July 30, 2020 | Prayer Guides by Various Authors
The Armor of God
Day 1 – Background of Ephesians 6:10-18
Ephesians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.”
The first ten days of this prayer guide will focus on praying about the armor of God. If you are not already aware, you have an enemy whose name is Satan, and he wants to distract you from your faith in Christ and your walk with the Lord.
Paul wrote Ephesians while in a Roman prison. Ephesus was a commercial and religious center in Asia, so believers there were surrounded with distractions from the world. Paul desired to instruct his brothers and sisters on how to walk in Christ-likeness, to stand firm in the truth of God’s Word, and to resist the enemy’s deceptive pull. Unseen spiritual forces are working against us, as well. Unless we know how to fight back, we will fall into temptation every time.
In the coming days, we will discuss each piece of equipment the Lord provides to give His children strength to withstand these attacks. Know this, church family: Satan has a strategy to deceive and disrupt each and every one of us. Do not be deceived into thinking you can fight this battle on your own; but also do not despair, for we are not without hope. According to 1 John 4:4: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” The Holy Spirit indwells all believers, and we can have victory over the attacks on our marriages, families, work, and especially our church.
A few months ago on May 3, Dr. Ewart preached on this very passage from Ephesians. He said, “Satan seeks to discover your fears, distract your focus, and destroy your faith.” Satan cannot take our salvation, but he will try to divide our minds and distort God’s truth. He will tempt us to doubt, just as he did with Eve at the beginning: Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1) We all now suffer from the consequences of that mistake, BUT through Jesus Christ we have redemption and forgiveness of sins.
Questions to Consider:
Do you realize there is a spiritual battle going on? Are you ready to stand against the attacks that come your way?
- Father, help me to read and memorize your Word daily so that I will have strength when the enemy attacks me.
- Father, open my eyes to recognize the enemy’s lies and direct my mind to the truths of Your Word.
Day 2 – Be Strong in the Lord
Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
Beginning his final charge in Ephesians, Paul takes our thinking back to the early doctrinal chapters. To better understand the power and authority we have in Christ, we must recall Ephesians 1:19-23, “... the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
This ability to stand our spiritual ground is completely from the Lord. The pieces of armor we will cover during the next few days are specific evidences that everything we have are gifts of God’s grace. We walk in victory since we are in Christ. Every ounce of strength we think we have is actually a good gift from almighty God. Since this power is from Him, we may have confidence to stand firm in Him.
Questions to Consider:
In which areas of my life do I need to confess a lack of reliance on the Lord’s might? What are some examples of God’s authority seen in Genesis through Revelation?
- Ask the Lord to help you trust and walk solely in His strength.
- Offer thanksgiving back to the Lord for gifting us with His power. Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Day 3 – Stand Firm, Soldier
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
Several times in his letters, Paul uses the image of a soldier going into battle to give us an idea of what it means to follow Christ (see 2 Timothy 2:3-4).
Throughout the Old Testament, when God’s people went into battle against their enemies, the Lord made it clear that He was the one who would fight their battles. Similarly, for us as believers to “put on” the armor is to actively trust in the Lord’s capable hands to provide as 2 Chronicles 20:15 says, “and he said, ‘Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’”
Because God fights our battles, we do not have to be anxious or discouraged. Because God fights our battles, no circumstance is too daunting and no situation is out of His control. God has promised to meet our needs and love us beyond measure (see Phil. 4:19 and Rom. 8:37-39).
A simple definition for “stand firm” is “to refuse to change a decision or position.” We can stand firm, knowing that God wins the victories and He alone receives the glory. When our mindset is steady on Christ and what He did, we will know His truth and disregard any lie that Satan may throw at us. We can be confident when we face temptations and trials because the Lord has already defeated Satan. Psalm 24:8 says, “Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle.”
The word “schemes” in the Greek is methodia, which is where we get our word for method. Satan is deliberate in his attacks and is not ignorant to our weaknesses. Human history is filled with instances of his destructive deception, and our days are no exception. The full armor of God can strengthen our walk with the Lord and let us lock arms together in prayer and petition.
Questions to Consider:
Are you a threat to the enemy because of your devotion to Christ? In what ways has he schemed in your life this week to distract you from honoring God?
- Father, reveal any deception that I am holding onto in my life that is hindering me from victory.
- Father, I want to have the heart of the psalmist in Psalm 20:7-8.
Day 4 – Our Battle Plan
Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
God tells us in His Word that He loves us more than anything else He created. This love is evident in God’s plan for our salvation through the sacrifice of His only Son to pay for our sin. We know that through this sacrifice Satan and his armies have been defeated, and the war against sin and death has been won!
But, God’s Word also informs us of some not so pleasant realities. Ephesians 6:12 warns us that there are still evil forces out there doing their best to destroy us and keep us from the life God wants for us. The enemy hates the church and what it stands for, and Satan will try at every turn to make us believe we have no power, no choice but to give up the fight. These evil forces are not “of this world.” They are supernatural and, therefore, cannot be defeated with even the most effective human strategy or weapons.
The good news is—because of God’s love and grace—He has not left us to fend for ourselves. The next five verses describe the armor that protects us from the attacks of the devil. He has also equipped us for these battles with the most powerful supernatural weapon in our arsenal—PRAYER. Daily communication with God makes us strong against these dark forces.
Yes, the war has been won, but we will fight the enemy until Christ comes again. Get your battle plan through Scripture, gear up with the armor of God, and grab your weapon of prayer. God cannot and will not be defeated!
Questions to Consider:
Are you diligently reading Scripture so that you can recognize and be ready to defend against the attacks of the enemy? Are you honing your skill with your weapon of prayer?
- Almighty God, keep us sober and diligent so that we are never caught off guard by the schemes of the devil.
- Father, thank you for providing us with everything we need for our daily battle against the enemy. Thank you for always being with us as we fight.
Day 5 – The Evil Day Is Every Day
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
Paul has just made some very important statements about spiritual warfare. In v. 10 - 12 we are told to be strong by relying on God’s strength (v.10) using God’s armor (v. 11) against God’s enemy (v.12).
Notice Paul has repeated himself in verses 11 and 13. Not only are the commands similar (put on and take up) but also the reasons for the commands are the same— “in order to stand or withstand against evil.” Clearly, Paul is advocating for us to participate in this warfare using the weapons God has provided. But without “taking up” or “putting on” this armor, we are left defenseless against a powerful enemy.
Paul also uses the word “stand” three times (vv. 11, 13, 14). In v. 11 “stand” carries the idea of confirmed or proved; to be firmly established or to determine the quality or characteristic or something by trial or experience. In v. 13 “stand” carries the idea of a forceful offensive stance against an opponent. Paul isn’t merely speaking of holding your ground or hunkering down until reinforcements come but rather actively engaging in the resistance against the schemes of the devil—in the evil day. When is that?
Friend, the evil day is every day. Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 5: 8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The devil is a liar, a murderer and vigorously working in the world today (Ephesians 2). Moreover, he is calculating, cunning, and shrewd (2 Corinthians 11:14). We are no match for the devil apart from God. We must understand we are in a real battle everyday against the spiritual forces of wickedness. This battle is not won in our own strength, or with our own weapons but only with the strength and armor provided by our Savior.
Questions to Consider:
A good soldier stays awake and “sober,” with his armor already on, ready at all times for the battle that is coming. If you belong to Christ, this means putting on the armor of God daily so that you are prepared when Christ returns. Are you wearing the armor God has provided you? Are you actively standing and resisting in this evil day? Whose strength are you relying on to resist the schemes of the devil?
- Ask God for help as you purposefully stand and resist in this evil day.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you commit Scripture to memory and then to bring to mind passages of Scripture when you most need them.
Day 6 – Unwavering Truth
Ephesians 6:14 “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
“To stand firm” in this passage means to be immovable or unwavering. The way someone stands firm is by knowing and standing on the truths of God’s Word. “Girding up your loins with the truth” means that one is ready to stand and defend the truths of the Scripture when the time comes. When the time of attack comes it is God’s Word that you must stand on lest you be swayed. This is similar to what Jesus is speaking of in Matthew 7:24-27 when he describes the person who builds his life on a firm foundation. The one who does not obey the Lord and His Word stumbles and falls. It is important that one solidify within their heart the truth of God’s Word so that they will stand in the day of trouble.
To “put on the breastplate of righteousness” is to guard your life by living according to the instruction of the Lord. You take on the righteousness that Christ has given you and then live your life in a righteous manner. Putting on the “breastplate of righteousness” protects the most vital and vulnerable parts of your body. It is imperative for you to put on Christ’s righteousness in order to protect the most vital and vulnerable parts of your life.
Truth and righteousness work together to produce an unwavering follower of Jesus. One who stands on the Word of the Lord and lives their life according to His Word will be found a faithful follower of Jesus. When the day comes and the enemy attacks it is both truth and righteousness that will keep you from failing. Practically speaking, when you put away truth or righteousness, you become susceptible to all sorts of attacks from the enemy. Truth and righteousness guard you from temptation and potential destruction.
Questions to Consider:
Am I standing firm because of the truths of God’s word or am I wavering in my faithfulness because I am swayed by my doubts?
- Pray that God would help you to solidify within your heart and mind the truths of His Word.
- Pray that God would help you to be ready to stand firm when the enemy attacks.
- Pray that you would be unwavering in your devotion to Him so that you will live in a righteous manner.
Day 7 – Being Prepared
Ephesians 6:15 “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace,”
Although shoes are the third item on Paul’s list, we often put our shoes on last. In this case, shoes are more important than a fashion accessory that we throw on to get out the door. Likewise, shoes are often not worn when just lazing about, but rather we put them on (this is what “shod” means) when setting out for a destination.
This verse first stresses the importance of preparing ourselves. Paul tells us to put on the gospel of peace. Just as in any journey this soldier wants to make sure he is ready for the battle that is ahead. Likewise, we need to prepare our hearts and minds with God’s Word and prayer in order to battle sin well. We must be prepared when facing the temptations of life.
More than just preparing ourselves in general, Paul addresses what we are preparing. We often talk about sharing the gospel with others, but we must first understand the gospel for ourselves, especially as it pertains to peace. God started by creating humans who lived in peace with Him. However, our sin brought enmity between us and God. Even still, our God loves us so much that He made a way back to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. It is only through believing in Jesus, as both the Son of God and Son of Man, and turning from our sins that we can accept this way back to God. This restores peace with God.
There is a bit of irony putting the gospel of peace in the context of a set of armor for war. Putting on shoes that are prepped with the gospel of peace is for ourselves and for others. These are to remind us to live in peace with God and man. Shoes also insinuate you are going somewhere; therefore, make sure your feet take you with the gospel in your heart and on your lips. We go to war, but with peace on our feet. This is the life God has called us to do. That is how we bring God glory, by sharing the peace of the gospel with ourselves and others.
Questions to Consider:
Do you understand how the gospel is peace? Do you prepare yourself regularly by dwelling on the gospel as peace? Do you take the gospel to others?
- Ask God to renew the peace of the gospel in your heart and mind.
- Ask God to show you with whom you can share the gospel of peace and ask for boldness to do it.
“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7
Day 8 – Faith in God’s Truth
Ephesians 6:16 “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”
The writer of Hebrews under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit defines biblical faith as: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith is to believe that God never lies, that His Word and everything contained in it are true. His prophecies and promises are true. And in His sovereignty, all things God has said past, present, and future will come to pass exactly as He has said it. This is the faith of Abraham who knew God would keep His promise that from the seed of Isaac a great nation would come forth. As Hebrews 11:17-19 states, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. Abraham offered up Isaac, knowing that God would not lie about His promise that “in Isaac your descendants shall be called.” Faith is believing God.
The fiery darts of the evil one are lies. As we go through the circumstances of life, the lies of the devil and his demons come at us as doubts and discouragement; however, knowing God’s Word and believing God is true extinguishes every lie of the devil. For example, you may be in these circumstances: you may be losing your job, you may be losing your house, maybe you have cancer, or maybe you are in great suffering. The fiery darts start to come at you, and you hear in your mind: “God doesn’t love you,” “God has forgotten about you He has forsaken you.”
But we know God has promised in His Word, “God has demonstrated His Love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God loves you so much Jesus died for you. If you ever doubt God’s love, look to the Cross in all the pain and beauty. God has promised in His Word “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Matthew 28:20). God has promised us a home in John 14:1-3, and God has promised us life beyond disease in Revelation 21:4. I don’t need to know if I will keep my house; I don’t need to know if I will heal from cancer. What I need to know is that God loves me, that God will never leave me, and that God has a place for me with Him forever. This “Shield of Faith” quenches every lie of the devil.
Questions to Consider:
Do I take every circumstance I am in and apply the Word to it? Do I believe that no matter my circumstances God is enough?
- Father, remind me that you are my shield, that it is faith in you that destroys the lies of Satan (Psalm 91:4-5).
Day 9 – Final Weapons
Ephesians 6:17 “and take up the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
People wear helmets for many reasons. Some to ride a bicycle or motorcycle, some to participate in sports, some to work construction. All helmets have the same purpose: protect your brain and soften blows to the head. The brain is the seat of our emotions, thoughts, and decision making process.
In the above verse, Christians are called to put on the helmet of salvation. Paul is not saying the Ephesians need to be saved again, but to remember the hope they have in their salvation—the hope that they “will not perish, but have eternal life” with Christ (John 3:16). If you are a Christian, you will receive blows to your faith and emotional discouragement, but your helmet of salvation will protect you from being knocked out by wrong thinking and will keep your hope in Jesus, not yourself.
While swords are not common today, they are mentioned in the Bible frequently. A sword may be used as an offensive or defensive weapon, meaning it could be used to defend oneself or to attack someone else. Throughout this passage, Paul reminds Christians to be on guard against “the evil one.” We are told to take the “Word of God” or “the sword of Spirit” (the Bible) to be ready to defend our minds and to attack Satan.
In Luke 4, Jesus used the Bible to defend Himself from the temptations of Satan. When Satan misquoted and twisted Scripture, Jesus not only guarded Himself with, but also used the Bible to attack Satan and his lies. Jesus was able to use the “sword of the Spirit” because He knew it through and through. So, if the “Word of God” is truly the weapon of the Christian, then we must be in the Word. We must study, memorize, think about, and read the Bible. It is only then that we will be able to use our sword in withstanding attacks of the evil one.
When we remember the eternal hope we have in salvation and the weapon we have in the Word of God, our fight against Satan will not be one that we fear, but one we are ready for.
Questions to Consider:
Do you take hope in your salvation? Would you be able to use the Bible to defend yourself against an attack of Satan? What do you need to change to prepare for the battle?
- Take time to thank God for the Bible (Hebrews 4:12) and for the hope we have in Christ Jesus for salvation.
Day 10 – Perseverance and Petition
Ephesians 6:18 “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.”
In the previous verses, Paul instructed believers with the necessary tools to equip them for spiritual battle—the breast plate, the shoes, the shield, the helmet and the sword. He ends with the final weapon needed for battle—prayer. In this verse, we will see that Paul is giving guidelines for an effective prayer life.
When reading Scripture, we want to pay close attention to the entire text so that we don’t miss anything. Paul uses the word “all” four times in this one verse. First, Paul doesn’t say with some prayer and at some times. He says with all prayer and at all times to pray in the Spirit. Paul wants the believers to know that prayer should be a consistent, daily habit in their lives. We don’t pray once and then stop—we are persistent in praying. We are reminded of this in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 when God’s Word instructs us to “Pray without ceasing.” Prayer is talking to God and remembering that He is God! Prayer is a command from God, which expresses our trust and dependence on Him and is transformative in the life of a believer as we pray His will, not our own.
Second, the word “petition” is used twice in this verse. Webster’s dictionary defines “petition” as a meek and humble earnest plea for something significant or specific. Paul urges believers to bring all requests to the Lord, not only for just themselves but for all of the saints (the body of believers). Here we see Paul using the word “all” again.
Paul closes this passage by assuring believers that through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they have the powerful tool of prayer to help defeat life’s spiritual battles.
Questions to Consider:
Is your prayer life consistent and persistent? Are you praying for all things, at all times, in the Spirit?
- Lord, help me to apply this daily in my life: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7