Thursday, August 7, 2014

Praying on the Armor of God

There is a concept among Christians to “pray on the full armor of God.” Every morning when they wake up, some people will say a prayer like the following:

Lord, as I wake up this morning, I put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness to guard my heart. I put on the sandals of the gospel of peace to protect my walk with you today. I take up the shield of faith to protect me from whatever Satan my throw at me. I place the helmet of salvation on my head and take hold of the sword of the Spirit of God. Strengthen me for the battles I’ll face today. Amen.

The typical version is much longer than the one I’ve shown here and many of them start with the helmet of salvation rather than the order they are in the Bible. I’m not sure if that’s because they want to go from head to toe or maybe they’re thinking that salvation should come first since that’s what we think of as the first event in the Christian walk. Paul probably put these in the order he did because he’d watched Roman soldiers put on their armor and that was the order they went.

While I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with meditating on the armor of God why you wake up each morning and going to the Lord for help in putting on the armor of God isn’t a bad thing, I doubt Paul was thinking that people would pray prayers like this when he wrote Ephesians 6. I think he would tell the people who do this, “You missed the point.” Some people have this thought, “The kids were cranky today, but I prayed on the armor of God this morning, so I was able to let it bounce off.”

But look at Ephesians 6:12. The purpose of the armor of God isn’t to protect against cranky kids. In Ephesians 6:13-14, Paul uses the word “stand” three times. And he had already used it in Ephesians 6:11. Do this so you can stand and once you’ve done everything you can to stand, stand. This is about taking a stand for the cause of Christ.

Imagine you are facing the modern day equivalent to some of the people Paul faced. These are people who may not realize it, but they are servants of the devil. “You Christians are wrong and I’m going to force you to do things you don’t believe are right.” How do we stand against these people?


Our first form of protection is that what we say is true. I’ve been in a lot of arguments with people who don’t want to believe. I try to listen to their point of view, but I’ve never been concerned that something they way will cause me to question my faith, because my position is based on the truth.


When we think of righteousness, we immediately think of God’s righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ. But let’s also consider the righteousness that others see in us. The opposite of righteousness is sin. When we sin, it removes the breastplate that protects our heart. The spouse who commits adultery opens up their heart (at least in part) to the person they commit adultery with. Satan can use that person to encourage the other to do things they ought not to do. But look at Daniel. Even though he faced persecution, his righteousness protected him from falling into the trap of sinners.

The Preparation of the Gospel of Peace

People often shorten this to say that we should put on the sandals of the Gospel. They imply that the good news will protect the way you walk. A better understanding might be that we are to be prepared to share the Gospel with those we meet along the way.


Paul compares faith to a shield that protects against fiery darts. He also uses the phrase “above all.” I’m not sure if this should be taken as most importantly, or if he means literally “above all.” If the darts are raining down from the sky, where are you going to hold the shield? Above your head and everything else, obviously. But our faith protects us because we know that whatever Satan may send our way, God is still in control and nothing will harm us without His permission.


Salvation is shown as a helmet. I wear a helmet when I ride a bicycle, in part because I realize that if an accident caused me to lose an arm or a leg, it would be inconvenient, but a head injury could cause be game over. At the end of the day, even if God allows Satan to kill us, we have salvation there to protect who we are. The very worst thing Satan can do won’t prevent us from the future the Lord has promised us.

The Bible

He compares the Word of God to a sword. Of everything on the list, this is the only offensive weapon we see. As with any weapon, it takes training and practice to be able to use it. That means you need to spend time in church listening to preaching and taking part in Bible study. You also need to read it for yourself and memorize scripture. So, when you encounter unbelievers, you will be able to tell them what the Bible says.


Prayer isn’t listed as part of the armor, but it is something that we’re supposed to do. The armor of God doesn’t do us much good if we don’t have a relationship with God. Paul asked them to pray that he would have boldness to preach the gospel.

If you get up in the morning and tell God you’re putting on the armor of God, I suppose that's okay. But once you’ve prayed about it, you’d better put it on.