I think most people really don’t believe that we are engaged in battle with an unseen yet very powerful enemy. Satan, the enemy of God, is also the enemy of God’s people. His desire is to defeat us, destroy us, and devour us (1 Pet. 5:8). But God has equipped us with everything we need to stand against the devil and his attacks. That is God’s promise in Ephesians 6:13.
We can consider the pieces of armor that
are listed in Ephesians 6:14-17. But, today, we
will move beyond the armor to the final—and
perhaps greatest—provision we have been given
by the Lord: the provision of prayer.
Paul does not put forth prayer as a weapon;
rather, he speaks of it as the means for utilizing
the armor. Prayer is how we put on “the whole
armor of God.” I want to point out three issues
from this text:
I. THE CONCEPT OF PRAYER
As is clear from the context, this passage
is about prayer. Specifically, it is about how we
are to utilize prayer in our daily lives and in the
context of spiritual warfare.
The dictionary defines prayer as “a request
for help or expression of thanks addressed to
God.” The word used here speaks of “general
requests made to God.” So, if we take that definition
(and I think it’s pretty good), prayer is simply
“talking to God.”
I would define prayer as “the breath of a redeemed
soul, exhaling its needs and its worship
toward God.” The idea of prayer being the breath
of the soul was in Martin Luther’s mind when he
said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more
possible than to be alive without breathing.”
Anytime we turn our attention toward God
and speak to Him, we are praying. Our prayers
can take many forms:
• We pray in private and in public; we pray in loud voices or in a whisper. Sometimes we pray in silence.
• We pray in all types of positions and postures: we sit, we stand, we kneel, we lie down. We pray when we walk, when we drive, and when we rest.
• We pray at home, at church, at work, or
The Bible talks about many forms of prayer,
places of prayer, postures for prayer, and circumstances
of prayer. Yet, the Bible does not
exalt any form, place, posture, or circumstance
for prayer above another.
As for when we should pray, Paul says that
we should be “praying always.” The word “always”
carries the idea of “at all times, in all seasons,
at every opportunity.” The Jews in Paul’s
day had set times each day when they prayed.
The Muslims in our day have five specific times
for prayer every day.
Christianity also has a specific, set time for
prayer. Our time for prayer is “always.” The Bible
speaks of this in several places (Rom. 12:12;
Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17).
There is no time when we do not need to
pray. There is no time when we cannot pray.
There is no time when God will not be listening
and when He will not hear us.
To pray “always” means that we live in a
constant awareness of God and His presence. To
pray “always” means that the soul is ever reaching
up toward God. It also means that we see
everything and every experience as a kind of
prayer to God.
When we are tempted, we call on Him and
ask for His help. When we see something beautiful,
we give thanks to God for that. When we
enter a time of trouble, we look to God for help
and deliverance. When we are happy, we lift our
hearts to God in thanksgiving.
II. THE CONTENT OF PRAYER
This text tells us some of the things that
should fill our prayers. Paul divides our prayer
experience into two parts.
A. He mentions “prayers.” This refers to prayer that is general in scope. Paul calls this kind of praying “all prayer.” That literally means “all kinds of prayer.”
It is the kind of praying we do that is sometimes non-specific. For instance, there are times when we pray for missionaries. We pray for our church leaders and members.
We don’t necessarily call out all the names, places, and needs involved, but we pray for those people and situations in a general way. I believe God hears those prayers, and I believe He answers them. He knows our hearts, and He knows the specific needs far better than we do.
B. Paul also mentions “supplication.” This
word refers to prayers that are very specific in
nature. In these verses, Paul mentions some
specific areas that should occupy our praying
(Eph. 6:18). Remember, “supplication” refers to
If you have a sickness, I can pray specifically
about that. If you have lost family members,
I can pray specifically about that. If you have a
financial need, I can pray specifically about that.
Jesus repeatedly calls on us to pray specifically
(John 14:13; 15:16).
III. THE CONTEXT OF PRAYER
Paul says that all of our praying should be
done “in the Spirit.” Just as the Christian life is
to be lived in the Spirit (Eph. 5:18, Gal. 5:16),
all prayer is to be prayed “in the Spirit.” When
we speak of living “in the Spirit” and “walking
in the Spirit,” we are referring to living in a
way that is “controlled” by the Spirit. When the
Spirit controls our lives, He reveals His control
by producing “the fruit of the Spirit” in us (Gal.
When we offer “prayer” and make “supplication”
“in the Spirit,” He will make His control
of our prayer lives evident as well. What does it
mean to pray “in the Spirit”?
A. It means that we pray in the “name of Jesus.” That is how the Lord commanded us to pray (John 14:13, 14). When we pray “in Jesus’ name,” we ask for the things He would ask for, which means we pray for things that would glorify the Father.
B. It means that we pray according to the will of God and the nature of God. We read what the Lord said about Himself in the Word of God, and we pray about the things He says He wants. In other words, we allow His Word to shape our prayers.
C. It means that we pray in cooperation
with the Spirit of God within our hearts (Rom.
Prayer is a valuable resource, and it should
be one of the top priorities of our lives. To be in
contact with the Lord and to know that He hears
and answers our prayers is a blessing beyond
Paul closes his letter to the Ephesians with a
prayer for grace, love, and peace for all the saints
of God. As Paul prayed in verse 22, God has truly
“comforted my heart” by teaching me who I am
and what I possess in Jesus Christ.
Now, “grace be with all them that love our
Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.”