If prayer is hard for you, let me offer two suggestions that have been helpful to me. First, schedule a time. Put a reminder on your phone. Add it to your calendar. From 12:00 to 12:15, I am going to have focused prayer time. We schedule what we prioritize. Second, consider praying the psalms or using a liturgy. If you don’t have the words to pray, it’s okay to get some help. There are many great prayers for saints over the years that can give FORM to your requests.
Here is the truth, when prayer is applied to the sword, it sets it on FIRE! This is WARFARE PRAYER! We should never go into battle against our enemy without praying. And, even when we are in battle, we should never STOP praying. Pray without ceasing Paul tells us elsewhere. How should we pray? Paul offers a few qualifiers.
First, “In” the Spirit, but what does this mean? It does not refer to speaking in tongues. Rather, it means to “seek the Spirit’s guidance, direction, and help constantly in prayer.” Practically, this means that the Spirit stands beside us, showing us how to pray and for whom to pray. Have you ever asked the Holy Spirit to help you pray? Here is a helpful image from author Rob Ventura.
A small boy was being taught by his father how to steer a ship. As the boy began to steer, his father stood directly behind him. The father knew that if he didn’t help his son, the boat would crash on the rocks or be swept away in the swift current. The father did not push his son aside, though, telling him it would be better for the father to take the helm. He leaned over his son, put his hands upon his son’s hands, and then guided his son’s hands on the wheel.
Through the father’s guidance the son steered the ship to safety. Likewise, my friends, we pray best when the Spirit grips our hearts and guides our thoughts, steering us in the course that he has charted for us. Just as his boy could not steer the ship on his own, so we cannot pray rightly without the Holy Spirit. Let us have confidence in him and seek to be filled with him (Eph. 5:8).
Second, we should pray on “All” Occasions. Or, it can be translated at all times. Believers need to be in a constant state of prayer because we are under constant attack! Our enemy does not stop coming for us. Resist the devil, fight back with the sword!
Third, with all kinds of “prayers” and “requests.” In other words, we should use every conceivable prayer at our disposal in warfare. The word requests is also translated supplication, which means to “beg or plead” for other people. In spiritual warfare use every conceivable prayer at your disposal for yourself and others. Prayer is crucial for the health of the church! The great preacher Charles Spurgeon captures the power of prayer for the church:
“What can we do without your prayers? They link us with the omnipotence of God. Like the lightning rod, they pierce the clouds and bring down the might and mysterious power from on high…. The Lord give me a dozen importunate pleasers and lovers of souls and by his grace we will shake all London from end to end.”
I love that image, prayer brings the LIGHTNING from heaven. What follows lighting? FIRE! Prayer is what lights the sword of the Spirit on FIRE! What can we do without prayer? Church, are we praying? One thing I can tell you is that we are under assault everyday. Satan wants to make our church ineffective for the kingdom. We push back the kingdom of darkness through PRAYER! When we engage in warfare prayer, we can shake Basking Ridge, New Jersey from end to end!