“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Paul warned us to take on the whole armor of God so that we may stand firm against the forces of evil. Why did Paul use the analogy of a soldier’s uniform and weapon to describe truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, gospel of peace and the Word of God? It is because we are in warfare and Paul was instructing us to take a “combat position” against this invisible satanic army.
Notice that we not only have a defensive armor, but offensively, we have the “sword of the Spirit” to attack the works of Satan. To take the armor of God is to prepare us for battle. Prayer is part of entering into the battle, with God’s Word as our principal weapon to bring down these strongholds of Satan.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that evil forces surround us on every hand. And it looks like they are winning the battle. I think everyone would agree that the United States is in a state of moral and spiritual crisis such as it has never been. Instead of being spiritually led, many churches have been society led. America is reaping the dire consequences of rejecting God.
Our society is morally bankrupt, and the problems seem resistant to government cures. William J. Bennett, in his Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, provides the following statistics for the past 30 years. Despite increased funding and stricter laws, violent crime has increased more than 500 percent. While sex education programs have proliferated, illegitimate births have increased over 400 percent, significantly among teenagers.
The divorce rate has quadrupled, and single parent homes have become the majority. Our young people today exhibit hopelessness, with a more than 200 percent increase in the teenage suicide rate. Is there anything that can turn our society around? America has experienced three great periods of revival in the previous two centuries, during which all of society was dramatically affected. Will there be another revival in America?
History is filled with prayer warriors such as Martin Luther, Muller and Finney who fought to bring about change in society. E.M. Bounds in his book, Power Through Prayer, states:
God’s true preachers have been distinguished by one great feature: they were men of prayer. Differing often in many things, they have always had a common center. They may have started from different points, and traveled by different roads, but they converged to one point: they were one in prayer. God to there was the center of attraction, and prayer was the path that led to God. These men prayed not occasionally, not a little at regular or at odd times; but they so prayed that their prayers entered into and shaped their characters; they so prayed as to affect their own lives and the lives of others; they so prayed as to make the history of the church and influence the current of the times.
Will there be another revival in America? Guy H. King said, “No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it. I believe there can be another revival. With God, all things are possible.”
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
One day when I was in third grade, one of my classmates came to school with both of her knees red and rough looking. We asked her what had happened to her knees. She explained that her church was having a revival and that she had been on her knees praying. Wow…I didn’t know the Lord at the time, but her confession made an impact on me. To think that a little third grader would stay on her knees in prayer long enough to make them red and roughened!
I believe that we Christians need to get some calluses on our knees. We need to fall on our knees and cry out to God for mercy and guidance. I’m talking about ‘crying out’ to God, not some lay me down to sleep prayer.
James 5:16: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” and verse 17 says that Elijah “prayed earnestly.”
The word “fervent” comes from the Greek word energeo which means “to be mighty in” and the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “earnestly” as “characterized or proceeding from an intense and serious state of mind.” People, it’s time to get serious with God.
God has given us multiple promises concerning prayer. In Jeremiah 33:3 God said: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
2 Corinthians 10:4: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;” God is telling us that the weapons of our warfare are mighty. That our weapons will pull down strongholds. “
There’s a sense of apathy within the church today…not caring, not hoping. It’s as if many are walking around in a state of fugue–not really aware of what is happening around them. Oh God, arise and wake up Your children, so that we may fight for Your glory and honor. May we be as Winston Churchill said, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Will you answer God’s call to battle?