A Personal Priority, A Precious Privilege, A Powerful Protection: Prayer
Traditionally on the first Thursday in May, many people in our nation participate in the National Day of Prayer. This year, it’s May 5! On a personal level, I have mixed emotions about a only single day set aside for something as important and essential as prayer. But, with that being said, I’d like to draw our attention to Ephesians 6:10, 18–20. Also please notice all that Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:11–17 about finding our strength in the Lord, in the power of His might, and in the protective armor He provides for us when we totally trust Christ as our Lord and Savior! So, to introduce this article, here are some interesting quotations that help prepare our thoughts for what’s we’ll find in Paul’s encouragement about finding strength through prayer.
_ “Prayer is a weapon, a mighty weapon in a terrible conflict. Our prayers are to be a continual, conscious, earnest effort of battle, the battle against whatever is not God’s will.” —P. T. Forsyth
– “Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan.” —John Bunyan
– “Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.” —Phillips Brooks
– “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”
– “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One Who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” —Max Lucado
– When asked how much time he spent in prayer, George Mueller’s reply was, “Hours every day. But I live
in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming.”
– Ephesians 6:10 … 18–20 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. … With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that words of truth may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
As I draw some conclusions, I’d like to highlight the truths and explain the practical lessons we find in these verses from Paul’s exhortation/encouragement about prayer.
—1}. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might”—When we become faithful followers of Christ, we also become soldiers in the Lord’s army. Then, God’s Spirit takes residence in our lives, giving us all the necessary Spiritual Armor to provide protection. When we pray, we’re recognizing and acknowledging the Source of our protection and strength, and adorning ourselves with God’s Armor.
—2} “Pray at all times in the Spirit!”—Simply said, this involves asking God to reveal any unconfessed sins that might hinder our prayers; it also means requesting that God’s will might be done and relying completely on the guidance and direction of God’s Spirit. We can ask for anything in our prayers, but if we desire something that’s either sinful or out of line with God’s will, the answer is going to be, “No.”
—3} “Be on the alert!” —Being alert relates to the idea of being on guard duty and watching for any temptations that might influence and impact us—or anyone else within our sphere of influence. We should pray for the awareness necessary to avoid the temptation, to find the escape that God will provide, and for strength to flee.
—4} Pray for those who might be on the front lines of ministry, especially those who are called to speak the Truth in Love to people around us, both those who are followers and those who haven’t yet trusted in the Lord’s gracious provision of forgiveness and freedom from the penalty for sin.
—5} Within our culture today, for every faithful follower of Christ, prayer is a personal priority, a precious privilege, and a powerful protection against the schemes and strategies of those who oppose God’s plans and purposes!
With prayer for God’s glory and praise for His grace, Pastor Greg