TODAY'S SPECIAL: Ephesians 6:10-24
TO CHEW ON: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
"Heavenly places"—the phrase brings to mind heaven, paradise, a place beyond the petty conflicts of earth. But according to Paul, conflict abounds there too—conflict of the most intense variety.
Paul talks about "heavenly places" several times in Ephesians (as pointed out by Jack Hayford, the writer of my Bible's notes on Ephesians):
- The spiritual blessings available to the church through Christ are located in heavenly places - Ephesians 1:3.
- Christ's post-resurrection power and authority issues from heavenly places - Ephesians 1:19-22.
- After we have accepted God's good news and have come alive in Christ, we are spiritually seated with Christ in heavenly places - Ephesians 2:4-6.
- The church's destiny is to make known the will of God to the principalities and power in heavenly places - Ephesians 3:10.
Hayford concludes: "On these grounds this passage announces the church's corporate assignment to prayer warfare in order that evil can be driven back and the will of God advanced" - notes on Ephesians, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1654.
I like that: prayer warfare. But what exactly does it mean?
Daniel Henderson in his book Transforming Prayer dispels some of the mystique around prayer that does spiritual warfare:
"Many who write about spiritual warfare seem to think that we must be astute in a variety of extra-biblical tactics and special insights about the names and addresses of demons. Some people promote grandiose sketches of the evil hierarchy and fascinating geographical exposes of their organizational battle plan....
I may be naive compared to the warfare experts but I have discovered that a life of passionate worship—one that delights in biblical truth about God's character, seeks the empowerment of the Spirit for application and articulation, then surrenders in every way as prompted by this intimate encounter, is equipped to 'fight the good fight' every day. Jesus, on the heels of forty days of prayer and fasting, wielded the truth of God's Word in facing down the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:4-11). We, too, are equipped by His sufficiency to brandish the 'sword of the Spirit,' which is the spoken word of God - Ephesians 6:17" - Daniel Henderson, Transforming Prayer, pp. 143, 144 (emphasis added).
PRAYER: Dear God, thank you that You have won the battle over evil. Help me to face the onslaughts of the devil and his demonic cohorts with the truth of Your word in my mind, and praise and worship for that victory on my tongue. Amen.
MORE: Prayer: a wartime walkie-talkie
"The number one reason why prayer malfunctions in the hands of believers is that they try to turn a wartime walkie-talkie into a domestic intercom. Until you believe that life is war, you cannot know what prayer is for. Prayer is for the accomplishment of a wartime mission" - John Piper, (quoted in Transforming Prayer, p. 143) from the sermon "Prayer: the Work of Missions."
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.