The Whole Armor of God
The Lance of Prayer and Supplication
Up to this point we have covered the “Loin belt of Truth,” the “Brestplate of righteousness,” the “shoes of peace,” the “shield of faith,” and the “sword of the Spirit.” We will now have a look at the last piece of the armor Paul mentions in Ephesians, chapter six.
Paul says, “ Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
The end of this text has puzzled several people for some time. Rick Renner the author of the book Dressed to Kill (which is one of the books I used in this series) Says, “ As I studied these verses about spiritual armor, I was perplexed when I came to the end of this text. I was particularly puzzled by what most commentators and expositors had to say at this point. While all of them agreed that the Roman soldiers armor had seven pieces of weaponry, the all said Paul's list of amour was incomplete, stopping short of one weapon, The Roman soldiers lance.”
This perplexed Rick and others due to the fact that Paul had said in the beginning of this chapter that we are to put on the WHOLE amour of God. If the lance were not part of the amour as some commentators and expositors claim, then it would not be possible to put on the WHOLE amour of God as Paul instructed. The lance was a strategic part of the Roman soldiers weaponry.
Although the lance is not mentioned by name in this text, it Has to be there otherwise, we do not have the whole amour of God. However, the lance is in this set of spiritual amour it can be found in Ephesians 6:18: “Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit...” We can call this last weapon “ the lance of prayer and supplication.
When “ the lance of prayer and supplication” is wielded by the believer, this powerful prayer tool is thrust into the spirit realm against the malignant works of the enemy. By forcing this weapon into the face of the enemy, you have the ability to stop major obstacles from developing in your life.
Various kinds of Lances
Paul had the images of lances when he came to this conclusion, from his cell it is possible that he was able to see the assortment of lances that his guard would have had lined up against the wall.
The lances used by the Roman army were of varied sizes, shapes, and length. Over time these lances were modified greatly. The Roman soldier used many kids of lance.
The Greek lances used during the time of Homer, were usually made of ash wood and were between six and seven feet long, with a solid Iron lance-head at the end. Like the lance itself, the iron head of the lance varies in form; often it resembled a leaf, bulrush, a sharp barb, or simply a jagged point like the lance-head of today.
Lances were of varying sizes, short lances were used to thrust at an enemy from up close, longer lances were used from a distance to hurl at an enemy.
Most soldiers carried both types of lances, the short lance they used for thrusting their enemy through from up close. What a horrible death this was! With the longer lance they struck their deadly blow from afar. After wounding his enemy with this long lance the Roman soldier would draw his sword, run up to his wounded enemy and remove his enemies head from his shoulders.
There were other kinds of lances in addition to these. During Xenophon's day, the armed forces carried several types of lances – short lance, long lances, narrow lances, wide lances, pointed lances, dull lances, jagged lances, multi-bladed lances, and so on. The average soldier carried five short and on long lance.
The largest lance used in battle was that used by the Macedonians. This lance was twenty-one to twenty-four feet long, equivalent to the length of a telephone pole. The soldier had to be very strong to use this lance. The Macedonian calvary used lances that use of course much shorter.
The Roman soldier used a lance called a pilum, which was used primarily for throwing at the enemy. The Romans used these lances when the enemy would come to attack their fortified positions. Instead of waiting for the enemy to come into the encampment to begin the battle, and thus suffering many loses, the Romans would throw these extremely heavy lances toward their foes. By doing this, they could strike their enemy before they could get close enough to enter the Roman encampment.
The length of the pilum by New Testament times was six feet in length, with an iron tip of three feet and and an iron shaft of three feet. These pliums were made of solid iron. Many have survived to this day and can be seen in museums of antiquity around the world.
Vegetius, a Roman historian who wrote about the Roman military described another lance used by the Roman soldier in his writings, this lance was five and half feet in length, with a three pointed lance-head which was between nine inches and a foot long. It was later modified to be three feet long with a lance head of five inches.
If the soldier wanted to inflict the maximum amount of damage possible upon on his enemy, he made sure to load his lance-head with extra iron. The heavier the lance the more deadly the wound. Furthermore this extra weight helped to carry the lance further when throwing it at great distance.
There were so many types and variations of lances that we could keep going for hours. But lets move on.
Various kinds of Prayer
What does all the above have to do with Spiritual amour? Whats the point of all the different types of lance?
Paul sees a whole range of lances and spears when he comes to the issue of prayer. By revelation, he begins to compare them to the various kinds of prayer that God has made available to us.
This is why he says, “ Praying always, with all prayer and supplication...”
Look at the middle portion of this statement where Paul says, “ ...with all prayer...” The term “all prayer” is taken from the Greek phrase dia pases proseuches (di-a pa-ses pros-eu-ches), and it would be better translated, “ with all kinds of prayer...”
As Paul begins to end his text on spiritual weaponry, he urges us to pick up our final weapon: prayer. He uses the imagery of the different types of lances to portray different kinds of prayer. Just as there are different kinds of lances that the Roman soldier used in battle, Paul now enlightens us to the fact there are different kinds of prayer available to us to use in our fight of faith.
There are several different types of prayer, for instance, the prayer of faith, the prayer of petition, the prayer of intercession, the of agreement, the prayer of supplication, the prayer of thanksgiving, united prayer, and so forth. There are many forms of prayer and Paul instructs us to use each form of prayer that has been made available to us as it is needed.
Just as the Roman soldier had his short lance for thrusting an enemy that came to close through, there is nothing to compare to a prayer of faith that is filled with authority! A prayer like this is well able to deal a mortal wound to an unseen enemy who has come to close in range.
Similarly like the Roman soldiers long lance, which he could hurl at his enemy from afar, preventive intercession, like the long lance loaded with extra iron, can deal such a deadly wound to the domain of darkness that it will hinder the devils deadly devices from becoming a reality in our lives, Families, Churches, Ministries, and businesses.
Evil spirits desire to attack the flesh and destroy the mind. Because these evil spirits who can not stand to see the presence of Jesus Christ and His Church in the earth, prayer is indispensable.
No matter how skilled we believe we are when it comes to spiritual battle, or how bold we think we ourselves to be, the believer who thinks they can maintain a victorious position apart from a life of prayer will end up in total defeat.
As we look to God in prayer, we can be assured we will continue to victoriously reinforce Jesus Christ's triumphant victory over Satan – and we shall continue to gloriously demonstrate Satan's utter defeat. Our victory has already been won but in seeking God's will and God's power for our daily living, we will be assured of continued victory.
To assist us in maintaining this victorious position, God has given his Church various kinds of prayer. This is why Goodspeed translated Ephesians 6:18 to say, “ Use every kind of prayer...” The Amplified Bible says, “Pray... with all manner of prayer...” The New International Version says, “Pray... with all kinds of prayer...”
There is no doubt that Paul had the pictures of various kinds of lances in mind when he wrote about the various kinds of prayer. Long lances, short lances, wide lance, and so on.
Just as there are different kinds of lances Paul says, “ Pray... with all kinds of prayer that are available to you.” None are better than the others; they each server a different purpose and are necessary for the life of faith.
How Often Should We Pray?
Before we get into the kinds of prayer that are available to us, we need to back up, and ask the question, How often should we pray?
Notice that Paul began Ephesians 6:18 with , “Praying always...” The word “always” is taken from the phrase en panti kairo (en pan-ti kai-ro). The word en would be better translated “at.”
The word panti means “each and every” It is an all-encompassing it is a word which covers everything encluding even the smallest of detail. The word kairo is the Greek word for “times or seasons.”
When all three words are use in a single phrase as in Ephesians 6:18 they would be better translated, “at each and every occasion.” It could be translated to read, “at every opportunity, every time you get a chance, at every season, or at each and every possible moment.”
The idea here is, “anytime chance you get, anytime there is an opportunity, no matter where you are or what your doing, use every opportunity, every chance, every season, every possible moment, - seize that time to pray.”
This clearly tells us that prayer is not optional for the Christian who is serious about his or her spiritual life. It is unfortunate that prayer is the most ignored piece of weaponry which the Body of Christ possesses today. People tend to find it more exciting to talk about the other pieces of the armor than to talk about prayer.
Yet the “lance of prayer and supplication” is equal in importance to the other parts of the armor. Prayer is a vital part of our spiritual equipment. In fact, this piece of weaponry is so import that Paul urges us to use it continually and habitually - “ at every possible moment.”