Is your arsenal rusty?

rusty armor resizedAnd 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 Lord’s people.  
–Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
Have you ever listened to a friend or loved one pour out their heart to you and felt the overwhelming need to do something? Perhaps the problem can be solved by a financial gift, or thoughtful advice or encouragement, but what do we do when the pain is so deep, the problem so complicated, the brokenness so complete that we have no ability to help? Somehow offering to pray for them seems like such a small thing. But that’s where our understanding of prayer falls short.
If you take a look at the whole sixth chapter of Ephesians, you’ll find that it concludes with instructions on how to put on the full armor of God, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” In other words, other people aren’t the enemy; the forces of evil are the enemy, and we’ve been given powerful armor and weapons to fight it.  But if we quit reading about the armor of God in verse 17, we miss one of the most powerful weapons of spiritual warfare: prayer. Paul, the author of Ephesians explains this more fully in 2 Corinthians 3-4. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
That changes everything! When we offer prayer for someone else, known as intercessory prayer, we are going to war for them against the powers of darkness affecting them with the strongest weapons imaginable! Prayer isn’t the least we can do; it’s the absolute best we can do! And we can’t settle for praying for someone when immediate prayer with them is an option. (If we’re honest, we’ve all promised to pray for someone then forgotten to actually do it.) Hearing another person speak words of truth, grace and mercy over us is very powerful, and if we pray in the Spirit, letting the Spirit pray with us and guide our prayer, it is incredibly powerful.
Let us resolve not to let this weapon in our arsenal become rusty from disuse! Let us instead wear grooves in the handle from constant use so that it becomes second nature. And let us remember to use it not only for those we know, but all the Lord’s people near and far.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us for not understanding the incredible power of prayer and the gift you have given us by inviting us into your presence through it. Help us learn to pray, not with big words or fancy speech, but in the simplicity of a child and the power of a warrior through your Holy Spirit. Amen.
By Rev. Sarah Fotopulos, Associate Pastor