John Wesley on Prayer Lesson 47

*Guarding with Prayer

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may able to stand.

Ephesians 6:11 NKJV

Guard against wicked spirits who continually strive to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry, malice, envy, anger, hatred in heavenly places, which were once their dwelling place and which they still aspire to as far as they are permitted. And so we need the whole armor of God.

In the evil day (v. 13)—the war is perpetual, but the fight is one day less, another more, violent. The evil day is either at the approach of death, or in life. It may be longer or shorter, and admits of numberless varieties.

That you may still keep your armor on and still stand upon your guard, you must still watch and pray. Thus, you will be enabled to endure unto the end and stand with joy before the face of the Son of Man at “the last day.”

So that you may be ready for every motion, have your loins girt around with truth, not only with the truths of the gospel, but with “truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6 NKJV). So our Lord is described (Isaiah 11:5). Without inward truth, all our knowledge of divine truth will prove but a poor “girdle” in the evil day. And as a girded man or woman is always ready to go forward, so this seems to indicate an obedient heart and a ready will, the inseparable companions of faith and love.

*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

In this forty-seventh lesson on prayer, Wesley reminds us that we are in a battle, and that the victory comes only as we watch and pray. But what are we watching for and how are we praying? Let us read Ephesians 6:10-18 to gain the context that Wesley draws from for this lesson.

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, (NASB).

So, what are we watching for? The schemes of the devil, the rulers, the powers, the world forces of this darkness, the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places, and the flaming arrows of the evil one. We are to be aware of the ways the enemy of our soul is moving at all times. Satan is sneaky (crafty, cunning—see Genesis 3:1), and we must “with all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints (v. 18).  

And how are we praying? That we would know how to put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (v. 11). We dress in the armor, we pick it up and put it on, through prayer. If we fail to dress in the full armor of God, the enemy will zero in on where we are most vulnerable to raise havoc with us. We must be girded with truth, have a breastplate of righteousness, and our feet shod with the gospel of peace. The shield of faith must be raised before us, and our helmet of salvation must fit tightly. The sword of the Spirit we carry must be sharp and we must know how to wield it effectively.

However, we must realize that the armor must be in us, and not just on us. Thus, Wesley ends with, “Without inward truth, all our knowledge of divine truth will prove but a poor “girdle” in the evil day. And as a girded man or woman is always ready to go forward, so this seems to indicate an obedient heart and a ready will, the inseparable companions of faith and love.”

Published by doctorpaddy

An ordained minister, Christian communicator, and educator.

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