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Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You

by | Jun 9, 2021 | Prayer, Warfare

“Rise! To arms! With prayer employ you,
O Christians, lest the foe destroy you;
For Satan has designed your fall.
Wield God’s Word, the weapon glorious;
Against all foes be thus victorious.

“For God protects you from them all.
Fear not the hordes of hell,
Here is Emmanuel. Hail the Savior!
The strong foes yield,
To Christ, our shield,
And we, the victors, hold the field.”

Today, June 6, is remembered as D-Day, the day on which Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in World War II. On this day of remembrance, our hymn issues a call to a different battle: “Rise! To arms!” In this conflict, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but … against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV). Our hymn tells us, “With prayer employ you,” that is, “Start praying!” This is the counsel that Jesus gave His disciples on the night before He engaged the same enemy, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

In this battle that begins with prayer, Emmanuel, God with us, has already won the fight for us. Betrayed, condemned, beaten, and mocked by His enemies, Jesus was nailed to a cross. If we had seen Him there, deserted by His followers, hanging in weakness and pain, we might have come to the wrong conclusion about the outcome of Jesus’ battle with the enemy. Yet this was the conflict foretold in Eden, the deadly enmity between the woman’s offspring and the ancient serpent. Jesus, the woman’s offspring, and the serpent Satan would strike each other down. At the cross, Satan marshalled his forces to destroy the Son of God, but by His death Jesus destroyed “the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14b). As foretold, the serpent and the Savior fell, bruised in battle, but only one arose in triumph!

We are in conflict with a fallen, yet still very powerful foe. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, Satan was thrown down in defeat. The serpent can no longer accuse us before God because our sins are washed away in Jesus’ blood. Yet we are warned that “the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows his time is short” (Revelation 12:12b ESV). As our hymn says, “Satan has designed your fall.” The foe wants to continue the destruction he began in Eden and turn us from the Savior, but we are armed for the fight! We are clothed in God’s armor—truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. We wield that sword, “God’s Word, the weapon glorious,” against Satan’s temptations. The foe, roaring like a hungry lion, must yield to Jesus Christ, who shields us with His love and power. Through faith in Jesus, we are victorious and we hold the field, crying out in praise to our crucified and risen Lord: “Here is Emmanuel. Hail the Savior!”

Jesus, shield me with Your mighty power and arm me with Your glorious Word. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn “Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You,” which is number 668 in the Lutheran Service Book.
Republished with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Reflection Questions:
1. Have you ever heard anyone’s war stories from WW II? What stands out the most?
2. Do you think of Jesus as a conqueror, shielding us from the enemy? Why or why not?
3. How do you use God’s Word to combat the enemy when you’re tempted or feeling down?