Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. Ephesians 6:13 (AMP)
First and foremost, remember that the devil is a created being. Though he would much like to tell you that he is equal with God, or even superior to Him, he isn’t. Nevertheless, being spirit, he is more powerful than we are in our flesh by ourselves. This is why we need to call on the power of the Lord to defend us.
In Ephesians 6: 14-17, Paul uses the imagery of a Roman soldier by telling us to “put on the full armor of God,” meaning that we need to make use of every resource that God makes available to us to win this struggle. These are the examples that he lists:
- The Belt of Truth. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know this is my biggie. The first four tenets of the Truth Mission Statement lay this out. Acknowledge Truth, recognize it for what it is, give credit to the Source of Truth, and never stop seeking it.
- The Breastplate of Righteousness. True righteousness is a right standing with God that is given by His grace, not earned through our efforts. Knowledge of this righteousness that is imputed to us helps us to do the right thing and to keep our word, among other things.
- Feet fitted with the Gospel of Peace. A good pair of running shoes provides you with stability and speed. So it is with the Gospel. It is the foundation upon which you stand to face the enemy, and the Good News you take out into the world to foil his plans.
- Shield of Faith. Faith is more than just belief. Even Satan believes in God; he has seen Him face to face! It is only when you firmly rely on God and His strength that you are able to deflect the devil’s attacks.
- Helmet of Salvation. It’s your head the devil tries to get into. Cover it with the knowledge that God has already accepted you and has no intention of giving you back.
- Sword of the Spirit. This is referring to scripture itself. Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This is the double-edged sword that Revelation depicts coming from the mouth of Jesus at the Second Coming, when Satan is defeated forever. Guess what? You have access to that very same Word. It is the most powerful offensive weapon you have in fighting against the devil.
With all of these items in place, now you’re ready to pray like you mean it. That is what vanquishes Satan. A person who prays while knowing the One being prayed to, knowing that He’s listening and most of all, knowing that He will honor that prayer with His protection—such a person is unstoppable in spiritual warfare.
So what is it that actually goes on in the spiritual realm when we pray? Hard to say, as most of us can’t see it. Some people do have that gift, but I am not one of them.
Author Frank Peretti burst onto the Christian Fiction scene in 1986 with his book This Present Darkness, which vividly addressed this very issue. In the book, angels are constantly engaged in battles with demons over the souls of people. Prayer is like a caffeine rush to the angels. When people put on the armor of God and pray, the angels drive back the demons. But when prayer falters, the demons have the upper hand.
Now I don’t know if that’s how it actually goes down (many theologians argue that it isn’t), but it’s a neat picture (and a highly entertaining read as well).
The important thing to remember is, like the soldier, we must always be on our guard. Satan and his minions do not sleep. Ever. They’ll keep coming back, no matter how many times you pray them away. This doesn’t mean your prayers aren’t effective or that God isn’t listening. This is just what demons do. It’s their nature.
(For some final words of encouragement, come back for the conclusion in Part 10—Be Still and Know.)