I remember the first time I got dressed in my football uniform at the age of eleven. I did not know where or how some of the pads went. I am sure that it was comical to behold. About eight years later, I got the opportunity to coach a Jr High football team. Several players showed up on the first day carrying most of their pads because they did not know how they went. Later when I was in college, I would question other players who were using smaller and smaller pads that pushed the rules of regulation. I never understood why you wanted to be less protected in a sport that involved collisions. In Ephesians 6, Paul finishes his letter with an encouragement to put on the full Armor of God. Like the Jr High guys I coach and myself putting on the pads for the first time, many Christians are not aware of how to put on the Armor of God. Still other Christians are trying to see how much do they really have to put on and still be comfortable. Paul did not give the instructions to put on the full Armor of God to be comfortable, but to be strengthened to stand against the forces of evil. Comfortability is not on Paul’s mind at all because in a battle, protection is key.
Paul instructs us to “pray at all times” and especially pray on the Armor of God. We pray on the Belt of Truth to remind us that Jesus is the Truth, and that all truth is God’s truth. We pray on the Breastplate of Righteous to remind us that we have been made righteous by the bloodshed of Jesus Christ on the cross, so act like it. We pray on the shoes for the readiness to speak the Gospel of peace. We should always be prepared to speak about the Gospel that brings the peace of God and peace with God. We pray on the Shield of Faith to remind us that our faith is a shield. This is not a small shield that is easy to transport, but a God-sized shield that protects us all around because the evil one is always throwing flaming darts at us. We pray for the ability to wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. This is the only offensive weapon that is part of the Armor of God. The word “word” used here is not logos, which usually means the Bible or a reference to Jesus, but rhema, which means spoken word. So, we must be able to speak God’s Word. This requires us to ingest His Word well enough to be able to speak His words through us. For the Word of God to be a weapon for us we need to be able speak His Word in all situations. We can just take each of these armor pieces and just throw them on, but it will be like me not being able to put the equipment on correctly for the best protection.
Right after the Armor of God, we are told to “pray at all times” this is reminder to us that our real power always comes through praying. As Christians, we cannot fake praying to God, so we need to strive to make prayer a key part of our daily lives. This whole passage reminds us that we are in a spiritual battle, and we better be prepared. We can on get prepared by strengthening ourselves in Christ, putting on the Armor of God and standing in that protection and strength. All that preparation is grounded and founded in prayer. Prayer is the key, and we must pray like our lives depend on it…because they do!