praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (
Like a diamond with its many facets, giving the precious gem its sparkle and shine, so there are many facets to this rich treasure we call prayer.
Prayer is worship. It is making a connection with God where we praise Him for who He is and we thank Him for what He has done.
Prayer is work. I recall the late Ron Dunn saying that “Prayer doesn’t just fit us for the work—prayer is the work.” When I work, I work, but when I pray God works!
Prayer is warfare. The context of
Ephesians 6:18 is
significant. Paul has presented the
classic passage on spiritual warfare in verses 10-17. In describing the adversary we confront and
detailing the armor for combat, he proceeds to define the arena of
conflict. This spiritual battle is
fought in the prayer dimension. It is against spiritual forces of evil and
requires spiritual weapons to attain victory.
This power is accessed by prayer.
The pervasive nature of this is found in the phrase, “praying always.” There is never a time, nor a place that prayer is not appropriate. While the act of praying, if meaning bowing the head, folding the hands, bending the knee, and speaking the words is being called for, then we cannot do that continually. But, if we understand this as the attitude of prayer—the connection of God in our heart and mind that leads to a disposition of communion with Him—then this is to be something we may practice continually.
The preeminent nature of this is presented with, “with all prayer.” There are many dimensions to prayer. We can pray standing up, sitting down, kneeling or prostrate. We can be loud, or silent—or something in between. We can pray in private or in public. Prayers may be in the form of celebration, contemplation, contrition and much more. There is petition, supplication and intercession. Its boundless nature is a testimony to its preeminent quality.
The provisional nature of this is meant by “supplication.” You see the root word, “supply.” We ask God to supply our need and the needs of others. This verse concludes with, “supplication for all the saints.” We would not even have a crust or crumb without asking, “give us this day our daily bread,” as Jesus taught us to pray. Prayer humbles us as we acknowledge our dependency on God. It strips away our self-centeredness as we plead for others.
The powerful nature of this is seen as we pray, “in the Spirit.” Because we are weak, and do not know how to pray as we ought, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in the will of God (see
Rom.8:26-27). When we pray in alignment with His will, then
nothing is beyond the reach of our requests, for we have brought Omnipotence
into the situation.
The protective nature of this is acknowledged in the exhortation, “being watchful to this end.” As alluded to previously, Satan is lurking near—ready to strike. We must pray with our eyes open! The Christian is a sentry at his post when he prays to fortify his soul, his home, and his church against the attack of the Wicked One.
The persistent nature of this is stated as, “with all perseverance.” You will always be tempted to give up. Often the answer is delayed, though not denied, unless we depart from patiently praying. Many texts point to the need of persevering prayer. We are not overcoming the reluctance of a stingy Father, but overcoming the resistance of a spiritual foe. This builds our faith muscle as it is tested, and although potentially changing the situation, will always change us as we spend much time in prayer.
Prayer is hard. It is a struggle. Satan will seek to distract you with a multitude of distractions and diversions—even good things that keep you from the main thing. Seek God—passionately and persistently—and do not think you can live one moment without this oxygen of the soul. When all is said and done, there is sadly more said about prayer than is done. So, as Nike famously put it, “JUST DO IT!”