Whatever is plaguing you today in the physical realm is emanating from the spiritual realm. If we do not address the cause, we will never get to the cure. The enemy wants you to forget that. He wants you to continue to believe that your spouse, your boss, your friend, that drink, that drug, that emotion, or even you yourself are the problem. All of these (and more) can be manifestations of the problem, but none are the root cause.

The battle begins in the spiritual realm. And because you are a believer, you are already victorious in that realm even when everything around you in the visible, physical realm is telling you you’re defeated. If you want to access and walk in the victory that is already yours, you must address the physical spiritually. If you do not address the physical spiritually, you will continue to experience the effects of the physical realm’s domination.

Paul gives us the secret for how we can do this. After instructing us to put on the full armor of God, he goes to the next step in the process of battling in spiritual warfare when he says in Ephesians 6:18, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”

Notice how many times the word “pray” or a synonym for prayer is used in that short statement. We see it as “all prayer,” “petition,” and “pray.” Paul has purposefully chosen to emphasize prayer immediately following his instructions on taking up the armor of God. Simply defined, prayer is earthly permission for heavenly interference. It’s earth giving heaven permission to intervene in the manifestation down here of the spiritual reality up there.

Why do we have to give heaven permission? When God created the heavens and the earth and placed mankind on it, He said, “Let them rule” (Gen. 1:26). For whatever reason, God chose to give mankind rulership over the earth. In doing so, He has done two things. First, He has given mankind the option of leaving Him out. The second thing He’s done is given mankind the option of calling on Him to join in on the rulership He has willingly given us.

There are many things God can do but doesn’t do simply because He has not been requested to do them. But when you go to God and ask for His divine intervention based on His Word, His truth, His promises, and His character, He intervenes in response to your faith, your desire for Him, your submission to Him, and your acknowledgment of your need for Him.

You can leave God out. He’s given you that option. You can act independently of God all day long. But you can also bring Him into your situation and watch Him show up in ways you’ve never even imagined. That’s done through prayer. What prayer does is call on God to intervene in ways that He has already declared that He wants to intervene. He’s just waiting for you to ask Him.

This biblical truth is illustrated in James 5:16: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Jesus Christ is the righteousness that God sees in you when you, by faith, access, receive, and walk in His grace. Since we are credited with Jesus’s righteousness, our prayers can accomplish MUCH!

Prayer isn’t the preparation for the battle, prayer IS the battle. We are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17) and to “Put on the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:11). When we do both of these, we are submitting to God and recognizing that He is in control, and we are not. And then we “will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11); and having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:13) and “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10).