Archive for February, 2011
Prayer is vitally important! Without it, we would not be able to put on the Full Armor of God. Prayer is our great weapon against Satan’s temptations. It is not mentioned as a part of the armor, as are the belt, shoes, breastplate, shield, helmet, or sword, but it is a very real defense. Prayer is a quiet activity, but it is nonetheless very mighty.
Prayer requires us to engage our minds and our spirits. Prayer ushers us into communication with the God of all creation! True, we are brought into fellowship by faith in His redeeming blood, but when we pray, we act on our desire to speak in His ear and take advantage of our fellowship with Him.
In review of what was already mentioned about the Full Armor of God in the previous posts, here is Ephesians 6:10-17. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore 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. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Prayer is necessary, not only because it is a time of direct fellowship & communion with God, but it is also the means by which we yield our wills to God’s will. It is in these times of prayer that God molds and shapes us to think like He thinks. Romans 8:26-27 say, “And in the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness: for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
As we Christians pray, the Holy Spirit is right there with us and in us, searching our hearts, interceding for us as we intercede for others and present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). The Spirit coaxes us to come to God in prayer; He teaches us what to say according to what God’s will is. God can then answer our prayers, our requests, because we are asking according to His will as the Spirit shows us what that will is.
At all times,and also when we pray, we have Jesus, our High Priest, who is always making intercession for us. Hebrews 8:1 – “…we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” In Hebrews 7:25, we see that “…He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He lives to make intercession for them.” And Hebrews 9:14 asks: “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Christ’s blood is, of course, all-powerful to cleanse the repentant sinner.
The fact that Jesus is every Christian believer’s High Priest, is good reason for us to be active in prayer. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,* that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”
I believe that Jesus was sympathizing with our weaknesses; He was being “touched with the feelings of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV) when He was praying to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was submitting to the Father’s will as He prayed in Matthew 26:39, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” and in verse 42, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done.” Through prayer, the sinless Son of God, Jesus, God the Son, yielded His will to the Father’s will. The result was his death on the cross and redemption for all who will trust in Him. So how important is it for us to also yield our wills to God’s will in prayer?
After Jesus found Peter, James, and John asleep when He had told them to sit and keep watch while He prayed in Gethsemane, He told them to “keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”- Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38. In Luke 22:40, we find that Jesus also had said, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation” when they had arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane. Was Jesus praying at this time and place so that He would not enter into temptation? It may be so, because He was in “agony, praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” - Luke 22:44.
So, we must pray also to not enter into temptation. Never let anyone discourage you from Bible study and prayer. These are the most life-giving, Satan-resistant activities that you can do! But Jesus was much more than our example here. Just as He was our substitute on the cross, He may have been our substitute in the Garden or Eden, resisting temptation in our place. Now we can recognize his victory over temptation as our victory or temptation. Doing this would allow His grace to flow in our lives in yet another way. Jesus suffered on the cross for us, died, was buried, and rose again all on our behalf. Perhaps his yielding in submission to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane is yet another substitutionary work for us. Now when I am tempted, I can say, “It’s all of Jesus. Let His life be my life. I will do what He has done; I will yield to the Father, because He has already done the same.” Now He can live out His obedience through me as I say, “Yes, Lord, Thy will be done! I will obey.”
A life of obedience to God and of good works and living out your faith are important, but these things are impossible if you do not have a life of prayer! Proof of this is here when Jesus tells us to watch and pray so that we do not enter into temptation. Later, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, the apostle Paul says to “pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” By doing this, we will be able to yield our wills to God’s will as Jesus did. He indwelling us will strengthen us to obey, if we pray!
I believe that Hebrews 8:10-12 tells about this process of yielded prayer and Bible study: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone His brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Since the Church is the spiritual Israel, this passage may be talking about us, the Church, and perhaps not just the Jewish nation in the future.
So be complete in your Full Armor of God by putting it in with prayer…then pray without ceasing; always be in the attitude and practice of prayer! A lifetime that is always focused on being in prayer will be a sanctified life, or one set apart unto God, and a life set apart to God is a meaningful life!
Do you want this very meaningful life in Christ? Please let me know in a comment to this final post about the Full Armor of God!