The Apostle Paul wrote the church of Ephesus, now modern day Turkey, while in prison for his faith. He had suffered much for the Gospel but that did not stop him from speaking the truth. He wrote to the church of Ephesus, one in which he visited and preached previously, encouraging unity, purity, and perseverance.
It’s in this letter that he writes one of the most important passages for Christians:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV)
It is here that I go to when I am frustrated; when I feel useless and restless; when I see the persecution of the church and I feel like I can’t do anything. I feel guilty to freely praise and go to church on Sundays and that I am not harmed for my belief in Christ. I feel frustrated that I cannot stop the injustice in this world. My brothers and sisters are dying for Christ by the hands of hateful men and women and I cannot stop it. My heart bleeds for them.
And then I remember Ephesians 6 and I am reminded that my part to play is not guilt or anger, but it’s to pray for the church. It’s putting on the full armor of God, and instead of hating the men and women who are murdering, it’s praying for them too (Matthew 5:43). Because, after all, the enemy is Satan.
Tonight I am joining in A Call to Pray with others from around the world and I ask you to join.