NAU Ephesians 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
This wonderful command to pray comes at the end of Paul’s memorable passage on the Christian’s spiritual armor. As I’ve mentioned before, the main command in that passage is “to stand firm” (6:11, 13, 14). These commands are in the plural, conveying the sense that the “stand” is to be done together, much like a Roman legion of soldiers, rather than a single super-hero Christian. Paul gives this picture to remind them of the spiritual battle they are in, and therefore how much they need the “armor of God” (6:11).
Outfitted with spiritual armor, and banded together, Paul calls them to prayer. And Paul fleshes out the “what”, “when” and “how” to pray. They are to offer “all prayer and petition,” and pray “at all times.” They should pray “in the Spirit…on the alert with all perseverance.” We hear in those phrases the same atmosphere of a spiritual battle. Prayer is not a time for meaningless repetition, or unbelief, or sloth. It is a time to engage with God in an alert attitude of the needs at hand, and to pray His will in big ways. Beyond standing firm, prayer and even corporate prayer is the central part of engaging together in the spiritual battle.
At Calvary, we should aim to be a praying church. Not in our own eyes, or anyone else’s, but in God’s eyes. Faithfulness in prayer doesn’t take money, or more staff, or more programs, or more organizational efficiency. It takes our faith, and the right perspective on the spiritual battle we’re in. The fight of prayer confesses that we long to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven. Praying this way, comes with the assumption that only God’s perfect wisdom and power can bring about the good we long to see.
Let’s be sure we are praying individually – in a secret place, at a quiet time – as the Lord taught us (Matt. 6:5-15). But also, let’s be sure we’re praying corporately. We have a Wednesday night prayer fellowship group. But every fellowship group or informal small group should highly value praying together as described in Ephesians 6:18-19. When you talk on the phone, pray with one another. After church on Sunday, take time to pray for and with one another. We will be a stronger church, as we come to God in our weakness – praying.
Powerful ministry is only ever experienced due to the very power of God. His power comes mostly when we seek His face in prayer.
See you Sunday,