Do you ever have trouble communicating with others? Do people have difficulty grasping what you are saying? I’m fairly confident you answered yes to at least one of those questions. Communication is difficult. Communicating while living with a chronic illness is even more difficult. We struggle to find the words to explain how we feel or why we can’t do something. We struggle to remember what we need to talk to our doctor(s) about. We live in a “brain foggy” world and find it difficult to understand what’s going on around us. We hear the “womp, womp, womp” of adult voices from Charlie Brown instead of words, as we give others the blank stare of confusion.
We all know that communication, as difficult as it may be, is important. In fact, it’s a crucial part of the spiritual armor we’ve been talking about. Most people say there is only one offensive weapon as part of our spiritual armor – the sword of the Spirit that we talked about last week. However, I believe there are two offensive weapons. In the same breath as Paul tells us to “take up the shield of faith…and take the helmet of salvation…and the sword of the Spirit” he finishes the sentence with “…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication (Ephesians 6:18a).”
Prayer is an incredible offensive weapon; it is our lifeline to God. It’s what sustains us, encourages us, humbles us, and connects us to our Maker. In prayer, we praise the Lord, giving glory and reverence to our God. If you’re intimidated by the thought of praying, let me ease your fears. Prayer is simply talking to God. Yes, it’s an incredible privilege and a holy experience, but God wants us to come to Him. He wants us to talk to Him about not just how amazing He is (though we need to do that too), but about our pain and struggles as well. He wants us to ask Him for help. Like any good father, our Heavenly Father loves to give good gifts to His children. Matthew 7:7-11 (MSG) confirms this.
Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
Prayer is crucial in spiritual warfare. Do you remember a couple months ago when we first started talking about the spiritual armor God gives us? In Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV) the Apostle Paul tells us to...
…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
My favorite Psalm is Psalm 34. Verses 4-8 say…
I sought the Lord, and He answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Today I challenge you to put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; take up the shield of faith and put on the helmet of salvation. Grasp the sword of the Spirit and pray at all times. If you do this, you will be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might – and you will stand against the schemes of the devil. Shout the battle cry! Victory is yours for the taking!
© August 29, 2013