RELATED VERSE: DO NOT LEAD US INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children
It’s story time! Listen to this make-believe tale about a certain forgetful knight:
Once upon a time there was a young man named Englebert, who on this special day, happened to be living out his dream of becoming a real knight. He had always wanted to be a real knight in the real King’s army when “he grew up.” And it seemed like only yesterday, he was playing “good knights” and “bad knights” with his little friends. They would use buckets for helmets, cooking lids for shields, and long sticks for swords. What “great battles” they would have!
But now, he was “grown up,” and this was the real thing! Englebert had become a majestic knight in service to the King; and this was his first time to sleep in the palace quarters. What a jumble of nerves he was! And, poor Englebert, when his nerves got jumbled, so did his mind! He just kept repeating to himself as he drifted off into an uneasy, restless sleep: “If there’s a battle, I must find my horse and go fight, find my horse and go fight, find my horse and go fight. . . . “ Well, guess what? Very soon Englebert would have his first chance to go into battle. . . .
In the wee morning hours, a mighty trumpet blew a resounding alarm to all the King’s horsemen and all the King’s men! An enemy had been sighted, and all were to prepare immediately for battle. Englebert flung the covers off himself in a panic and darted about the room to and fro in fretful hysteria, thinking about everything and nothing at the same time. He then remembered what he had told himself the night before: “O yes, yes, my horse. I must find my horse and go fight!” And so, off he went running frantically out the door searching wildly for his horse, wearing only his polka-dotted underwear. This crazy behavior would have continued, except that Englebert stepped on a huge thorn that stuck in his foot. “Ouch!” he yelled as he bent over to see the problem. Suddenly, he realized, “Oh, my goodness! I forgot my armored boots! I must go back and get my armored boots!” That, he did quickly. He found them at once, put them on, and again attempted to scurry off to the battle. But before he could even get out the door, he butted his head with tremendous force against its frame, which he sometimes forgot was low. “Ouch! And double ouch!” he cried, as he felt the swelling knot on his forehead. “Oh, my lands! My helmet! I forgot my helmet!” So he found his helmet, put it on, and declared himself ready for battle—in his armored boots, his helmet, and his polka- dotted underwear.
This time his hunt for his horse was successful. Sleepy-headed Gertrude was standing quietly underneath a large tree. Englebert sped up his already quick pace and gave a mighty leap into the air, landing with a heavy smack on old Gerdy. However, old Gerdy was not ready for young Englebert. She did not appreciate this sudden surprise. Stubbornly, she bucked him off with a gigantic buck, which sent him sailing through the air. Poor Englebert landed on his bottom, with a BIG thud quite a distance away. “Ouch! And triple ouch!” he yelled. “That was a terribly painful landing!” And when he looked down, he realized why. “Oh my heavens! I have forgotten to put on my armored pants! I must go back at once!” But as he got up, a branch from the tree he was under scratched his bare chest, making a long red mark across it. “Ouch! And quadruple ouch!” he declared. “And yes, I must get my breastplate as well!” And so, Englebert ran in his helmet, his armored boots, and his underwear, back to his quarters to get his armored pants and his protective breastplate.
. . . “Ah! Now, I am ready to fight!” he said to himself as he, this time, slowly mounted Gertrude. “Let’s be off, my dear faithful horse.” So Englebert and Gertrude followed the noise of the battle and came very close to the action. As a matter of fact, one arrow whizzed through the air above his head and another hit his breastplate, bouncing off to the ground beneath him. Soon, however, several arrows were flying ALL around him. Then, somehow, one managed to stick him in the crevice below his shoulder. “Ouch! And quintuple ouch! That hurt!” he said as he pulled the (not-so-deep) arrow out of his shoulder. It was at this time he realized he had forgotten his shield. “Oh my stars! I forgot my shield! I must go back and get my shield. I cannot truly be protected without it!” And so Englebert dashed to his quarters, one more time.
“Ah! Now, I’m ready! I have all that I need to fight—I cannot be better prepared.” Sure enough, this time, the arrows of battle could not touch Englebert. He took courage in the sound of the “chink” as they hit his shield and bounced away. However, he did begin to wonder to himself what he would do if the enemy came closer, which, in fact, they were! “Hmm, “he wondered, “I cannot fight like this forever. As a matter of fact, I’m not fighting at all! I’m just defending!” He turned and looked around at his fellow knight. He was holding his mighty sword that glistened in the early morning sun. With this weapon, he was able to fight off the enemy with great valor.
“Aha! That’s it!” declared Englebert. “My sword! I forgot my sword! And if I don’t go get it, I will have infinite ouches!” So, one last time, Englebert raced to his quarters, grabbed his own sword, and returned to the edge of the battle. There, with Gertrude beneath him, he stood tall, almost heroically. His armor was fully applied: his boots, his helmet, his pants, his breastplate, his shield, and now his sword. Although it took him a while, he had finally become a real knight in service to a real King. Englebert, then, feeling strong and courageous, stepped into battle and fought with all his might, in order to bring glory and honor to his King’s name. The end.
Okay, children, here’s the meaning behind Englebert’s absent-minded behavior. . . .
Just as he forgot to put on his armor to fight a physical battle, we too can forget to put on our “armor” when we fight our daily spiritual battles. Children, you (and I) need to “get dressed” spiritually every day in order to be equipped and ready to fight off the fiery darts of the evil one. Satan will send those arrows; and you better believe, he will attack when he sees you without your armor on. Remember, put on the armor of God, and keep it on, my dear ones.
Here are just a few hints on how to get dressed for this battle. In the morning, when you are ready for the day—washing your face, brushing your teeth, putting on your clothes—you can also be “praying on” your armor:
- When you wash your face, pray: “Dear Father, may I set my face like flint to do your will today, and every day, that You have given to me” (from Is. 50:7).
- When you brush your teeth, pray: (May) the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps. 19:14).
- When you put on your glasses, or put in your contacts (which, undoubtedly, will happen, due to your parents genetics!) pray: “O God, keep my eyes open to see the needs of the lonely, the hurt of the down trodden, and all those in my path who are crushed in spirit” (from Matt. 25:35-40).
- When you “do” your hair, pray: “Please, dear Father, continue to give me a mind like Christ. May I be filled with all the wisdom and knowledge and understanding of Your beautiful Word and Your unfailing love” (from I Cor. 2:16).
- When you put on your shirt, pray: “O dear Father, ‘create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me’ (Ps. 51:10). May I live righteously for You today. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that I can do this. Let me let You reign!”
- When you put on your pants, pray: “My dear Jesus, help me to fully know the truth, fully live the truth; and then, be driven to fully spread the truth, which sets captured prisoners free” (from John 8:32).
- When you put on your shoes, again pray: “Dear Lord, may I always be about Your business in spreading the gospel. Make my feet beautiful in Your eyes, my beautiful and precious Savior” (from Is. 52:7).
Do you get the picture? There are so many ways to “pray on” your protective armor; don’t limit it to these. But please, dear children, don’t always live and fight defensively! You have the ability to defeat the enemy with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. This weapon, dear children, when used with the shield of faith, will cause Satan not only to back off, but he will also turn and flee! I challenge you, children, to hide His Word in your heart so that you may use it decisively when you are being attacked. Realize this takes time, energy, and effort, but knowing His Word and using it wisely is worth it all.
Believe God is real, and He will really win. Have faith in His power, not your own. And remember, His power is in every piece of armor that you choose to put on or carry. Please don’t go out into the daily battle of life just in your “spiritual underwear.” Because your experience, my dear ones, may not be as humorous as Englebert’s.
Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children
- On occasion, practice “putting your armor on” together by using any of these suggestions above (brush your teeth, your hair, wash your face together—and pray simple prayers concerning each).
- Before going somewhere, practice praying again, when putting on your shoes—simple prayers, packed with meaning!
- Remind your children they can do this daily by themselves as they get ready for the day. Teach what to pray, and encourage them to do it!
A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children
Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise You and thank You for all of Your power and all of Your protection You freely give to us as Christians. For You have promised to come and live inside of all those who believe. I pray, dear God, that my children would never doubt Your promises. Help them to believe they have the power through You to resist Satan when he is attacking them in a vulnerable spot.
I pray they will stand firm on You, dear Lord, the Rock of Ages. For, You promise not to allow those feet to slip who are walking in faith. Keep them on Your solid foundation, which is changeless and eternal. There, may they daily be in a habit of taking up and putting on each piece of precious armor that comes from You.
First of all, I pray each child would always buckle the belt of truth around their waist. Help them, dear Father, to pursue a life of complete honesty—one that will keep their conscience clean, their integrity blameless, and their hearts pure. And may Your truth forever set them free from the lies and deception of Satan, their enemy.
Secondly, I pray my children would realize the awesome privilege of being able to wear Your righteousness as a breastplate. As they humbly apply this piece of armor, impress on them, this can be worn only because of the blood their Savior shed for them on the cross. May they wear it for You, dear Jesus, with honor and dignity.
Then, as my children shod their feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, I pray they would realize this is Your mighty calling—going out, as You have commanded, to set trapped prisoners free. May they never be satisfied with being stationary in You; but fill them with the desire to be the bearer of this Good News, which is able to save lost souls.
And as they go, may they remember to take up Your invincible shield of faith, so they may be able to resist all the flaming missiles of the evil one. Give them the confidence they need to accomplish all the wonderful plans You have waiting for them in your will.
In addition to all of this armor, may they daily put on Your helmet of salvation, which will, once again, protect them from the lies and schemes of Satan. May they meditate on You as their God and Savior, and lover of their soul. Give them the mind of Christ, and fill them with Your beauty, Your wisdom, and Your love.
And finally, dear Lord, may my children never forget to carry with them Your mighty weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word. For it is living and active, able to pierce as far as the division of the soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). May they hide Your Word inside them, meditating on it even in the night watches (Ps.63:6), I pray, so they may be able to use it in any time of need.
You are our Mighty Warrior, dear God, and our Commander in Chief. Thank You for providing Your armor to all those who seek and serve You as their King. May my children, by Your Spirit, choose to be a part of Your army, fighting the good fight of faith—now and forevermore.
Scripture references in letter:
Eph. 6:10-17; Col. 4:2; Ps. 119:11; I John 3:8b; Ex. 14:14; Gal. 1:3-5
Scripture references in prayer:
Rom. 13:12; Eph. 1:18-19; I Cor. 16:13-14; Ps. 121:1-8; Ps. 15:1-5; Is. 59:16-21; Ps. 144:1-2; Ps. 24:7-10; II Sam. 22: 29-47