“… praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
As Paul closes out this section on spiritual warfare, he emphasizes the priority of prayer. For a Christian, prayer is a necessity and priority. It is integral to the way a Christian lives and works. And prayer is essential to defending ourselves against the schemes of the enemy.
The importance of prayer is magnified by the fact that four times Paul uses the word “all” in this passage in reference to prayer:
· Praying at all times in the Spirit.
· With all prayer and supplication.
· With all perseverance.
· For all the saints.
“Praying at all times in the Spirit”
Prayer is conversation with God. While scripture is God speaking to us, prayer is us speaking to God. And it should be constant. The Lord invites us to talk with him all the time about everything. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul writes in I Thess 5:17.
In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us to pray at all times in the Spirit. To pray “in the Spirit” means to pray as agents of God’s purposes, not as agents of our preferences and desires. It means to pray in alignment with the Lord’s character and will. It also means to pray in acceptance of His response.
When we pray “in the Spirit,” we are not just invoking his power, we are acknowledging our submission to his lordship. When we pray in the Spirit we are saying “not my will, Lord, but may your will be done.”
Prayer is not a means by which we get God to do what we want. James says, “You have not because you ask not.” We must ask, but our heart must be right. Our motives matter. James goes on to say, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to consume it on your passions.”
To pray in the Spirit does not mean praying in pursuit of your own desires. Rather, it means praying for the purposes God has for your life.
To pray in the Spirit means to pray in response to the Spirit-inspired Word of God. If you are a Christian, then the Holy Spirit lives within you. As you read and study scripture, pray and ask the Spirit to give you understanding and insight.
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2.12-14).
God speaks to you through Scripture. You speak to God through prayer.