Ephesians 6:12, Where is the struggle, in prayer!

Ephesians 6:12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

Prayer is a privilege and powerful work that can be rightly done only by the Christian.   God is not moved by the prayers of unbelievers for they are not in Christ, not covered by His blood, and are still in their sins.   But, those who are in Christ, can move mountains, because they have the ear of God Himself.

  1. This church is under spiritual attack.
    1. All churches and all Christians are under spiritual attack,
      1. In 1963 the U.S. Supreme court declared that prayer in school was unconstitutional.
      2. Mrs. Madalyn Murray O’Hair, after hearing words of prayer radioed by the three astronauts as they circled the moon, said, "I think that they were not only ill-advised but that it was a tragic situation. … " The noted atheist said she would register a protest with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which, she declared, had prompted the three test pilots in scheduling the prayer.
      3. It is illegal to read the Bible in the public schools of Illinois, but a law requires the state to provide a Bible for every convict!
    2. God's word says that "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12).
    3. In your lives, all of you have felt the touch of the attack of the enemy.
      1. Some of you are more aware of it than others.
      2. Some of you believe strongly in the power of the enemy and are very mindful of the the forces of darkness, while others do not think much of it.
      3. Whether it be a sickness, depression, problems, or even a direct and very real attack from Satan, the devil hides himself in the troubles and the affairs of this world.
        1. 1 Pet. 5:8 says, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
    4. There are those who say they are not afraid of the devil.  That is indeed a foolish position to hold.  The devil is incredibly cunning and powerful. We are no match for him at all.
      1. Listen to a description of him from Ezekiel 28:13-17, "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you.  On the day that you were created They were prepared.  14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there.  You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.  15 "You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.  16 "By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.  And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire.  17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor."
    5. Satan is an awesomely powerful being.  You need to be aware of his power and of his character.  Isaiah 14:12-15 gives us a glimpse into his heart. "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!  You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!  13 "But you said in your heart,' I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.  14 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'  15 "Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit."
      1. At the very core of the evil one is pride.  This is why God hates pride in His people.  This is why you must not harbor pride in your heart, but in humility look to God in all things and trust Him in all things.
  2. Even though the Devil is real and powerful, you need to understand what the true spiritual situation really is.
    1. The Lord is in control:
      1. Col. 1:16, "For by Him [Jesus] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him and for Him."
    2. Jesus has all authority
      1. "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth," (Matt. 28:18).
    3. Jesus has defeated the enemy
      1. Col. 2:13-15, "And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him."
    4. You are a child of God
      1. John 1:12, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right [authority] to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,"
    5. Because you are God's child by faith, you have promises from God:
      1. He will never leave you of forsake you: Psalm 94:14, "For the Lord will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance."
      2. Psalm 37:28, "For the Lord loves justice, And does not forsake His godly ones; They are preserved forever."
      3. Heb. 13:5-6, "for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," 6so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid."
      4. We are in Jesus, therefore we are on the winning side.
    6. Jesus has given us the weapons of spiritual warfare
      1. Seven items listed in Eph. 6:10-18: Truth, righteousness, the gospel message, faith, salvation, the scriptures, and intercessory prayer.
    7. Spiritual warfare, spiritual oppression is a very serious matter.
      1. Are you stronger than the devil?  Are you smarter than he?  Do you possess greater knowledge?  In all these things, the answer is no.
      2. But we must use them.
        1. If we do not use them, we cannot fight the good fight.
        2. If we do not use them, we will forget they are there.
        3. If we do not use them, the enemy will have his victory.
        4. If we do not use them, we stand outside the will of God.
    8. To bring down strongholds of the enemy, to reach into the spiritual world and fight the enemy with the greatest of weapons, to fight the good fight, to move the hand of God, to change our hearts, to hear His voice, to touch His face, to hear His word.
  3. Our greatest weapon in the Battle: Prayer
    1. Is the devil afraid of you?  No.
      1. But the devil is afraid of your prayers and the angels who are moved because of them.
        1. James 5:16,17, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months."
      2. But the devil is afraid of the intercession you offer for others.
        1. Eph. 6:18, "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,"
      3. But the devil is afraid of the warfare you present in prayer.
        1. God says in 2 Cor. 10:3-4, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses."
  4. Conclusion
    1. We have victory in Jesus. As I said at the beginning of this sermon, prayer is a privilege and powerful work that can be rightly done only by the Christian. Prayer is our greatest weapon in this world, and we must not forget it. We must use it and become familiar with prayer because it makes a difference in this world and in your hearts.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.