Ephesians 6:18-20 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 saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
There are many types of prayers and petitions: thanksgiving, praise, lament, mourning, asking, seeking…
Prayer is simply to ask of God, to talk to Him, to express your wishes to Him but I liked this definition, “literally, to interact with the Lord by switching [your] human wishes (ideas) for His wishes as He imparts faith.” Otherwise known as “divine persuasion.” Prayer and faith are closely connected, interwoven, you can’t have one without the other.
Petition on the other hand is a need, to be in want or need of or lacking something. Often it is looked at as a heart-felt, deep, personal need that may be urgent but is definitely specific. Have you ever been moved to tears by a prayer that God presses on your heart? This happened to me several times within a matter of a week some months back. I was overcome with a deep end to pray for weary couples, marriages, and those feeling lost.
To pray at all times means at all times, every fitting season, opportunity, occasion, any other synonym you can think of for time. Derived from the word kara which means to come to a head, to take full advantage of at the opportune moment. It reminds me of a zit. Waiting for it to come to a head so you can seize the moment to pop it. With a zit there isn’t anything you can do except wait for it to come to a head. You can try to treat it in the mean time, but then hopefully it will treat the inflammation and infection and then dissipate. Unlike with prayer, in which we are to be praying at all times. And then, when that one moment comes, where you can seize that moment to pray for someone in the aisle at the grocery store, you can pray healing over someone, whatever that moment may be…you’ve been practicing for it. And if you’re in constant communion with God then those moments aren’t scary, we don’t shy away from those moments. They are natural, and joyous.
In the Spirit…if the Church was praying at all times in the Spirit, we would have a very different world. Very, very different world…marriages would be stronger, children would be walking in righteousness rather than down a path of destruction, we would be out changing our world rather than sitting down doing nothing to further His kingdom. Oh, how lazy we’ve become as followers of Christ. How complacent we have become! Believe me when I say: this is the pot calling the kettle black. I am talking to myself more than anyone else.
“Be on the alert” is to be sleepless; not to be asleep; especially, to be watchful and careful, staying vigilant, without any unnecessary “time-off.” What is unnecessary time-off? Necessary would be sleep, but we see Biblical examples where even sleep, food and drink are pushed off as unnecessary. The more we have, the more we fill our schedule, I fear the more selfish we are with our time. The importance that we place on things that don’t really matter, in the grand scheme of eternity. How many opportunities I have missed, how many times I have regarded myself as more important than another, how many times…
When we look at this passage about the armor, Paul’s first instruction is what? “To be strong in the Lord.” How are we able to do that? Through reading the Word, prayer, and love and obedience. You can’t be strong in the Lord without seeking God, and you can’t seek Him fully without talking to Him.
We must remember to always be praying for our fellow brothers and sisters. To me, particularly those who are of higher target: missionaries, pastors, elders, leaders, teachers, FaithFull politicians…but everyone. No one is above need of prayer.
One of the most inportant things we could pray for fellow believers is that we may all speak about Christ boldly, without fear or shame. I would say particularly in this society but back in Paul’s time when he wrote this people were being grievously killed at the mention of His name. What happens to us, people oppose us with words?
He’s some more Scripture about prayer.
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; (Colossians 4:2-4)
I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. (2 Timothy 1:3-4)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. (Jude 1:20-21)
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:13-18)
Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2)
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; (Colossians 1:3-4)
“[In our fast-paced life] we have no time for contemplation. We have no time to answer God when He calls.” A.W. Tozer
How wonderful is it that we get to talk to God on someone else’s behalf? We get to pray for blessings and protection and aide for someone we love, someone we don’t know, a non-believer, anyone. And not only does God hear us, He answers. We get to help someone out, and God is going to take care of it.