The Power of Prayer | Spiritual Warfare Part 6

take your bibles tonight and turn to ephesians chapter number six i have enjoyed this series on spiritual warfare and i’m looking forward to tonight as we conclude this series looking at ephesians chapter 6 and verse number 18 we’ve been walking through ephesians 6 studying the armor of god and learning to discern and detect satan’s attacks on us and how we can defeat them and be victorious it’s been great instruction each week and tonight we conclude with verse number 16. so look at it with me ephesians chapter 6 and verse number 18 the bible says praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit and watching there too with all perseverance and supplication for all saints i like the story of the mom who was at work and got a call from her daughter’s school and they informed her that her daughter was not feeling well she left work and went to pick up her daughter and she began to call the doctor’s office to see if she could get her daughter in to be looked at and the doctor unfortunately was busy that day said i could see her tomorrow but you ought to take her home get her some rest and then told her about an over-the-counter medication that she could get at the pharmacy so mom took her daughter home and got her settled in there for some rest and then drove to the pharmacy to get the medicine that the doctor recommended and ran in there and picked that up and ran out to her car and just as she got to her car she realized she left her keys in the ignition and had locked herself out of her car she was so frustrated by it and wanting to get home to be with her daughter so she called her daughter on the phone and explained to her daughter why it was going to be taking a few more minutes and what exactly was happening and her daughter said mommy i know what you need to do you need to get a hanger i saw it on tv get a hanger and you can reach in uh through the car door and open the door handle and get into your car and the mommy said okay well i’ll give that a shot and so the mom went into the pharmacy and asked if they had a hanger there and sure enough they had a wire hanger and they gave it to her she went out to the car and she tried to bend it and get it in there boy she tried and tried to try it again and she could not figure it out and finally in desperation she prayed lord would you please send someone to help me well no sooner did she pray that prayer she looked up and a car pulled up at the curb there where the pharmacy was and a man got out of that car she looked over at the men and he was kind of rough looking she didn’t really know if it was safe but she was desperate and she said sir would you please help me and he said well man what do you need and she explained the situation she locked herself out of her car and was trying to get in with this coat hanger but didn’t know what to do he said sure i’ll give it a shot give me the hanger and he walked over there and he took that coat hanger and he uh bent it just the right way and he slid it down by the glass of the window and he unlocked that door in just a matter of moments boy that mom so elated that she was gonna be able to get home to her daughter took her arms and she gave that man a bear hug and she said thank you so much you are such a good man and the man looked back at the mom and said ma’am i’m not a good man i just got out of prison this morning and he went into the pharmacy and the mom looked up at the lord and said lord thank you for sending me a professional and you know sometimes god answers our prayer in surprising fashion and i think god delights in answering our prayers in ways that only he can do and i think as we look at this topic tonight of the power of prayer as we think about the fact that we are engaged in spiritual warfare pastor introduced the fact that we wrestle not against flesh and blood and we recognize that we have been given an armor and we see tonight the importance of prayer in having victory in this spiritual warfare now our prayer life is an area in which all of us can improve and tonight i want us to take a journey on that quest and we’re not going to look at what we’re not doing but let’s look tonight at what we can do by the grace of god paul has made it clear in our text that we are in an ongoing war satan is our enemy and those of us who follow god are part of the resistance movement living in enemy occupied territory now prayer is our line of communication our secret lifeline that connects us to our leader giving us his strength and direction every day prayer is vital to the victorious christian life and this is why paul takes 24 words in ephesians 6 18 to describe the importance of prayer and tonight i want you and i to look at seven critical characteristics of prayer that will help us to have victory in this warfare now that’s a lot so buckle up we’re going to go fast and look at this together tonight number one look at the persistence

of prayer we read in ephesians 6 18 praying always god commands that we would always be in prayer paul in his letter to the believers in thessalonica said in first thessalonians 5 17 pray without ceasing jesus said in luke 18 1 that men not always to pray and not to faint now what does it mean to pray always are we to walk around like zombies uh unaware of what’s happening around us and just always kind of uttering prayers of course not we have to live our lives as we go day to day but it does mean that we are to be in constant contact with god like soldiers on the battlefield via a radio in constant contact with their commander we are to be in constant contact with god through the median of prayer this is how we learn how to live and how we maintain fellowship with the lord now one way to stay in constant contact with the lord is to look for triggers that would remind us of prayer like the one gentleman who every time he brushed his teeth in the morning would pray lord help me to say the right words today or like the one lady who every morning as she washed her face said lord help me to have a cheerful countenance today and we can use our smartphones we have all kinds of technology to set reminders or create alarms or whatever the case may be but we are to always be in prayer and let’s take advantage of that as we think about and are studying tonight the persistence of prayer but secondly look at the possibilities of prayer in ephesians 6 18 paul said praying with all prayer now for such a tiny word the word all has an expansive meaning it means everything that can be placed in the basket no limits no exclusions here describing the word prayer it means every kind of a prayer you can think of now we are to pray as believers on all occasion uh this might uh be just looking for opportunities throughout the day this might be sitting at a stoplight waiting for a green light uh this might be sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for an appointment this might be at school between classes this might be at work while on a break this could be any number of scenarios where we have a moment in which we can pray and we are to pray all prayers we are to pray in every place now i think we’re used to accustomed to and comfortable with praying a church maybe praying at home but as believers let’s broaden that a little bit let’s be willing to pray at work let’s pray in public before a meal or for a friend let’s look for opportunities in places in which we can pray because we are in desperate need of prayer and of revival and then we want to pray for everything now if you were to make an exhaustive list of what the new testament people prayed for it would be exhausting and i want to give you just a few things that they prayed for or were encouraged to pray for they pray for safety for forgiveness for food for faith for other people for healing for spiritual wisdom uh relief from suffering rain children health prosperity spiritual strength and on and on it goes the people pray in other words there’s no limit to what we can pray about there’s no limit to where we can pray or how long we can pray we should pray for everything if there’s something you are concerned about tonight then that is something you should be praying about tonight and so prayer for all things then thirdly notice in our study tonight the petition of prayer he goes on to say praying with supplication now the word supplication means to ask as in asking god to provide for our needs and of course we come to god with worship we come to god with thanksgiving and gratitude and praise and along the way we come to god asking petitioning our needs coming in supplication god teaches us in matthew chapter 6 verse 9 after this manner therefore pray ye our father which art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread here was the instruction take time to pray for the needs that you have james the brother of jesus tells us our failure to place our needs before god often explains the lack of power and peace in our life the bible says in james 4 2 you lust and have not ye kill and desire to have and cannot obtain you fight in war yet you have not because ye ask not sometimes we don’t have what we need or we don’t have the power needed to live in victory in the midst of spiritual warfare and sometimes the simplest understanding

and reason is because we’ve not asked for it we need to come to the lord with supplication asking for our needs you say yeah but gabe god already knows my needs the bible says in matthew 6 8 but not ye therefore like unto them for your father knoweth what things you have need of before ye ask him so if god already knows what my needs are before i even ask him then why do i need to ask him why go through the process of asking the lord for something he already knows that i need why waste my time and his well i assure you it’s no waste of time god wants you and i to come with supplication praying for our needs and i believe there are many reasons for this i believe one would be the fact that when you and i pray it maintains and deepens our connection with god when we pray we begin to understand that god wants us to what what he knows we should have and when we pray for our needs and we go through that list before the lord it gives us his perspective on the matter stanley jones said prayer is surrender surrender to the will of god and cooperation with that will if i throw out a boat anchor from the boat and catch a hold of the shore and pull do i pull the shore to me or do i pull myself to the shore prayer is not pulling god to my will but aligning my will to the will of god and that is so very important now god tells us to pray for our needs so that we will acknowledge him as the source of all that we have one of the reasons god wants us to rehearse our needs even though he knows them it’s because when those needs are met we are reminded that came from god that was an answer to prayer and prayer is preparation as you and i go through the discipline of praying through our needs even though god already knows what they are it enlarges our capacity to receive what god has for us because god has not promised you and i just life god has promised promised us life more abundant and so we are to pray with supplication so tonight if we are not boldly praying and asking god for what it is that we need then we cannot be upset with god for not providing what it is that we need it is on us to pray with supplication making our needs and requests known before the lord but look at number four the power of prayer we continue on in ephesians 6 18 that we are to be praying in the spirit now what is the power that drives the prayers that you and i pray well it is the power of the holy spirit of god that lives in us even our best and most sincere efforts at prayer may inadvertently miss the mark at times of god’s will for us but when we pray in the holy spirit within us who knows what we intend and what we need he helps us here’s what the bible says in romans chapter 8 and verse number 26 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 in the mind of the spirit because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of god and so as i pray as you pray we are to pray in the power of the holy spirit why because that is the prayer that drives the engine of the time that we’re spending with the lord in prayer but also as we pray in the power of the holy spirit it is guiding our prayers when we are uncertain what to pray when we are uncertain of what we need when we are uncertain of what is the answer to that problem that i am facing indeed god is certain of exactly what we need and he will provide in the power of his spirit one author put it this way our prayers lay the track down on which god’s power can come like a mighty locomotive his power is irresistible but it cannot reach us without the rails and so we’ve got to lay the rails in place in prayer and the power of the spirit of god power prayer rather does indeed make a difference because it has the power of the spirit of god and may we pray in his spirit according to his will but notice number five tonight the precision of our prayer continue in ephesians 6 and verse 18 in the spirit and watching now the word watching here means to be awake or to be vigilant it is the idea that we would be on guard it also reminds us that we are to be precise in our prayer and as we identify

the challenges that we’re facing the needs that we have god wants you and i to come watchful and specific in our prayers when the jews return to rebuild the ruined walls of jerusalem after the babylonian captivity the samaritans and their allies were determined to stop the construction of the walls around jerusalem and to attack the workers in the process but the jews held them off and completed the world by both building and defending themselves at the same time in fact the bible says in nehemiah chapter 4 and verse 17 they which build it on the wall and they that bear burdens with those that laid it everyone with his hands wrought in the work and the other hand held a weapon for the builders everyone had his sword girded by his side and so build it so what did these watchful jews do well they accomplished building the wall how did they do it because while they were building the wall they also had a weapon at their side so they could build and be on the lookout for threat and defend themselves if necessary that’s how they got that wall built in 52 days now think about your life in my life as we perform our normal task our duties maybe for our family for our employer for our community for our everyday life and relationships we have to go through and accomplish those things but at the same time as all of that is happening as we have learned in this series we are also in an intense spiritual warfare with a power that is seeking to devour our life and to ruin us for all of eternity so what do we have to do we have to do both we have to accomplish what the day holds and also spend time in prayer we’ve got to be watching as we’re going out throughout our day accomplishing the path that god has for us on that particular day doing it in his power and while i am being a husband praying while i am being a father praying while i am being a co-worker or a manager praying while i am being a student praying in every facet of my life whatever that day may hold responsibility or relationship it is to be coupled with prayer just like those watchful jews jews with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other i am to be a father a husband a employer an employee a student whatever the case may be and also a prayerful christian doing both simultaneously so that i might have victory in this spiritual warfare that we are involved it’s like the one woman who prayed dear father in heaven so far today i’ve done pretty well i haven’t gossiped or lost my temper i haven’t been greedy grumpy nasty selfish or overindulgent but god in a few moments i’m gonna get out of bed and from that point on i’m gonna need a lot of help from you and friend if you and i are gonna live a victorious christian life we need a lot of help from god and we must pray watching the precision of our prayer at the same time doing our daily duties and being in prayer when you and i awake in the morning the battle is engaged and as a christ follower the enemy is going to do to distract us to bring doubt into our life and temptations to abandon prayer and we’ve got to guard our prayer time and live in the power of the holy spirit but then notice number six tonight the perseverance of prayer praying with all perseverance now if we’re not careful we can fall out of the habit of prayer maybe we hit a snag or we go through a change of schedule maybe covet and quarantine and all the things that have come with this and maybe through that there was a laxening of schedule or an adjustment or a change of some kind and what was a daily discipline has now reverted to just something we refer to back a time here or there and i want to encourage all of us tonight to get back into the habit of daily becoming before the throne we want to pray with all perseverance in acts 2 42 of the early church the bible says and they continue to steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers but we will give ourselves the apostle said continually to prayer in romans 12 12 rejoicing in hope patience and tribulation continuing instant in prayer it is imperative that we persevere and make this a daily habit in our lives and you say gabe but i don’t know that my prayers are working

i don’t know that they’re even reaching god i don’t know that they’re being answered can i encourage you just to get right back in the habit and can i encourage you in addition to all that the word of god says and instructs regarding prayer maybe taking some time to read a book on prayer we have many in our bookstore we can recommend some to you and maybe that coupled with time in the word of god would stir your heart to this area so needful of prayer but then notice lastly tonight number seven the purpose of our prayer he concludes in verse number 18 with all perseverance and supplication for all saints now jesus christ set the example of this in john 17 9 i pray for them i pray not for the world but for them which thou has given me for they are thine jesus prays for you and he prays for me paul regularly prayed for those in whom the churches that he started there that he visited in romans 1 9 paul says for god is my witness whom i serve with my spirit the gospel of his son that without ceasing i make mention of you always in my prayers and i want to challenge all of us tonight here at lbclive.tv to make it a habit to be praying for others because when you and i pray for others everyone wins we are interceding on someone else’s behalf and someone inevitably is praying for us as well we have a prayer list here lancasterbaptist.org and you can download that and members are sending in requests all of the time they’re counting on us to bring that request before the lord in prayer and we want to be praying one for the other and i would encourage you to keep a prayer list to get requests from the church and know what the needs are to have a prayer list for those in your family to have a prayerless for those you know that need christ to have prayerless for many people and for many things and we want to take time to intercede on the behalf of others that we pray for all the saints now the lord jesus christ prays for us because he loves us and how can you and i love anyone and not pray for them if we truly love someone we must pray for them and do so on a daily basis if we at all can the bible says in first samuel 12 23 moreover as for me god forbid that i should sin against the lord and ceasing to pray for you boy the world is in need of a lot of help and a lot of hope and the world needs to find you and i in prayer constantly for others now if you’re feeling tonight like well i’m not sure about all of this i i don’t know if it’s going to work or if i can do it can i encourage you that prayer is something that can be learned one professor said it this way if you’ve ever learned a foreign language you know that you learn it best when you actually have to speak it the same is true with the foreign language of prayer there are many good resources for learning how to pray but the best way to learn how to pray is to pray this story is told of a great conductor who was walking downtown a street there in manhattan and someone stopped him and said how do you get to carnegie hall the conductor looked at him and said practice practice practice now that’s the way it is with prayer how is it that we have victory in our spiritual life through prayer prayer prayer we must pray after becoming england’s prime minister winston churchill grew concerned about the ability of his war cabinet to work effectively if germany attacked from the air as expected he wanted to know how the central core of the military could function with 600 tons of bombs falling all around them strategists developed evacuation plans for those in power but churchill did not want to flee in london so another scheme was used a series of storage rooms beneath the office of public works building was refitted into a top secret military command post located between the parliament and number 10 downey street this building was the strongest structure in the area workers then worked to reinforce it with additional concrete and they installed a state-of-the-art communication system to make sure that unimpeded communication could continue even if london were bombed in may of 1940 churchill visited his underground bunker and declared this is the room for which i will direct the war pointing his stubby finger at a desk he added and if the invasion takes place that’s where i’ll sit in that chair and i’ll sit there until the germans are driven back or they carry me out dead for the next five years these subterranean rooms were the nerve center for the war their existence a tightly guarded secret communication flowed in and out of them with steady current

from here churchill guided the conflict called the allied leaders and growled out his famous radio speeches to the nation from here he had direct access to the entire world now jesus reminds us in matthew 6 6 but thou wilt now pray us enter to thy closet and when thou shut the door pray to thy father which is in secret and thy father which seeth thee in secret shall reward thee openly now the lord jesus was referring to the storage rooms in the israeli homes in the first century in those days the homes were very small and they were filled with children and animals and there was little privacy but most homes had a small room for storing supplies this would be a place where they could find a few moments of peace and quiet jesus was encouraging his followers to find such a humble spot so that they could spend time in prayer directly accessing the presence of god himself it was their own secure communication center where they could pray and prayers could be heard and rewarded the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth me so as we conclude this series on spiritual warfare can i encourage you tonight regarding the power of prayer to make sure you’re setting a time every day for prayer that you’re developing the habit daily of spending time in the presence of the lord jesus christ that you’re talking to god throughout the day every place you may go that you’re doing your best to limit distractions and you’re finding that place daily where you can pray understand and i encourage you to kind of walk through ephesians 6 18 and to learn by god’s grace this is something i can do to experience victory and the warfare that i face may god find all of us elevating the priority of prayer if you’re watching us tonight if you do not know jesus christ as your savior can i tell you we’ve been praying for you and we would love it tonight if you would place your faith and trust in christ the bible says for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but of everlasting life if this is something you’re interested in be sure to text us or let us know and we’d love to reach out to you heavenly father we love you and we thank you lord for your word and i pray lord tonight as we conclude this series of spiritual warfare that we would be reminded we are too frail to win the battle of our own or we can put the armor on but without god it is a fruitless task and so god would you help us tonight to be reminded it is the power of prayer prayer is essential it must be a vital component of our daily life if we are going to live in victory and be the salt and light that we should be so would you help us here at lbclive.tv tonight to be people of prayer maybe for some tuning in who did not know you i pray tonight would be the night they place their faith and trust in you as their savior knowing because of your death and resurrection a relationship with you an eternal home in heaven and i pray that you bring us back safely on sunday together as we worship and we’ll praise and thank you for this in jesus name amen