“…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” (Ephesians 6:18 (ESV)
I’ve entitled today’s blog Militant Prayer. The word prayer should not be unfamiliar. It is the biblical discipline, and privilege, of speaking to God. The believer in Christ is to pray not only for the purpose of adoring God, but also of confessing one’s sins, giving thanks and bringing requests to the Lord (Matthew 6:5-15).
However, the word militant may not be as familiar. The English word militant is both an adjective and a noun, and is generally used to mean vigorously active, combative and/or aggressive, especially in support of a cause, as in “militant reformers”. It comes from the 15th century Latin “worrior” meaning “to serve as a soldier”. The related modern concept of the militia as a defensive organization against invaders grew out of the Anglo-Saxon word. In times of crisis, the militiaman left his civilian duties and became a soldier until the emergency was over, when he returned to his civilian occupation.
The current meaning of militant does not usually refer to a registered soldier. Rather, it can be anyone who subscribes to the idea of using vigorous, sometimes extreme, activity to achieve an objective, usually political.
However, the word militant can and may be applied to vigorously active and aggressive prayer. In today’s text, the phrase keep alert (ἀγρυπνέω; agrypneo) is the present active discipline of vigilant, watchful, attentive and cautious prayer. Along with the words praying, prayer, and supplication, it is one of four words the Apostle Paul uses in today’s text to stress the importance of the believer’s prayer life while in the midst of spiritual conflict.
The Lord calls upon all believers in Christ to not only pray for themselves, but also to pray for all the saints. Prayer is one more offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal of weapons against sin and Satan.
Dr. R .C. Sproul writes, “Our ultimate reliance on Christ for success in spiritual warfare is underscored in today’s passage. The participial phrase used in Ephesians 6:18 (“praying at all times in the Spirit”) covers everything that comes before it. In so doing, it indicates that we don the armor of God — we clothe ourselves in Christ Himself — by consistent, persistent prayer. Praying at all times is nothing less than taking every opportunity to acknowledge our weakness and our need for the Lord’s mighty help against Satan. Prayerful dependence must be the consistent attitude of our hearts, both in difficult times that make us quick to run to God and when prosperous seasons tempt us to forget our need for Him. John Calvin writes, “Paul therefore desires us to allow no opportunity to pass — on no occasion to neglect prayer; so that praying always is the same thing as praying both in prosperity and in adversity.”
Let each of us resolve today to be militant in our prayer lives. Never give up being a militant prayer warrior. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!