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In the garden before the cross Jesus told His disciples to pray lest they fall into temptation. Temptation is more dangerous than many of us imagine. James 1:14 says temptation drags us away by our lusts. In John 14:30 Jesus said the prince of this world had no hold on him.

No doubt no fear,

No guilt or sin that he controlled,

No secret desire held dear.

The enemy had no hold

To drag Him to his fold.

We must pray to avoid the enemy's grip on our hearts.

Part of this is simply to ask God to deliver us from temptation. But the focus of what Jesus is telling us in the garden is the transformation of heart and mind that comes from extended prayer. Jesus asked "Could you not watch for an hour? Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation."

Ephesians 6 paints a forceful picture of our spiritual armor. The first defense against temptation is truth. In prayer God fastens the belt of truth tightly around our thinking."

Next is the breastplate of righteousness. The accuser of the brethren will accuse you before God in your hearing. You need to pray in the righteousness of Jesus to be protected from his onslaughts.

Nothing will prepare you to ward off the enemy like the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The enemy trembles at the name of Jesus. But time and time again we are not spiritually prepared to share the gospel. In extended prayer we lace up our spiritual boots.

Praying Scripture builds faith as a shield to extinguish Satan's fiery darts.

A relationship of prayer covers us with God's salvation like a helmet from beginning to glory.

And by prayer we wield the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.

Paul concluded his discussion of spiritual armor with the admonition for us to pray at all times with all prayer and supplication. Pray, pray, pray, so you will be able to avoid temptation.

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