Next Steps

Paul warns believers in Ephesians 6:12 that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” A few verses later he gives the Ephesian believers weapons to fight back with, especially prayer, mentioning prayer four times in Ephesians 6:18-20. So what are some warfare prayers that Christians can begin to pray? Here are seven warfare prayers from the book of Ephesians:

1. God, I thank You that You  have already blessed me with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (This establishes a foundation of praise for your prayers and reminds you that when you do battle, you’re battling out of the overflow, not the deficit, of what God has already done in your life.)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3


2. God, open my eyes to see the hope, the riches and the power You have already lavished on me. (It’s not enough just to thank God for His blessings, you need to see them. Ask God to open your eyes to see just how blessed and strong you already are in Christ. This will begin to take defeat away even before you start asking for victory).

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19


3. God, change the way I think about my world and help me win the battle for my mind. (When we see things differently, we begin to think differently, and this renewal of the mind transforms us from the inside out).

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24


4. God, help me to live a life worthy of the calling You have put on my life. (When we change the way we think, we change the way we live, and we begin to live out of the overflow of what God has done for us).

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3


5. God, guard my tongue and allow me to only speak what is helpful and beneficial to others. (Paul highlights the importance of our words by saying that our negative words grieve the Spirit of God within us).

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:29-30


6. God, help me submit to others out of reverence for Christ. (Paul gives a lengthy list of actions that should change when we follow Christ, but if you wanted to sum them all up, learn to submit to others and live a life of humility).

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21


7. God, fill me with Your Spirit today that I may live in power. (It takes the filling of God’s Spirit within you to be able to fight these spiritual battles victoriously. Ask for God to fill you with His Spirit everyday).

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:19

Recently I preached a sermon where I mentioned the need to forgive, and afterwards one of my church members came up and asked a great question: “How do you learn to forgive someone?” Here was my answer to this person, hopefully it will help you as well:

As hokey as it might sound, forgiveness starts with a choice. The emotions of unforgiveness, all the hurt, etc. is so strong that for most, those emotions override everything. Most people don’t forgive until they feel like forgiving.

Forgiving someone begins by choosing to forgive, regardless of feelings. You might not ever feel like forgiving, but you choose to forgive anyways. Your will supersedes your emotions.

For most, we don’t forgive because we still feel like the offending party still owes us something: an apology, our purity, our childhood, etc. Stripped down, forgiveness is deciding that the offending person doesn’t owe you anything anymore. They don’t owe you an apology, they don’t owe you anything.

When Jesus says forgive not seven times but seventy-seven (Matthew 18:21-22), it’s because the hurt will wash over you on a daily basis. Every time you feel the urge to hate or hold onto bitterness, you have to choose to forgive you again. They don’t owe you anything anymore. I would say something like this out loud every time the pain and urge to hold onto bitterness comes to mind, “I forgive _____. He/she doesn’t owe me anything anymore.”

Forgiveness never really gets easy, but it can get easier after time. I hope this helps!

If you woke up every morning and told yourself, “My marriage is going to fail,” what do you think will happen? Don’t be surprised if your marriage fails. If you live everyday as if you don’t expect God to show up or do anything substantive, don’t be surprised if you fail to see God move in your world at all. Part of living the abundant life Jesus died to give us is to live a life of expectation, one where we expect God to show up in our everyday world. What does that practically look like? Here are four ways to live each day with expectation:

1. Talk with God before you leave the house. If you expect God to do something in your world, doesn’t it make sense to talk to him? When you open communication with God at the start of each day, you’re acknowledging his presence and his desire to move in your world. If you want to live with expectation, start talking to God more.

2. See every interaction as an opportunity. Many of the ways God wants to move in and through you is in the context of relationships. Every time you interact with someone, whether it’s a coworker, a check out cashier or a neighbor walking his dog, ask yourself, “is this an opportunity for God to show up and do something in their life?”

3. Look past the problems and see the people. Too many times we live through each day with a checklist of things we need to accomplish. If we check off all the things on our list, our day seems successful. Living with expectation means that we look past the checklist, past the problems needing to be solved, and see the people we’re surrounded by. When you see God move, it’s going to be in the lives of those around you.

4. Live like God wants to do something today. If you expect God to do something incredible today, live like it. Walk out of your door singing, not sighing. Walk into work with a spring in your step because you’ve got a front row seat to what God wants to do today. When you expect God to move in your world, don’t be surprised when he actually does.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re under spiritual attack everyday. If you’re ignorant of that fact, that doesn’t mean the attacks go away; it just means you aren’t protecting yourself. In Ephesians 6:14-17, the Apostle Paul gives the church (then and today) six practical ways to protect yourself from spiritual attacks.

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 key to understanding this passage is not to focus on the pieces of armor but what they’re attached to. Instead of focusing on a shield, a helmet and a sword, focus on faith, salvation and the Word of God. From this passage, here are six practical ways to protect yourself from spiritual attacks:

1. Saturate yourself with truth (belt of truth). What are you putting in your head everyday? What kind of media are you consuming? What are you listening to? If you allow the world to fill your head with lies, don’t be surprised if you find yourself susceptible to spiritual attacks.

2. Live righteously (breastplate of righteousness). When we make poor decisions, fail to take care of our physical and mental health, when we put ourselves in situations where evil lurks and temptations abound, we open ourselves up to spiritual attack. If you want to protect yourself from spiritual attack, make better decisions.

3. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit (feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace). The emphasis in Paul’s phrasing here is the word “readiness.” Just as your feet have to be aware and take you in the right direction in battle, so our spirits should be sensitive to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. He’ll protect us from attacks, if we’ll listen.

4. Choose to believe (shield of faith). Faith doesn’t become faith until you have to use it. Wielding the shield of faith is choosing to actively in God’s goodness and his faithfulness when all evidence points to the contrary. When you’re bombarded with the lies of the enemy, picking up the shield of faith is choosing to believe in the promises of Scripture. This type of protection depends on your will being stronger than the emotions of the moment.

5. Surrender daily (helmet of salvation). Salvation is all about surrender, asking God to save you because you realize you can’t save yourself. That surrender, that humility, that cross that Jesus asks us to pick up daily, is a vital piece of our spiritual defense. Every day, willingly surrender to God. Give your day to him and you’ll come under his protection.

6. Wield the Word as a weapon (sword of the Spirit). The primary offensive weapon given to us is Scripture. So get in it daily. Read it, listen to it, think about it, meditate on it, memorize it. Pick up your sword and start fighting back against the enemy.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re under constant spiritual attack. But you’re not without protection. It’s just up to you to use it.