How To Go Beyond Prayer Putting on the Armor Of God

By Michael Christian

My journey of putting on the armor of God has been fascinating. When I first heard of the armor, I rejoiced. I was facing spiritual warfare and not doing well with it. The voice of the enemy constantly accused me of past sins, even though I had accepted Christ and been forgiven. The armor sounded exactly like what I needed.

One day, I listened via Christian radio to a recording of a live service where a preacher taught on this subject. He vividly described each part of the armor. He had everyone in the audience stand up. Then, he coached them through the motions of putting on each piece while they confessed it aloud. This was a militant, boisterous, and electric service.

I immediately adopted this method as a prayer routine and practiced it every morning. I assumed God would place over me spiritual armor that resembled Roman armor while I prayed, visualized, and confessed it. I expected to never have another bad day. 

Here is the prayer I prayed aloud:

I gird my waist with truth. I put on the breastplate of righteousness. I shod my feet with the readiness produced by the gospel of peace. I take the shield of faith, with which I can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. I put on the helmet of salvation. And I take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Then I would add:

I declare that no evil shall befall me, neither shall any plague come near my dwelling. (Psalm 91:10) No weapon formed against me will prosper. (Isaiah 54:17) My God will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:18.)

Discouraged by Inconsistent Results

I quoted any other Scriptures I could think of. Every day that I prayed this way was a better day. God loves to answer militant prayers of protection! 

So, after praying this way for years, I assumed the armor was by now permanently fastened and protecting me. So, I changed up my prayer routine to emphasize other prayers and was surprised when my level of protection began to drop.

This bothered me! I was puzzled that the armor had not become a part of me even after years of praying it on. My protection seemed dependent on daily prayer to put on the armor, among other prayers. So, I continued “praying on” the armor as I remembered to. But I was discouraged that I couldn't get the armor to stay on and work more consistently.

A Fresh Approach to Putting On the Armor

Years later, I attended a conference. One of the speakers mentioned in passing a different method of putting on the armor. He said that we put it on by receiving the revelation of each piece. He got my attention but didn’t explain what he meant.

Afterward, I asked him, “You said that we put on the armor by receiving the revelation of each piece. What does that mean?”

He admitted that he wasn't sure but was quoting a well-known man of God I had heard of and respected. He had read the statement in one of his books but couldn’t remember which one. (Thanks.) So, I left the meeting intrigued by the new idea but not knowing how it worked.

The following week, I read Ephesians 6:10-18 repeatedly, praying and meditating in the Word. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what was meant by "the revelation of each piece." And He did!

What I Learned about the Armor of God

First, I noticed that Scripture defined each piece of the armor as a biblical concept, not as a series of spiritual objects. The active elements of the armor are truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer (more about this one here). Roman armor is merely an illustration for the real. However, I had been so caught up imagining Roman armor that I never thought beyond it.

For example, we are fastening truth around our lives and not putting on a spiritual object that looks like a belt. We are putting on righteousness—the righteousness of faith Paul preached—and not some invisible breastplate. We take up faith in God’s Word to extinguish the flaming thought arrows the enemy shoots into our minds, not a shield-shaped spiritual object.

Previously, in my natural thinking, I had jumped to the conclusion that God probably dropped external, spiritual objects on me from heaven as I "prayed on" the armor. But now I began to see that the armor was not made of invisible things that looked like Roman armor.

To be clear, God always honored the intention of my prayers for protection and powerfully answered them. I'm sure he does for you, too. But prayer and confession alone were not the complete answer. He was helping me to take things a step further.

Putting On the Armor in a Fresh New Way

As the Holy Spirit continued to coach me, my mind slowly adjusted to this new way of looking at the armor. But it was challenging. I had to unlearn my previous assumptions to appreciate the new perspective. (Un-learning can be more difficult than learning.)

Assumptions are as misleading as misunderstandings and harder to detect, and I had a lot of assumptions that came from natural life. In the this world, if someone throws a baseball at me, I put up my glove and catch it, or use a bat to hit it. If it's a tennis ball, I would use a racquet to send it back over the net. I'm accustomed to using an external object to block incoming objects. That’s the law of this natural world.

You Can't Put It On Until You Put It In

We can't assume the spiritual realm works like the natural realm. The laws governing the spiritual world are different. No "object" can block an incoming "flaming thought arrow” of fear, worry, anger, etc. Only our internal faith in God’s Words of promise can extinguish the inward fire kindled by such troubling thoughts.

In the natural, armor works from the outside in. But spiritual armor works from the inside out. It's not a matter of putting something on as much as it is putting something in. You can't put it on until you put it in.

For example, the armor works like a spring of water bubbling out of the earth. If you stir up the dirt in the pool, the spring will purify itself by its continual flow of fresh, pure water. Likewise, the armor of light depends on the flow of spiritual illumination that is within us.

For a fuller explanation of this intriguing idea, see the video, A New Approach to the Armor of God.

Finding the Lesson in Each Piece of Armor

As I meditated in the Ephesians passage, I was looking for the revelations hidden in the seven concepts Paul listed that would help me defend myself. Was there a protective lesson in each of them?

They are truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, the hope of salvation, the Word of God, and prayer. What was the revelation of each piece?

(I don't mean by "revelation" a private interpretation of Scripture, but the Holy Spirit-given understanding that makes us say, "I see it," or "I get it now.")

I wasn't looking for an academic treatise but some applied theology that was easy to understand and practice. 

As I read, I began to see it. What the man of God said was true. We fasten on the armor when we receive the revelation or the practical lesson embedded in each of these seven Bible concepts. Below is a paraphrase of the Ephesians passage that shows how I was learning to understand it.

Ephesians 6:14-18 (Paraphrased) Stand therefore, having fastened truth around your life like a belt, putting on righteousness like a breastplate, and putting on for shoes the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, take up faith like a shield, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the (hope of) salvation as a helmet, wield the Word of God like a sword, and hurl prayer (like a spear), praying at all times in the Spirit with all kinds of prayer and supplication.

Asking a New Set of Questions

Looking at the armor in this way triggered a new set of questions:

  • What is the practical lesson in each concept? 
  • How does each piece of the armor protect me?
  • What are the threats or kinds of attack the armor defends against? 
  • Do these seven pieces of armor provide a well-rounded and complete protection? 
  • How does learning about each piece make me a better disciple, servant, and soldier of the Lord?

Why Did Paul Call Spiritual Armor the Armor of Light?

I discovered there was another Bible verse that confirmed this different approach to the armor. In that verse, Paul shares an important clue about the true nature of the armor of God. Understanding what he meant teaches us how to put the armor on.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Romans 13:12 (NKJV)

Five years before he wrote Ephesians, Paul called the armor of God “the armor of light.”

We know that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) The enemy comes against our minds with dark, discouraging, and untrue thoughts. But we fight back with the light-filled Word of God. Light is greater than darkness, and darkness can never overcome the light which dispels it. Though the enemy operates in darkness, God’s light exposes, illuminates, and drives the darkness away. (Ephesians 5:11)

We, however, have a role to play in our protection. Paul wrote, “…and let us put on the armor of light.” God gives us the armor, but we are the ones who must put it on. So, how do we put on the armor of light?

Receiving God's Spiritual Light

We receive the armor of light when we put the light of truth into our minds. The light we receive from Scripture becomes our spiritual armor. The armor of light is the armor of a renewed mind! We receive God's light in our minds when we renew them in God's Word. See the Scriptures below:

Psalm 119:130“The entrance of Your Words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.”

Psalm 119:105“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Psalm 18:28For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Isaiah 8:20: To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.

John 1:4–5 In Him [the Word] was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I [the Word] am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light! (See vv. 9-14)

We put on the armor of light as we make the truths of God’s Word our own. The seven-fold armor protects us from the deceptions of darkness because God’s light always dispels the world's lies and half-truths.

Meditating on the Seven Light-filled Concepts

As I began to meditate on the seven concepts that made up the armor, I looked for the revelation or lesson that would protect me. Here's an example regarding truth.

As I thought about fastening on truth like a belt, I could see that truth referred to the Word of God. Pilate famously asked, "What is truth?" But Jesus declared to His disciples, "Your [God's] Word is truth." (John 17:17)

People can have several attitudes toward the truth of the Bible. They could say, "My, isn't that interesting?" and ignore what was said. They might say, "I believe it except for the part about ________ ." Or they could embrace the Bible as the inspired, infallible Word of God.

A belt wraps completely around the waist, not just part of the way. Fastening on truth means allowing it to encircle every area of our lives, not just some. Belts have buckles that fasten it on securely. (That's a good thing; we don't want our pants to fall off.) Wrapping truth around us like a belt means making a clasp-like commitment to believing and obeying God's Word despite resistance or contradiction. But if we don't hold tight to the truth and our belt comes buckle comes loose, we will probably embarrass ourselves.

The lesson I found regarding truth is to believe the Bible in its entirety and hold fast to it, no matter who or what contradicts it. Fastening truth around our entire lives defends us from all deception.

The Seven Light-filled Lessons (Revelations) of the Armor of God

So, I looked at each of the seven concepts, seeking to discover the revelation or lesson each contained. As I did, not only did I find the protection I needed, but I realized Paul's list was in a logical order. It was a discipleship plan that put soldiers on the field capable of standing in victory. 

In the armor of God, I see a spiritual "boot camp" for training good soldiers for the battlefield. There are seven lessons to be learned and applied that are necessary for our protection. Each produces a huge step forward in one's journey of discipleship. 

  • The first is a commitment to truth, what it is, and where to find it. God’s Word is truth.
  • The second revelation comes as we understand the righteousness of faith that Paul preached, which is the grace of God.
  • The third revelation comes as we surrender our feet to walk in God’s path. Our feet are not shod with readiness until we can pray with Jesus, “Father…not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
  • The fourth teaches us to put more faith in God’s promises than in troubling thoughts and circumstances.
  • The fifth inspires us to put on a victorious attitude of confident expectation in God’s salvation, both in this temporal life and eternally.
  • The sixth revelation is the discovery that we can unleash the Spirit’s power by speaking the Word of God aloud.
  • The seventh teaches us to use the weapon of prayer to disable the enemy at a distance instead of fighting him hand-to-hand.

The enlightenment that comes from these seven concepts makes us victorious as we fight against the enemy’s lies, trickery, and evil schemes.

But not all Christians have put on the armor of light. Some, though born again, have yet to fasten on the first piece of the armor. They have not yet learned to put their trust in the Bible above everything else.

Putting on the Armor of God Is a Process

Renewing the mind in each of these seven areas takes time. I can't "pray on" a renewed mind. I can pray for the Holy Spirit to teach me as I meditate in the Word. But I have to get into the Word to receive its light.

Putting on the armor of light is not a "once and done" event. My trust in the Bible increases the more I learn about it. The more I study to show myself approved, the more I believe it's true. The more I trust it, the more truth defends me from deception.

It's the same with putting on the breastplate. We hear about the wonderful grace of God, but it takes a while to believe it, especially on the day we have just messed up. While the devil whispers about condemnation and judgment, the writer of Hebrews said something we should memorize.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Because of Christ's blood, our born-again spirit is always in right standing with God, even when we've messed up in soul and body. While we need to repent and make amends, this gift of righteousness protects our heart from feelings of unworthiness and shame. Knowing God loves us in spite of our mess may keep us from doing something that makes matters worse, because we feel that God can't possibly love someone like us.

As you make each of these lessons your own, your level of protection increases, and you will stand victorious in battle at the end of the day.

There is an article on each piece of the armor that goes into more detail on the protective lesson in that piece. Your protection will increase as you internalize these light-filled Bible truths.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}