www.christdeaf.org/bible
Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf
Silver Spring, Maryland

The Armor of God:  #8 - Prayer
Signed Version

Ephesians 6:10...

Finally, let the Lord make you strong.  Depend on His great power. Wear all of God's armor.  Then you can stand strong against the devil's terrible plans.

Our fight is not against people.
We are fighting against
     many spiritual rulers,
     authorities,
     and many dark powers in this world.
We are fighting against
     the evil forces in the spirit world.

So put on all of God's armor.  Evil days will come.
And after you did everything you can [finish], you will still stay standing.

So stand strong.
[1] Wear the belt of truth around your waist.
[2] Wear the chest protector of holy living.
[3] Wear on your feet shoes that will prepare you to tell the good news about peace.
[4] Also, pick up the shield of faith.  With that you can stop all of the flaming arrows of the devil.
[5] Put on the helmet of salvation.
[6] And take the sword of the Holy Spirit.  The sword is God's Word.
[7] Always, all times, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Pray all kinds of prayers.  Be watchful, so that you can pray.

Always pray for all of God's people. Pray also for me.  Pray that when I speak, God will give me the right words. Then I can be bold as I tell the wonderful truth of the Good News.  Because of the Good News, I am being held by chains as the Lord's messenger.  So pray that I will be bold as I preach the Good News, as I should.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Today is our last lesson about the Armor of God.

The last thing on the list: Prayer.

Paul doesn't give us a picture for comparing prayer and army clothes.
That doesn't matter.   Our prayer to God is still very important in our battle against Satan.

In war, no soldier works independent.  Every soldier works with his group, under their officer.

The same is true for us Christians in our war against Satan.
We don't work independently,
     but we work in a team with all other Christians around the world.
We work in a team with all of God's angels,
     while they also fight Satan in the spirit world,
     that we can't see.
Our Officer is God Himself,
     and we follow His orders,
     and we depending on His careful battle plan,
     and we do our work His way.

God gives us prayer for one way we can stay connected with Him.
And God gives us prayer for one way we can join the battle.

Christians that are weak, sick, and stuck at home, can still join the battle in God's kingdom through prayer.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[Story]
Long-ago in Sunday School you maybe learned about a man named DANIEL - yes, the man in the lion's DEN.

But the Bible has several more stories about Daniel, that we don't often teach in Sunday School.

In Daniel's day, the nation of Israel was still in EXILE (slaves) in BABYLON, also named PERSIA.  That country today is named IRAQ.  Daniel was an old man, and he understood that the time was near for God to send the Jewish people back to their home country. (Dan. 9:2, Jer. 29:10-14)

Daniel and his friends began praying hard for Israel.  They fasted for three weeks.  Finally an angel came and spoke to Daniel.  That angel was big, and bright...
     "his face as lightning,
     his eyes as flaming torches,
     his arms and legs as shiny metal BRONZE,
     his voice as a loud, as many voices together."  [Daniel 10:6]

The angel told Daniel:

"Don't be afraid.  In the past you decided to get understanding and to humble yourself before your God.  Since that time God heard your prayers, and God sent me to you.   But the evil spirit ruling Persia was fighting against me for 21 days. Then one of the most important angels, name MICHAEL, came to help me, because I was stuck there with the king of PERSIA.  Now I come to explain to you what will happen to your people..."  [Daniel 10:12-14]
Interesting!   For three weeks, while Daniel prayed for the Jewish people in Persia, at the same time a war happened in the spirit world -- a war between  Holy Angels from God and evil spirits.   Daniel couldn't see that war.  Daniel had no idea that war was happening.  But in his prayers, Daniel joined the battle.

Daniel was fighting for the heart of his new boss, the King of Persia, name CYRUS.  

Remember that Israel was in slavery for 70 years in Babylon.  The Cyrus conquered Babylon, and then he announced:

"The Lord, the God in heaven,
     He gave-me all the kingdoms on the earth,
         and He chose me to build a Temple for Him
              in Jerusalem in JUDAH  [Israel].
God bless all you, His people.
Now you are free to go home to Jerusalem in Judah and build the Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel."  [Ezra 1:2,3]

Notice, Daniel didn't pray for angels.  Daniel prayed for the people of Israel.
Notice, Daniel didn't pray to angels.  Daniel prayed only to God.

God sent the angel to Daniel, but an evil spirit blocked God's holy angel.  Why?  Because Satan always wants to mess-up God's plan.  God wants to save people from Satan's ondage (slavery).

God can destroy Satan with one word.  And one day in the future, He will.
But for now, God chooses to work through His people.  God gives us everything we need for our work, same-as we finished studying about God's Armor during the past eight weeks.

Notice in Daniel's story, the angel didn't fight alone.  He had help from another angel, named MICHAEL.
Notice, Daniel didn't pray alone, but together with his friends.

In our battle against Satan, we don't fight alone.
No, we are soldiers in an ARMY.
We belong to God's team,
     with all Brother and Sister Christians,
     and with all God's holy angels.

Daniel prayed for the people of Israel.  Also our lesson about God's Armor asks us to pray for people.

Why pray?  What good can prayer do?

As Martin Luther taught in his explanation about the Lord's Prayer, our prayers don't help God.  But prayer helps us understand that we depend on God.  We battle against Satan, not in our own power, but God's power.

Prayer doesn't mean we tell God what He must do, same as a soldier doesn't give orders to his officer.   Instead, in prayer we join the battle in ways we can't see.

Our lesson says, "pray in the power of the Holy Spirit."  What does that mean?

Some people think praying "in the power of the Holy Spirit" means we should pray with a lot of emotion, and excitement.    They believe more emotion makes prayer powerful.

No, Paul didn't say, "pray in the power of your emotion,"
     he said, "pray in the power of the Holy Spirit."
          That's God's Spirit, not ours.

In Romans chapter 8, Paul explained:

"The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Holy Spirit Himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain. God can see what is in people’s hearts. And He knows what is in the mind of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit speaks to God for His people in the way God wants."  [Romans 8:26,27]
That is the secret for praying in the power of the Holy Spirit --  not praying for the things we want, but praying for the things that God wants.

The Bible says:

"We are bold in-front-of God.  Why?  Because we know that if we ask God for anything that agrees with what He wants, He hears us. If we know He hears us every time we ask Him, we know we have what we ask from Him."  [1 John 5:14,15]
Again: the secret for praying in the power of the Holy Spirit -- pray for the things that God wants.  And God want, what?  The Bible says that God wants all people to trust Jesus and become saved. (John 17:3, 1 Timothy 2:3-6)

When we pray for God to save people from eternity in hell, we join the battle against Satan and his angels.

When we pray that people will learn about Jesus, His suffering, death, and resurrection, we become active soldiers in God's army.

When we pray that people will honestly confess their sins to God and accept His mercy and forgiveness, we work in team with other Christians and Holy Angels in ways we can't really understand.

Notice our lessons says, "Pray all kinds of prayers."  We are very skilled in praying, "I want! Give me! Give me!"  But if you look in the Bible, what other kinds of prayer do you see?

Notice our lesson says, "Always pray.  At all times, pray."   God wants us to stay connected with Him every minute in every day.  Never stop.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Join the Battle!  Put-on all of God's armor:

[1] Have the belt of truth,
      Knowing that God's Word is True, and
      we also are honest.

[2] Wear the chest protector of Christ's holy life covering you,
      and Christ living in and through you.

[3] On your feet have shoes that will prepare you
      to run and tell the good news about peace in Jesus Christ,
      and march into the enemy's country
           and to free people he holds as slaves.

[4] Pick up the shield of faith.
        With that you can stop all of the devil's flaming arrows
            of temptation, anger, fear, and doubt.

[5] Put on the helmet of salvation in Jesus Christ.

[6] Take the sword of the Holy Spirit -- God's Word.

[7]  And always pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.
         Pray for all the lost people that God loves.
         Pray for all the people still fooled by Satan's lies.
         Pray for all the people for whom Christ died.
         Pray for all the people you know, who still need to know Jesus.

Amen.
 
 

Sermon Index

Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf home page