10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints… Eph. 6:10-18
Many believers believe that spiritual warfare consists only of prayer. Or, more specifically, confessing the Word and prayer. But notice, in the scripture above, that these two are just a part of the spiritual armor that we are to put on; they are not the whole.
Even more importantly, notice that prayer and the Word are mentioned last in this long list of pieces of armor. Before he mentions “the word of God” and prayer, Paul first lists more important things: the things of the inner spirit. In other words, therefore, we see that there are things we need to do before we pray or confess God’s Word. We need to sacrifice the things of the inner man before we pray. Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
“23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Mat. 5:23-24
Fasting, prayer, overnight or mountain vigils, giving of offerings, singing – all these are good and desirable before God. But Jesus said, “first be reconciled to thy brother” before you do any one of these things!
We all know that any sinner can pray. Even a drunkard can pray. But he cannot have his “loins girt about with truth”, nor can he have “the breastplate of righteousness” on him.
This is one of the most important revelations that comes with the revelation of the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ in our hearts. When we get to know the singular message that the Apostle Paul preached concerning the cross, all of a sudden we realize that we have a responsibility, a responsibility to live a life of denying self, taking up our cross and following Christ.
We cannot and we should not hide behind prayer. We should instead go out and surrender our lives. Forgiving your brother is infinitely harder, but more important, than prayer. So is repenting. But these are the things that constitute the gospel that is needed to bring unity and true love to the Body of Christ. Without this work in our hearts, we shall remain fragmented in the Spirit. and the notion of Christ’s universal church will remain only in some church’s name plate.
The gospel always takes us back to square one. The true gospel of Jesus Christ takes us to follow Christ in His sufferings and death.