If we do not continually "pray in the Spirit," our limbs will, so to speak, shrink, and our armour drop off. The knights of old exercised themselves every day in their full armour, or they could not have borne it, nor used their weapons with dexterity and strength. So must the Christian warrior, by prayer and supplication, "exercise himself unto godliness." To this must be added, "watching thereunto." To watch for the answer; to wait for the appearing of the Lord "more than they that watch for the morning." And this, "with all perseverance," never giving it up, taking no denial, begging of the Lord again and again, and wrestling with him till he appear to bless, visit, and shine upon the soul.
O how this heavenly recipe keeps every part of the armour bright, and the soldier active and expert in its use! The armour indeed of itself, as being from heaven, gets neither dull nor rusty. It is we who get sluggish in its use. But, to our apprehension, faith and prayer make it glitter more brightly. How, for instance, "the prayer of faith" brightens up the girdle of truth, and makes it glitter and shine! How it burnishes the breast-plate, and makes it fit tightly round the bosom! How it makes the helmet glitter in the sun, and its noble plumes to wave in all their native lustre! How it beats out every dint the shield may have received from the fiery darts, and fits it for fresh encounters! And how it sharpens "the sword of the Spirit," gives it a brighter polish, and nerves the arm to wield it with renewed activity and vigour!
Oh, this is the secret of all true victory! All is, all must be well, when we are in a prayerful, meditative, watching state; and all is ill, when this heavenly recipe is neglected; when the hands droop, and the knees faint, and prayer seems dead and motionless in the breast. Let there be in the soul an abiding spirit of prayer, and victory is sure. Satan has little power against the soul that has an abiding spirit of prayer, and is "watching thereunto with all perseverance." But without this spirit of prayer, we are a prey to all his temptations, and can neither take, wear, nor use the only armour against them.