“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
If the church is at war, then there must be an enemy. Paul began describing the nature of our enemy in Ephesians 6 by telling us who the enemy is not. Ephesians 6:12 says our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Think about this for a minute. Think about everyone you know on this planet. At least for me, the people I hang around with all have flesh and blood. So Paul tells us this: If you can see them, or touch them—if they have flesh and blood—they are not your enemy! They might be taking the enemy’s side. Or even doing the enemy’s work. But they are not the enemy. Instead, Paul described the enemy in dramatic fashion: rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We’re not allowed by the text to presume that Paul was talking about rulers, authorities or powers of nations here. He just told us that flesh and blood was not the problem. We’re contending against spiritual beings.
“Lord, in the midst of the warfare that rages in this world, I draw near to You. Thank You for drawing near to me. Would You give me the kind of spiritual awareness that allows me to say with the Apostle Paul, ‘We are not unaware of Satan’s schemes’? I thank You for Your Holy Spirit who dwells within me, allowing me to demonstrate daily that ‘greater is He who is within me, than he who is within the world.’”
–Adapted from The Devil Goes to Church (Prayer as Spiritual Warfare) by David Butts
Praise God for the fullness of life he brings, from blessings of old age to a community filled with playing boys and girls (Zech. 8:4-5). Give thanks for your own physical and spiritual life. Confess any ways in which you regularly waste moments of your life. Commit yourself to diligent self-control. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce this part of his fruit (Gal. 5:23) in you.
Pray for someone you know who is going through especially difficult times without the comfort of God. Ask God to use you in drawing that person to himself.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend