Use the Sword 101
This week we will start with one of the most powerful weapons, Prayer.
But then it's not a weapon as mentioned in Ephesians 6:13-17.
Eph 6:13-17 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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
You could think of prayer as calling on your teacher or instructor for instruction and help. Also prayer is requesting God to cloth you with His armor.
But then that's what prayer is about anyway. Not conforming God to our will, but rather us conforming to God's will.
Our prayers each day should be us seeking the Lord and His instruction for us for the day.
This was something the Lord wanted to teach the children of Israel when He led them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
Num 2:1-2 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: 2 "Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard, beside the emblems of his father's house; they shall camp some distance from the tabernacle of meeting.
If you read on in Numbers chapter 2, you will read that the 12 tribes of Israel were set up around the tabernacle and the way the tribes were set up around the tabernacle represented a cross.
Also something very important is that the children of Israel were instructed to set their tent door facing the tabernacle.
Ex 33:10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.
This was important for both the children of Israel as well as us. It was a reminder to the children of Israel each day when they stood at their door that the Lord had delivered them. It would also remind them to give thanks to the Lord each day and also instruction on if, when and were they were to go that day.
Num 9:15-19 15 Now on the day that the tabernacle was raised up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the Testimony; from evening until morning it was above the tabernacle like the appearance of fire. 16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents. 18 At the command of the LORD the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped. 19 Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not journey.
"That's all fine, but what does this have to do with prayer?"
It has a lot to do with prayer because the Lord is also showing us that He desires for us to spend each day with Him, first thing before you even leave your house, start your day or get to work.
We should be awakening with joy in our hearts thanking the Lord each day for saving us through His Son Jesus Christ!
"Great, but I still don't get it?"
Have you ever gotten to work or come home and have your boss or spouse or family member come to you and say, "I need you to do this now. And by the way good morning."
Isn't this the way we treat God sometimes? We are so into our everyday things that we forget about God until we need Him, and then we really lay it on heavy with the prayer. We use "thine" and "thou" King James English when we talk to God thinking that's the way God talks or how He will hear us.
But God is telling us, No I speak all languages and you don't. So stop trying to speak to Me in a language you never normally speak.
What if you came home to your family and started trying to talk to them in Chinese, even though you didn't know how to speak Chinese? Sure, you may try to impress them and then you would sound ridiculous.
That's what we do when we pray to God in King James English or any other way.
Once again God just wants to be a part of your morning, afternoon and night, and the only way you can allow God to be a part of your life is talking to Him in prayer, first thing in the morning, at the end of the night and any time in between.
"OK, Prayer is important, but what does it have to do with this study?"
John 14:26 (NLT) But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative--and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit--he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you.
1 John 2:27 (NLT) But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you all things, and what he teaches is true--it is not a lie. So continue in what he has taught you, and continue to live in Christ.
We are guided and instructed by the Holy Spirit, when we pray; as I said earlier that we are not conforming God to our will, but God conforming us to His will, then in our prayer time we are also seeking instruction from God through the Holy Spirit.
Think of it this way; remember last week we used the movie scenario? Also in the movies there is always someone who instructed the warrior on how to use his sword.
One good example is the movie Brave Heart. Remember when Mel Gibson's father died in the movie and his uncle came to take him and teach him?
When this was happening, young William Wallace (Mel Gibson) was staring at his uncle's sword, and his uncle's response was, "First learn to use this" (pointing to his head) "Then I will teach you how to use that" (Pointing to the sword).
When you heard about these teachings and the thought of using the sword (the word of God) you may have gotten excited and wanting to learn in one or two teachings and then go out into battle.
But with all teachings it takes a while to master anything, including God's word and using it effectively.
If you read throughout the bible, like with Joseph (who we just studied in Genesis) or King David, or the apostles or anyone else in the bible, there is always a time of growing and learning. Young King David did not rush into battle his very first time, but God had to teach him, even before he fought Goliath.
1 Sam 17:33-37 33 And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." 34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 "Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God." 37 Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"
So before David could defeat Goliath he had to start smaller (so to speak) with a lion and a bear. But also notice David's response, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
Through David's training he acknowledged the Lord winning the battle for him. He was just an instrument used by the Lord.
Young David was just a shepherd and if you read through the Psalms you will notice that even through those times of being a Shepard boy, he spent much time with the Lord in prayer. Not only talking to God but also praising Him!
When we spend time in prayer seeking the Lord. The more we pray the more we realize that the Lord is working through us, rather then us doing the work itself.
Last week we also learned that in studying the bible, you can study a book of the bible or a particular subject. I would encourage you to do a personal study on the prayers of different people in the bible. Study what they say, in what order it is said and the results of their prayer.
With all of these studies they are here to help instruct you, but it's up to you to dig into God's word for more then what I teach here.
Sure, I could do these studies for you, but the only way to learn is by doing it yourself.
"Sounds like homework to me?"
Yes, you could consider it homework, or you can think of it as personally strengthening yourself in God's word with the Holy Spirit directing you on what He wants to teach and show you, not always what He teaches me.
So how do we apply prayer to today's study?
Let's look at the Lord's Prayer this week.
When you pray, the first thing you should always do is, acknowledge the Lord for who He is, and by so doing you will praise the Lord in your prayer time.
Matt 6:9-10 9 "In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
We have all heard the Lord's Prayer, but did you ever notice that as Jesus instructed us to pray, the first thing was acknowledging Who the Lord is and praising Him for He is God!
And the results of praising and worshipping God in your prayer time are.
2 Chron 20:21-22 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
"Praise the LORD,
For His mercy endures forever."
22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
We spend so much time asking from the Lord that if we stopped asking and started praising Him, I believe our prayers would be answered more often before we could even ask. You will also notice yourself asking for less, because as you praise God, you realize in your prayer time that God will supply all your needs, just as Jesus taught before the Lord's Prayer was taught by Him.
Matt 6:7-8 7 "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Also notice in the Lord's Prayer that Jesus instructs us to ask that God's will be done, not ours.
Matt 6:10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
When you pray this, you must also be prepared for the Lord's will to be done.
I say this because in our prayer time we seem to ask God for our needs, and then tell Him how to meet them. But if you pray the Lord's will to be done, then you wouldn't be instructing God on how to meet your needs, you just allow God to work it out how He knows how and how He knows best.
Next Jesus instructs us to ask what we desire.
Matt 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
The question would be what are you asking for?
Matt 21:22 "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
This verse is so missed used in teachings, because many will read this and say, "See if you ask God anything He will give it to you, whether it be riches or cars or a nice big house or whatever."
But if you read it along with James, it becomes clearer.
James 4:2-3 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
When you ask for things of God in prayer, as a Christian, you will be praying the Lord's will; and as you do, your heart will be one with His so the things you ask for are His will.
Let's look at someone who was an example of this.
1 Kings 3:7-9 7 "Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 "And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 "Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"
This was King Solomon's prayer to the Lord when the Lord asked what he wanted.
He was praying as one with the Lord, praying God's will not his own.
God's heart was to have a man lead His people in His way and not man's way and that's just what Solomon asked for, and if you will read on you will notice that God granted Solomon's request because it was from his heart and God gave him the things he could have asked for but didn't.
1 Kings 3:10-14 10 The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 "behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 "And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 14 "So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."
The next thing Jesus teaches us is to ask for forgiveness for our sins AND forgive others also.
Matt 6:12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And continues on with this teaching.
Matt 6:14-15 14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
A scary thing to think about when you ask for forgiveness, but one Jesus is teaching us to do.
The question comes up sometimes according to this verse is, "Will God not forgive me if I haven't forgiven someone else?"
You just read what God's word says, but instead of asking the question we should be obedient to God's word and if you know of someone you have not forgiven, do it now or before you pray.
"But I'm right and their wrong. Do I still have to forgive them?"
We say we want to be like Jesus, so use His example when He was dieing on the cross.
Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Jesus was an innocent man who was being crucified for something He didn't do, but still He asks God to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross and well as those who were mocking Him on the cross.
Luke 23:33 & 35-37 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."
If you have a problem forgiving someone, ask God to help you to have a forgiving heart. Tell God how you really feel about that person, He knows already anyway.
Finally Jesus ends the prayer with two things.
Matt 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
God does not lead us into temptation, but we are lead when:
James 1:13-15 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
We are tempted by our flesh.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.
Jesus instructs us to ask for the Lord to deliver us from our flesh.
If you have prayed the Lord to lead you not into temptation but to deliver you, then God may be directing you to this study. We all stumble and fall into sin. With the study on the armor, if you follow God's word you will find yourself falling less into sin and having more victory.
God equips us with everything we need to overcome sin. The question is, are you using all the Lord has given you?
These studies should help you realize what these things from the Lord are!
Finally Jesus ends the prayer just as it was started, with praising the Lord.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
One of the, if not the greatest thing to do is praise the Lord.
No matter what you are going through, you will find that when you are praising the Lord, you have a peace from the Lord that you will never find in this world.
You will also discover that even though you are a sinner and mess up a lot, that God still loves you and had forgiven you.
If you haven't been one who worships and praises God very much, I would encourage you to start today.
If you don't know how, I would encourage you to start reading the book of Psalms and see many examples of praise and worship to the Lord. You could also buy some worship tapes or CD's that include the words and just read the words to the songs until you memorize them, then sing it out to the Lord, first with the CD, then on your own from your heart. One finally way to learn about worshipping the Lord is to talk with someone on the worship team at your church. These people should have a heart of worship and any of them would be more then happy to help you out. If not, then they may not have a true heart of worship.
So this is the study on prayer for this particular study series, we also did a study on prayer in the Holy Spirit teachings. I would also encourage you to do a personal study on prayer.
Next week we still won't be getting into the armor, but we will be studying our enemy, the devil and his followers (fallen angels).
Remember to be in prayer and in God's word everyday.
May God richly bless you in Hid love, grace and mercy!