Although we have already learned about the six pieces of spiritual armor which Paul mentions in Ephesians 6, there is still one vitally important element left. It is not exactly a piece of the armor, but it is nevertheless, still essential for victory on the field of battle.
It is the ability we have to call in “air support” from heaven. It is prayer. Prayer is the messaging system between God and ourselves.
In Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul writes about prayer. He writes about the importance of communicating with God and allowing God to communicate with us.
As we look at this final element of the spiritual warfare, we will consider it as we have the six pieces of armor. We will look at how messaging worked for the Roman military, how it works for us as soldiers of Jesus Christ, and then finally, how we can start communicating better with God and allowing Him to communicate with us.
Messaging for the Soldier
Communication is key on the field of battle. Commanders need to send instructions to their solders, and the different commanders of different units need to communicate with each other to coordinate their attacks and to help each other out as needed.
To achieve these goals, the Roman military used a variety of methods for sending messages. When they needed to send a message over a short distance, they would use runners. Roman officers always had a team of runners whose job it was to carry messages from one part of the battlefield to another. They would deliver these messages either verbally or with waxed tablets.
But sending a runner was not always the best option. Runners could not be used when the distance was too far, when the message was too urgent, or when enemy forces were in the way. So the Roman military devised an ingenious solution for such situations. They developed a system of communication which could quickly send short messages over long distances and even to other units that were separated from the main force.
The Romans developed an early form of text messaging using two sets of five flags. The flags were bright red with the numbers 1-5 painted on them, and were fixed to poles about 12 feet in length. The military then arranged the Latin alphabet into a grid of five columns and five rows, assigning each letter to one box on the grid.
So the “A” was in the first box which had a numerical value of 1-1 (Row 1, Column 1), the “B” in the second box with a numerical value of 1-2 (Row 1, Column 2), the “C” in the third box with a numerical column of 1-3 (Row 1, Column 3), and so on. Then they would send letter-by-letter messages using the numerical values of the alphabet. At night, they used torches instead of flags to accomplish the same goal, raising one to five torches to indicate the rows and columns.
To send a message, the sending side simply had to spell it out using the flags and alphabetical grid. The receiving side would write the message down on a wax tablet and pass it on to the commander.
With such methods, the Roman army was able to communicate back and forth. Commanders could send messages to each other and to their soldiers, and in so doing, all the parts could work together as a unified whole. This was one of the things that helped the Roman military gain victory on the field of battle.
The downside to this sort of messaging was that it was time consuming and could only be used to send short messages. Rather than send a message which said, “The enemy is in full retreat with our legions in pursuit,” they would instead say, “Enemy retreat.”
Even that short message would take a minute or two to send. But it was better than no messaging at all.
However, in Ephesians 6:18-20, if Paul is indeed hinting at another tool that is at our disposal for spiritual warfare, then the method of messaging that is available to us is not time consuming, is not slow, and is not for short messages only. Let us look at what this form of messaging is for the Christian.
Messaging for the Christian
In Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul invites his readers to pray. Prayer is the Christian form of messaging. It is how we receive messages from God, and send our messages to Him. Prayer is how we ask for help, make our needs known, and seek help for other people around us.
This is the third time Paul has written about prayer in his letter to the Ephesians. He previously asked for prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 and then again in Ephesians 3:14-21. So Paul mentions prayer at the beginning, middle, and end of his letter.
For Paul, prayer is the beginning, middle, and end of life and ministry. And in all three of these section, Paul writes that one of the main things he prays for, and one of the main things the Ephesian Christians should pray for, is power. Power from God. Power for our lives. Power to live. Power to defeat the enemy.
Why power? Because are engaged in spiritual warfare, and if we are going to stay on our feet against the enemy forces arrayed against us, we are going to need power. And one of the best ways to receive power is to pray for it. Prayer is what enables us to fight back against the enemy.
In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote that this world is enemy-occupied territory and that Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. And it is primarily through prayer that much of this sabotage takes place.
But many Christians don’t think of prayer as warfare activity in which we sabotage the enemy’s plans and goals. This is seen in where and how most Christians pray. The attitude of many Christians is that prayer should be a peaceful, soothing practice.
I have been in churches where there are prayer closets. Some people’s homes have prayer corners, or prayer nooks. Usually, these areas have the dim lighting, cushioned seats, and padded kneelers. There is soft music playing above, some stained glass windows, a little counter for your Bible and pencils, and a cup holder for your latte.
But prayer is warfare activity. A prayer closet should be a foxhole, with sandbags and bullet shells. Why? Because prayer is not a leisure-time activity; it is a wartime activity. Prayer is not chatting on the phone with God as we stroll through a bed of tulips; it is the frantic radio calls of a platoon under heavy fire calling for air support: “God! Send help! We need your intervention, and we need it now, or we are not going to survive!”
It is often helpful to band together with other Christians in this sort of prayer. When the pioneers headed west, they would always situate their wagons into a circle to provide better protection. We should do that as well in prayer.
When we pray, it is wise and helpful to pray with others. This doesn’t make our prayers more powerful or effective, but it is helpful to know that we are not alone in calling to God for help. We are in a war and we need to pray like it.
So prayer the Christian form of military messaging. Through prayer, we communicate with our commander, calling for help and aid, and we also receive instructions and directions from Him, for how to proceed and what to do in battle. In Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul provides several instructions about what to pray for and how to pray. So let us to see how to engage in messaging with God.
Messaging with God
The greatest problem with prayer is that many Christians don’t know how to pray or what to pray for. Quite often, they have picked up some seriously bad habits about prayer from their parents, their pastor, or their church. In my book, What is Prayer?, I write about a lot of these habits, and also explain why prayer should not be mysterious or difficult.
Prayer is not a magic incantation, where if you say the right words in the right way, God is required to act on your behalf. As I reveal in my book, prayer is nothing more (and nothing less!) than simply talking to God as you would talk to any other person.
And if prayer is simply a form of communication with God, then this means that prayer not only involves talking to God, but also involves allowing Him to talk to us. Prayer is not a monologue, but is a conversation with God.
So it is not surprising that in Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul writes about both aspects of prayer. Ephesians 6:18 provides instructions about talking to God in prayer, and Ephesians 6:19-20 gives instructions about how to hear from God. We will begin by looking at Ephesians 6:18, and how to communicate with God.
What is interesting about Ephesians 6:18 is that just as the Roman military used five numbered flags to help communicate with other parts of the military, Paul lists five things in Ephesians 6:18 about how to use prayer in spiritual warfare. Just as there were five flags in the Roman military, Paul lists five elements to praying as God wants. Let us consider them one at a time.
Perpetual Prayer (Ephesians 6:18a)
The first two words of verse 18 are praying always. The first aspect to warfare prayer is that it should be perpetual. We must constantly be in communication with God.
This is similar to what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we should “pray without ceasing.” This does not mean that we should always be on our knees praying, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But you can communicate with God about anything, at any time, and in any place.
You don’t kneel, close your eyes, and fold your hands when you talk to anyone else, so you don’t need to do this with God either. But you can talk to anyone else as you go for a walk, drive your car, work out, eat your meals, and go about your day. So also with God.
As we go about our day, we are to maintain a constant and perpetual sense of God’s presence and say in communication with Him always.
This is the truth that Brother Lawrence writes about in his book, The Practice of the Presence of God. Since God is invisible, it does indeed take some practice to keep your mind and thoughts focused on the presence of God throughout your day. But it can be done.
As you begin to develop the recognition that God is always be your side, and you can always be in communication with Him, you will come to realize that He wants to have an ongoing dialogue with you. As this happens, you will find that all of your thoughts can be transformed into prayers.
As you drive to work, you can thank him for the job you have, and the car to get there. As you walk your dog, you can thank him for the companionship of animals, the beauty of the clouds in the sky and the birds in the trees. As you eat your lunch, you can thank him for the food and the wonder of taste. And whenever you face struggles, fears, questions, doubts, or temptations, you can cry out to God for help, strength, courage, and the power to resist.
Another key to aid you in praying without ceasing is to do away with the set times and places for prayer. I personally recommend doing away with prayer closets and prayer meetings. Such places and times subconsciously train us to hold off on praying until we are in one of those places and at one of those times.
When we become aware of a need in the life of a friend of family member, rather than pray about it right then and there, we tend to think to ourselves, “I must remember to bring this up at the prayer meeting on Wednesday night.” But why wait? When a need is made known to you, pray about it right then and there! Since God is always with us, we can always talk to Him about anything. Recognizing this truth is the key to perpetual prayer.
So the first step to warfare praying is to pray always. As we go about our lives, seeking to live for Jesus and stand against the devil, we must be in a perpetual state of prayer with God so that we can communicate with Him about our needs and struggles, and also so that He can communicate with us.
But what sorts of things should we pray for? Paul gets into this next. The second aspect to prayer is that it should be petitionary.
Petitionary Prayer (Ephesians 6:18b)
In the second part of Ephesians 6:18, Paul tells us to pray with all prayer and supplication. The first term, prayer, refers to general requests, whereas the second term, supplication (some translations have petitions or requests), is a word for specific prayer needs.
So Paul is just calling us to pray for all different types of requests and needs—general and specific. Most Christians automatically make requests to God in prayer, and we often naturally transition between general and specific needs. For example, someone might pray generally for all missionaries around the world, but then also pray specifically for a certain missionary family and a specific need that they have.
Since it is obvious and natural for Christians to pray for general and specific needs, why does Paul even bring it up? I think it because our prayers are often too “physical.” Christian prayer is often limited to the physical needs of ourselves and other people. If you listen to most prayer requests of most Christians, they primarily ask for prayer about sicknesses and money. They want their spouse to recover from the flue, their mother to have a successful surgery, and for themselves to find a job so they can pay their bills.
There is nothing wrong with such prayers, for all of our needs can be expressed to God, but such prayers only scratch the surface of what God wants us to pray for. In the context of spiritual warfare, God wants us to move past such prayers for physical needs, and start praying for greater power, influence, and courage to stand up against darkness, defeat temptation, and spread the light of God’s love to those around us.
As you look at what Jesus prayed for, what Peter prayed for, and what Paul prayed for, you see that they focused their prayers on the issues, needs, and requests that would break down the walls of the enemy, give spiritual sight to those who were blinded by Satan, and set free those who were enslaved to sin and the devil.
Warfare prayer is not primarily prayer about sick family members and unpaid bills, but is about the kingdom of God overtaking the kingdom of darkness on this earth.
Sometimes, I think that we only pray for health and financial needs because these are the needs that are foremost on our minds. If you are unsure what else you can be praying for, there are a couple things you can do.
The first is to draw your prayer requests from Scripture. You can do this by praying the biblical prayers of Jesus (cf. John 17), Paul (cf. Eph 1:15-23; 3:14-21), or other biblical characters (cf. Dan 9:3-19), but you can also simply pray Scripture itself. As you read through one of the prophetic books, or any of the letters of Paul, Peter, or John, you can take the teachings and ideas in those texts and change the wording around into prayers. This is a wonderful and easy way to pray according to the will of God.
But secondly, we can also learn to listen to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to our hearts so that we can pray according to the Spirit. This is the third flag in Ephesians 6:18 about how to pray to God. As we pray in the Spirit, our prayers will be powerful.
Powerful Prayer (Ephesians 6:18c)
When we pray, and whatever it is we pray for, the true effectiveness, the true answers to prayer, come when we are praying in the Spirit. This is not a reference to praying in tongues. Instead, the context reveals that praying in the Spirit refers to something else entirely. We see this in two ways.
First, by going back to Ephesians 5:18, we remember that being filled with the Spirit means to be controlled by the Spirit. In the context of Ephesians 5:18, one of the things the Spirit does is helps us sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. Songs, hymns, and spiritual songs are nothing more than prayerful words put to music. So Spirit-filled prayer is when the Holy Spirit guides and informs the words that come out of our mouth when we pray and sing.
But secondly, and in the more immediate context, we learned from Ephesians 6:17 that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. This means that when the Holy Spirit guides the words the come out of our mouth, these words will be based upon the truths and ideas of Scripture.
Spirit-filled prayer is Scripture-filled prayer. When we pray in the Spirit this way, we can know that we are praying according to the will of God. Prayers from Colossians 1 for our families, Romans 12 for fellow Christians, and Ephesians 4 for the church will always be powerful and effective prayers because such prayers are led by the Spirit, informed by Scripture, and in accordance to the will of God.
When we pray according to the will of God as it is recorded in Scripture, this helps us learn to pray according to the will of God for things that are not specifically mentioned in Scripture. As we following the guidance of the Holy Spirit in praying Scripture, we learn what God wants and doesn’t want, and discover the way God thinks about various subjects and ideas.
This growing intimacy with the heart of God allows us to pray with better passion and certainty for other areas in our life, such as where we live, what kind of job we hold, what God thinks of current events, and how He wants us to get involved in our community.
As we go about our day, the Spirit helps inform us about how we should pray and what we should pray for. As we see a need in our community, or hear about an issue that a friend is facing, the Spirit gives us wisdom to know what words to use as we bring these needs and issues before God in prayer.
Even when we are unsure in our own human wisdom about what to say, the Spirit gives us the words to pray according to the will of God (Rom 8:26-27), so that God will respond with power to bring answers to our prayers. All of this brings great power and efficacy to our prayers, for if we are praying according to the will of God, then we know that our prayers will be answered.
After all, Jesus promised in John 16:23 that if we ask for anything in His name, it will be given to us. This doesn’t mean that if we tack on the magical words “In Jesus name we pray” to the end of our prayers that we will receive what we pray for.
No, to pray in the name of Jesus means to pray for the things Jesus Himself would pray for. It means to pray as if Jesus Himself was praying through us. When we pray in Jesus’ name, it means that we should only pray for the things Jesus Himself would pray for, which means we should only pray for things that are according to the will of God.
A similar truth is taught in 1 John 5:14-15, which says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” The Holy Spirit teaches us to pray according to the will of God. And when we pray according to God’s will, we will receive the things we ask for. This makes Spirit-guided prayer extremely powerful!
John Wesley boldly stated that God does nothing but in answer to prayer. Wesley statement is a bit of an exaggeration, for it appears from Scripture that much of what God does, He does without anyone praying for it, but John Wesley has hit on something that few Christians really grasp. Prayer is an aspect of omnipotence that God has granted to us.
The more we pray in the spirit, or according to the will of God, the more is accomplished. There truly are some things God will not do unless we pray. When God works in human history, and in our lives, prayer is one of the central variables God takes into consideration.
Spirit-guided prayer is powerful prayer. Such prayer is the pipe-line to the power of God. Such prayer is the power that moves the world, changes history, and accomplished God’s will on earth. There truly is power in this sort of prayer.
So when we pray, it must be in the Spirit, according to the will of God. Such powerful prayer becomes exponentially more effective when we persevere in prayer, which is the fourth flag to messaging God.
Perseverant Prayer (Ephesians 6:18d)
Ephesians 6:18 goes on to say that we must be watchful to this end with all perseverance. This means that we must continue to pray and keep on praying until we have received what we have asked for in prayer.
Persevering in prayer may be one of the more difficult aspects of prayer because it sometimes seems that we repeat the same prayer requests over and over to God, with little indication that He hears or is doing anything to grant our requests.
Furthermore, if God is all-powerful, then why would asking Him for something ten times (or a hundred) be more effective than asking Him only once? Is prayer a game with God by which He sees if we really want something before He responds and grants what we ask?
Some believe that Luke 18:1-8 teaches the importance of persevering in prayer. In this text, Jesus tells a parable about a widow who is trying to get justice from an unjust judge. According to this story, though the judge tried to ignore her, the widow finally received from him the judgment that she wanted. How? She was grated her request only because she constantly badgered the judge until he gave her what she wanted so that he could get some peace and be left alone.
This is a confusing parable because it appears to teach that God is an unjust judge who ignores the needs of His people until they annoy Him with their constant requests. But we know this understanding of the parable must be wrong, for God is not an unjust judge. He is the exact opposite.
The proper understanding of this parable emerges when we realize that Jesus is not comparing God to the unjust judge, but is rather contrasting God with the judge. Unlike the judge, God is as a loving Father, a kind and gracious God, who loves to hear and answer our prayers and do what is right for us. God does not give us a stone when we ask for bread, or a serpent when we ask for fish (Luke 11:11). Instead, God loves to give good gifts to His children. So although Luke 18 is sometimes used as a parable to teach about the importance of persevering in prayer, it actually teaches the opposite.
So then why should we persevere in prayer? If we are praying according to the will of God, why doesn’t God immediately and quickly grant the requests we present to Him. There are three possible reasons.
First, it is possible that God did immediately answer our request, but various aspects of spiritual warfare are keeping God’s answer from getting to us. This, after all, is what the angel tells Daniel in Daniel 10. Daniel prayed for 21 days, and God sent the answer to his prayer immediately, but the fallen angel of Persia stood against the angel bringing the message to Daniel (Dan 10:12-13).
So although Daniel’s prayer was answered on the first day, the angel could not get through for three weeks. Daniel’s perseverance in prayer enabled the angelic realm to be victorious over the forced arrayed against them, and bring the message through to Daniel.
Daniel 10 seems to teach that what goes on in the spiritual realm may significantly affect how, when, and even whether or not God can answer any given prayer. Due to spiritual warfare, perseverance is required to receive answers to some prayers.
Second, it is possible that some requests are not granted by God because they do not fully line up with God’s will or God’s timing. In such situations, God might want us to wait until He grants our request, or to change our heart so that we don’t make the request at all.
Either way, perseverance in prayer will maintain the lines of communication with God which will eventually allow us to see God’s perfect timing for our request, or will allow us to change our heart so that it is more in alignment with the heart of God.
This bring up the third reason some prayers require perseverance. Sometimes, God does not immediately answer our requests because He wants us to remain in communication with Him. God is not playing games with us by making us wait for some of the things we request, but at the same time, God doesn’t want us to play games with Him.
God does not want us to treat Him as a giant genie in the sky who grants all our wishes the moment we rub His magic bottle. God is not as interested in giving us what we want as He is in giving us what we need. And what we need more than having our prayers immediately answered is to grow in our relationship with Him, learning to trust and rely upon Him, His wisdom, and His timing as we remain in communication with Him about His plans for our life and this world.
So when you pray and do not see God immediately answer your requests, keep praying! Don’t give up. Continue to bring your requests to God, until He either answers the request or changes your heart to see why the request does not fit His will.
God is working to bring about the answers to the prayers of many Christians, but sometimes, we give up too soon, before He can fully bring about the solution we seek. Spiritual warfare prayer requires persevere. This is the fourth flag to proper communication with God.
Purposeful Prayer (Ephesians 6:18e)
The fifth and final flag to sending our messages to God is that we must pray with purpose. At the end of Ephesians 6:18, Paul instructs his readers to make supplication for all the saints. The word for supplication is the same one that was used previously, referring to specific prayer requests, and here, we are to make such requests for other Christians. We are to intercede on behalf of other believers.
Paul mentions this because quite often, Christian prayers are self-centered prayers. When praying, we tend to focus on our own sickness, injury, job, finances, marriage, children, struggles, temptations, and problems. There is nothing wrong with praying for our needs and our concerns, but Paul wants his readers to expand their prayer horizon and pray for the needs and concerns of others as well.
We are, after all, a band of brothers on the field of battle (cf. Eph 6:10), and none of us are Lone Rangers in this battle. We need the people on either side of us to remain strong and healthy so that they can defend and help us in our times of need, just as we help and defend them in theirs.
But what should we pray? Victor L. Walter performed a study of all the prayers, prayer instructions, and prayer promises in the Bible and discovered some shocking insights about what biblical prayer looks like. For example, he noticed that many prayers were initiated by God instead of by a human.
Victor Walter also found that most prayers were for groups of people, rather than for individuals. If a prophet or apostle had an issue with a person or a solution for a problem they faced, they spoke directly to that person about it, rather than praying to God for it.
He also noted that the Bible doesn’t contain any prayers for the unredeemed. All prayers are only for the people of God. This doesn’t mean that the unredeemed should be ignored. Rather, while people pray for the redeemed, they witness to and evangelize the unredeemed.
Finally, prophetic and apostolic prayers seemed to focus primarily on strengthening and supporting what was already working, rather than fixing or correcting what wasn’t. So if a church was known for its faith, Paul would pray that their faith would increase even more (cf. Col 1:4, 6).
All such prayers make sense in light of spiritual warfare. On the field of battle, our primary concern is the health and well-being of our fellow soldiers, rather than the prisoners we are trying to free and rescue. If the solders are wounded, we cannot rescue anybody.
Furthermore, rather than send communication to God about the soldiers to our right or left, it is much easier to simply talk to the soldiers on our right and left. And of course, on the field of battle, we want those who have special skills and abilities to grow in the power and effectiveness of those abilities.
In modern warfare, snipers are commanded to spend time practicing as a sniper. The same is true in spiritual warfare. Gifts are given so that we practice and use them. These are the sorts of things we can pray for when we pray for the saints. We should pray that teachers become better at teaching, that servants become better at serving, that givers become better at giving. We do not focus on praying to fix people’s weaknesses, but pray that they become more effective in their areas of strength.
Ephesians 6:18 has revealed the five flags of sending our messages to God. But what about receiving His messages to us? Victory on the battlefield requires two-way communication. It is essential that we not only send our messages to God, but also perceive His messages to us. Thankfully, there are many ways God communicates His will and commands to us. One of these methods of messaging us is discussed by Paul in Ephesians 6:19-20.
Perceiving the Messages of God (Ephesians 6:19-20)
In the last two verses of this section on the spiritual armor, Paul has invited his readers to pray for him so that he can properly communicate to them the words of God. Why does Paul give such an instruction? Because it is through the preaching and teaching of Scripture that we hear back from God.
Just as the Roman military had people who were tasked to receive the flagged messages from other units and commanders and then pass these messages on to their own commanders, so also, there are those within the church who are tasked to receive the messages from God and pass these messages on to the people. Paul was one such person, and so he asks the Ephesians to pray for him so that He can accurately and boldly proclaim God’s message to them.
When it comes to messaging with God, it is not a monologue in which we do all the talking. No, God communicates back to us. There are numerous ways He can do this. He can do it through the inner, whispered guidance of the Holy Spirit. He can do it through angels, dreams, and visions. He can do it through Scripture itself as we read and study. And God can communicate to us through those people who are specially gifted to preach and teach the Word of God.
Though many Christians say they never hear God hear God speak to them, every Christian receives direction from God by reading the written Word of God and by hearing it preached and explained to them. Paul wanted to boldly and clearly proclaim the messages from God to the people of God, and so he asked his reader to pray for him so that he might do so with boldness.
There a few noteworthy things about Paul’s statements in Ephesians 6:19-20. First, he wants utterance to be given to him. The Greek word he uses here is logos¸ which is the Greek word for “word.” In Ephesians 6:17, in speaking about the sword of the Spirit as the word of God, Paul used the Greek word rhema, but here he goes back to the normal term for Scripture, which is logos. This means that Paul wants to provide direct and clear revelation from God to those who hear him preach and teach.
And what is it that Paul wants to proclaim? He says that his message is about the mystery of the gospel. The gospel, of course, is the good news about Jesus as proclaimed in the pages of Scripture. The mystery of the gospel is a particular truth of the gospel that was hidden for ages and generations, but which had been made clear in the days of Jesus and the apostles (Col 1:26).
This mystery was that in Jesus, there were no longer any “insiders” or “outsiders” before God, for all were now insiders. Jews and Gentiles alike were now invited to become one family, one group, in Jesus Christ, thereby forming the church. This is the truth that Paul wanted to proclaim.
Why does he want to proclaim this truth? Because this is a central truth for spiritual warfare. The lies and deceptions of the devil lead humans to war against each other. But when we realize that we are all one in Jesus Christ, that our enemy is not flesh and blood, we can then work to make peace with other human beings, regardless of their race, religion, or culture.
The mystery of the gospel is a warfare truth, breaking down dividing walls of hostility (cf. Eph 2:11-22), and the human rivalries that lead to accusation, blame, and violence. The truth of the gospel is a rallying cry about how Jesus has defeated sin, death, and the devil so that we humans, who formerly hated one another, can now live at peace with one another, presenting a united front against our true enemy.
This is why preaching the gospel is warfare activity. It is how we advance the front line against our defeated foe. As the gospel is preached, the Kingdom of God advances, overtaking the enemy fortress of deception, death, and darkness.
Indeed, Paul has firsthand knowledge and experience of this front line warfare, and he indicates this by describing himself as an ambassador in chains. Paul wrote the letter of Ephesians from prison, likely while being chained between two Roman guards. And he was in prison because he had declared the gospel, and was facing a death sentence for the same reason.
Yet Paul wanted to boldly proclaim and live the gospel, regardless of the consequences that came upon him. So he likely preached the gospel to his captors, the Roman guards, and he prepared to preach the gospel to Caesar as well.
In this way, Paul reveals the gospel truth that neither the Roman guards nor the Roman emperor were his enemies. Rather, they too were his brothers, but they had been trapped by the deceptive lies of evil spiritual forces. Paul recognizes this, and sought to proclaim the gospel to them in hopes of liberating them from the prison they themselves are in.
Paul was not the prisoner, but was an ambassador to those who were in prison. Though he might have been sent to prison by the Roman government, he knew that he had actually been sent there by God, to boldly proclaim liberty and freedom to the people who were truly in prison. And so he asked for boldness to keep proclaiming the message of God to them.
There is power is the proclamation of the gospel, for it is through the truth of the gospel that lives are changed and the kingdom of God is unveiled upon this earth. For reason, Paul asked that others pray for him to boldly proclaim the gospel.
On the field of spiritual warfare, we must communicate with God, and God must communicate with us. Ephesians 6:18-20 has shown the five elements to our messages to God, and one of the primary ways that God sends messages to us. Without such back-and-forth messaging, the battle would be chaotic, many lives would be lost, and God’s rule and reign would not advance upon the earth.
The way we communicate with God and allow Him to communicate to us is through prayer. Prayer is a powerful warfare activity.
Through prayer, we make our needs known to God, and call down fire power from heaven to defeat the forces of darkness arrayed against us.
Through prayer, we listen for the leading and guidance of God, as He speaks to us through the Spirit and the power of biblical teaching.
Through prayer, we coordinate our attacks against enemy strongholds with the command and goals of God, so that enemy strongholds are destroyed, deceptions are laid bare, and people are freed.
If you want to be victorious on the field of battle, do not neglect the power of messaging God through prayer.
Do you want to learn about spiritual warfare and how to put on the full armor of God? If you want to defeat sin and gain victory in your life over temptation so you can better follow Jesus, take my course on the Armor of God as it is explained in Ephesians 6:10-20. This course costs $297, but when you join the Discipleship group, you can to take the entire course for free.