Fighting On Your Knees: Prayer and Spiritual Warfare
A couple of weeks ago, I concluded my 20-plus week teaching series on the book of Ephesians. I entitled the series, “Ephesians: Our Life in Christ.” We had a wonderful time studying God’s Word, and I pray that God grows us tremendously from it.
In our last lesson, we tackled Ephesians 6:10-20, that classic passage on spiritual warfare. In addition to the six pieces of God’s armor, we discovered that prayer also plays an integral part in our standing against the schemes of the Devil and his demons. In verse 18, “praying…” is an adverbial participle that modifies the verb “take…” in verse 17. Essentially what this means is that we put on the helmet of salvation and wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, by means of prayer. This then – in my feeble understanding – seems to be the normative means by which we as believers guard ourselves against and fight Satan and his forces. We fight through prayer.
Does this mean then that we are to talk to or rebuke the Devil in our prayers? The short answer is: No. Here is why I say this. There is no biblical precedence for talking to the devil in the context of prayer. As Jesus taught us, our prayers should be addressed to our Triune God, with specific attention given to the Father. When it comes to dealing with Satan and his demons in our prayers, we should keep praying to the Father about them instead of talking to them (Matthew 6:9-13; also cf., John 17:15). If we stop addressing God the Father and turn to speak directly to Satan, we have ceased from praying at that point. Our prayers are to be directed to God, not Satan.
So when it comes to standing against the devil’s schemes, fending off temptation, extinguishing the flaming arrows of unbelief, protecting our minds from spiritual attacks, etc.:
1. Pray constantly (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17)
2. Pray consistently with & dependently on the Spirit, according to the Bible (Ephesians 6:18; Romans 8:26)
3. Pray specifically (Ephesians 6:18 – “all prayer and supplication”)
4. Pray biblically (Acts 4:24-26)
5. Pray confidently (Hebrews 4:14-16)
6. Pray preemptively (Matthew 6:13)
“Fight all your battles on your knees.” Dr. Charles Stanley