I was already Priscilla Shirer fan after seeing her in the movie, “War Room.” She played Elizabeth Jordan, a real estate agent whose marriage was falling apart. Karen Abercrombie played Clara Williams, a client who started to mentor Elizabeth and help her take back control of her life by letting go and asking God to lead. People in her life were not the problem. Her circumstances were also not the problem. Her real enemy was the devil, and every fight in the physical realm had a spiritual component. Throughout the movie, Elizabeth used God’s word to fight the real battle and became more strategic about her prayers. As a viewer, you could see that the more she turned her problems over to God, the more she experienced His peace. In the end, God moved in her life, reclaiming areas she thought were long gone.
“The War Room” was soul-stirring and I went into reading Priscilla’s book “The Armor of God” with that movie in mind because I felt like the book was a longer explanation of the prayer plan Elizabeth adopted. She read the Bible, and as she prayed, spoke scripture over the lies of the enemy. It turns out this Bible study book came out Aug. 1, 2015, while the War Room released later that month on the 28th.
Priscilla started this study of Ephesians 6:10-19 first with an inventory of what was in our “benefits package,” as she put it, when we accepted Christ. Paul wrote to the letter to the church at Ephesus while he was imprisoned in Rome sometime between A.D.60-62 (MacArthur Study Bible). Priscilla described Ephesians as “a delicate mix between God’s gifts and our responsibilities.” In chapters 1-3, Paul told his readers about their identity and status as believers in Christ, and from chapter 4 on, he told them what their responsibilities were as believers and imitators of Christ.
It wasn’t lost on me that Paul used the visual of a Roman soldier as he wrote from prison. He reminded me of something teachers of writing liked to say: “write what you know.” Paul’s audience would have been familiar with the equipment soldiers had to buy to equip themselves for battle, Priscilla said, and, yes, Roman soldiers had to buy their own equipment. Can you imagine not having one of the pieces because you just couldn’t afford it? Thankfully, we don’t have to buy our armor; God gave it to us the day we accepted Christ. We just need to put on the full armor, and pray to activate it.
“Turns out, there aren’t only six pieces of armor, as most people think. There are seven. Prayer is the linchpin that holds our armor together, It is what activates all the other pieces and fortifies you as a soldier in battle. It is the device that empowers and ‘charges up’ every other piece so they can be used effectively against the enemy. Without prayer – I say it again – your armor cannot, will not, be infused with the power that only God’s Spirit can give.”Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God, p. 35
The Armor of God study was broken down into 7 video-based sessions. Each week, readers studied one of the pieces of armor. Priscilla had 5 days of reading and questions for each of the pieces. She’s a phenomenal speaker. I highly recommend watching the videos. They were available for individual purchase on Lifeway, but I did find them online at no cost. The video sessions are as follows: Armor of God, Session 1, Armor of God, Session 2, Armor of God, Session 3, Armor of God, Session 4, Armor of God, Session 5, Armor of God, Session 6, Armor of God, Session 7.
Priscilla used military language to go with her topic and had readers write down “actionable intel.”
“Actionable Intel is often used in a military context to describe the information decoded and gathered about an opponent that can be used to secure victory against them in future battles.”Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God, p. 15
She called this a God-given “divine strategy” between believers and the Holy Spirit to go into the fight prepared and armed for battle. Our opponent, after all, has been collecting intel about us. Readers were told to take all that gathered intel at the end of each week and write a prayer strategy. In the back of the book, she provided perforated cards to tear out and write those prayers down.
Priscilla also had “Digging Deeper” sections within the study. The first was on our enemy, Satan, his names in scripture, and his character; and the second one was on the main ways he attacks us. Digging Deeper III and then IV focused on the “Divine Warrior” as described in Isaiah 59 and the connection to Paul’s description in Ephesians of God’s armor that He gave believers to wear. The best was saved for last though. Digging Deeper V provided just a glimpse of the many benefits and blessings that are “bestowed upon us as redeemed children of God” (178). For example:
I am completely forgiven (Col. 1:14)
I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved (Col. 3:12)
I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7)
I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 2:18)
I am a citizen of Heaven. (Phil. 3:20)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. (Eph. 2:6) (And that’s right now, by the way.)
I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength I need. (Phil. 4:13).
I felt like this study was a team playbook to prepare me to defend against the opposing team. Priscilla encouraged readers to write and highlight, rip out pages, and come back so often to this workbook that the binding gives way. In other words, the pages should look like the well-loved, stuffed bunny in my most favorite book, “The Velveteen Rabbit.”
My women’s group studied this book as we met online and decided to take on one day at a time instead of completing this in 7 weeks. We stayed on each piece of armor for about 5 weeks then. The longer time with each piece of armor really helped me retain more information. I’m really thankful we studied the material at a slower pace. I feel like I retained more as a result. Plus, some questions were not easy to answer, which led to thought-provoking, deep-dive discussions. I encourage readers to join or start their own group to study this book together. I think each of us ladies said several times: “I wish there was an answer key.” I posted that to Instagram and had a fellow reader ask me what my answers were to different exercises. We weren’t alone in that thought!
As I came to the end of the text I realized Priscilla didn’t have five days on the Sword of the Spirit, just a two-page worksheet for the video component. SPOILER ALERT – She doesn’t devote 5 days only about the Sword of the Spirit because she talked about the sword, God’s word, for all of the weeks we’d been studying.
I did find it interesting that as I read this book, I heard all these “battle songs” play on KLove or Air1 Radio, such as “Battles” from The Afters and “Defender” by Francesca Battistelli with Steffany Gretzinger. Two others battle songs were Michael W. Smith’s “Surrounded (Fight My Battles).” and “Battle Belongs” by Phil Wickham (no relation to George Wickham in Pride & Prejudice). For more information and other titles from Priscilla Shirer, go here.
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