When the messenger addressed Daniel, he instructed him to “consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up” (10:11).
In other words, Daniel needed to “listen-up.” And so do you and I. We need to pay attention, not only to God’s Word, but to this very serious aspect of prayer. We need to know who our adversary is, what his strategy is, and how we are to protect ourselves defensively while going on the offense against him.
Our Adversary Is Serious
The Bible gives us a very descriptive picture of our adversary. Peter reveals that our real enemy is the devil himself who is like a roaring lion.1
Lions roar when they are hungry, which indicates the devil is highly motivated to hunt you and me down. He is not complacent. Peter says he “prowls,” which tells us he is activated and energized as he tries to defeat us. He is not lazy. And he is “looking” because he is totally dedicated to defeating us and destroying our relationships, our witness, our ministries, our families, as well as everything about us. He is not a gentleman. He’s more like a no-holds-barred cage fighter. He doesn’t lose his focus or get distracted. His goal is to “devour” us, rendering us completely useless to God in our Christian lives and ineffective in our prayers. He’s focused. Now that’s a serious enemy!
When we pray the Daniel Prayer, the devil will work feverishly to make sure Heaven remains unmoved and nations remain under his grip. But while he is more powerful than we will ever be, we have the authority over him in Jesus’ name. Which is one reason, when I pray, I always pray in Jesus’ name. He is the One who gives me access into the presence of God and authority over my invisible enemies.2
The apostle Paul was well acquainted with spiritual warfare. His entire Christian life was comprised of one battle after another, and one victory after another. So, when he gives us clear instructions on how to fight the devil, he is speaking from firsthand experience. As Paul himself was chained between two Roman soldiers, he used the very way they were dressed for battle to describe the invisible armor we are to put on for our spiritual battle, as well as the offensive weapons we are to take up.3
Our Armor Is Serious
As we stand firm, unmovable and unshakeable in our position as children of God,
We are to put on…
The belt of truth — The first piece of equipment that a Roman soldier put on was his belt, because every other piece connected to it. Without his belt, he couldn’t get dressed. Our invisible armor consists first and foremost of the belt of truth which is God’s Word. Our entire lives, including our thoughts, actions, belief system, and worldview, are to be reoriented according to God’s Word. We are to be saturated in it because it will give us God’s perspective in every aspect of our lives. Strap your belt on. First.
The breastplate of righteousness — This was the piece of armor that covered the soldier’s heart and his vital organs. The breastplate of our invisible armor is righteousness. Right living. A clean conscience. Which means we need to make sure we are right with God and right with others. We cannot be strong in the fight if we have a deep down nagging sense of guilt. Get right now with God, and as much as possible, with that other person. Your own spiritual health and well-being depends on it.
Your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace — The soldiers’ sandals had cleats on them, so that when in battle they could get a firm footing and were less likely to slip or fall. You and I are to stand firm on the Good News that God so loves the entire world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. And His Son, Jesus, is the way, the truth, the life, and no one will come to the Father except through Him.4 But any and all who will come, may come. That’s where real peace is found. We are to be ready at a moment’s notice, not only to meet God face-to-face because we have made peace with Him, but to take the Gospel to others so that they, too, are at peace with Him. Stand firm on the Gospel!
And we are to take up…
The shield of faith — This was a piece of equipment that was as large as the soldier. And it was only effective if the soldier stayed close behind it. It was almost like a portable wall. Our invisible shield of faith is our total dependence upon God. Our trust in Him. It’s key to blunting the enemy’s attacks. Again and again, the Bible describes God as our shield, so that if we stay close to Him, we can be confident that any attack that the enemy makes on us will either be prevented from harming us, or will be blunted or softened because it has to come through our Shield first.5 Just stay close to it.
The helmet of salvation — This piece of armor covered the soldier’s head. His thoughts. Reasoning. For us, we are to be assured, with- out any doubt, that God has forgiven us and that we have received eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. We will never be victorious warriors if we go around doubting our salvation, unsure that God truly accepts us. Or if we are afraid to die because while we “hope” we are going to Heaven, we are not 100% certain of where we will spend eternity. Put your helmet on!
The sword of the Spirit — While the above pieces of armor are all defensive in nature, the sword is one of two offensive weapons named. While it’s obvious that a sword was the soldier’s weapon for war, Paul tells us clearly what the sword is when he says it “is the word of God.”6 We are to read, study, apply, and live by God’s Word, confident that His Word holds the answers to life’s questions and gives us principles to live by that work. It is the written Word of God that supernaturally reveals the Living Word of God, drawing people to the Light, to the Truth… to Jesus. We are to take every opportunity to share it with others. Pick it up! Dust it off! Read it every day. Refer to it often. Rely on it. Give it out to others. Wield your sword with the power of God’s Spirit, but always wrap it in love.
Then begin to really pray. For a soldier, this would involve his direct communication with his commander. Making sure he knew the battle plan and how he was to proceed. The same is true for you and me. We are not left to guess our way through the battle. We are given direct access to our Commander. To the Captain of the Armies of Heaven. We communicate with Him through prayer. Paul instructs us to “pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests.”7 Which means you can mix things up as you pray. Your prayers don’t have to be according to some prescribed formula. They don’t have to be offered in their entirety in one sitting or kneeling position. You can take your music into your place of prayer and begin with your favorite worship songs. Go outside for a walk and thank God for all the blessings you can name. Memorize an alphabetized list of His names and go over each one as you go to sleep. Keep a prayer journal and a prayer list. Use pictures of people, such as missionaries or world leaders, to help you stay focused as you pray for them. Be creative. “With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying…”8
Heads up! Are you praying fully armed? Alert to your adversary? Pay serious attention!
- 1 Peter 5:8.
- John 14:13, 14; 15:16; 16:23; Hebrews 10:19–22.
- Ephesians 6:10–18.
- John 3:16, 14:6.
- Some of my favorite verses from the Psalms describing God as our shield are: Psalm 3:3; 18:2, 30; 33:20; 84:11; 91:4; 115:11.
- Ephesians 6:17.
- Ephesians 6:18.
- Ephesians 6:18.
Excerpted with permission from The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz, copyright Anne Graham Lotz.
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Spiritual warfare is serious. We don’t have to be afraid! But, we do need to be prepared! Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you about putting on spiritual armor!