By Ali Denney
Today’s Scripture takes me back to my childhood.
Sunday School Baggage
Here I am, impressionable in my frilly Sunday best, cross-legged in front of a flannel board. Stuck to the faded green felt is a bearded figure in what appears to be male undergarments, tall in stature with a strong physique, broad shoulders, and determination in his eyes. Surrounding the soldier are pieces resembling armor. I’m called on to place the sword of the Spirit correctly on the soldier. Unfortunately the huge sword doesn’t really fit into either of his hands. I place the grip over the outstretched hand and the remainder of the sword bisects his body, as if he is cutting himself in half. The whole class laughs.
Fast forward a few years. I’m at a high school church summer camp. “Rest time” in our cabin consists of attempting to temporarily cram all 24 verses of Ephesians 6 into my brain, so I can spit it back out to my leader on command in order to participate in afternoon free time.
Not My Power, But God’s
Why do I avoid this helpful Scripture about the power of God because of childhood baggage or disregard it as lacking meaning for my adult life? How sad. For the past 35 years I’ve been missing something God is trying to say: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” It’s not about me. I don’t have to be fit and broad shouldered like the flannel man. I can be small and out of shape and clumsy. It is not by my power that I fight the wiles of the devil.
And after a description of the armor it says, “And pray in the spirit on all occasions.” It is necessary to keep my body protected. But God doesn’t intend on us just standing there, taking blows until the enemy gives up. There is power and action in prayer.
How much longer will I waste my time fighting earthly battles with my own hands? How long will it take me to pick up the tools I have been given by God and pray like it makes a difference?
Ali Denney is a documentary photographer and blogger in San Diego who travels the world with her camera. She has an insightful husband and two wildly amazing children.