Realizing our Riches | Ephesians 6: 18 | Prayer
Ephesians 6:18 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Having concluded the list of armor Paul moves to the lifeline of the warrior, prayer. Although this isn't listed as a piece of the armor I believe it to be every bit as necessary. Neither will the Soldier be safe if he stops at putting on the armor. You may be shod from head to toe but if you leave off this ministry of prayer it will be as if you are naked. Prayer is the line of communication with headquarters. In the World Wars, there was a Soldier that carried a backpack with a telephone inside. The troops would guard this man at all cost, he was their direct line for provisions, back up or any other thing the battalion may need. If the troops ran low on food, they could make a call and a drop of food provision would be dropped, if the enemy was advancing they could call for reinforcements. At the same time, the enemy would try to spot the man with the telephone and take him out, this would cut off their communication. If they succeeded, it forced the battalion they were fighting against to use only what they had with them. If the troops run out of food then it wouldn't be long before they were too weak to fight, if their ammunition was depleted then they would be forced into hiding. They had to maintain contact with their supply line or else defeat was certain. In this war we are engaged in we must maintain contact with our supply line. Be sure that this ministry of prayer puts a target on your back. As soon as the enemy notices that you have a direct line to the throne room, the source of all our strength, the storehouse of God's grace, you will be under fire. One call and we can be sure that we need will be supplied. This ministry puts such a target on you that it requires you to be suited in the whole armour of God. Some have even said that prayer is the fight, I can't say it is the fight but I can say without hesitation that it is a fight. A fight that requires protection, a fight that requires perseverance, prayer is a fight. How many times have you went to your altar and fought thoughts of the day, thoughts of the past, thoughts of wickedness, it is a battle of the mind? How many times has every distraction assailed upon you when it is time for prayer? Phone calls, visitors, everything seems to try and hinder. Prayer requires the soldier to be suited before he goes into that battle, have on the breastplate of righteousness, have your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel, take up the shield of faith, pray believing. This is the best way to pray, when you are prepared to, but thankfully prayer doesn't require all of these things. Sometimes the most desperate prayers come from the soldier who has forgotten to take up the shield of faith, from some wounded warrior of the faith who has fallen again into the trappings of sin. Thank God whether prepared or not we can call out to our Lord and "Obtain help in a time of need." Like Peter sinking into the depths of the stormy sea, the eyes of our faith have shifted their focus from the Savior to the storm and we begin to sink; Our cry is that of Peters "Lord save me." These types of prayer are short and effective and can call for rescue in our times of trouble and we thank God for that type of prayer, but Paul says here "With all prayer and supplication." Meaning all kinds of prayer, there are prayers of desperation, shouted as we are sinking. There are prayers of thanksgiving, whispered as we weep. There are public prayers, there are private prayers, there are prayers for self and prayers for others, there are all kinds of prayer. Don't neglect any of them. A man who prays at church and not at home is harming himself, a man who prays in public but not in private is a hypocrite. "Praying always with all prayer." If the pastor calls on you to pray at the church, don't let that be the first time in the week you have prayed, pray always. Paul instructed the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing and many times in regards to prayer he used the phrase "without ceasing." [Rom 1:9, Thes 1:3, 2:13, 5:17, 2 Tim 1:3] This does not mean that we spend our entire day on our knees in solemn prayer, but at least a portion of it. We pray as we work, we pray as we walk, when needs arise we pray, when worries grip us, we pray, when the fiery darts of Satan are flying and we feel as if we may not survive the onslaught, we pray. The caveat or stipulation to prayer is "In the Spirit." What does that mean? Prayers are at times cold and struggling, many of our prayers start this way. The battle is making sure they don't end that way. There have been times when I went to Him in prayer and immediately I was praying in the Spirit. More often though I have gone to prayer with a sense of obligation and even at times dread. The fight of prayer is praying when it doesn't come easy. You may start in the flesh but be sure that before you finish you have prayed in the Spirit. This does not mean uttering mindless words, but when The Spirit takes control of the prayer and the prayers become effectual and fervent, you are no longer struggling and searching for content to pray about but ,as the Spirit leads you, you pray for the things God would have you to pray for, you are reminded of a brother or sister you would not have otherwise remembered. New burdens are born in your heart and you have pressure to pray for something that you never thought of before that season of prayer. Prayer is most effective when it is in line with God's will. Jesus taught us how to pray "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done." Romans 8 tells us the Spirit makes intercession for us because we know not what to pray for and in the 27th verse Paul says this, by the Holy Spirit, concerning the Holy Spirit's ministry in prayer; "he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Praying in the Holy Ghost has been either misrepresented or forsaken and what a shame it is. Praying in the Spirit assures us that we are praying in His will, and I would remind you of 1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
The Spirit of the Lord is not something that is easily explained but something that must be experienced, that is why the Psalmist said in Psalms 34:8 "O taste and see that the LORD is good:" The country preacher said it this way " It's better felt than telt!" If you have never prayed until you received an answer from the Lord, either with a peace that passes all understanding and keeps our hearts and minds while we wait or He answered with a miraculous supply of the need, then there isn't much I'm going to say that can describe to you the blessedness of knowing that He hears and answers prayer. My hope is that it would make you desire such prayerfulness. This praying in the Spirit is the key to the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availing much. You say "I don't feel like praying." Be sure that is when you need most to pray. So, pray when it is hard and persevere in prayer. Like Jacob, wrestle in prayer until God has touched, until heaven has opened, until peace like a river attendeth your way. Pray until you get peace to stop or until he has supplied the need. Jesus told the story of the unjust judge who answered the woman because of her perseverance. Now we aren't dealing with an unjust judge but the righteous judge of all the earth, and "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" I may be taken as a fanatic but I remember the first time I prayed until God answered. I was 15 years old and I asked, seeked, knocked in prayer until God had answered and filled me with a holy unction to preach. The prayer had become effectual and fervent, I was unctionized by His Spirit to preach and I could not help but preach, I stood and thanked the Lord for His goodness, I shared the Gospel, I was filled with the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit will lead to operating in the Spirit. This will ensure you are fighting the right battles, running the right course and your aim is set in the right direction. I'm afraid that prayer has become altogether cold and mechanical, something we do at church or before a meal, and not much praying like was done in the Bible is being done today. That is why the results we see today are either non-existent or manufactured. So Pray.
Onward Christian Soldiers!!