This week’s article will wrap up my series on the armor of God from Ephesians 6. We have already dug deeper into the belt, breastplate, helmet, shoes, shield, and the sword. If you missed any of these, please check them out on the Eastgate Assembly of God website (eastgateag.org). This final article in this series will address how we are to engage in spiritual warfare effectively. Like soldiers in training, Paul wanted his readers to be prepared to engage the enemy successfully when the time came for them to fight. Likewise, we need to be trained and ready to win our battles as well. Not only for our sake, but for the sake of our families, our churches, and for the lost souls who have yet to accept Jesus as Savior.
In Ephesians 6:18, the apostle Paul wrote, "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" (HCSB). When you examine this verse closely, you discover it contains guidelines on how to have an effective and powerful prayer life. The words of the verse remind us of some things to get "all over" as we pray.
I. All times - "With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit"
The Bible tells us we are to pray without ceasing. Many people do not grasp this concept. They do not understand how anyone can pray without ceasing. Prayer must become a daily, constant, and consistent way of living for each follower of Christ. At any given moment, we are only a thought or a breath from communicating with God through prayer. Today, many people pride themselves on having high-speed internet connections and instant connectivity wherever they go because of smartphones and other internet-enabled devices, we also need to remember that we have high-speed, instant access connections with the Heavenly Father! It is called prayer!
In the book of Psalms, David took an interesting approach to pray at all times. In Psalm 4, he prayed before ending the day. In Psalm 5, he starts his day in prayer. In Psalm 6, David prayed in the aftermath of his failures. In Psalm 7, David prayed when the pressure was on and he was under attack. In Psalm 8, he prayed when he thought about the creative power of God. In Psalm 9, he prayed in times of joy. In Psalm 10, he prayed when he felt isolated. David’s lifestyle was one of prayer without ceasing and through his lifestyle of prayer, David stressed how important it is to keep the lines of communication open to God.
II. All types - "and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession"
Praying happens in many ways in the life of Christians. We offer up prayers of praise to the Heavenly Father where we simply say "thanks" and express our gratitude to God. We pray about the things that trouble us and that weigh heavy on our hearts. We pray for those moments that we have failed and let God down. An important part of our prayer lives is time spent praying for others, known as intercession. Praying is a dynamic and active part of the lifestyle of a growing believer. The verse from Ephesians 6 reminds us to keep at it and keep praying for others.
III. All together - "and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints"
Prayer should be a constant for the Christian. Prayer MUST become a constant part of our devotional life. Our goal is for prayer to become as natural for us as breathing. If prayer can become the main habit of our lives, then the way we look at the world and deal with others will change. In praying for others we are more likely to remember that we are all in this thing called life together. We are too often guilty of praying exclusively for ourselves. If we can find the right balance of prayer for other people and prayer for ourselves, we will open our eyes to the needs of others as we pray for them. We will realize that we are all part of the body of Christ. This gives us a new sense of purpose and a renewed sense of hope as we remember that we are connected with the body of Christ.
If we learn to pray at all times, in all types of conversations with God, and if we will take seriously our role in the kingdom work of God regarding the importance of our prayer with others and for others, we will begin to experience God in powerful ways. Our lives will become fueled by a passion for living for Christ. Prayer will help us stay on track as we strive to make a difference in the world around us for Him.