Just a few brief thoughts on prayer came to mind recently about the importance of prayer as I was meditating on Ephesians 6.18:
Prayer an Offensive Weapon
The aim is to fight off the attacks of the enemy and advance the cause of the Gospel. We are not to employ physical slings, swords or shots but to cry to God for reinforcement from above. It is just as Moses found when he engaged God's foes!
So Moses said to Joshua, "Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand." So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword - Exodus 17:9-13
Prayer an Illuminating Weapon
This is the means by which we wield the sword of the Spirit - we need His light to shine in our hearts so we can understand its truth. This illumination will draw our minds to Christ for protection, provision & success.
Thy Word is a lamp to my feet & a light to my path - Psalm 119:105
So, Lord, light up our steps!
Prayer an Empowering Weapon
The warhead of the Word does not sink into hearts or cheer minds unless it is wielded in the power of the Spirit in union with Christ - it is the Savior, Himself, in us, who strengthens us in faith to struggle with His might.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might - Ephesians 6:10
As we pray cry "make me strong in you O Lord."
Prayer a Continual Weapon
This is not a command but a part of speech which implies continual, daily, wrestling and requesting in the power of the Spirit (he aids us in this task - revealing God's will as to what to seek, granting desire to wrestle on our knees, strengthening to pray and faint not)...
...praying at all times - Ephesians 6:18
It signals ongoing total reliance upon God in faith by grace, and not on any human muscle, merit or means. We are clearly commanded to pray at every time. There should never be a moment when Christ's whole global family falls silent.
Prayer a Multifaceted Weapon
A two-edged sword was really useful on battlefields in the ancient world - it cut back and forward, to and fro, both ways - but God's unsheathed scimitar is multi-bladed to aid aggressors in this fight.
...take ...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication - Ephesians 6:17-18
All-prayer does not just refer to praying always, but to the many kinds of cries, requests, petitions, intercessions, and thanksgivings, along with confessions and adoration that we are impelled to offer up. Prayer is the spiritual equivalent of rockets, bullets, tanks, fighter-jets, bombers, nuclear arsenals, daggers, pistols, shotguns, mortars, bazookas, flamethrowers and napalm rolled into one and still more besides as an accompaniment of a preacher.
Prayer a Sufficient Weapon
There is nothing else we need in this warfare with the world, flesh and devil in order to extend God's dominion:
...that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm - Ephesians 6:13
If the primary reference in 6:13 is to armor it also applies to arms - in maintaining unity of saints, or subjecting souls to God, and binding hearts of homes in love, we draw down all all-surpassing, blood-bought, might of the exalted, sovereign, Christ and the blessings He has bought.
Prayer a Body Weapon
This is not just a personal intercession but corporate pleas for the whole church - prayer unites us as we wrestle against malignant forces in heavenly places.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil - Ephesians 6:11
All the body members must join in all-pray intercession. When the boiler-room is hottest the Word of Christ speeds quickest.
Prayer a Reliant Weapon
This spiritual discipline rest our entire case with God - we concede that for the church the battle is to big: like bullied, little, boys we call on our elder brother - Christ is our David who fells and chases the army of Goliath.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places - Ephesians 6:12
Confession of our weakness invites His mighty help. Cry "give power and grace to deliver from our plight."
Prayer a Vigilant Weapon
There is to be no slacking or lacking in this grace that supplicates: if we are never off-duty we will never drop our guard.
To that end, keep alert with all perseverance - Ephesians 6:18
Unlike garden guards who fell asleep on the job, post-Calvary disciples are to prevail and persist as they engage in God's prayer-work.
Prayer a Saintly Weapon
Needs local, presbyterial, denominational, national and global are so pressing at all times. All church requests for of all ages and conditions are high, deep, long and wide but well-within the scope of the love of Christ.
To that end ...making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:18
At home or abroad, for husband or wife, parents or kids, for Jew and Gentile we take up this right to bear prayer-arms in defense of self and state.
Prayer a Preaching Weapon
The congregation of saints especially must focus on pastors and teachers - for every outreach work but particularly public preaching. Pray that your pastors would be bold, clear, helped, kind and right.
...praying at all times in the Spirit ...making supplication ...also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak - Ephesians 6:18-20
This is to be the chief focus of the flock. If Jesus said to Peter "If you love me feed my sheep," then lambs of His flock must bleat for spiritual milk and meat.