The Berean Expositor
Volume 34 - Page 65 of 261
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alluded to in connection with this idea. Here we have a description of the "whole armour
(panoply) of God" which is for the believer with a view to the "evil day" (Eph. 6: 13).
A careful reading will show that this armour is sixfold, five pieces being for the
defensive, and only one offensive weapon and that is not prayer, but the Word of God, the
Sword of the Spirit. Prayer does not occur at all in the symbolism of the armour, but
follows on in verse 18.
We do not deny that the believer who has taken to himself the whole armour of God,
will also use to the utmost the privilege of prayer, but this does not of necessity turn it
into an offensive weapon. Rather is it more protective than offensive.
Let us consider what prayer does for the believer and we may then appreciate
something more of its supreme importance in our daily lives. We may remind ourselves
to begin with that there is no such thing as unanswered prayer. If we have waited upon
the Lord for a certain thing, and in His wisdom it is not granted the answer is "No",
and "No" is as much as answer from Him as "Yes". Paul himself learnt this lesson.
Three times he earnestly prayed and asked the Lord to remove his "thorn in the flesh"
(II Cor. 12: 8). The Divine answer was "No" but the glorious experience of the added
grace and strength imparted to him more than compensated for the negative answer to his
prayer. Wise are we if we can take the Lord's refusals without being offended, and have
a complete trust in His matchless wisdom and love for each one of us, a love that will not
allow Him to grant us things that would be to our harm.
1. True prayer gives access to the Father. To appreciate this properly, we should put
ourselves back into Old Testament times. Do we realize that, prior to the all sufficient
offering on Calvary, no believer ever enjoyed access to God? Jehovah surrounded
Himself with barriers of sacrifice and priesthood to impress upon His people the fact that
sin eternally separates Himself from fallen man and until the One offering for sin had
been made and sin righteously put away, there could be no possibility of access to the
Divine presence. Let us consider the following verses:
"The Holy Ghost thus signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made
manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing" (Heb. 9: 8). "Having therefore,
brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10: 19).
We may point out, in passing, that the right to enter into the holiest of all did not
confer upon believers of the Acts period the tremendous privilege of dwelling there for
ever. To enter there by prayer is one thing, but to be seated there in Christ Jesus, is quite
another (Eph. 2: 6). This is the exclusive privilege of the One Body and it is revealed in
all its fullness in the second chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians.
Every time we pray, we are able to draw near to God in a sense that no Old Testament
saint was able to do, and this fact alone, should remind us of the inestimable privilege
that prayer confers upon us. It should prevent us from thoughtlessly rushing into the
Lord's presence.