Week 22: Prayer
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 firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:13-18
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:7-13
Paul concludes his instructions to us on spiritual warfare with an encouragement to pray at all times for all the saints. Now, I rarely see prayer listed in the “Armor of God” and yet prayer is a MUST to battle against the enemy that is battling against us. The first pastor that I worked for out of seminary, Dr. Bill Ross, he used to say, “If you pray, then why worry? And if you are gonna worry, then why pray?”.
You see prayer and worry are the spiritual opposites of one another. Worry focuses your attention on your problems and circumstances. Prayer focuses our attention on God, who Is greater than all of our problems and is in control of all circumstances. And Paul says to pray at all times so that would include times of spiritual attack.
Don’t know what to pray? Well, Jesus helps us here. In Matthew chapter 6 as a part of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives us instructions on how to pray. He starts by letting us know that it’s not about just repeating wrote memorized prayers over and over again, but it’s about being real with God.
And then He gives us the model prayer or the Lord’s Prayer. And what do we do? We memorize it and we repeat it over and over again. You see, Jesus says “pray like this”, meaning I’m going to show you a form and a model that will help you. Now, it is a very good thing to quote scripture, like the Lord’s Prayer, but Jesus here is giving us a framework to shape our very own prayers.
And He starts out this way, “Our Father”. While this may be customary for you and I to think of praying this way, it would have been a radical theological shift for the first century Jewish disciple. They only thought of God as creator, judge, ruler and holy other. And while all of those things are true, Jesus wants us to know God primarily as Father.
When we come to the God of the universe in prayer through Jesus, then we approach Him with the welcomed intimacy of a son or daughter. And when Jesus says, “hallowed be your name” this is not just a greeting, but it is THE umbrella under which the rest of the prayer and the rest of our lives should exist. Jesus is saying that we should be praying that all of our lives are to bring Glory to God alone.
God use me here on this earth to bring about Your kingdom. God let me depend on You for all of my needs. And God, I trust You for my needs because I know that You are a good Father that loves to give good gifts to Your kids. God, You are glorified in us when we depend on You. God, You are glorified in us when we forgive as we have been forgiven. And God deliver us from the evil one. We are in a battle and we need You.
Now, theologians and Bible scholars debate the traditional ending of the Lord’s Prayer and if or when it was added later. You know, the “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever”, but for the sake of this devo we’ll go with it. And Jesus is saying that the power source is God himself.
In spiritual warfare we need the power of God to overcome. I don’t know about you, but in our house we seem to always have a phone charger crisis. We have plenty of little cubes that plug into the wall and we have a great need to charge our draining devices. We seem to always be missing the little cord that connects the two. And without the cord we cannot access the power supply and our devices remain drained or dead.
That cord is a picture of prayer. It is the vehicle by which we access the power supply of God Himself. So my prayer for you, is that as you pray as Jesus taught us to pray that you would continue to DEEPEN your relationship with Him.