To wrap up our understanding of how to stand and be effective wearing our spiritual armour we will look into the following verse.
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)
Paul tells us that after we put our armour on we need to pray ‘in the spirit.’ Jude also has something to say on the subject.
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 1:20-21 (NKJV)
Paul and Jude both advise us to ‘pray in the Spirit.’ Great advice but what does it mean? My background is Full Gospel/Pentecostal. The general teaching in those circles is that praying in the Spirit is praying in tongues. This creates a problem. If that interpretation is true then those who do not speak/pray in tongues cannot be effective in spiritual warfare. Neither Paul nor Jude would encourage a practice that was not for all. Below in italics is an excerpt from a teaching article I wrote in 1992 that speaks to praying in the Spirit. The article was about life in the Spirit and the first paragraph provides context for the second.
True prayer is simply the heart responding to Jesus. When we always respond to Him we are praying without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). To pray without ceasing does not mean to pray 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The phrase ‘without ceasing’ is used three times in 1 Thessalonians (1:3, 2:13, 5:17) and each time is the same Greek word. It basically means to pray without omission and if we look at the context of these passages Paul cannot be saying he is praying 24 hours a day 7 days a week for these things.
Paul gives the sense of praying without omission or ceasing in Ephesians 6:18 and Colossians 4:2. To pray at all times in the Spirit is simply to respond to Him with prayer as the Spirit leads. To pray in the Spirit is not necessarily praying in tongues. Tongues are praying by, through, or with, the enabling of the Spirit not in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is following His leading in prayer rather than simply praying what we naturally think we should pray. If we are praying at His leading while praying in tongues then we are both praying in and by the Spirit.
So, back to Ephesians 6, using our armour and praying in the Spirit. We need to put on our armour, being mindful that wearing it without using it is like an athlete putting on all his equipment then watching the game. Once clothed we pick up our sword and wield it by turning into prayer the scriptures He stirs in our heart.
For example, if I am facing a significant challenge, I may take up this verse.
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
I can obey Jesus injunction to speak to the mountain (Mk. 11:23) and say, “I declare that X shall not have dominion over me. Because Your word says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Jesus I thank You for Your enabling. I thank You that I am called to victory in this area.” We form our prayers as the Holy Spirit leads. Remember, Paul wrote this from prison. His declaration in Philippians 4:13 didn’t set him free, it enabled him to live in victory in his circumstances.
Now not all prayer needs to be based on a particular verse or passage of scripture, it does however need to align with scripture. For example, here is something I pray regularly from myself and many of you. It ties together the various components of armour from Ephesians 6 with the power of our blood covenant with Jesus.
“I place all you have called me to, my family, life, home, property and purpose – my destiny, under the protection of Your name and blood. Phil. 2:10, Eph. 1:7, Prov. 18:10
Help us to stand in the power of Your might, at rest in Your truth, righteousness and peace as we exercise faith in You, embracing You as our salvation and declaring Your word! Holy Spirit, I embrace Your call to wield my sword, Your word, to be alert and pray at strategic times, at Your prompting, establishing Your will in the earth.
I thank You that Your word is truth and that as I commit to standing on truth and in truth the enemy is defeated. I thank You that You are my righteousness. Through You I come boldly to the throne of grace, drawing on Your mercy and help. I thank You that as in faith I present my requests to You, Your peace guards my heart and mind. I thank You that my faith in You is a shield that quenches all the attacks of the evil one. I thank You that by filtering my thoughts through the reality of Your salvation, my mind is guarded. I thank You that the proper use of Your word is a sword that drives back the enemy! Eph. 6:10-20, 4:21, John 14:6, Phil. 3:9, 4:6-8, Heb. 4:12, 11:1, 6, 12:2, Rom. 1:16, 8:14, Gal. 5:16, 18
Father, I thank You that we are bound to You by the covenant made in Jesus’ blood. I thank You that His blood is continually protecting us and cleansing us from all sin as we walk in the light of Your presence. Luke 22:20, Heb. 10:29, 13:20, Ex. 12:13, 23, 1 Jn. 1:7-10, Eph. 5:8”
So, in relation to spiritual warfare; let’s become familiar with His word, put on our armour, pick up our swords and look to the Holy Spirit.