There are many Armor of God Bible verses that we can use to pray when we need to stand on God’s promises. You can check out this post on 40 Armor of God Bible verses that we can pray. My absolute favorite piece of armor is not one of the defensive pieces that we wear to protect ourselves from the enemy. It is not a piece of armor that we put on for protection—it is the only offensive weapon we need to slay the lies of the enemy.
Let’s say that we are all geared up for war. We have put on the belt of truth and fastened our breastplate of righteousness in place. Our combat boots of peace are laced up, our shield of faith is ready, and our helmet of salvation is secure. We are pumped and filled with a surge of energy as we head down to the battlefield—we feel a little bit like Rocky before a big fight in the ring—we are ready to go!
But how can anyone fight a battle without an actual weapon?
The spiritual garments of war we put on are not enough to defend ourselves against the enemy—we need a strong weapon to fight offensively—we need the sword of the Spirit; the living, breathing word of God.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
What is the Sword of the Spirit?
What exactly is the Sword of the Spirit? It is the very voice and Word of God. There are two particular words in the Greek that are both defined as the living voice, spoken word or message from God. But these are not mere words jumbled together with no meaning or significance. The word of God is divine discourse; holy utterances; sacred speech that penetrates our souls and illuminates our hearts and minds to his truth.
His words have the power to command mountains and seas into existence. Stars and galaxies are born through his breath. Storms are calmed at the sound of his whisper. His words have the power to break strongholds and release prisoners from spiritual captivity. But not only does God speak his word, but he is the word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.John 1:1
The Word of God is Jesus. He is with God. He is God. And he is with us.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.John 1:14
Can you imagine a greater weapon than Jesus Christ himself?
He is the Word. His word is a sword—and we hold the power of his word in our hands. What have we to fear? If God is for us, who can be against us? But many of us forget the powerful weapon we have in him. In fact, we often operate like the Israelites did when they went into battle with no weapons at all.
Fighting a War without Weapons
1 Samuel 13:16-22 reveals the precarious situation the Israelites found themselves in. They were literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. Previously in the chapter, the Philistines gathered together to attack the Israelites. God’s people quickly realized that they were seriously outnumbered by their enemy.
The Philistine army consisted of soldiers and charioteers that were as numerous as “the sand on the seashore” (1 Samuel 13:5). Much more than the three thousand represented by Israel (1 Samuel 13:2).
When the Israelites realized that the odds were stacked against them, many of the troops fled in fear. They hid in caves, thickets, between rocks, pits and dry wells. After the army scattered to the hillsides, only about six hundred remained in Gibeah with king Saul—six hundred out of three thousand! To make matters even worse, we learn that the Israelite army was also a weaponless army.
The Philistines had taken so much control over the area that not a single blacksmith could be found in all of Israel (1 Samuel 13:19). Because of this, the Israelites were unable to make weapons for themselves. They actually had to go to the Philistines to have all of their farm tools sharpened—and were forced to pay highly inflated prices for these services.
Only king Saul—the ill-prepared, disobedient leader of the misfit troops and his son Jonathan had swords for battle. No wonder so many of the Israelites went into hiding! Sometimes our spiritual battles look no different from Israel’s weaponless army. We try to fight our battles against the enemy but feel vastly outnumbered and overpowered. Everywhere we turn in our society this world screams lies that are in direct contradiction to the word of God.
Satan seems to have full reign over this world; finding people who know the truth is rare when we are bombarded on a daily basis by messages that say, “God doesn’t exist!” “Do your own thing—be your own boss. Believe whatever you want, as long as it feels right to you!” We attempt to use our weapons to fight the lies of Satan, but lack a solid foundation of the truth of God’s Word.
How can we pull out our sword and use it if we don’t have enough knowledge of his Word to fight?
So we retreat to the mountains; flee to the hillside, and hide in caves and cisterns. We live in fear of the enemy instead of in the victory Jesus has already died to give us. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Keep reading through chapter 14 of 1 Samuel, and you will see that one man—out of six hundred used his sword and God’s strength to defeat the enemy.
And you can too.
Jonathan must have grown tired of waiting for his father Saul to make a move against the enemy. Saul was camped out under a pomegranate tree with his six hundred men doing, well…nothing.
Jonathan on the other hand, was confident in the strength of the Lord and ready to fight. He and his faithful armor-bearer secretly went over to the enemy’s side where a detachment of Philistines were staying—but he did not tell his father (1 Samuel 14:1).
“Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”1 Samuel 14:6
Jonathan had faith that God would help them defeat the Philistines, whether they were a huge army or an army of two. So here’s what happened: Jonathan and his armor-bearer climbed two cliffs to reach the outpost where the group of Philistines were. Jonathan—a single man with a single sword, and his armor-bearer who didn’t even have a sword—killed around twenty Philistines from that detachment in an area of about half an acre (1 Samuel 14:14).
But that’s not all.
Panic struck the entire Philistine army. God sent a massive earthquake—sending the terrified army into complete chaos. When Saul’s lookout men saw their enemy melting with fear, Saul sent for the priest and the Ark of the Covenant.
While he was talking with the priest, the Philistines grew even more panicked and tumultuous. Saul and his men finally went into battle and found the Philistines in total confusion, fighting against each other with their own swords!
When word spread that the Philistines were killing themselves off, the Israelites who went into hiding came out of their rocks, caves and crevices and joined the battle—fully confident in the Lord and in hot pursuit of the enemy (1 Samuel 14:22). That day, the Lord showed up in a mighty way. He brought the Israelites to total victory through the confidence and courage of one man with a single sword.
If Jonathan was confident that he would be victorious with God’s help, how much more confident can we be when we can fight against the enemy with the sword of the Spirit? But in order to fight with the Word, we must know the word, and use it in times when we are tempted, filled with fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, shame or inadequacy.
Did you notice how Jonathan’s confidence was contagious among the Israelite army? His armor bearer stood behind him. Saul and his six hundred men followed them into battle when they heard the enemy’s confusion. Even the soldiers who were hiding in the hillsides came out and fought with confidence when they realized that God was with them.
We, dear sister, have complete access to the Word of God. We have the Word in our homes, and even on our phones through Bible apps. How are we using our swords? Is God’s Word collecting dust on our shelves as we struggle daily in spiritual defeat, or do we devour his Word and use it to defeat the enemy?
Let’s quickly discuss at least three ways we can use our swords in battle against the enemy.
Three Ways to Use the Sword of the Spirit in Battle
There are at least three ways we can use the Sword of the Spirit to fight spiritual battles: we can use God’s word through prayer, praise and proclamation.
Fight your Battles with Prayer
After Paul highlights all of the pieces of the armor of God, his next exhortation is to pray.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.Ephesians 6:18
It is not mentioned as a piece of armor, but prayer is definitely a powerful spiritual weapon. Paul tells us to pray in the Spirit. These are not our own conjured up prayers based on selfish, hidden motives. The word Spirit in this passage is defined as the breath of God; a gentle movement of air or a divine wind. These are divinely inspired prayers that breathe life into our very souls.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continually, without ceasing. There is definitely a time and place for specific, strategic prayer in our spiritual “war rooms”—but prayer can also be as fluid as a gentle breeze; as steady as our very breath.
We can pray in the bed, when we get up, on our way to work, to the dentist office, at the dinner table…because the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we can rest in a constant state of continual communion with him. Another way to pray in the Spirit is to use the sword of the Spirit—by praying the word of God!
Let’s say you are struggling with fear. What you can do to fight against these thoughts is find passages in Scripture on fear and pray them back to the Father.
Here’s an example:
Scripture: Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
Prayer: Lord, I thank you that you are my light and my salvation. Because of this, I have nothing to fear. You are the strength and stronghold of my life. I don’t have to be afraid of anyone because you are my protection and shield!
When we take the truth of God’s word and pray it back to him, it’s like taking a double edged sword and striking the enemy in the gut! This is where we get strategic and specific in our prayers. This is when we go to our prayer closets and fight on our knees.
Whatever you are struggling with, write it down. Find scriptures that relate to the issue and pray those Scriptures right back to the Lord. Not only will his word encourage you and feed our soul, you will be praying for his will to be done in your life.
Anytime we pray God’s word, we pray God’s will.
His word is powerful. His word is eternal—and it never returns to him void or empty (Isaiah 55:10-11). You’ll never get a “return to sender” stamp on your letters to God!
Fight your Battles with Praise
Did you know that worship is also a weapon of warfare? Many Christians underestimate the power of praise. It is a highly effective weapon that lifts up the name of the Lord and honors him as true victor and Savior. One of my favorite Old Testament stories of praise in action is the story of King Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles 20.
The enemies of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah came to pick a fight with the people of God. Big mistake. Immediately, Jehoshaphat and all of Judah sought the Lord in prayer.
“…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”2 Chronicles 20:12
When we find ourselves staring adversity square in the face, our best strategy is not to look around us at our seemingly insurmountable circumstances, but to look up—to where our help comes from. God told Jehoshaphat through a prophet that Judah would be successful in battle.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (vs. 15).
The battles we fight are not ours. They belong to the Lord. When the enemy picks a fight with you, he’s really picking a fight with God Almighty.
Who do you think will win the showdown?
Jehoshaphat’s response to God’s promise of victory was praise. He and all the people of Judah fell down in worship before the Lord (vs. 18). The next morning as they prepared to go down to the battlefield, you would have thought they were on their way to church! Why? Jehoshaphat summoned people ahead of the army to sing praises to God and worship him in the splendor of his holiness.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever” (vs. 21).
What an unusual battle cry! According to this passage, praise was the first weapon they used against the enemy even before they set foot on the battlefield.
And watch what happened next:
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord sent ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another (vs. 22-23).
When Jehoshaphat and his men arrived at the battlefield, all they saw was a sea of dead bodies. The war was already over—and victory was already theirs! Are you struggling with doubt? Praise the Lord. Are you battling a chronic illness? Praise the Lord. Are you dealing with a wayward child? Praise the Lord. Are you lonely in your singleness or struggling in your marriage? Praise the Lord.
Whatever difficult circumstance you find yourself in right now, praise God in the midst of it—even through the tears. Praise reminds us of how big our God is…that he is stronger than anything life throws our way. Praise pulverizes and annihilates the enemy. This doesn’t mean that our situations always change automatically. But we take comfort in the truth that God is our sword and shield.
When you start to feel discouraged or dismayed because of the “vast army” that seems to close in on you, turn up the praise music and lift up the name of our great God. Not only will your soul find peace and rest, but you will gain fresh perspective on your situation. Proclaim the truth of God’s word through the power of praise!
I will extol the Lord at all times, his praise will always be on my lips.Psalm 34:1
Fight your Battles through Powerful Proclamations
Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians by asking them to pray that he would fearlessly proclaim and make known the mystery of the gospel to those around him—even as a prisoner.
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.Ephesians 6:19-20
To proclaim something is to publicly state, announce, and declare a truth with our mouths. In Revelation 1:16 Jesus is revealed in all of his power and splendor, and out of his mouth came a double edged sword.
Remember that the word of God is described as a double-edged sword in Hebrews 4:12? What comes out when we open our mouths? Is it complaints? Gossip? Negative comments? Words of self-loathing? Or do we powerfully proclaim the truth of God’s Word and strike our enemies with the Sword of the Spirit?
Many times we spend too much time talking about our problems instead of proclaiming the promises given to us in God’s Word. Life and death is in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). When we open our mouths do we speak words of life to those around us, or death? Our words are a powerful weapon—use your mouth and the weapon of God’s word to speak words of eternal life to those around you. And declare it fearlessly.
Prayer, praise, and the proclamation of God’s Word are the perfect accessories to go with our shining armor of splendor. When we enter the battlefield with our weapons, we are never alone. God goes before us and the body of believers are beside us. This is no one-woman-show. Rally around the people of God to encourage you and pray with you.
Remember, the victory is already won through Christ—so take up your sword, put on your garments of splendor, and walk in spiritual victory!
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”2 Chronicles 20:15
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