Prayer Knights in Full Armor:

 By Monk Preston                                                   (Co-Founder & President, The Prayer Foundation )

      

Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (white Celtic cross on a green shield).

              

 

 

Photo: of a lit candle.

On Spiritual Warfare

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."Photo: Monk Preston & Monk-Dog Wolfgang: Pacific Coast.  Copyright 2003 S.G.P.  All Rights Reserved. Monk Preston & Monk-Dog Wolfgang hike mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean. __________________________________________ 

All Christians are "Prayer Knights": Warriors Called to Do Battle in the Spiritual Warfare of Our Age

The Monks in our Monastic Order are called the Knights of Prayer , but all Christians are "Prayer Knights"; warriors called to do battle in the spiritual warfare of our age; against the principalities and powers of the Enemy.  We are soldiers in a war that will not end until the return of our Commander-in-Chief at the head of His Army.  Our Lord Jesus Christ will return with a triumphant victory that will at last remove every last vestige of evil from the face of the Earth, and "...wipe away all tears..." (Rev. 7:17; 21:4) in perfect righteousness and perfect justice.

Military language is often used in Holy Scripture regarding this "spiritual battle" that we are now in.  The Apostle Paul refers to other Christians as "fellow soldiers":

"Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants." (Philippians 2:25)

"...we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.  Enemy-occupied territory---that is what this world is."  -C. S. Lewis 

We may not like it.  We may not want to be soldiers in a war, but it is a fact that will not change, and we need to come to grips with it.  As C. S. Lewis (an avowed atheist who was led to Christ by J.R.R. Tolkien: see Finding God in The Lord of the Rings) says in his classic Christian work, Mere Christianity:

 "One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe---a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death, and disease, and sin.  The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong.  Christianity does not think this is a war between independent powers.  It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.  Enemy-occupied territory---that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage."

Our Biggest Mistake Is In Thinking That We, Who Are Called to Be Soldiers in a Time of War, Can Still Live As Though We Were Civilians In a Time of Peace

Christians are an invasion force that has landed a beachhead behind the lines in Enemy territory: this Enemy-held planet that we call Earth.  Our biggest mistake is in thinking that we, who are called to be soldiers in a time of war, can still live as though we were civilians in a time of peace.

"You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier." (II Timothy 2:3,4)

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7)

Put On The Whole Armor of God

Our marching orders in this situation come directly from God's Word: Ephesians 6:10-18, the passage of scripture that commands us to "Put on the whole armor of God ..."

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." (Ephesians 6:10)

We have no power in our own strength: all power to live the Christian life resides solely in Christ.  It is to Jesus Christ that we must continually go, and in Him that we must abide and rest.  In doing so we will find God's Will and plan for our life, and our true joy.

Nehemiah and the children of Israel had returned from Babylon, and were re-building the wall around Jerusalem.  Attacks of the Enemy made it necessary to work with only one hand.  The other held a sword at all times.

"Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be you sorry,  for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)

"Joy is the flag that is flown in the heart, when the Master is in residence." (Motto posted in a Baptist Pastor's office in Salem, Oregon).

"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  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.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:10-13)

And what is this knightly soldier's armor that we are commanded by God to wear into battle?

The Belt of Truth

"Stand, therefore, having your waist girded about with truth,..." 

This speaks of the belt of truth that holds our Knightly Sword of the Spirit, "The Word of God."  For the modern soldier it is his cartridge belt, containing essential rounds of ammunition for his semi-automatic rifle.

There are three aspects to our "belt of truth":

Pilate stood face to face with the living Christ and asked Him, "What is Truth?"

Truth was standing right in front of him, but Pilate was spiritually blind.  In Jesus' own words: 

"I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me." (John 14:6)  

So first of all, for this spiritual battle, we must have Jesus Himself.  Receiving Christ Himself as our Lord and Savior is our personal "Belt of Truth" that we must have encircling us at all times.  We must "abide in Christ."

"Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing." (John 15:4,5)

"He that says he abides in him, ought also himself to walk, even as he walked." (John 2:6)

The other "spiritual armor and spiritual weapons" are just as important:

The Breastplate of Righteousness

"...and having on the breastplate of righteousness:"

The Gospel Boots

The Shield of Faith

The Helmet of Salvation

The Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God)

Praying Always (with all supplication in the Spirit)

Excerpted from A Letter of Monk Preston's:

"Watchfulness"

                                                                                                                    
I like to teach the Bible using the Bible.  I also like to let the Bible define itself by its own verses.  It often does so in "parallelisms", in two adjoining phrases saying the same thing in two different ways for the sake of greater clarity.
 
"Watchfulness" and "being watchful" covers examining ourselves in all aspects of our Christian walk (sanctification), and is taught as involving our prayer life, including spiritual warfare.  The word translated "vigilant" below (KJV) is translated "watchful" in many modern translations:
 
 Spiritual Warfare (Christians are called to be "watchmen", that is, guards, sentinels, soldiers, knights):
 
I Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
 
I Thessalonians 5:5,6 - Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
 
II Timothy 2:3,4 - Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
 
Sanctification (living holy in Christ):
 
Rev. 16:15 - Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
 
Matthew 25:13 - Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
 
Luke 12:37 - Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
 
Prayer:
 
Ephesians 6:18 - Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
 
Colossians 4:2 - Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
 
Matthew 26:41 - Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
 
"Watchfulness" is also "care":
 
I Corinthians 12:25 - That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

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Copyright 2003 S.G.P. All rights reserved.