In our message, PRAYER AND THANKFULNESS (Eph. 6:18-24), we finished our series in the book of Ephesians.
In way of synopsis, Ephesians chapters 1 through 3 deal with doctrine showing how “in Christ” people are saved “by grace… through faith,” and chapters 4 through 6 then urge us (i.e. the church) to “walk worthy” of that truth (Eph. 1-3; 4-6; Eph. 2:5-9; 4:1-2, etc.) This is because all Christians today are also in intense spiritual warfare “against… [the] powers… of the darkness of this age” (Eph. 6:10-12, etc.). In addition to the six pieces of armor we looked at last week, God wants us to wield a seventh resource in our battle against sin and the forces of darkness- namely, PRAYER (Eph. 6:18). Prayer is the atomic bomb of spiritual warfare as it destroys Satan’s “strongholds” and is “mighty in God… casting down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge” of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-6, 1 Cor. 2:16, etc.). Without prayer, all the armor would be of no use (1 John 1:9; John 15:11; Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21, etc.). Spiritual disciplines like fasting and reading the Bible, when done in the right way, can strengthen us in prayer (2 Cor. 12:9; Mark 9:29; Dan. 9:3; Luke 2:37; 1 Cor. 7:5; Rom. 7:18; Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38; Rom. 8:3-4, etc.).
Verse 18 shows us our prayer should be:
- Constant- that is we should “always… pray without ceasing” being in constant communion/fellowship with our Lord (Eph. 6:18; 1 Thes. 5:17, etc.). If something has come between us and our heavenly Father, we should cry out to Him and “confess” it restoring that close intimacy that God wants with us as His children (1 John 1:9; 1 Cor. 11:31-32; 1 Kings 22:32, etc.).
- Multifaceted- that is it should be “all [kinds of] prayer” to include praise, thanksgiving, intercession for others, listening to God ourselves, etc. (Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:1, etc.).
- “In the Spirit”- to be an effective prayer, God’s children need to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18) which is evidenced by THANKFULNESS knowing God will sovereignly work out “all things” ultimately for their “good” (Rom. 8:26-27; Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1 Thes. 5:18; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11, etc.)
- “Watchful”- we should have our eyes open! The Word shows us watching and praying helps us to overcome the forces of darkness of this present age (Mark 14:29-31, 67-72; Neh. 4:9; Eph. 5:15-16; Heb. 10:24-25, etc.)
- With “perseverance”- that is, we should NEVER GIVE UP. Prayer is not getting man’s will done in heaven; it is getting God’s will done on earth (Matt. 6:9-10; Ps. 37:5, etc.). We should keep on praying until the Spirit stops us or the Father answers us (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; 18:1-8, etc.)
- And “for all the saints”- Christians should pray for one another because of our love for one another as brothers and sisters (John 15:16-17; Eph. 4:15-16; Rom. 5:5, etc.)
It is in view of this that Paul also says, “Pray for me!” (Eph. 6:19). I can not think of many people who were more courageous than the Apostle Paul, yet because the spiritual battle was heavy on him also, he urged believers in Ephesus to pray for him so he could powerfully “open [his] mouth [and] boldly make known the mystery of the gospel… [as] an ambassador in chains” before Caesar in Rome (Eph. 6:19-20). We also as Christ’s ambassadors are called to pray for one another and, likewise, to be bold about the gospel of our salvation (2 Cor. 5:19-21, etc.)
“Tychicus” was sent to give a full report from Paul to the church in Ephesus so they could be encouraged in the Lord and also pray for the aging Apostle in prison (Eph. 6:21-22). We should too share with one another about specifics from our ministries, so we can hold one another up before the Lord in the battle set before us (Eph. 6:10-20; Gal. 6:1-5, etc.)
Paul wishes the believers there present day “peace… love… [and] faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” before ending this letter, as he started it, with “grace” (Eph. 1:2; 6:23-24). The words, “in sincerity” in verse 24 here could be translated as “without corruption” or even “with an undying love” (i.e. Eph. 6:24 NET). When Christians live for the Lord, allowing Jesus to be at home in every part of their “heart,” they are, as His soldiers, making themselves “strong in the GRACE that is in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:17; 6:17; 2 Tim. 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 15:10, etc.).