Teaching Men How to Fight Like a Girl
"...watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Ephesian 6:18
The purpose of the armor of God is to prepare the warrior to stand watch and pray for all the saints. All, except one, of the weapons of the spiritual warfare expected of a soldier of Christ are defensive in nature. This is the sword of the Spirit or the Word of God. This should be a gentle reminder that the person who stands next to Christ in the battle line should expect to come under attack. The enemy is not intimidated by their weapons, but they are intimidated by their Champion. He has already defeated the worst they can do to him, and they have no power to conquer Him. As long as His followers stand behind what He has provided, they are invincible.
Christ followers are pictured in Ephesians as warriors, but they are not called upon to retreat or charge, but to stand. They stand watch when they persevere in prayer "for all saints." This is a powerful reminder of a believer's reason for existence. Prayer is the order of the day, not an option or personal preference. Prayerless people are AWOL in the battle against evil. They have either refused to take their stand, or they have retreated under intense enemy attack.
The battle plan that is outlined in this passage of scripture is very simple. Put on the armor of God. Stand against the schemes of the devil. Pray always in the Spirit. Persevere in prayer for the needs of others. This final line of battle is called INTERCESSION. It means standing in the gap for someone else. It is not about personal preferences or petitions, but about perseverance.
Men are driven to take charge of a situation. When Dana was diagnosed with breast cancer, I wanted to do something. Before long it became obvious that this attack was more than I could handle, and there was very little I could do about it. The enemy had bypassed me, and the damage had been done. I had not blocked the incoming missiles from her body, and even the cure left a mark. It gave every appearance of having the capacity to kill her too. I felt impotent, and almost infantile in my efforts to provide support and encouragement to her in the fight of her life.
Praying for her became a positive way for me to bring what she needed to The Intercessor and allow Jesus to meet her needs in ways that I could not. Since Dana's childhood, her favorite verse of Scripture has always been, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) Praying for Dana was the only way I had to take her petition to Christ, and to see Him to supply what she needed the most, the Presence of Christ in the midst of her crisis. Intercession moves the intercessor from the focus of the prayer. Intercession is another way of reminding the prayer warrior, "THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!" This kind of praying gets the eyes of the prayer warrior off of their own navel. There is a huge difference between picking lint out of one's navel, and putting on the armor of God. Intercession puts concern for others into action and away from the paralyzing, angst-driven handringing that usually passes for Christian compassion.
Intercession makes it clear that our purpose in life is not to get what we want, but to pray for what others need. When we realize that life is not about us getting what we want, but about consistent companionship with Jesus then our life has new meaning. Asking Jesus to meet the needs of others is how we identify with the mission of the Risen Christ. He sits at the right had of God and intercedes for others continually.
Too many followers of Christ believe intercession is for elite special ops forces to carry out on behalf of the church. They see it as a perilous option, and not a responsibility they should bear. The army of God is made up of run of the mill, reliable recruits, chosen by Christ, in spite of themselves to defeat the enemy with the power of intercession.
Edward McKendree Bounds or E.M. Bounds died in 1913, and is buried in the little town of Washington, GA. He was a great man of prayer of the past century. The final 19 years of his life were spent in prayer, writing, and itinerant ministry. His words live on through the books that he wrote then, and continue to be published today. In one of his classic works on prayer, The Weapon of Prayer, he said, "Praying saints are God's agents for carrying on his saving and providential work on earth."
Men have a natural tendency to want to be large and in charge, and to prove how strong they are to the woman they love. Cancer has a way of evaporating that mirage. Intercession empowers a man to get over himself, and get used to taking Jesus by the hand. Talking to Him about what His wife needs the most makes him an essential part of her fight and her recovery. When he chooses to fight like a man he will end up crying like a little girl. When a man will fight like a girl, he ends up being the kind of man a woman needs. He leads on his knees.
Father, today I am interceding for those who read these words to know the sufficiency of Christ. Grant them their petitions and restore their confidence that Jesus has already showed up in the midst of their crisis to offer them His consistent companionship. Hide them behind your mighty shield, and protect them from the lies of the enemy. Assure them that they are never alone because Jesus will never leave them or forsake them. AMEN!