The Essence of Prayer, III – I Thess 5:17, Eph 6:18

I Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing”.

Ephesians 6:18  Paul describes the entire Christian life as a spiritual warfare.  In this epistle, the Apostle is exhorting to “all prayer”.  Satan the flesh are always present so we are always in this spiritual warfare.  Part of the spiritual warfare the believer is always engaged in is prayer.  Eph 6:18 is the same exhortation as I Thes 5:17 but now Paul is putting it in the context of spiritual warfare.  If the believer wants to stand in this spiritual warfare he must be praying always, having “all prayer”, being in the spiritual atmosphere of prayer.

So prayer is not just a spiritual duty but is the gospel armor that the believer needs to be clothed with.  This “all prayer” is not merely the frantic cries of one in desperate battle.  It might be that but it is more than that.  None of the armor named in Ephesians 6 is named by happenstance.  It is all gospel armor, having to do with the salvation by which we are saved.  This is how the believer is protected and is able to fend off Satan’s attack:  truth, righteousness, preparation of the gospel, faith.

God is working on a worldwide basis and “all prayer” is not just for ourselves and our own needs.  “All prayer” is praying for what God is doing in the church throughout the world by means of His gospel.  This needs to be in our minds as we go through our days.  “All prayer” is not just a spiritual duty but has to do with what Christ is doing.

“All prayer” is supplemented by “supplication”, which is fervency, because God’s glory is at stake.  It is “in the Spirit”.  The believer is not praying merely by means of his own mind and spirit.  We are privileged to be in prayer with the Holy Spirit.  This is what we must be engaged in at all times.  This can and ought to occur in our lives.

“All prayer” is also involved with watchfulness, being aware of Satan’s works and wishes.  “All prayer” is also with perseverance for those things that are on the heart.  This is not “one and done” prayer but ongoing as long as the need is apparent.  This is the nature of gospel prayer for what the Lord is doing in the world.