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Prayer for a Warrior – Ephesians 6:18-20


George Washington at Valley Forge

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. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

George Washington was a different kind of warrior than the apostle, Paul. Yet the heart of “The Father of Our Country” knew that “the battle belongs to the Lord.”

Certainly in going into battle “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” we need to ask for our Father’s aid and assistance.

Without His help, we are defeated before we begin. When David came into the camp of Saul’s army in the Valley of Elah, that army was in a state of defeat. The Giant Goliath had terrorized them so badly they were completely demoralized. “They all ran from him in great fear” (1 Samuel 17:24). David was different.

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s and He will give all of you into our hands.” – 1 Samuel 17:45-47

Goliath advance, and “David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him” (v. 48). The army of Saul ran from the giant. David ran toward him.

Before Jesus faced Golgotha, He prayed in Gethsemane. Facing great trial, He called on great strength from His father. When the Sanhedrin ordered Peter and John to preach no longer in the name of Jesus, they prayed,

Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. – Acts 4:29-31

Before this, when Peter and John were in front of the Jewish Supreme Court, their judges saw the courage of these unlearned men. “They were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). It occurs to me that they “had been with Jesus,” not only in the years of His personal walk on earth, but also constantly with Him in prayer.

So Paul asked for the prayers of his readers. He urged them to pray always for all the saints – but he asked for a special prayer for himself. He was familiar with feelings of “weakness and fear and much trembling” (see 1 Corinthians 2:3). He was not the “super man” we often think. He knew the terror of fear, the despair of weakness, and the agony of trembling before opponents.

He also knew the power of his God and the promise of his Savior to be with him always, even to the end of the age. Because he knew the promise, he did not fear to claim it in the name of Jesus at the Father’s throne.

For what did he ask them to pray?

  • Whenever I open my mouth words may be give me. From other places we know that Paul’s speech was not impressive. He was not a great orator who could move people persuasively with his rhetoric. He knew the source of his knowledge and his speech came from the one who made his mouth. He knew God would help him as He had helped Moses:

The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” – Exodus 4:11-12

  • So that I will fearlessly make known the mystery. Pray that my fear may be impotent to stop me from speaking – whether before Jewish courts, Roman governors, or Caesar himself. Let me speak without fear. I have marveled at the fearlessness of the snow-boarders and skiers in the Olympics. What would happen if we were as immune to fear as they are?
  • That I may declare it… as I should. Nearly every time I talk with someone about the Lord, I look back on the conversation and think, “I should have said….” Paul wanted to look ahead to the conversation with prayer so that he would speak as he should. Then, he could look back with no regrets.

If we spent more time praying and less time analyzing, planning, prognosticating, and procrastinating – we would all get more done! I do not mean to denigrate analysis, plans, or prognostication. All of these have a place – but probably not as much a place as some of us tend to give them. Much of our analyzing, planning, and prognosticating are just concealed procrastinating.

Fervent prayer will put fervency in our preaching. Zeal for God will overcome fear – and we will appear courageous when we are trembling inside.

Lord, give us churches who will pray fervently for their preachers to be bold – and elders who will boldly stand with them when You answer those prayers. Amen!

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