “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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Pray, pray, pray!!
Prayer is the highest order of business; for it links a powerless human to the creative force of God’s sovereign power.
I think prayer, together with declaring God’s word, are probably our greatest weapons against the enemy.
I want to suggest something – Prayer should be our first response and not our last resort.
When people cease to pray, no matter the reasons, Christians backslide, youth rebel, preachers leave pulpits, missions close and denominations die.
God forbid that our prayer should be a mere leaping out of bed and kneeling down and saying anything that comes first to mind. On the contrary, may we wait upon the Lord with Holy fear and sacred awe. Charles H. Spurgeon
Prayer can be defined as a number of things;
talking to God.
asking and receiving,
God has given us authority to push back the power of the devil.
Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome the power of the enemy.
I think if we realized how much of the supernatural power of God is available to us when we pray, it would transform our prayer life.
When you’re facing problems beyond your control;
Instead of feeling weak you need to feel strong because you have prayer.
Instead of feeling discouraged you need to have hope and courage because you have prayer.
When we face problems beyond our control and there’s not much we can do in the physical, we need to remember that we can fight that thing in the spiritual realm.
Maybe you’re saying; I am praying and praying, but nothing is changing.
Here’s a picture that may help you – when you pray you’re like a fireman putting out the enemy’s fire.
Have you seen when they put out a fire in a big building they just kept pumping water, they keep going until that fire its out.
In the same way, there are times when we’re going to have to pray and pray and pray.
Jesus said in Luke 11:9 Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given to you.
If we are going to see results, we need to keep pumping those prayers.
**We cannot neglect what scripture tells us and still expect results.
Always remember; Our prayers don’t have an expiry date.
Don’t give up and get discouraged just because it hasn’t changed yet.
Those prayers are still before God.
Revelation 5:8 “….the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
God doesn’t press the delete button and just erase all your prayers because His ‘In box’ is full or because He’s had a busy week.
Remember when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush.
7 “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out……
9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me…..” Exodus 3:7-9
Most of us are impatient – if God hasn’t answered our prayers yet, we want to give up and throw in the towel because He’s probably not going to do it.
No, you’ve got to persist in prayer.
We often don’t realize there’s a spiritual battle going on.
In Daniel 10 an angel of the Lord appears to Daniel and says; O Daniel, greatly beloved of God.
God has sent me to you and I would have come earlier but an evil spirit (he calls him the Prince of Persia) has prevented me from coming for the past twenty one days. v10-13
But God heard you when you started praying 21 days ago.
What was that? There was a spiritual battle going on.
We need to learn to fight those battles in prayer until we have the breakthrough.
That’s why scripture tells us;
Romans 12:12 “be faithful in prayer”
Ephesians 6:18 “keep on praying”
Colossians 4:2 “continue earnestly in prayer”
1Thessalonians 5:17 “pray continually”
Sometimes we give up prematurely and we don’t realize we may have been on the brink of a breakthrough.
Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive….. let’s just pause there for a moment.
What its saying is; whenever you and I come to God we’re going to receive something from God…… every single time.
Now you may not always receive what you were asking for or hoping for, but you are going to receive.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.”
God hasn’t promised to deliver us from all our difficulties, but He has promised to deliver us through them.
“……though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
Sometimes God delivers us from our difficulties, and other times He delivers us through, He gives us the strength and the ability to go through it.
Many of us have been there – you could stand up and tell your story of how you begged and pleaded with God to deliver you from those circumstances, but then God didn’t deliver you but He gave you the strength and the endurance to press through.
As we look back today, we never want that time over, but man we grew during that time, we experienced God’s grace and His enabling power ….. Big time!
Prayer is far more than help me bless me and protect me.
Most of our prayers sound something like that – help me bless me and protect me and then help, bless and protect those closest to me.
Prayer is also spiritual warfare, it’s a way of pushing back the devil.
Isaiah 60:18 God gave the children of Israel a powerful promise;
“No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls salvation and your gates praise.”
This was the promise that God made to them, yet two chapters further in chapter 62:6-7 He says this; “You will call on the Lord, (what does that sound like – prayer ) give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”
God gives them the promise but then He tells them; I want you to pray it into being. You’ve got to fight this battle, not in the physical, you’ve got to fight in the spiritual.
There are some battles that you will not win without prayer, because they are spiritual battles.
You cannot win spiritual battles by natural means.
You can hire the best attorney,
You can see the best counsellor,
You can exercise will power and determination until you’re blue in the face,
but there are certain battles that will only be won through prayer.
Ephesians 6:12 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.
It’s basically saying our struggle is on a different level, it’s on a spiritual level.
Some of those battles will only be won with prayer and fasting.
Fasting enables us to fight on a different level.
Prayer is on one level of faith but fasting is on the next level.
When we pray we’re exercising our faith, but when we fast and pray we’re placing greater faith in God which in turn releases greater power to break the enemy’s strongholds in our lives.
One day Jesus’ disciples asked Him why they couldn’t drive out a demon. Jesus replied; This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:21 NKJV
If you have a need in your life at the moment,
a need for a loved one to be saved,
a need for a wayward child to turn around,
a need for a financial breakthrough,
a need for a miracle in your marriage,
and you know you can’t do it on your own,
God will have to intervene.
I would recommend, it’s time to start fasting.
There’s a saying; You never want something desperate enough until you start fasting for it.
Let’s be honest, you’ve tried the prayer part and you’re still in that cycle.
When you get to the point where you’re sick and tired of the cycle, you’re sick and tired of battling with the same thing over and over again, that’s the time for prayer and fasting.
In Matthew 6 Jesus gives us The Lord’s Prayer, then after He’s given us the prayer He says this;
16 When you fast, declining your food for a spiritual purpose, don’t do it publicly, as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and scruffy so people will feel sorry for them. Truly, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, put on festive clothing, (an Hawaiian shirt or something) 18 so that no one will suspect you are hungry, except your Father who knows every secret. And He will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18
A few things I want you to notice here;
Jesus says when you fast not if you fast.
This is not an option for a Christian, it’s essential.
Fasting needs to be a part of every Christian’s life.
Don’t make a show of it, don’t tell everybody, it’s between you and God.
Fasting isn’t so you appear to be spiritual, fasting is because you are spiritual.
If your heart is right, if you do it with the right motive, God will reward you, there is power in fasting!
Prayer should be our first response and not our last resort.
When we face problems beyond our control and there’s not much we can do in the physical, always remember we can fight that thing in the spiritual realm.