On the first Palm Sunday in Jerusalem, crowds of people gathered shouting Hosannas for Jesus the Messiah. But not everyone was jubilant. As our key verse today notes, the chief priests and teachers of the law reacted to the cries of even little children with resentment and anger. They knew public praise had great power, and they quickly tried to stop it.
Today’s passage places prayer among the spiritual weapons that God gives to His people for their spiritual battles. While our visible and immediate troubles—unemployment, family discord, illness—sometimes seem like our most pressing concerns, Paul reminds us that our most dangerous enemies are ones we cannot see. Whether or not we always realize it, “the powers of this dark world” and the “spiritual forces of evil” (v. 12) constantly attack the godly. To wage war against them, we need a special set of weapons. Earthly blades and bullets would be useless against the demonic arrows of Satan, so our Godgiven equipment is uniquely spiritual. To battle evil, Christians have an arsenal stocked with faith, truth, righteousness, and peace. And we have the powerful weapon of prayer, not only for ourselves but also through intercession for “all the Lord’s people” (v. 18) who are fighting the same battle. As theologian John Calvin commented, “We ought to fight by our prayers and supplications.”
Our spiritual war is often frighteningly intense, but these verses give us great confidence. The Savior who crushed Satan by His death on the cross has given us the most effective tools for the battle. By His Spirit, we are able to be strong and stand our ground. By His mighty power, even the praises of little children can shut the mouth of the Evil One (see Ps. 8:2).