Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Foundation of Victory- Christ in YOU

"And 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 saints."
-Ephesians 6:18

Over the past few months, the topic of prayer has been at the forefront of my life. I joined a bible study teaching us how to develop powerful prayer live. Ever since the study started, prayer has been as prominent as a flashing neon light. At first I thought it was just a sensitivity of the Holy Spirit acting inside of me because of this study. Now I am starting to understand that it is so much more than that!

This morning, my sweet husband was asked to lead our Sunday school class in our lesson. I bet you'll never guess what the topic was on... yup... prayer! It has been a slow progression, but as each day passes, the Lord has been teaching and showing me just how dire and important prayer is, not just in our daily walks but also in being victorious in fighting our daily spiritual battles!

Justin spoke this morning on the verse above in Ephesians. But before I begin speaking of this truth, I want to put the previous verses into light as well. Stick with me... its quite a few verses: 

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God" - Ephesians 6:10-17

Praying on the full armor of God. Something many believers are very familiar with. A metaphor used to illustrate our daily battles against the evil one and our strength and victory in Christ! As this is very true, it wasn't until recently I discovered just how powerful and deep the root of those verses truly stems! The beginning of Verse 19 states to "Pray in the Spirit." We can't obtain the power of the full armor without prayer! More importantly, we can't obtain the power of Christ without prayer in the Spirit. 

To put it simply, Prayer is the heart and soul of our relationship with our Lord. It is how we are connected to him, how we to speak to him and how he speaks to us (John 15:7). Prayer is power (John 14:12)!

In breaking down the verses above, there is so much richness in the truth that flows from those words! There is one word, however I want to focus on specifically. That word is Spirit. At the end of Ephesians 17, Paul tells us to take the "sword of the spirit" and in Ephesians 18, Paul says to "pray in the Spirit." The Spirit? What does that mean exactly? These two verses, being neighbors, are conveniently interconnected by the answer to that very question "...the spirit, which is the word of God." In this section, not only is the word Spirit repeated but it is clearly defined! Out of all of the the list of armory, the Spirit is the only part that is clearly stated like this. That is how truly important it is!

When we accepted Christ in our hearts, we were filled with the Holy Spirit and all its power! (Ephesians 1:13, Acts 1:8, Acts 15:8) It is so vital to understand that Jesus didn't die just to take us to heaven, but to indwell and empower us here on earth! In order for us to successfully do this, it requires us to pray. We aren't required to just pray any prayer, but prayers of the spirit, prayers of the word of God.

1 Peter 5:8 says "be alert! Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour!" We need to remember this! Satan HATES us! Look at the word choice used here: devour. Satan doesn't want to make us stumble or trip us up, no, he wants to be annihilated, and completely destroyed. We should remember this daily and be encouraged that through Christ we have the power to victory! 

The foundation to this victory over the evil one is praying in the spirit, as Paul says in Ephesians. He gives us a picture of the full armor to allow us to visualize God's strength in this battle we are in. In the book of Judges, God gives an impossible victory to Gideon against Midianites (300 vs thousands). With the gospel, we receive the Holy Spirit, we individually and intimately obtain the incredible power over the enemy as God provided to Gideon and his small army! All it takes is learning to pray Spirit filled prayers! Praying scripture, the literal words of God.

In my bible study, one of the leaders painted us a very helpful picture regarding the sword of the Spirit. Imagine standing in battle, fully clothed in heavy armor. Attached to your hip, a sheath, to hold the sword of the Spirit. When we dive into the word, spend time with the Lord in intimate prayer, memorize scripture etc, we are filling that sheath with an a weapon of limitless invincible strength. The more of God's word we fill in our hearts, the larger and stronger our weapon will be against the enemy! With this your are invulnerable! If we do the opposite, try to fight the enemy without spending time in God's word, our weapon is going to be small and weak. We will be walking into battle completely vulnerable!

Paul concludes verse 19 encouraging us to be alert and to pray for all of our brothers and sisters!

I just want to conclude this blog by saying that the presence of the enemy is very present in our fallen world. As believers and threats to the enemy, we need to be alert for ourselves against temptations and lies but we also need to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters. We are all in this fight together! We need to support each other, encourage each other and most importantly pray for each other!

I am learning moment by moment how powerful prayer in the Spirit truly is. It is something I struggle with daily. I find peace in knowing that I cannot do on my own power! It is not on our strength but on his. We surely can't do it on our own and Praise God for his faithfulness and unconditional love for us to step in and fight in our stead! As Jesus said in John 16 :33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

God Bless.

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