18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
At the end of Paul’s call to put on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes we are instructed to pray. Reaching the end of the list of God’s armor is to reach a moment of truth, first will we put on the armor and second if we do what will we do next? Paul’s “marching orders” turn out to be pray. For many Christians prayer is their last resort, when all else fails they pray. For others it is only a way of getting things from God. But for those who have understood the armor of God and its purpose, prayer becomes a mighty weapon. Your relationship with God, your spiritual walk, your Christian experience, will never rise higher than your prayer life. Prayer isn’t just work, its war, it isn’t time out from the battle, it is full-on engagement in the fray. As long as we think of prayer as effort and work, it simply boils down to a matter of lifestyle and convenience. But when we begin to think of prayer as warfare, we are faced with the issues of life and death, necessity not convenience.
Do you realize how important “communications” are in any battle? If an enemy can cut off our communications, we become immediately isolated, helpless and alone. Prayer is our line of communication with our Commander. God knows our situation better than we do, and He also knows the enemy’s position too. If the enemy can deter us by distracting us from praying then he has us where he wants us. We quickly become isolated, helpless and alone, we are left with only our own limited resources. God does not intend for us to fight with our own resources because they’re of no use in the spiritual battle. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds”. What are you fighting with, are you in touch with God or are you depending on your own limited resources? Have you ever stopped to ask the question: “Why does the enemy works so hard to keep us busy with anything as long as it’s not prayer?” Paul understood the battle and he reminds us of three important characteristics of prayer.
1. THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER
Paul uses a very small yet important word which appears several times in this one verse and despite its smallness it has giant and all-encompassing implications. The word is “ALL”, and it’s associated word “ALWAYS”. By calling on us to pray always he is calling us to a lifestyle of prayer! While there are certainly times which we are to go into our prayer closets and spend specific and pointed quiet time with God, this is a call to see all of life as communion with God. Paul wants us to see prayer as a kind of ‘spiritual breathing’, something that is part of the everyday fabric of living. Spiritual Warfare is not part of our lives it concerns the whole of our lives. Ephesians reminds us of the scope of warfare, it effects all of our life.
Ephesians 4:1-16 … Living in unity and co-operation in the local church.
Ephesians 4:17-5:21 … Living a life of holiness and purity.
Ephesians 5:22-6:4 … How we live with our family.
Ephesians 6:5-9 … How we conduct ourselves in our work place.
It is all spiritual warfare, and we are to ALWAYS be giving ourselves to prayer, in ALL its forms, with ALL our energy and diligence, in ALL situations, and for ALL people. The priority of prayer should undergird everything in our lives. Does prayer undergird everything you do? Is communion with God that kind of a first priority in your life? The battle is ALWAYS raging yet so often we settle for a mundane religion, without any fire, without any power. A life without prayer is a life where the only spark is our own enthusiasm and the only resources we have are our own talents and abilities. Paul calls us to abandon our life of independence for a life of dependence upon the Spirit of God. Is it time for you to make prayer a priority? Is it time to depend on the Spirit? The one who wants to empower you in the battle is calling you to come and be filled.