Prayer as a Mark of Discipleship

With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18, HCSB).
Even though prayer is not listed as a specific piece of the Armor of God, Paul presented it as overlaying the entire armor. The Armor of God is put on and kept on through prayer. Prayer is the ongoing conversation and relationship between God and a disciple of Jesus. Prayer is the alertness that allows the disciple to use the other pieces of the Armor of God.
Jesus was the first to pray calling God, “Father” and, He instructed His disciples to pray to God as “Father” (Matthew 6:9). Jesus taught His disciples to pray as in a relationship. He taught them to come before God as a child would come before their Father asking for favor:
Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11 HCSB).
All of the other pieces of the Armor of God are expressed, put on, and worked out in prayer.
God knows what disciples need. God is causing and/or allowing (sometimes difficult) situations and relationships in their lives so that they learn what they really need. Prayer is where disciples sort out with God what they think they need, and what God knows that they need. Prayer is disciples conversing with God in an ongoing relationship. The Armor of God is not just another list of ‘does and don’ts.’ It is a progression of the relationship; and the relationship should ultimately produce mature disciples of Jesus who wear the full armor of God.
The inspiration of the Holy Spirit is not random. When the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to pen the Armor of God using Old Testament references, the teachings of Jesus, and the well-known picture of a Roman Soldier (which is still recognized today); the Holy Spirit was being very specific and creating a teaching tool which would last. Therefore, the pieces of the armor and the order in which they are listed are likewise specific. The Holy Spirit laid out in a progressive order the marks of a disciple of Jesus. A mature disciple of Jesus has put on truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and the hope of salvation; and has taken up the word of God; all through prayer and in ongoing relationship with God through imitating and obeying Jesus.