Bible Study Notes:

Prayer Warfare & The Christian Soldier
Ephesians 6:18-19


These notes are from a transcript of the postings during Bible Study on Thursday Nights at 8 PM at Bible Study Chat at churchusa.com.
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Praise the Lord! God's blessings on you all!

Father God we exalt your Name tonight and praise you for your blessings to mankind. We are especially grateful for your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has bought us with His own life's blood. We have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and translated into the kingdom of your dear Son, and we rejoice!

OlePappy - Thank you Father for this medium that we have available to extend the knowledge of the Word. In Jesus name. AMEN

Now satan, you foul-mouthed liar, we come against you in the mighty Name above all Names, JESUS, and bind you and rebuke you and cast you out of this room, before during and after the lesson, you are rendered powerless by the blood of Jesus Christ!

Holy Spirit we invite you to be our teacher. Lead us into the truth of Jesus. Cleanse our hearts so we can understand. Open our eyes and ears so that we may see and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Anoint your leaders God to speak your Word in love, in faith and in truth. In Jesus Name, AMEN

We've been studying spiritual warfare, especially in Ephesians 6:10-18. Last time we discussed our armor. For review, what piece of armor protects our heart?

BBHG & PFJ - Breastplate of righteousness...Right?

Right and what is righteousness?

BBHG & PFJ - It's what happens to us when Christ covers us with his blood. Such as when we originally receive Christ.
Savior's Servant - OT-being pure
grandmafar - spiritual warfare to me is standing up against the wrong, stand up for Jesus Christ, put Him on and fight against the devil, darkness

Right, righteousness is being in "right standing" with God, free of sin, forgiven, cleansed by Jesus blood, and in fellowship with God. What do we buckle about our waist?

BBHG & PFJ - The belt of Truth.

And what is truth?

Savior's Servant - Jesus is Truth
BBHG & PFJ - every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
grandmafar - Jesus is truth, doing as He commands.

Right Jesus is truth, and this truth is what not only holds on our breastplate of righteousness, but holds the up our sword. So what goes on our feet?

BBHG & PFJ - The readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace

Right, we walk in peace! And what is our helmet?

Savior's Servant - helmet-salvation

What is salvation?

BBHG & PFJ - Eternal life through Jesus Christ

Salvation is deliverance from evil, redemption (buying us back) from the devil, atoning (covering) our sins, forgiveness, and health and healing, body mind and spirit. And who won our Salvation?

only me - Jesus paid the price.....

AMEN - Jesus is our salvation! Now what is our shield?

prodigal son - The shield of faith

What is faith?

BBHG & PFJ - Belief in a personal to Jesus Christ commitment for eternal salvation
prodigal son - To believe in something with conviction

Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen - Our dependence upon and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ and His redeeming sacrifice for our sins.

grandmafar - faith is knowing something or someone is there without actually seeing or hearing them

Now what does our shield of faith do?

BBHG & PFJ - Extinguishes all the flaming arrows comin' our way from the devil.
prodigal son - It protects us from the flaming missiles of satan
Savior's Servant - It blocks satan's darts that he throws at us

AMEN! I Peter 1:5 "who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. " What is our sword?

prodigal son - The word of God
Savior's Servant - God's Word, the bible
BBHG & PFJ - The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

How do we use the Word of God for defensive measures?

grandmafar - we seek His Word
BBHG & PFJ - We speak out against the enemy using the Word of God.
prodigal son - It strengthens our faith
OlePappy - prayer and petition in he Spirit
BBHG & PFJ - Just like Jesus when he was being tempted in the wilderness.

Right, if the devil is trying to make us fear, for example, use this sword: For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a strong mind!

How do we use the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit, OFFENSIVELY? For example, we use the Word in OFFENSE against the devil by doing intercession for others. And commanding satan to flee, as we did before this study. And in re-claiming what the devil has stolen for us!

BBHG & PFJ - We use it in Love.
OlePappy - the Word teaches how to command satan in the name of Jesus, the Son of the living God
Glory! - Take authority over a situation in the name of Jesus

Good point, BBHG & PFJ, love conquers! OK, sounds like you guys are learning. Now lets learn a little more about OFFENSE against our enemy.

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Now we've got our armor on, the Bible commands us to STAND and PRAY! Now to some this doesn't sound much like warfare, but that is what we are called to do!

Glory! - Pray in the spirit always
OlePappy - and pray constantly
Glory! - If you have your armor on the devil can't see you
BBHG & PFJ - Perhaps you could elaborate a little more on exactly how we put the armor "on." For instance...do we speak it out each morning?

BB, well once you put it on, just don't ever take it off! But if it helps you to speak it out each day, do so! It is especially important, though, when you engage in a specific conflict, be sure your heart is cleansed and be sure that armor is in place!

Jessee Penn-Lewis, author of "Spiritual Warfare" talks about our prayer warfare in Ephesians 6 as "against spiritual hosts of evil in the atmosphere where, "Christ-encased", the prayer warriors wrestle and overthrow the principalities and powers attacking the Church of Christ. . . Let prayer warriors claim the "It is finished" of Calvary upon the unseen hosts of satan opposing the proclamation of the gospel, or holding souls in bondage and darkness. Christ's last words of triumph will prevail, as we pray through the union with him on the throne. "

Miss Lewis continues: "You need to pray over everything, for protection from the foes watching to break in upon your life. . . Before this there needs to be a "Discernment of spirits" (1 John 4:1). It is only as we advance in spiritual growth that we apprehend that our foes are actually spirit beings, distinct personal entities."

I John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

When we do spiritual warfare on behalf of another, we need to seek the Spirit for discernment of the spiritual forces that may be binding them. How do we test spirits to see whether they are from God? By the WORD. So let's look at prayer for a few minutes. What is prayer?

BBHG & PFJ - Prayer is us as believers calling out to God, knowing He hears us and answers us.
Glory! - I believe prayer is what is in your heart when you ask God of things

Prayer is simply talking to God, whether out loud or inwardly. It doesn't matter HOW you pray, God hears. But sometimes we kneel in reverence, sometimes we leap for joy, sometimes we dance for gladness, and sometimes we stand and lift holy hands as a wave offering of praise. Sometimes we pray out loud, sometimes inwardly, sometimes in the spirit. The important thing is to PRAY. Right Glory, a prayerful attitude is a reverent and expectant heart towards God.

WHY do we pray?

Glory! - WE must ask God for things if we are to receive, you have not because you ask not.
BBHG & PFJ - Because God wants us to be dependent on Him for everything and this is our way of talking and confiding in Him.
OlePappy - Accept God's time

So one reason we pray is to petition God for our needs. And to show our dependence on God. What are some other reasons we pray?

OlePappy - Accept God's Will
BBHG & PFJ - Praise and worship
OlePappy - Trust God; Ask and believe
BBHG & PFJ - Confession and repentance
prodigal son - To glorify the Lord and fellowship with him

Jesus is our example that we should follow in His steps. And He gives us a sample prayer to learn from.

Matthew 6:9 "This, then, is how you should pray: "`Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,"

First of all, we pray to our FATHER in heaven. We have a personal relationship with Him - through the shed blood of Jesus Christ we are adopted in His family. So we talk to Him because we are related to Him and want to interact with Him. We also pray to hallow, or make holy, His Name, to exalt and magnify God, praising Him for who He is.

Matthew 6:10 "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

"Thy will be done" - the second reason to pray is to seek God's will, seek enablement to do it, and to do His will. Prayer isn't inducing God to manipulate events in our behalf, it is cooperating with Him in HIS plan.

Glory! - Jesus loves our praises most of all; Yes we pray to help bring his kingdom to pass

Amen Glory, God inhabits the praises of His people!

prodigal son - humble ourselves before God
Glory! - When we pray we need to ask God first what he would have us to pray for

Matthew 6:11 "Give us today our daily bread" - since God is our Father, we pray to Him for things we need. He is our Source, and will supply ALL our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. He often supplies our "wants" as well if we delight ourselves in Him and do His will.

Matthew 6:12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Forgive us our trespasses" - we go to God for forgiveness and cleansing of sins. Our forgiveness from God depends on us forgiving those who offend us - "as we forgive those who trespass against us". There is an excellent book on handling offenses and forgiveness called "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere. I highly recommend it!

If you have sinned and know it, if you don't confess it, then anything else you have to say will be "blocked" because the sin is in the way.

Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

Glory! - We manifest things in the earth by praying God's will, take it from the spiritual realm and bring his Kingdom to pass

Right glory, when we pray the Word, we are promised that God's Word shall not return unto him void, but shall accomplish His purposes!

BBHG & PFJ - I agree completely OT, but what about stuff that we don't remember or don't realize is sin?

BB, ask the Spirit to reveal it to You. He reveals unconfessed sin to us and then we can repent. Also as we read the word and fellowship with his saints, God will reveal to us sins committed in ignorance and we can be cleansed of those as well.

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Another purpose of prayer is to encourage, enable and strengthen us against spiritual assaults. In ourselves, we are powerless against the devil, but in Jesus Christ, clothed in God's armor, we are ALWAYS victorious!

prodigal son - ALL things are possible through the Lord our God
LordsLamb - I was reading the book of Matthew tonight, "for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. AMEN - this is acknowledgement of God and his power and praise to Him. Also we pray to express thanksgiving to God for all His blessings.

So in Christ's sample prayer, we covered almost every type of pray that you all had mentioned.

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Notice that part of our spiritual warfare in praying with ALL KINDS of prayers. And we are to pray IN THE SPIRIT.

prodigal son - OT what is meant by in the spirit?
Athie - When we do not know how to pray we MUST pray in the Spirit
LordsLamb - But what if we don't know how to pray in the spirit???
BBHG & PFJ - I heard it said that if you pray out loud in English, the devil can counter attack your prayers , but if you pray in tongues, he can't because tongues are a mystery of God.
pointleader - BBHG - I know that no matter how we pray God still hears our prayers, for the prayers of the righteous avail much.

"In the Spirit" means several things. First when we pray in the Spirit, we are praying God's will according to the Word. We are in the Spirit in the sense of "thy will be done". We are also "in the Spirit" in the sense that we are not in the flesh, we are in God's presence and mindful of His presence. We are also "in the Spirit" in that we allow Him to intercede for us.

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

And when we are "in the Spirit" we ARE praying in God's will, as this verse says. And God's will WILL be done! AMEN

Notice that it says to "pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions". We are to pray when we're happy, pray when we're sad, pray when we're sick, pray when we're well, pray everywhere and for everything. Perhaps the most important type of prayer in spiritual warfare is intercession.

1 Timothy 2:1 -2 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

What is intercession?

BBHG & PFJ - Going before God on someone else's behalf. It also means going boldly and confidently before God on their behalf.
pointleader - It means to stand in the place for another individual?
prodigal son - To speak up for another
Athie - Intercession is taking Place for another

Right. Intercession means to plead on someone else's behalf for a favor or deliverance. This is what Jesus did for us:

Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

And He continues to intercede for us to the Father:

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

How do you do spiritual warfare or intercession on behalf of another?

BBHG & PFJ - Coming to the Throne room of God boldly and confidently interceding for them. Speaking it out.
pointleader - When I pray for others I just pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to the person's spirit and I just pray the blood of Jesus over them.

I can recommend "A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Warfare" by Quin Sherrer & Ruthanne Garlock, because not only does it have great warfare info, but scriptural prayers to help you pray about all kinds of situations.

A rule of thumb in doing spiritual warfare or intercession is to identify WHAT you are asking for, and find scriptures that deal with that problem and PRAY THE WORD over them! Generally, anyone in the kingdom of darkness is spiritually blind and satan has erected strongholds in his life that need to be torn down. Spiritual discernment is the key to effective praying! Pray according to:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 - The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Here is a sample prayer based on that scripture: "In the Name of Jesus: I come against the strongholds that satan has erected in the mind of (name the person) and I cast down those strongholds and every high thing in (name the person) 's mind that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. And I release (name the person) 's mind to the obedience of Christ. I loose (him or her) to be reconciled to God. Father: I pray that you will send people across (name the person) 's path that will minister to (him or her) and lead (him or her) to Jesus. Amen."

In intercession, you can also pray a hedge of thorns around them: what will this cause to happen? When satan petitioned God to trouble Job, he said this:

Job 1:10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land."

When Hosea was praying for his unfaithful wife Gomer, who was a symbol of the unfaithfulness of God's people at the time, God told him to pray a hedge about her. This is what God told Hosea to pray:

Hosea 2:6-7 Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, `I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'

So if you're praying for someone who's unfaithful, you can pray a hedge of thorns about them, that they will not be able to find their lovers, etc.

According to Jesse Penn-Lewis : "an Armored Christian is always armored with the truth, righteous in his life, makes and keeps peace, has salvation/self-control, uses faith as a shield, has Scriptures in his hand and prays without ceasing. By contrast, the Non-armored Christian is open to lies through ignorance, is unrighteous through ignorance, is divisive and quarrelsome, is recklessly unwatchful, is doubtful and unbelieving, relies on reason instead of God's Word and relies on work without prayer". Do you have your armor on today?

pointleader - I do! I get thrashed if I forget it.

OK, so we've talked in this study about preparing our hearts for war by asking God to remove anything in our hearts displeasing to Him. Then we talked about our spiritual armor and putting it on. Then we talked about prayer, especially intercessory prayer. Now let's look at some more scriptures that tell us about being soldiers in God's army.

What do you think it means to be a soldier in God's army?

pointleader - To be a solider is to not be involved in "civilian affairs" as stated in Timothy.
BBHG & PFJ - Being available to do God's will at all times. In season and out of season.
pointleader - It also means to fight the good fight (the only fight worth fighting for) souls!
Athie - To be under His command at all times I want to be a warrior woman for Him
prodigal son - To follow the Lord's will with the strength that only he can give us

AMEN all good answers! These are some things the Lord has been speaking to OP and me about it

1. Unquestioning obedience to those in authority.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

First of all, we need to submit ourselves to God. He is the ultimate authority, King of the universe, and our source of strength and power. We initially submit by receiving His grace in salvation, and as we grow, we increasingly give Jesus Lordship of our lives.

When God's Word commands us, we should, as good soldiers, obey without question or grumbling. If you are interested in what disobedience and grumbling will do for you, read the book of Exodus.

pointleader - What is wrong with questioning authority if you have questions?

There is a difference between asking questions for clarification and questioning authority. Does that make sense?

pointleader - What if you don't agree with it and want to reach a compromise?

If you don't agree with it because it is contrary to God's Word, then maybe you are not under godly authority. If you don't agree with leadership, and they leading according to the Word, then you need to line up with the Word.

pointleader - True - but the job market (especially the public school system) is not usually under godly authority.

If it is not a matter that is addressed in the Word, then follow the guidelines for addressing the concern (such as school policy). Of course, you could always run for the school board and be one of those who make decisions!

prodigal son - There is no compromise with the word of God.

But remember, now we're talking about being Christian soldiers and submitting to Christ's authority and those he has appointed as leadership in the Church.

Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

I Peter 2:13 -14 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Well, submission to authority is hard for Americans! LOL and it's a lesson that's taken me about 45 years to learn myself. So ask the Lord to lead you. But when you think about an army, would a general tolerate a foot soldier questioning his orders?

BBHG & PFJ - No he wouldn't.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

We are very independent, self-sufficient, hardheaded, etc in the USA. This is very hard for us to understand and follow. But as soldiers, we need to find our places in the army of God, and obey those above us. And remember if God places us in leadership, that we are to regard ourselves as servants.

BBHG & PFJ - We ALL submit to one another.

2. Loyalty and support of other soldiers is also part of the picture.

Philippians 2:25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.

Philippians 2:29-30 Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.

Epaphroditus is a wonderful example of this loyalty and spirit of teamwork. He was a "fellow soldier" with Paul and almost died in Paul's behalf. Now Paul in turn is commending him to the Philippians, and asking them to honor him, and soldiers like him for Christ. Paul was also talking about this loyalty and support in this passage:

2 Corinthians 9:2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.

Paul was commending the Corinthians for helping the needy Christians in Jerusalem, and their support and eagerness to help stirred the believers in Macedonia and Achaia to help also. Think again about an army where each soldier supports his fellow soldiers, and they work together in loyalty and harmony.

BBHG & PFJ - No division!!! Do you hear that satan!!!!!!!

Another characteristic of a soldier is:

3. Self-discipline

Proverbs 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.

Soldiers, to be effective in war, must be self-disciplined. Again in America, we are not used to self-discipline, we want self-gratification. Our whole culture is based on that. But without self-discipline, our walls of protection are broken down and we are open to the enemy.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

BBHG & PFJ - Lord, help us to be self-disciplined.

Part of being a good soldier is throwing off hindrances and entanglements. Everyone has an entangling or besetting sin, something we have to deal with severely to rid ourselves of it. It could be a problem with lust, or self-pity, depression, hatred, and bitterness - any number of things. But as good soldiers we need to discipline ourselves to crucify that thing than hinders us from whole-hearted service. And we need perseverance - to keep at it until it leaves in Jesus Name!

2 Peter 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

Now this is a long list of things that we need to "add" to our faith, and notice that self-control comes after knowledge. God's Word reveals to us what we need, and then we do it.

2 Peter 1:8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice in this verse that IF we possess these qualities in "increasing measure" - that is it is a progressive thing - then we WILL be effective and productive soldiers!

OK, we'll stop here for tonight. Next time we'll start with point #4! God bless all who came and contributed tonight!

Father God we bless your holy Name and thank you that you allow us to be soldiers in your army. Holy Spirit, train our hands and hearts for WAR and let us be productive and effective in the Spirit. AMEN

Remember we walk by faith and not by sight. We are what the Word says that we are not what we feel!

Remember, whenever God gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate on what you've learned!
And put it into practice.

 

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Original lesson 8/13/98
Revised: May 03, 2001