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Equipped by Prayer in the Spirit

In my last post, we saw that we receive the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit as we pray in the spirit.  In today’s post, I want to show that this is not just a singular occurrence in Scripture.

We are in a spiritual struggle against unseen forces.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

Contrary to how some people act, our fight is not against people.  As followers of Christ, we’re not struggling against political parties, social issues, or those we see as “sinners”.  The real enemy is the spiritual kingdom that enslaves those in the world system.

We’re in this battle whether we want it or not.  So, we’re told that we need to be spiritually prepared for the struggle.  We’re given the explanation of the armor and Paul concludes in verse 18 by giving us the means by which we arm ourselves – prayer in the spirit.

However, this isn’t the only section of Scripture that talks about our warfare.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 3

Jude was one of the early leaders of the church.  He was a half-brother of Jesus who became a believer after the resurrection.

In this short letter, he explains that he simply wanted to write a brief word of encouragement.  He wanted to bless and uplift those who would receive it.

Instead, once he sat down to write, the Holy Spirit grabbed his attention and caused him to speak of the spiritual battle.  Jude felt the urgency to warn them to diligently contend for the faith.

In Ephesians, Paul was contending against demonic forces.  Jude is contending against false teachings.  But in both cases, they equipped themselves for battle the same way.

Look at Jude’s concluding remarks.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Jude 20

It’s important to note here that the word, “and”, does not appear in the original Greek text.  It should actually be translated, build yourselves up in your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit.

We face battles every day.  There are many directions that the attack may come from.  It could be our flesh, the world system, or the demonic kingdom.

In all cases, we prepare for this struggle in the same way.  Both Paul and Jude talked about their battles.  They were two different people in two different struggles.  Yet they both concluded that it was prayer in the spirit that would prepare them for victory.

I don’t know how anybody could read this and say that the gift of tongues is not for today.  We can’t win the victory without it.

They try to justify it by saying that they can pray in the spirit in English – or whatever their native language is.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
1 Corinthians 14:14

Paul makes it clear that praying in tongues is praying in the spirit.  If you’re using your mind to come up with the words, you’re not praying in the spirit.

Prepare for the battles you’re about to face.  Spend some quality time praying in the spirit.

Question: How much time are you spending in prayer for 2020?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Prayer Under Pressure

How do you pray when you’re facing a severe trial?  Is it any different than when everything seems to be going your way?  If you’re like most people, those two prayers are vastly different.

In my last post, I talked about the fact that Jesus only took His three closest disciples with Him into the garden of prayer.  It was only hours before His trial, and He wanted them to watch how He prayed.  The Lord wanted them to see a prayer under deep emotional distress.

We know that Jesus felt the same pressure that we do while being tested.  The difference is that He knew how to walk in victory over these trials.  It was His goal to train His disciples to walk the same way.

He started by explaining what He was going through.

He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them.  “Stay here and keep watch.”
Mark 14:33-34

Jesus was deeply distressed because he was about to face something that he never experienced before.  He has existed since eternity past, but the Lord had never been touched by sin or death.  Now it was all going to come upon Him.

He told His disciples that His soul felt like it was totally surrounded by grief because of what He was about to face.  He knew that His humanity had to be dealt with.

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.  “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Mark 14:35-36

This passage causes many people to question whether or not Jesus wanted to go to the cross.  It sounds like, just before the end, the Lord was trying to get out of it.  That’s not what’s happening here.

We know from Jesus’ conversations with His disciples that He was focused on what He needed to do on the cross.

Remember what Jesus said when James and John asked to sit on His right and left hand in the kingdom.

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them.  “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
Matthew 20:22a

There was no question in the Lord’s mind that He was going to drink the cup of death for us.  And there are many more places in the Gospels where He confirmed this thought.  Then why did He pray for the Father to remove this cup?

Simply put; this prayer was a teaching time for the disciples.  There were many times that Jesus prayed for the benefit of those who were listening.  This happened when He raised Lazarus from the dead.

So they took away the stone.  Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
John 11:41-42

What Jesus prayed in that garden was for the disciples’ benefit.  He wanted them to know how to pray when they felt overwhelmed.

Sometimes the pressure on us is so great that we lose sight of where God is bringing us to.  In those times it is very appropriate to ask God to bring an end to our trial.  But, we must always remember to finish the prayer by confirming our desire for God’s will to be done and not ours.

Question: When was a time that you had to pray while under great pressure?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2018 in Encouragement, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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