Friday, January 11, 2013

A New Way To Pray

I have been trying to spend more time in prayer, for my family, my church... just a lot of prayer. When I woke up Monday morning to get started on this new goal I felt a strong urgency to "put on the armor of God". I had a feeling Satan would not enjoy me spending this time with the Lord. 

I have done a pretty good job ignoring my relationship with God for a while now. I figured changing that was going to tick the enemy off and he would be ready to attack.

I was not even sure how you are suppose to put on this armor. Is there a method? Was I suppose to just keep in mind what the different pieces represent? Maybe going out and buying myself a shiny new sword, shield and helmet was in order. Do they make them in children's sizes? I really think I could pull off this look.

The best I could come up with (since I was pretty sure I couldn't afford my new gear) was to read through Ephesians 6:10-18 and go from there. So first thing Monday morning, before prayer or quiet time or anything else, I opened up my bible to Ephesians 6 and began to read. As I did, I verbally "put on" each item. It was awkward, I felt silly. I didn't feel any differently after but, oh well, it was done. I prayed that day. I read my bible for the first time in days.

The next morning I also prayed and read the word, but I had an awful day! Bad attitudes, on my part. Discouragement, frustration, anger towards God about thoughts I did not even know I had and I even shared some of those thoughts with a few others. Much later that day I realized, I had not put on my armor. Had that made a differnce in how my day was going? I don't know, not for certain. But I am pretty confident it had. I am not sure if it is just because it was something God had laid on my heart to do during this new time of prayer in my life and I had been disobedient. Or if it really is that important to fight in the spiritual realm because Satan is looking around for people to mess with and I seemed like a good candidate. I feel pretty strongly that it was a little bit of both.

Wednesday and Today (Thursday) I have been very obedient to put on this armor first thing. It's still a little awkward, I feel downright ridiculous. But it is getting easier and easier. I hope to come to an even clearer understanding of the importance of each piece. But for now I have felt led to prepare myself in this way and there has been a huge difference in my day from doing this. Today I began to ready myself with my armor out loud. I wanted the devil to hear it. I want him very aware of what he is up against - that I am prepared and protected, that I have somebody much stronger on my side and that He has equiped me to fight. 

One of my little guys with some of his "armor"

Today my prayer sounded something like this:

"Lord today I put on the belt of truth. The truth is that I am a child of God. The truth is that you sent your son to die on the cross for my sins. The truth is that you are in control. You are God of my family, God over our health, our finances, our circumstances. I stand firm in that truth today and not in the lies the enemy tries to tell me.

I put on the breastplate of righteousness. Again, I am your child, I am in right standing with You. Thank you for this breastplate, that guards my heart. A heart that belongs to you. I heart that you dwell in.

My feet are fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. The gospel, the good news, is that you sent your son to die on a cross for me. He became sin for my sins. He bore stripes for my healing, and my sons healing. This gospel gives peace that nothing else can give. As I ready my feet with this gospel I can run from the lies and schemes of the devil. As my feet are prepared with this good news I can run towards others in order to share this gospel with them.

I take up the shield of faith. This faith comes from the knowledge that you are God of our home, you are in control. It is You who are on the throne. Thank you for a shield that can extinguish the fiery darts that Satan might try to send my way today.

I put on the helmet of Salvation. Your salvation that came as a gift to me! I put this helmet on to guard my mind from any thoughts that Satan might try to put there. Lord I ask that this helmet of Salvation would guard my thoughts - that I may be able to stay focussed on you and on all that your Salvation brings.

And last I take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is your word. I pray that I would be faithful to memorize your word, to hide it in my heart so that when the enemy does come I will be prepared to fight with the Word of God.

Ephesians 6:18 tells me to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer requests. Help me to remember to do this throughout the day."

After I have put on my armor, I take up the Sword, my bible, and I read. And then I pray, for the rest of the day I pray - all kinds of prayers, for all kinds of things. God has been gracious and faithful to keep my mind and heart protected and on Him as I have readied myself each morning to fight an obnoxious, stupid enemy who tries with all of his might to undo all that the Lord does in my life. I don't want to give more credit to the enemy than he is due. I do not want to, for a second, believe that he is more powerful than the God I serve. But the bible does say

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
And I do not want to be devoured. The bible says
Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Mark 4:15

I do not want to be like "some people" and so I will prepare - by putting on the armor of God, by being in the word, and by praying continually.

P.S. I LOVE comments! I would love to hear from you!

Link up here and here