Consider Ephesians 6. Let’s look at Paul’s discourse on the armor of God. Our focus will be on a facet of this discourse that is often overlooked, simply because it is not mentioned as an article of clothing — prayer and intercession. In order to be successful, it’s a good idea to consider Paul’s commentary on this “weapon” given to us by the Father. Just in case you don’t have a Bible with you, the passage reads as follows:
(Ephesians 6:10-20) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
In this passage, Paul discusses prayer in a very, very specific manner — giving us a thorough way to look at our prayer life. If you ask someone how they’re doing in this area, not many will examine themselves in light of the elements Paul discusses. Let’s look at the elements one-by-one. They are: 1) praying; 2) always; 3) prayer and supplication; 4) in the Spirit; 5) watching thereunto; 6) with all perseverance and supplication and 7) for all saints.
1) PRAYING. Let’s define prayer and move forward. The word “praying” means “to supplicate or worship”. Therefore, prayer involves making a request for something that is needed AND includes adoration for Him that gives the provision. It is not enough to ask for something. We should adore Him as well. This definition lets us know that rehearsed, empty and vain words should not be a part of our prayer lives.
2) ALWAYS. This attribute of successful prayer denotes consistency. Two passages of scripture come to mind — Luke 18:1 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Together, these passages tell us to maintain a sense of prayer in our lives and shows its importance. Praying “always” is one aspect. Let’s go on to the next.
3) PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION. No, this wasn’t a typo. The word translated “prayer” in this part of verse 18 is different than the one mentioned at the beginning of the verse. It involves worship, but places emphasis on what is spoken. Hence, a prayer is a SPOKEN request. In other words, address your request to the Lord. Sometimes, we have requests, but we don’t express them. Hence, we have not because we ask not. Don’t get caught “holding the bag” when you can give it to the Lord in exchange for the blessing. SUPPLICATION involves the same element. It means “to petition” and comes from another word that literally means “to beg”. We’ve been taught that begging is a loathsome thing. From a prayer perspective, begging is actually honorable because in order to do so, one must recognize a need, be desperate enough to pursue it and be willing to humble oneself at the feet of He who is able to meet the need. Paul qualifies how we should do this with the next facet.
4) IN THE SPIRIT. Here, Paul is not talking about praying in other tongues/languages, but he is talking about the Spirit’s influence upon our prayers. This requires a sensitive heart, mind and spirit regarding the mind and heartthrob of God. To pray without the Spirit’s influence is to pray with the flesh’s influence and makes our prayer vain and, therefore, void of substance and power.
5) WATCHING THEREUNTO. This denotes awareness. It means “to keep awake”. In order to pray successfully, we must be in a constant state of awareness — regarding what we’re praying about — focused and intent.
6) WITH ALL PERSEVERANCE. As we embrace prayer, we should have a persistent attitude. Some people teach that we must only pray about something once and that anything beyond that is unbelief. The Bible does not teach this. We must be persistent. We must pray until the job is done — until something happens.
7) FOR ALL SAINTS. Remember Jesus’ model for prayer in Matthew 6? Our Father, which art in heaven…give US this day…. Successful, godly prayer will ALWAYS include the needs of others. Jesus didn’t say, “give ME this day….”, but “give US this day our daily bread”, denoting awareness and concern about others AND petitioning for needs. Let us always remember others in prayer — not just your friends either, but all saints. We’re not in this alone.
Successful intercession embraces all of these elements. How about it folks? Do you consider yourself an intercessor? If not, you should. We all have this responsibility. How do you fare in the facets that we’ve reviewed? As a single person, how you value and approach prayer will benefit you both spiritually AND naturally. Be diligent about the development of your prayer life. It can make or break you as a Christian.
Let’s not be deceived into misusing OR neglecting the weapons God has provided for us. Developing and/or maintaining a solid prayer life will help us to succeed in our walk with Jesus Christ. Therefore, put on the whole armor of God AND include prayer in your arsenal. Then, and only then, can we stand against the wiles of the devil.
Copyright © 1999-2000, Darren Hood, Scenario Singles Outreach, and Remnant Christian Assembly