The Essence of Prayer VI – Ephesians 6:18

In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul characterizes the Christian life as a battle “against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Colossians 2:14,15  The Lord Jesus has triumphed over such powers in the cross but they are still stronger than we are.  Paul exhorts the believer to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  If we attempt to battle in our own power we are doomed.  We must be armed with His armor.

Ephesians 6:18  Paul urges the believer to unceasing prayer, all prayer, and supplication.  What is supplication?  It is a more intense form of prayer – a pouring out of the heart, greater fervency, entering into greater prayer.  The believer must be engaged in this type of prayer to be engaged in this warfare that is the Christian life.

It is also an earnest pleading by the Spirit.  It is impossible for the believer to pray this way on his own.  There is an analogy:  Warfare that is to be fought in His power = Urgent prayer that the believer does not work up on his own but is given by the Spirit.  Romans 8:15-23  Sometimes prayer is just groaning which has been given by the Holy Spirit.  The believer does not always know how to pray but the Spirit does.  There is a deeper form of prayer that comes from the Spirit.  This is a self-humbling prayer, being flat out before the Lord in prayer.

Besides groans there is a place to know God’s will and to know what we ought to pray for.  The believer is called into conscious prayer on this battlefield.  We can see where the lines are being drawn.  We can see where Satan is on the offensive, in our families, in the church, in our society.  Ought we not to enter this battle?  We cannot stand aside in dismay.  Just being alarmed is not the right response.  We cannot stand behind the battle lines wringing our hands.  We must be engaged in this battle by prayer.  Colossians 2:1  Paul is fighting a battle in prayer for the Colossian believers.  Colossians 4:12  Epaphras is commended for battling in prayer for them.  The believer must be persevering, watchful, ongoing in this warfare.  There is no clock-watching, no checking out of the battle.

What is the believer fighting?  Satan, wherever he is attacking – our own flesh, other believers, the unity of the church, any spiritual advances being made.  He will attack in all these areas.  The believer is in a state of absolute weakness.  But God, the mighty sovereign One, has determined that He will work through the prayers of believers.  Daniel was one man but God heard his prayer and restored Israel.  Elijah was one man.  He prayed fervently for God to fulfill His promise of rain and God heard him.  It is the job of the believer to be in prayer, fervently, on a wide ranging basis for himself, for the church, for the unsaved locally and worldwide.