We now come to the final item that is needed in the Christian battle, an item that is the equivalent of the soldier’s battle cry, which Paul says is prayer. Concerning this item Paul first describes prayer before mentioning an important aspect of it, which is intercession for others.
Not all commentators agree that prayer is part of the armour. Yet verses 14-20 are one sentence, suggesting there is a connection between the pieces of armour and the prayer. Further, the previous piece of armour is called the sword of the Spirit, which also indicates a connection because prayer is in the Spirit.
As we recall what Paul has said about spiritual conflict, we remember that he told the Christians to fight the battle in the Lord’s power, and then detailed the various pieces of armour. The list of what the Lord has provided is both encouraging and daunting: encouraging because each piece is an effective one against the devil’s onslaughts; daunting because we need supernatural strength to wear each piece. This is where prayer comes in because it is the means by which we ensure that we can utilise each piece of armour. What does it involve?
First, since the battle is ongoing, we need to pray without ceasing; even if we are for the moment not being attacked, some of our fellow soldiers are being attacked and we should pray for them.
Second, since the enemy can attack any part of our spirituality, we must pray over each piece of armour very frequently. Our minds should consider the state of our affections, the stability of our location, the extent of our vision regarding future salvation, our ability to hold up the shield of faith, and our skill with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
Third, we have noticed, as we considered the various pieces of armour, that there is a close connection between the prophetic descriptions of the Messiah’s armour (Isa. 59) and his people’s armour. As we look at the Saviour’s life recorded in the Gospels, we note his constant recourse to prayer. If the sinless Saviour, who was indwelt in great measure by the Spirit of God, had to pray, how much more we who are sinful?