Following the verses on the armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-17, we read, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kind of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18. So often we stop reading at verse 17 but God wants us to be fully equipped for the spiritual warfare we will face. We need to be clothed in the spiritual armor, but we also need to pray in the Spirit, be alert and always pray for all the saints. That is a pretty tall order.
How do we prepare for this kind of praying?
Ephesians 6:10 tells us how to start. It says, “Be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power.” We learn to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power by spending time with Him in prayer. God longs to be in relationship with us. Prayer is conversation with God. We need to learn to quiet ourselves and listen for His voice. Another way we grow strong in the Lord is by spending time with Him in His Word. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to open our ears and our hearts so we can hear when He is speaking to us through His Word and ask Him to guide our thoughts. “In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit. Because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27. This kind of strength comes from relationship with God. When we ask for the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts we need to expect that prayer to be answered, but we also need to obey when we are prompted by Him to pray or do something. Recently I had asked God to help me with something I was struggling with. Later that day an idea popped into my head and I remember thinking that this thought was a little too risky to me, so I chose not to follow through on that thought. Later I realized that the prompting had been God answering my prayer request. I did tell God I was sorry for not acting when He had prompted me. So often I am my own worst enemy when it comes to prayer because I don’t expect God to answer or because I pray with an agenda, I have a certain way I want Him to answer my prayer. Neither of these responses is correct. We need to expect God to answer our prayers in His way and in His time.
We need to be aware or alert that we have an enemy who does not want us to pray in the name of Jesus.
We need to be fully clothed in the armor of God so we can stand firm against the evil one’s schemes. “Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take up your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11. According to 1 Peter 5:8-9a we are to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” The devil knows that when we pray in the name of Jesus that we are praying with power–power that the devil cannot stand against. Romans 8:34 tells us, “…Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” When we pray in Jesus name we join Him in praying for “God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10. This is powerful praying.
God invites us to pray on ALL occasions with ALL kinds of prayers and requests. He invites us to join with Him to accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven. God welcomes our prayers and our petitions. He desires that we grow in prayer and move beyond our petitions of what we think we or others need. He longs for us to hunger for Him and to feed on His Holy Word. He wants us to pray in accordance with His will and His purposes. To know His will we need to be in His word, asking His Spirit to give us understanding and deeper knowledge of the truth that is in His word.
He wants us to pray for all the saints. We need to look beyond our church, our places of worship and to look to the church universal.
We should be praying for Christians who are experiencing persecution. We can pray that they stay focused on Christ and rely on Him to help them remain faithful to Him. We can and should be praying for the missionaries that our churches support. We need to pray for the church to be bold in spreading the Gospel, to remain faithful to God and His Word. “Pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3