*SPIRITUAL WARFARE: PART 2: ARMOR: PART 3*
/The Life and Diary of David Brainerd/, has probably influenced more revivals than any other book.
His life was one of fervent prayer for the American Indians.
He was converted at the age of 21 and immediately became a pioneer missionary.
He spent 6 years in astonishing, agonizing prayer, until, in 1744, when he was 27, a remarkable revival spread over his work.
In 1742, when David was 24 years old, and a Christian for 3 years, he wrote the following in his journal:
"/I set apart this day for secret fasting and prayer, to entreat to God to direct and bless me with regard to the great work I have in view, of preaching the Gospel.
Just last night the Lord visited me marvelously in prayer: I think my soul never was in such an agony before.
I felt no restraint; for the treasures of divine grace were opened before me.
I wrestled for absent friends, for the ingathering of souls, and for the children of God in many distant places.
I was in such agony, form sun half an hour high, till near dark, that I was all over wet with sweat.
Oh, my dear Jesus did sweat blood for poor souls!
Long for more compassion for them/."
David Brainerd understood the importance and power of prayer.
Today, we are going to look at what Ephesians 6 says about prayer.
First, let's review:
In the first message, we looked at Ephesians as an orientation about the Christian life as to why spiritual warfare is essential.
We discussed three areas that provide a background for our topic: a) the city of Ephesians and its involvement in worshipping false gods; b) that Christ is exalted and we are able to have conquest over the enemy; c) the character, or nature of spiritual warfare.
In the second message, we saw that God gives us weapons in which we may obtain victory over our enemy and live a victorious Christian life.
Those weapons we looked at were:
1.) *Belt of Truth*: Christians need to have candor, sincerity, truthfulness.
2.) *Breastplate of righteousness*: Righteousness will produce spiritual fruit and draw us close to God.
3.) *The Shoes Of the Preparation of the Gospel*: A Christian's life must be properly protected and equipped.
In the 3rd message, we looked at three more spiritual weapons:
*Shield of Faith: *Faith is what overcomes every foe (1 John 5:4).
As believers use the shield of faith, the fiery darts of unbelief and doubt are kept away.
*Helmet of Salvation: *The blessed hope must be like a helmet to protect the mind.
6.) *Sword of the Spirit: *The sword of the Spirit (and prayer) are weapons for attacking Satan’s strongholds and defeating him.
It also enables us to share the Gospel of truth with others.
In this message, we want to look at how prayer is foundational for the deployment of all the other weapons, and how that can be used as a weapon.
I want to say that prayer should not be considered a seventh piece of armor that God has provided for the Christian soldier.
Prayer is too grand, too foundational, too essential, too encompassing to be listed as just another piece of spiritual armor, important as they are.
Rather, prayer is the key to effective warfare with the powers of evil.
Today, I would like us to see seven aspects that Ephesians 6:18 teaches us about praying.
Ephesians 6:18: "*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 saints*."
*1) **First Aspect On Prayer = How to Pray: Answer: PRAY IN THE SPIRIT*
The phrase "in the Spirit" (/en pneumati/) is usually taken to mean in communion with the Spirit or "in the power of the Spirit."
Prayer in the Spirit probably implies inspired prayer.
It means to be in communion with the Holy Spirit, or in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This means we pray according to God's will.
As Jesus prayed in Luke 22:42: "/Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done/."
Jesus always prayed according to His Father's will and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
If, as Christians, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then we can pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.
That is, the Spirit helps us to pray -- empowers us to pray.
The Holy Spirit even intercedes on our behalf, because often we don't know how to pray.
Romans 8:26-27: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."
Take comfort that the Holy Spirit is helping you to pray in His Spirit, and on your behalf.
*2) **Second Aspect on Prayer = When to Pray: Answer: PRAY ON ALL OCCASIONS*
"On all occasions" (/en panti kairo/) suggests that the believer will be in constant prayer in preparation for the battle as well as in the engagement itself.
Colossians 4:2 says to "/devote/ [/proskartereo/]/ yourselves to prayer/."
Devote = to be earnest towards, to persevere, be constantly diligent, to adhere closely to (as a servitor), to attend - continually!
According to this passage, when to pray? Answer: Always!
We are to be earnest and diligently praying -- continually.
I.e.: When you work, play, travel, going to sleep, before you eat, out-loud, quietly, at church, in times of peace, in times of trouble, in your devotions, at prayer meetings.
Take every opportunity to pray.
God hears you when you pray, no matter where you are, or how you pray!
He loves for you to communicate with Him.
A Third Aspect On Prayer: Using a Variety of Prayers*
The "prayers" (/proseuche/) in verse 18, represents the approach to God in general, and "requests" (/deesis/) a special form of it, namely supplication, or prayer requests.
What kind of prayers are there?
¨ Adoration (or worshipping God)
In adoration, we remember who God is.
We praise Him for His love, power, majesty, and for His wonderful gift Jesus.
¨ Confession of sins to God
*Illustration: *Man in Wiang Hang believed he never sinned, because no one caught him.
All of us have sinned (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:9).
When we confess, we are not telling God anything that He does not already know.
But it does show that you are sorry for them and that you really do want His forgiveness, and are determined, with His help, not to keep on repeating the same old sins, day after day.
This time of owning up to your sin is a time to be honest and humble.
God never stops loving you, no matter how sinful you have been (see prodigal son story in Luke 15:11-32).
The order in which you pray is not important.
One may move constantly between adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.
But if we want God to hear and answer our prayers, we need to confess and let go of our own sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to "/Give thanks to God in all circumstances/."
Psalm 104:1, 5 says, "/Give thanks to the Lord … remember the wonders He has done/."
Before you start thinking about what you are going to pray for, spend some moments in giving thanks to God.
Thanksgiving moves the focus off of ourselves and on to God.
It helps us to focus and adore God.
If focuses on the Majesty of God, who He is, and what He can accomplish.
It helps to posture our heart in prayer.
It is hard to be discouraged when we are thankful.
Briefly, why & when do we give thanks to God:
a) As we approach Him (Ps.
b) For the gift of Jesus (2 Cor.
c) Because God is good (Ps.
d) For deliverance from sin's grip (Rom.
e) All of God's good gifts (1 Tim.
f) The defeat of death and sin (1 Cor.
g) Give thanks continually (Heb.
In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus healed ten lepers, but only 1 -- a Samaritan -- bothered to come back and say thank you.
¨ Supplication = asking for things in prayer
This leads us to our *4.)
Fourth Aspect On Prayer: Requests (supplications)*
This is what this verse is focusing on.
Supplication is when we make specific requests in prayer, both for others and self.