We all struggle with something in our spiritual lives. Some struggle with consistently getting in to God’s word. Some struggle with understanding of God’s word. Some struggle with the doctrine proclaimed in the Gospel. I personally struggle with prayer. How to do it, when to do it, why we do it, what to ask for, what to thank for, how often. But, our journeys are all different. We all gain wisdom and understanding at a different pace according to God’s will in our life. Plus, it is all laid out in God’s word! No matter how many times we may have read certain scripture in the past, we won’t be granted the understanding of it until it is time for us to do so. All of that being said, let me talk a little about some of my struggles with prayer and the understanding I have been granted at this point in my life.
One of the biggest things I struggle with is what to bring to God. Some of you may be thinking, “It is simple. Bring everything to God.” I know that already, but in my finite mind I still struggled with whether certain things were big enough to bring to God. It has always been easy for me to bring “the big things” to God. But “the small things” I always felt were not worth God’s time and effort. My first mistake there was thinking that God had to use effort at all to do or not do something in my life. My second was assuming God has the same concept of time that I have. I have to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing to big or too small for God. Prayer is the way we communicate with God and how we can get to know HIM better. What better way to bring what I consider to be the smallest of things to HIM. At a minimum, I will be praying a lot more often because there are small things every moment of every day. That doesn’t mean that a solution will present itself immediately or even in a year, but it will present itself because God’s time is not my time. God’s concept of time is far beyond my understanding. There is a reason why HE provides a solution immediately or even a decade from now.
I have been reading in the book of Acts lately but today I was searching for scriptures on prayer. After all, that is my current struggle. I was guided to Ephesians 6:18. When I study any scripture I always at least read an entire chapter, if not more, to make sure I have a better understanding and can unpack what God is saying properly. I started at the beginning of chapter 6. I began to be enlightened starting in verse 10. Here is Ephesians 6:10-20:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 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, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Most of us are familiar with this passage, but again I remind you that we don’t always grasp it all after one reading. Most of us probably walk away with a new understanding each time we read it. Today was no different for me. I have come to realize that the weapons that God gives us are spiritual because they are rooted in prayer. Prayer is our most powerful resource and I used it sparingly and put limits on it. By doing that I have not been able to wear that full armor of God. It is through prayer that we are able to wear each and every piece of the armor needed in this life.
One of the things I also struggled with was how often I prayed. But look at what verse 18 says:
18 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,
Four times Paul uses the word ALL! I need to pray at ALL times! Prayer in the spirit is worship. The Spirit enables that worship. That is a powerful thing to know. It is awe inspiring to know that the Spirit is interceding on our behalf when we pray. That we are able to have a direct line to God to get to know HIM better and for HIM to work in our lives.
So, no matter what your struggles are today, have joy in the fact that the truth and wisdom and understanding will be granted to you as you continue to wear the armor of God. Pray so you are able to wear that armor. Use the only offensive weapon in your arsenal, God’s Word! There is no better weapon! I doubt you question that but just in case:
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
There is one prayer I have for us all today:
Heavenly Father, I pray that I am able to pray. Amen!