Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (May 22, 2023)

Last week, we came to the end of the items of spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6. We saw that “prayer” is our supply line, which is absolutely necessary for a successful warfare. Today, we want to look at prayer as our “secret weapon.”

We often say that the Sword of the Spirit (the word of God) is our only “offensive weapon.” That is not exactly true, because prayer is actually a “secret weapon” for the Christian! There was a movie out when I was much younger entitled “Navy Seals,” which was about the real-to-life adventures of a combat unit of Navy Seals. In this movie, one of the team members was a sniper with a powerful rifle. He would always set up far away from the immediate intensity of the battle, where he could “oversee” the fighting and answer when called upon to help out. Ironically, the call-name given to this sniper was “god.”

Much like the sniper, the true God is overseeing the whole battlefield, and is available whenever needed to intervene in a mighty way. As Isaiah says, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isa. 59:19. And while our God is able to – and often does – intervene of His own volition, He commands us to offer prayer to Himself, that He might answer in miraculous ways from time to time!

Prayer is indeed our secret weapon. But like any weapon, you must use it in order for it to be helpful to you! How do we engage our “secret weapon” of prayer?

First of all, we must engage in perpetual prayer. Paul tells the Ephesians, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. . . .” There is never a time when prayer is not appropriate! “Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 These. 5:17-18. Paul did not mince words, but admonished us always to maintain an attitude of prayer: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7. There is no time when prayer is not appropriate!

Secondly, we must engage in petitionary prayer. That is, we should be specific in our prayer life! The first use of the word “prayer” in Ephesians 6:18 is the general Greek word for “prayer.” The second word, translated by the KJV translators as “supplication”, is the Greek term for specific petitions. My friends, we should never think that God is dealing with too many things to be bothered with “little” things. Rather, He hears each and every one of our SPECIFIC prayers!

If we think about it, the idea of “big” and “little” prayers is kind of foolish anyway when it comes to God. What “big” problem could you really bring to Him? There is NOTHING too big for God! Do you need the sun to stand still for a day? He’s done that! What about making axe head to float? Checked off the list! Do you need a dead person to rise? A new star, or even a new universe?  God can do ALL these things with the flick of a finger! Child of God, don’t wait for the situation to “blow up in your face” and then have to cry out to God for an emergency escape hatch!

Thirdly, our prayers should be powerful prayers. Going back to Ephesians 6:18, we read that we are to be praying “in the Spirit”. This means that we are to pray with the Spirit, and in line with what the Spirit wants. And if we don’t really know what to pray for, I have good news for you: Paul told the Romans that “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.  27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Rom. 8:26-27.

James tells us something extremely important about prayer: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16. The Greek word for “effectual” is ἐνεργουμένη, which is a form of ἐνεργέω, where we get our English word “energy.” It means to be active, or efficient: to do, to be effectual (fervent), to be mighty in, or to work effectually in (Strong’s Concordance). And before you object that you just can’t pray like those “super-saints” of olden times, remember the context of this verse in the Book of James: “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” James 5:17-18. This man Elias is the same prophet Elijah who wound up depressed under the juniper tree – just like we do from time to time! And yet his prayers were powerful and effective.

Finally, our prayer must engage in persevering prayer. Back to Ephesians 6:18, we find that we are to pray “with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”. You see, my friends, persistence is the key to a successful prayer life. Remember the woman who petitioned the unjust judge over and over and over (Luke 18)? He finally granted her request, just to make her stop bothering him! Don’t you think the God who loved us with an everlasting love will pay much more attention to our petitions?

As we conclude our examination of the spiritual armor that we should take up, let us not neglect the supply line of prayer, nor the secret weapon of prayer! I’ve heard it said that we should pray when we feel like it, pray when we don’t feel like it, and pray until we DO feel like it! I believe this is sound advice.

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor