Title:  Rusty Armor

Summary:  The most important part to effectively waging Spiritual Warfare is
prayer.  Prayer helps to keep us alert for opportunities and challenges in our
service to God.  It also gives us the strength to use those opportunities to glorify
God even in tough times

Function:  To help the congregation realize that not only are we is a spiritual
battle, but prayer needs to be a crucial part of the battle.  Knowing that, the
congregation will learn ways of developing a consistent and practical strategy of
prayer

Text:  Eph 6:10-20

Scripture Reading:  Eph 3:14-21


Intro:
1.  Fall Out!  said the sergeant
	a.  One soldier wearing burmuda shorts, Flip Flops, helmet
	b.  Soldier!  Where are your boots? Flap Jacket? Rifle? Donít need them
	c.  How do you expect to win this battle?  -- Donít you see my helmet?
2.  (Eph 6:10-17) - Takes more than helmet of salvation for spiritual warfare
	a.  Not going to focus on each item
	b.  Will pause on a couple, first the sheild of faith
		- Protection from arrows of discouragement, fear, apathy, etc
	c.  Also pause on Sword of the Spirit - Only offensive weapon, need it
	d.  Reason pause on these - Leads into what Paul says next
		- Important part in using the spiritual arsenal
3.  (v.18-20) - Most important part of spiritual warfare - prayer
		- Prayer keeps our armor polished

I.  Prayer helps keep us alert (v.18)
	A.  Alert for what?
		1.  If not looking for tanks, sirens, airplanes, etc. then what?
		2.  This why being alert is so important - this a spiritual battle
		3.  If not alert, can overtake you without you knowing it
	B.  ILL:  Story of man in New York City with friend from country
		1.  I hear cricket.  What, in all this commotion?
		2.  Went and moved a newspaper, there was a cricket
		3.  Must have good hearing.  No, have average hearing, depends
		     on what you are tuned in to.  Let me demonstrate
		4.  Dropped three coins on pavement, 80 heads turned
	C.  Need to be tuned in to right thing, and it happens by prayer
		1.  (1 Tim 1:18-2:1)
			a.  Fight the good fight (agon - struggle)
			b.  Where does struggle begin - 2:1 - Prayer
		2.  Eph, Philip, Col - All prison letter
			a.  Each ends up with prayer
			b.  (Col 4:2-3) - Very similar to what here in Eph
				- Notice what Paul does NOT pray for
				- Not pray for release, something larger at stake
		3.  Instead of thinking
			a.  I need to get out of here!
			b.  It was - God, help me fight the battle here
		4.  Paulís prayers kept him tuned in and alert
			a.  Battle didnít stop when he in prison
			b.  If not a man of prayer, could have lost focus in prison
	D.  We are not facing prison today
		1.  We have a bigger challenge
		2.  Having peace, money, home, job, etc. bigger challenge
			a.  Like being on gaurd duty when all is quiet
			b.  Easy to lose focus
			c.  Need to come up with ways to stay alert
		3.  Need to come up with ways to make consistent habit of praying
		4.  Consistent prayer = consistent focus

II.  Prayer will enable us to glorify God, even when times are tough
	A.  Pauls asks that they pray God would be glorified in him
	B.  God turn any situation around, if we ask
		1.  Josh 1:12 - Joshuaís Long Day; 2 Kng 6:17 - Chariots of Fire
		2.  (Isa 31:1-3)
			a.  They didnít want to rely on God, but on treaties
			b.  Why?  Didnít want to do it Godís way
			c.  They had not been tuned in to God through prayer
		3.  PAUL on the other hand IS tuned in
			a.  (2 Cor 4:16-18; 5:7; 12:7-10)
			b.  God turned it around for Paul, in unexpected way
			c.  Paul okay with it, he tuned in to Godís battle plan
				- The thorn make Paul stronger for battle
				- Paulís perspective changed when he prayed!
				- If not prayed, thorn make him bitter, not better
		4.  Paul now in prison, needs to keep on in prayer
	C.  What would you and I have prayed in prison?
		1.  Iíd be saying - God get me out of here, then I can serve you
		2.  But Paul asked to be able to fight the battle in prison
			a.  Not - Got to get out of here, then I can serve God
			b.  But - God, use me to fight the battle NOW
			c.  Happened in Acts (Paul and Silas)
				- Do you remember the result?
				- His own jailer and his family converted!
		3.  Have you over done that?
			a.  After graduate, get older, know more, retire, etc.
			b.  I will really fight spiritual battle LATER
			c.  That is a reflection among other things of poor prayer life
	D.  Pray to God to use you
		1.  He will show you how, in school
		2.  He will show you how, in retirement
		3.  He will show you how, if young, if old, if have children, etc.

III.  So what does it take to fight spiritual warfare?
	A.  Answer is obvious - Prayer
	B.  Important modifier in the text - Perseverence
		1.  That means a lifestyle of prayer
		2.  Many challenges to perseverence
			a.  Comfort
				- Cause us to forget to pray
				- Start losing perspective, no longer alert
				- Begin to forget the spiritual battle going on
				- Bam! Satanís got you
			b.  Busyness
				- So much to do, prayer for lazy people
				- Prayer is a luxury for those with time
				- Get so busy, forget about God - Bam!
			c.  Lack of Faith
				- Not really believe God going to ďdoĒ anything
				- Think ambition means Self Reliance
				- Trust in other things rather than God
				- Bam!  Heís got you
			d.  Fill in the blank for you _____________
		3.  Persistent Prayer is HARD WORK
		4.  Must contend with whatever challenges perseverence
	C.  ILL:  I was challenged in memorable way last week
		1.  Determined to make habit of at least 30 minutes of prayer
			a.  Started Monday morning, journaled
			b.  Tuesday morning, began, then got chills suddenly
			c.  Shook so violently, could hardly finish journaling
			d.  I determined to finish praying no matter what
		2.  I suppose one day of prayer not have Satan worried
			a.  Two days of prayer made him take notice
			b.  Hey, heís going to make a habit of this morning thing
			c.  I truly felt as if I was under attack
			d.  I did not let that deter me from habit of praying
		3.  Wanted to make sure not only I praying, you are as well.
			a.  So I called several of you
			b.  I know you have been praying for me
	D.  Amazing what God allowed to happen
		1.  I prayed, I got sick in the middle of it
		2.  That made me that much more determined to pray
		3.  Then I involved you in it as well
		4.  See what happens when you pray?

Concl:
1.  Do you have helmet of salvation?
	a.  If not, put it on today
	b.  If so, remember it takes more than being saved to fight
2.  Have to have a plan
	a.  Maybe that why I was under attack last week
		- Started with Life Group List, pray for everyone by name
		- Then the church roster - pray for everyone by name
		- Then the missions we support
		- Weekly plan
	b.  Have to have a plan to pray persistently
	c.  As individual, family, church, world
	d.  Many of you have discussed how in Life Group Last week
3.  Whether or not we have a ďroomĒ for prayer, we need to have a ďplanĒ for it
	a.  Want to schedule prayer time for congregation
	b.  I donít want to be the only one leading it
	c.  Challenge elders and leaders to lead it
		- Want to split up men and women as part of it
		- In the weeks ahead, think about what to pray for as congregation
4.  This not an end in itself, but a beginning
	- In other words, not a substitute for ministry
	- The beginning of a strategy for spiritual warfare
	- We are in a battle - Are you ready to engage?  Start with prayer