Wield the Word

Pete Greig

This week, as we conclude our How to Pray series, we are considering different aspects of Spiritual Warfare.

P.R.A.Y – Pause,  Reflect, Ask, Yield

Pause

As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to re-centre my scattered senses upon the presence of God.

Pause and pray

Prayer of Approach
And so, as I become aware of Your presence in this place and time, open my eyes to perceive You, realign my mind to believe You, and reawaken my heart to receive You, now and throughout the day to come.

Rejoice and Reflect

I choose to rejoice in the assurance of God’s promises and purposes for my life today, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 138:

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed by all the honour of your name.

As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.
Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.

The Lord will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Psalm 138:1-3,7-8

Pause and pray

Today I return to Paul’s picture of spiritual armour in Ephesians 6, imagining each item worn by a burly Roman soldier charged with guarding Paul as he writes these famous words…

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:14 – 17

‘The only piece of military hardware with which we can mount an attack is the word of God. No spears. No flaming arrows. No battering rams. Just the Bible. Which is precisely how we see Jesus fighting the Enemy in the wilderness. He counters every temptation thrown at him with an opposing verse from the Bible because, as the writer of Hebrews says, “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword.” The sword that Paul is describing here is the gladius, from which we get our word gladiator. It was a short blade, between 45 and 68 centimetres long, used by Roman legionaries for close military combat. We are to wield the word of God dexterously and forcefully, says Paul, in hand-to-hand combat with the Enemy of our souls.’*

Ask

Recalling one of the Bible verses that is particularly meaningful to me, I take a little time to ‘wield it’ like a sword in prayer, applying it specifically and forcefully to the challenges of my present situation.

Pause and pray

1 in 5 people today are still awaiting a Bible in their own heart-language (according to Wycliffe Bible Translators). I take time now to pray for those sowing their lives into bible translation so that the gospel can be preached to every tongue and tribe and nation. Let Your Word run swiftly, Lord, across the earth and be glorified, in the name of Jesus (Psalm 147:15).

Pause and pray

Yield

As I return to the passage, I open my ears to hear Your Word, and my heart to yield to Your will once again.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:14 – 17

I once worked in a particularly challenging situation. It actually felt spiritually dark. Every day on my way into work I would carefully put on the armour of Christ and it made a profound difference. Imagining myself putting on the helmet of salvation, I would ask God to guard my mind and thinking. Donning the breastplate I would pray protection upon my heart and relationships. Buckling truth around my waist I would seek integrity in my sexuality. Picking up the shield of faith I would ask the Lord to cover me from targeted attacks and temptations. Slipping on the shoes of the gospel, I would ask for specific opportunities to share my faith. And picking up the Sword of the Spirit, I would weaponise a promise from the Bible by memorising it for the day.

Pause and pray

Prayer of Yielding
A Prayer of St Patrick

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Closing Prayer
Father, help me to live this day to the full,
 being true to You, in every way.
Jesus, help me to give myself away to others,
 being kind to everyone I meet.
Spirit, help me to love the lost,
 proclaiming Christ in all I do and say.
Amen.

*Pete Greig, How to Pray p186

Discover further resources for the How to Pray series here.