Our marriages need protecting. And God has provided us with His full armor to keep us safe and make us strong. This Couples’ Bible Study series looks at each piece of armor as seen in Ephesians 6:10-20 and how it helps us to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” and “stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
We’ve studied the six specific pieces of armor–the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of God’s peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. This lesson will finish our study with the most powerful element of God’s armor that encompasses it all..
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:18
This last lesson on protecting your marriage with the armor of God looks at the final piece of armor mentioned by Paul—prayer. He writes in Ephesians 6:18: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” We don’t always think of prayer as armor or a weapon. But it is both.
Often when we or someone we love is in a difficult situation, we say something like: “Well all I can do is pray.” A seminary professor of mine once said: “Saying that would be like a general saying in battle, ‘All I have to fight with is a nuclear bomb.’”
Paul knew the power of prayer. That’s why he concluded this section of his letter by calling on us to pray, and by asking for prayer for himself (Ephesians 6:19-20). Paul may not have assigned a specific piece of a Roman soldier’s gear to prayer, but he knew it was a vital part of what believers need in our war with Satan.
Prayer must encompass everything. In war, prayer is a bit like the force shield used in the Star Trek television series and movies. When an enemy attacked a starship, space station, or even a planet, the captain or other leader would call for protection from the onslaught by putting up this shield.
Of course, Star Trek and its shields are fiction, and they were limited in the amount of time they were effective and in their power. God is not limited in any way. There are no limits to the help, guidance, and power He brings to us and to our marriages through prayer.
Prayer is essential to our lives and to our marriages. Prayer is the power that enables us to put on the armor of God and to fight with the sword He provides for us. Prayer is the force that protects us and our marriages, and gives us the strength to fend off Satan when he attacks us.
Paul believed prayer was so important that he wrote about it often. He wrote to the Christians in Philippi in Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” He wrote to the Christians at Colossae, in Colossians 4:2: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Four Essentials of Prayer
In Ephesians 6:18, Paul lists some key elements that should be part of every believer’s prayer life.
In the Spirit
First, he writes that we should pray “in the Spirit.” As believers, we have the Holy Spirit–God Himself–living in us. In John 16:13, Jesus promised that the Spirit would guide us: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
So when we are praying, we can know the Holy Spirit will direct us in how to pray. When we pray what God teaches in His Word, we can be sure it is the Holy Spirit leading us, because His Word is truth (John 17:17). When we are praying together as husband and wife, we can be certain we are praying His will because of another promise from His Word. Jesus says in Matthew 18:19-20: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” The Holy Spirit will lead us together to pray and do His will.
On All Occasions
Second, Paul writes in Ephesians 6:18 that we should pray “on all occasions.” This means that we should be praying about whatever is going on in our lives. Paul says a similar thing in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” When God says we pray “on all occasions” and “continually,” he doesn’t mean we should be on our knees somewhere praying every minute of our lives. But He does mean we need to be praying about everything in our lives.
We have a tendency to think we only need to pray about the “big” or “important” things. It is probably one of our biggest mistakes in our Christian walk and in our marriages to think that we only need to pray when there is some major crisis. Satan will attack us when we least expect it– in the everyday aspects of life. It is when we least expect it that we are most vulnerable. Pray for the big things, but pray always for God’s help and protection for yourselves and your spouse. That’s one of the reasons we encourage you to use our Couple Connect resource to study God’s Word and pray with each other.
With All Kinds of Prayers and Requests
Third, Paul calls us to pray all types of “prayers and requests”–some translations say “prayers and supplications” or “prayers and petitions.” The word for “prayers” means any type of prayer. But Paul adds “requests,” which means praying for specific things, especially for the needs of others. Again, we should be doing this individually and as a couple–for ourselves, for each other, for our marriage, and for others.
This is what Paul means as he writes at the end of Ephesians 6:18: “always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” He also adds that they pray requests, supplications, or petitions for himself. He states in Ephesians 6:19-20: “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
Finally, Paul exhorts us with this simple but important phrase: “be alert.” It is a word that literally means to stay awake. It means to never be off our guard, to be persistent, to persevere, to not give up. It is much like Paul writes in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Praying is doing God’s good work.
It is like what Jesus tried to teach His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He prayed in the last hours before His crucifixion. He prayed, but they were tired and fell asleep. He woke them, and said to them in Matthew 26:40-41: “‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’”
Every day we must prayerfully put on each piece of armor and stand ready for whatever Satan throws at us and our marriages. We will face spiritual battles daily, and on some days it can be intense. Satan is out to destroy us and our marriages. None of us can face today’s spiritual battles without the protection of God’s armor.
Ask God daily to prepare you, dressing you in His full armor, so that you may live victoriously, and have a victorious marriage. Most importantly so that He may use your marriage for His glory.
Questions for Discussion
- Reread the teaching together, including the Scripture, and discuss how it applies to your marriage right now.
- Go back over and review the topics in this study. How have you been doing at putting them into practice in your lives and in your marriage?
- Is prayer a regular part of your life and your marriage? If not, begin praying together today. It can be short and simple. But it will be powerful. You can begin by asking God to help you through the Holy Spirit as you pray.
This concludes our Bible study of protecting our marriages with the armor of God. Next week we begin a new teaching topic. I hope you will join us on this journey to have ever more God-honoring marriages.
Until then, may God bless you and your marriage in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the PROTECTING YOUR MARRIAGE WITH THE ARMOR OF GOD series:
Part 1–We’re in a Battle
Part 2–The Belt of Truth
Part 3–The Breastplate of Righteousness
Part 4–The Shoes of God’s Peace
Part 5–The Shield of Faith
Part 6–The Helmet of Salvation
Part 7–The Sword of the Spirit
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.