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.
2. THE POWER OF PRAYER
We see where the POWER of prayer lies in that phrase: “IN THE SPIRIT”. For many of us our prayer life has become dry, lifeless, and boring it is time to invite the Holy Spirit into our prayer life. We live in a time when we question “What does it mean to “pray in the Spirit”? We have already established that prayer is a lifestyle, something that is part of the everyday fabric of living, so the Holy Spirit’s fellowship is the environment of the Christian’s life. We are called to “walk in the Spirit” Galatians 5:16-18, that is to let the Holy Spirit guide and direct our lives as we walk in fellowship with Him. Who is directing your life, who are you following? The Holy Spirit wants to lead us into the place of pray, to enable us to watch and pray, to create a growing desire for prayer. As we let Him direct our lives we develop sensitivity to His leading and He places a desire for us to pray for someone or some situation. As we respond to His prompting and pray we are praying “in the Spirit”. The Holy Spirit leads us to pray the very will and purpose of God and we become partners with Him in God’s plan and purpose. Romans 8:26 tells us that there is a time when language is exhausted when we do not know what to say and that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with “groaning’s which cannot be uttered”. The Holy Spirit is not just the power of prayer but our partner in prayer. To pray in the Spirit’ is to pray “under the influence of the Spirit.” Back in 5:18 Paul exhorted his readers “not to get drunk on much wine, which will ruin lives, instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Christians are to live their lives under the influence of the Spirit.
3. THE PERSEVERANCE OF PRAYER
Come back to our text again, and note what it says: “…and always keep on praying for all the saints” because in this Christian warfare, “praying through” requires PERSEVERANCE.
The Bible is filled with accounts of people who persevered, holding onto God and he answered them in supernatural ways. It’s JACOB at Peniel (Genesis 32), holding on and wrestling with the Angel of the Lord — “I will not let you go until you bless me”, Perseverance. It’s the story that Jesus told of the importunate widow in Luke 18 who comes before the judge, begging for him to uphold her cause against an enemy. At first He does not help but she is not deterred, she keeps on pleading her case, she won’t leave the judge alone, until finally he relents and takes up her case, Perseverance. Jesus said, when telling that particular story, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint”. Not to give up. Not to be dissuaded. PERSEVERE!
The word always means “in every situation, at all times.” It would be good to remember Jesus’ statement, “without me you can do nothing.” In every situation we need God, and it is through the vehicle of prayer that we access the person and power of God. Perseverance means to stay alert, to be vigilant. Remember the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane on the night before Jesus was crucified. Matthew 26:38 records that Jesus told Peter, James and John to watch with him. He walked away from them and prayed a while and when He got back He found them asleep and said to them, “What, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray…” Like Jesus and the disciples, Paul tells us to wake up! “Be watchful, do without some sleep, be vigilant in prayer, and persevere.” Why, because you’re going to want to give up and go home, and because prayer is often the first thing we let go of in our spiritual walk. When we lay prayer aside we begin to depend on the flesh, on what we can do and what we think and what we want. We depend on our abilities and our talents and our wisdom when all the while it is prayer that is needed the most. Paul doesn’t just cause us to ask the question who is directing our life, but who are you depending on in this life?