MAY 24

Praying for One Another

Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

“Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war.”  There is a war going on, and I’m not speaking here of the war in Ukraine.  In this war there can be no spectators, as every person is involved, whether they realize it or not.  In his warfare against God and the souls of men, the devil never stops working.  His goal?  To doom the sinner with respect to his destiny and to defeat the saint with respect to his walk and witness.

We are familiar with this passage in Ephesians chapter six having to do with putting on the whole armor of God.  The passage reminds us that we are engaged in a battle–not against flesh and blood–” but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).  In adorning ourselves with God’s armor, we are exhorted “to be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10) and to “stand firm” (3X-verse 11, 13, and 14).  We need to remind ourselves of this reality.  In this war, you’ll not read of casualty counts in the headlines.  You won’t hear any air raid sirens.  You’ll not see this enemy lurking about in your community.  But he’s there, prowling “around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  Read the headlines through the lens of the reality of his ongoing destructive influence, for he is even now hard at work through his evil army wreaking havoc in lives, marriages, families, churches, communities, and even in an entire country. 

The important passage concludes with an admonition to pray for one another.  In his commentary on this text, Albert Barnes wrote of this, “It would be well for the soldier who goes forth to battle to pray–to pray for victory; or to pray that he may be prepared for death, should he fall. But soldiers do not often feel the necessity of this. To the Christian soldier, however, it is indispensable. Prayer crowns all lawful efforts with success and gives a victory when nothing else would. No matter how complete the armor; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph. This prayer is not to be intermitted. It is to be always. In every temptation and spiritual conflict, we are to pray.”

Note that the exhortation here to pray for one another is in the context of the spiritual battle in which we are engaged.  Note also the use of warfare terminology, “keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).  That’s the way a soldier fights.  He’s alert to the enemy, and he refuses to leave his post.  Note also the repeated use of the word “all” –praying at all times… with all prayer…with all perseverance…for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).  We believers do pray for one another–we have our prayer lists and prayer meetings and prayer chains–but I’m not sure we always pray with these spiritual warfare considerations in mind.  That brother or sister we are praying for is a fellow soldier engaged like us in a raging war against a real enemy who is seeking to do us all harm.  There’s a sense of urgency here in this text.  Anyone would be a fool to go into battle lacking the appropriate weapons, but are we using this weapon to the degree and extent that we should?

As we’ve previously noted, prayer is an expression of dependence on, and trust in, God.  We pray, realizing that we are fully dependent on God and that He is more than able to protect and defend us.  As that great hymn puts it, “Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing, Were not the right man on our side, The man of God’s own choosing.  Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus, it is He–Lord Sabaoth His name, From age to age the same, and He must win the battle!”  Lord, make us to be prayer warriors who are alert and engaged, bringing before Your throne our challenges and the challenges of those around us, that we might be strong in You in this needy day, that Your glory might be revealed in and through us! Amen.

“Satan laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” – Samuel Chadwick

THE BATTLE BELONGS

When all I see is the battle, You see my victory
When all I see is the mountain, You see a mountain moved
And as I walk through the shadow, Your love surrounds me
There’s nothing to fear now for I am safe with You

So when I fight, I’ll fight on my knees
With my hands lifted high
Oh God, the battle belongs to You
And every fear I lay at Your feet
I’ll sing through the night
Oh God, the battle belongs to You

And if You are for me, who can be against me? Yeah
For Jesus, there’s nothing impossible for You
When all I see are the ashes, You see the beauty
Thank You God
When all I see is a cross, God, You see the empty tomb

So when I fight, I’ll fight on my knees
With my hands lifted high
Oh God, the battle belongs to You
And every fear I lay at Your feet
I’ll sing through the night
Oh God, the battle belongs to You

Almighty fortress, You go before us
Nothing can stand against the power of our God
You shine in the shadow, You win every battle
Nothing can stand against the power of our God

So when I fight, I’ll fight on my knees
With my hands lifted high
Oh God, the battle belongs to You
And every fear I lay at Your feet
I’ll sing through the night
Oh God, the battle belongs to You

Songwriters: Brian Mark Johnson / Philip David Wickham © Be Essential Songs, Bethel Music Publishing

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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