Praying the protection of the Armor of God that Paul describes in Ephesians is a powerful daily way to ask for God’s help. It is often used in what is known as spiritual warfare, or taking a prayer stand against evil in whatever form it might attacking us. Here are some suggestions on how to use this scripture in prayer whether you are facing difficult situations or are starting a normal day not knowing how you might be vulnerable to attack.
How to pray the armor of God to do this prayer practice
I personally silently pray the armor of God for myself at a certain time every morning. Here are some of my tips:
This passage was written by Paul who was an early Christian evangelist who faced an incredible array of dangerous situations because of his work. Many times angry mobs rioted and tried to kill him. Religious leaders sent assassins to kill him. He was shipwrecked. He was bitten by a poisonous snake. He was put into prison. He was beaten and whipped. People slandered him and rejected him. When Paul wrote about the armor of God, he was in prison in Rome and his imagery was most likely influenced by the armor worn by the Roman soldiers who guarded him.
The following are the “pieces of armor” Paul lists: “the belt of truth buckled around your waist, the breastplate of righteousness in place, your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Sprit, which is the word of God.”
2. Decide on a time during your morning routine when you will mentally put on the armor of God in prayer.
Morning of course is the optimal time to pray the armor of God so you can be “armed” for whatever the day might bring. This can be prayed while doing another non-verbal daily task such as driving, dressing, etc. I do my short “armor of God” prayer while I’m at the bathroom sink brushing my hair and getting ready for the day. One advantage of doing it at the bathroom sink is that you are looking into a mirror and it makes it easier to visual the different pieces of armor being put in place on your body.
3. Memorize an order for the armor of God that works for you.
Some people memorize the whole passage of scripture to do this prayer. I decided to simply memorize the individual pieces of armor. I don’t do them in the order they are mentioned in the Scriptures. Instead I work with them from head to toe, then pray the two pieces held in the hands. I start with the helmet, then do the breastplate, next the belt, then the shoes. I end with the hand-held armor/weapons which are the sword and the shield. One resource I read said that the Roman shields were huge ones big enough to hide behind when needed. Soldiers could circle with their shields overlapping each other to form a makeshift fortress.
4. Start off by standing firm.
After Paul goes into a very graphic description of how we’re up against unseen spiritual forces and powers, schemes and forces of evil in the heavenly realms, Paul tells us to do one powerful act of defiance: stand. He says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…” (Ephesians 6:13,14 NIV)
I usually start with some version of this idea in my own words, such as, “Lord, give me the power today to stand my ground.” When I’m doing this prayer, I’m usually not thinking about any specific problem or fear or personal attack I’m standing against. But if you know something that’s looming ahead of you where you’re going to have to take a forceful stand, you can use this prayer time to pray about the specifics. Both ways – both a general approach to standing and a specific one – are a very valid way to do this type of praying.
5. Mention each piece of armor in prayer.
Next I pray each piece of armor in the order I have memorized them. I don’t do long prayers, but often add a word or two to each that applies to my spiritual situation. You can add your own thoughts, needs and Scriptures you want to claim to make this your own personal power prayer. Here are some of the short thoughts and the Scriptures behind them that I often add to each piece of armor:
Helmet of salvation: Keep my mind free from worry and from being controlled by my own plans. Instead, I ask for the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:16 “But we have the mind of Christ.” NIV)
Breastplate of Righteousness: Thank you that Jesus died for me that I can be righteous in Your sight. Please give me a heart of love like Christ’s. (Romans 3:22 “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” NIV)
Belt of Truth: Please help me see the truth about myself and the situations around me through the mirror of your Scriptures. (John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” NIV)
Feet fitted with the readiness to spread the gospel of peace. Help me to be aware of the nudges of the Holy Spirit today everywhere I go and help me to act on these nudges. (Luke 12:11,12 “Whey you are brought before synagogues, rules and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” NIV)
Shield of Faith: Help me to trust You and believe that you are always with me. (Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he wards those who earnestly seek him.” NIV)
Sword of the Spirit: Come Holy Spirit and empower me today. (Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” NIV)
6. Make it a short, easy to remember prayer.
My armor of God morning prayer lasts about three minutes. The key for me is repeatedly “arming” myself mentally and spiritually every day instead of doing it more intensely for a longer period of time less often. Saying even a very short version of an armor of God prayer reminds me of my daily need to be alert to spiritual battles that might unexpectedly come up during the day. It also keeps me focused on the key graces I need every day, which include offering my mind and thought life to Christ, asking for a heart fuller of God’s love, being more sensitive to the small directions of the Holy Spirit and applying faith and Scripture consistently in my life.
Sometimes if I am rushed, I pray my “top two” pieces of armor. For me, number one is the helmet of salvation so I’ll have the mind of Christ and not do everything based on my human thought process. The second piece I always want to remember to pray is the breastplate of righteousness, which means giving me a heart of love for God and for others.
7. Remember that it’s God’s armor and God’s power, not ours.
Since we are asking for spiritual graces and protection, we do so in the knowledge that we cannot provide this for ourselves. We simply ask for and believe we have received God’s protection in the key areas of our vulnerabilities. Many Bible scholars have pointed out that the armor is almost exclusively defensive, not offensive. The only exception is the sword of the spirit, which by its very name is active by the spirit’s power, not our own. Too often when we face oppressive powers, we think we need to go on the attack in order to conquer. It is very wise to allow the Spirit to wage the battle and for us to not jump ahead.
8. Pray the armor of God for others.
Once you have a short memorized outline of the armor of God to pray for yourself, you can use it when you are praying for others. It’s especially effective when you are able to hold hands or lay hands on someone in person and pray God’s protection on them when they are facing personal challenges or embarking on mission work.
Copyright Karen Barber 2012. All rights reserved.