The Importance of Prayer in the Christian Life
Following his description of the various items of protective equipment and the Sword of the Spirit, Paul switches his focus to the importance of prayer for the Christian during spiritual warfare. Prayer is a direct line of communication between the Christian and God Himself. Paul is known for his prayers for fellow believers and the lost alike, which can be seen extensively through his writings. Christianity is very rare among a group of many religions because it is the only one where an individual can have a personal, intimate relationship with the Creator. The Book of Hebrews describes a very personal connection between God and mankind when the writer urges believers to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).” It is in the times of intense spiritual battle that Christians can approach the throne of God and ask for help or strength, or any number of other needs that may present themselves.
Not only does Paul mention the importance of prayer for oneself during times of spiritual battles and at all times. He also mentions the need to “keep on praying for all the saints (Eph. 6:18).” It is sometimes easy to be selfish even as a Christian. When the spiritual battles begin, it is very easy to focus only on what one’s own self is going through, but it is vital for Christians-who make up one Body of Christ-to be united and pray for each other. Pray for the strength of God to be upon other Christians. Pray for those who are working in foreign lands as missionaries spreading the Word of God in places that can sometimes be hostile and dangerous. There are Christians all around the world that are constantly facing spiritual battles so it must be a part of a Christian’s everyday prayer life to lift up brothers and sisters in Christ so that they may have the strength they need.
The Christian life, although sometimes portrayed as easy, is one that is filled with battles between forces that cannot be seen by mankind, but is real nonetheless. In Ephesians 6:10-20, the Apostle Paul paints a picture of an intense battle for the heart and soul of mankind by the forces of evil that is made up by the devil and his evil demons. Paul also explains the hope of the Christian in that there are certain pieces of equipment and weapons that are available to be used to combat the forces of evil and to enable them to be able to stand in the times of spiritual warfare. These pieces of equipment and weapons are known as “the armor of God,” which is made up of the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the sword of the spirit. Finally, Paul speaks of the importance of prayer in regards to the Christian life and spiritual warfare. This is made up by not only of prayer for oneself, but also prayer for other believers. All of these things work together as a complete arsenal for the Christian, but the important thing is not in the armor, but rather in the action of the believer. Paul urges the believers not only to “put on the whole armor of God,” but also to “stand (Eph. 6:13).” Having all of the pieces of the armor mentioned by Paul is completely useless if the Christian is not even engaged in the battle. It is vital that Christians recognize the reality of spiritual warfare and are equipped to face the battle.