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Dressing For Intercession
How to Avoid Holes In Your Armor
The Spiritual Armor And Why We Need It
We spent the first three lessons looking at how Satan tries to disqualify us or take us out of intercession before we even get the armor on. We saw that he tries to use circumstances to disqualify us. If that doesn't work, Satan will try to get us to disqualify ourselves. If that does not work either, he will try to sidetrack us with false burdens and expectations intended to make us ineffective. His goal is to take us off the field of intercession because he knows our prayers are powerful. And as we build God's kingdom through intercession, Satan's is being torn down. So he wants to try and keep us from praying effectively.
After we are committed to pray and intercede, we need to put on the armor of God and dress correctly for the battle. This lesson is going to take an overview look at the spiritual armor that God has given us. The next six lessons will look at how to individually put on each piece.
Imagine with me a small kingdom that once existed on the boarder of France. You never hear of it anymore because it no longer exists. But back in the days of knights and shining armor, this kingdom was famous. It was a tiny nation, but they had the most highly skilled and best trained knights in all of Europe.
This kingdom ended up going to war with France. They had 250 finely trained nights and horses for each night. But due to a financial problem they only had 50 suits of armor. The king pondered the situation and decided the only fair thing to do was to evenly distribute the armor among the knights. So he piled all of the helmets and swords and shields and various pieces of armor in his courtyard. He had the knights file through one at a time and take a single piece of armor. Some took a helmet, some a sword and some a shield. Then he had them file through a second time and take another piece of armor, and so on until all of the armor was evenly distributed amongst the nights. All of them received some pieces of armor, but none of them had a full set.
The day the battle dawned, the French soldiers felt a bit frightened to go up against these fierce and well trained knights. Their reputation had preceded them.
The famous knights rode out to battle, scantily clad in their armor but very confident. But before they got near the French soldiers, the archers began to take them out. Many of them did not have adequate armor on to protect against the barrage of arrows, and they'd lost over a third of their number before they even entered into hand to hand combat, taken out by the archers.
One particularly fierce knight had a sword but no shield. He wielded it expertly, but the clumsy knight he was fighting had a shield and could fend off the blows. The knight got wearied as he delivered blow after blow and eventually slowed down a bit. Then the unskilled knight, who was not nearly as weary from wielding his shield against the blows, was able to finish him off. Another knight had a shield but no sword. He survived a very long time, using his shield to protect himself. But he was never able to deliver any offensive blows because he had no sword. He was eventually taken out of the battle by someone less talented but with both a sword and a shield.
Another knight had sword and shield, but no helmet. He wielded them expertly and took out many of the enemy. But as he was fighting one soldier, another snuck up behind him and clubbed him on the head and since he had no helmet, he was instantly killed.
It is hard to be successful in battle without the right equipment. The French army was less skilled but better equipped and the French won the battle.
If you are a believer -- if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior -- then not only have you been adopted into God's family, you have also been drafted into His army. You don't get a choice of whether or not you are a soldier, and you don't get a choice of whether or not you will be in a battle. You only get a choice of whether or not you are properly equipped so that you can fight well.
God has a full supply of armor for each and every one of His soldiers. He gives it freely to anyone who is in His army. But we must choose to put it on. The choice is ours. Why is it that we often try to go out to battle without putting on all of the armor He has given to us?
We are going to talk about being fully equipped in God's armor, so that we won't try to go out to battle with holes in our armor.
Lets start by look at what our armor is and try to understand what we should have on:
- Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
- Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
- and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
- In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
from this we see that the armor is (from top to bottom):
Ephesians 6 gives us two reasons why we need the armor:
Lets look briefly at each one.
The assumption is that if a piece of the armor is missing, we are not fully dressed/equipped to stand in the gap and war in the spirit.
The day of evil will come in each of our lives. It is NOT a maybe. We are involved in spiritual warfare. Lets back up a few verses and look at the context surrounding verse 16:
Eph 6:11-13 (NIV Translation)
We don't put on the armor because we decide to go to battle. We find that we are already in the battle, so we need this armor to protect us.
Jesus Himself has promised us that things won't go smoothly just because we are Christians. He says we will have trouble, but that we will overcome this trouble in Him because He has overcome the world (see John 16:33). We need the armor of God firmly fitted in place so that we can go through the spiritual battles as overcomers in Christ. For He intends that we walk with Him in His victory.
Eph 6:18-19 call us to constant prayer and intercession. Note that this follows immediately after the verses admonishing us to put on the full armor of God. Here we see a direct correlation between spiritual armor and intercession. We need to be dressed in this armor to walk in the type of intercession we are called to.
God is very serious about having us pray for each other. We are admonished to intercede for each other in the NT. Here are just two examples:
1 Timothy 2:1 (NIV)
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone...
... Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
We are in good company when we stand in intercession, because Jesus Himself intercedes for us. His death on the cross was a form of intercession for us:
Isaiah 53:12 (NIV)And after rising from the dead, Jesus continues to intercede for us:
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Hebrews 7:25 (KJV)
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Romans 8:34 (KJV)
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
And the Holy Spirit also intercedes for us:
Romans 8:26,27 (KJV)
- Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
- And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
From the Bible, we know that:
So these are ways that we can begin to pray for someone when we are not sure what to pray and intercede for them. Search the scriptures and find promises that seem to apply to their situation. Ask God to quicken them to you, and if the verse resonates in your spirit, go ahead and pray it for the person.
Intercession is also being led of His Spirit to find what He desires to do in a given situation. This takes a bit of maturity and learning to recognize His voice, for He did promise us that as His sheep we are to hear His voice. This is a learning process He takes us through. As you begin to come to the place where you can hear His voice and sense His will, you can model your intercession as follows:
But remember that as we go to pray, we need to be dressed in the full armor of God. We don't want any pieces missing and we don't want to allow any holes in the pieces we are wearing, or we are vulnerable to enemy counter- attacks that God does not want us to be vulnerable to.
Holes in the armor are any areas of our lives where the armor is either missing altogether or is not in place properly. To have the armor on properly, we must be in a lifestyle of obedience to God (John 14:15) and we must not be walking in unholiness or deliberate sin.
If we do not have the armor securely in place we will be defeated in battle. Even if the armor is in place, during the course of a fierce battle, the armor may get dinged and we may need to come to God for repair of our armor. He will not be upset or turn us away, He will meet us and repair it.
God wants to build the following in us, so that we are equipped for intercession:
Some people think that putting on the armor is, by faith, clothing ourselves in imaginary pieces of armor. This is NOT what it is! It is not putting a pretend helmet on our head and putting a pretend breastplate on our chest. It is not taking up a pretend shield and a pretend sword. If we try to dress ourselves in imaginary armor, we will only have imaginary protection, but the battle is VERY real.
The next six lessons will examine each of the pieces of armor, what it is and how to put it on. Let's get fully dressed so that we are fully protected and we can be effective in prayer and intercession.