“Put On The Full Armor Of God”
When I was five years old, I missed several days from school because I was sick. I had a temperature of more than one hundred degrees. As I lay in bed, my little body drenched with perspiration, I was becoming increasingly listless.
I lived in Jamaica at the time, and I don’t remember being visited by a doctor. I do remember, though, being visited by my grandmother. We called her Granny; others called her Grandma Fletcher. She was about eighty years old.
Granny was known in our family and her church as a “Prayer Warrior.” Prayer Warriors believe that, as disciples of Jesus Christ, they have enlisted in the Lord's army and therefore have an assignment to pray – a ministry of prayer. Granny believed that prayer is a spiritual weapon that can overcome the fiercest enemy.
There are many enemies in life. Sometimes the enemy is sickness, sin, or even Satan. Sometimes the enemy is a school bully or a terrorist plotting an evil act. The enemy could be a spirit of intolerance, injustice, hate, or prejudice.
My grandmother defeated the enemy of sickness that very day she came to visit me. Granny laid her hand on me. She prayed for me to get well. No sooner than she left the room, the fever broke. I got up, had some soup, regained my strength, and the next day I returned to school.
I firmly believe God is calling each of us to be "Prayer Warriors." To be a Prayer Warrior, I must learn to pray. Every disciple of Jesus should learn to pray – Jesus taught his disciples to pray (Luke 11:1). John Wesley, the founder of The United Methodist Church, said, “God does nothing except in response to prayer.” God’s word explains that there are enemies, (spiritual forces) that will not be defeated except through prayer.
My restoration of good health depended upon my grandmother’s prayer. Someone else's life situation depends on your prayer. The way forward for the United Methodist Church depends on our prayers.
Bishop John Schol invites all United Methodists in Greater New Jersey to join him in "Praying Our Way Forward." The Council of Bishops' prayer initiative began January 1, 2017, and continues through Spring, 2018. Each conference is registered to participate for a week of prayer, and Greater New Jersey has been assigned the week of January 29, 2017. I have registered our church's commitment to pray each day of this week. Please join Bishop Schol, Greater New Jersey Methodists, and me in praying our way forward for the unity and mission of The United Methodist Church.
If politicians could solve the problems in our communities, our communities would be better places. If money could solve the problems of life, America would have fewer problems. If weapons of war could bring peace, the world would be a peaceful place. In contrast, God said in his word “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b).
Therefore, “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). Someone’s life depends upon your prayer.