We’ve been looking for some time at the blessings found in the book of Ephesians and today looked at the blessing of prayer (Eph 6:18-20). The armour of God gives us all we need to be protected in the battles of life and the sword of the Spirit and prayer are the spiritual weapons God has given us to be overcomers in these battles. We don’t always view prayer as a blessing, however, often feeling that it is a duty and that it is impossible to pray continually, as we are commanded to do. (1 Thess 5:17) Prayer can very easily become a burden to us, another thing to tick off on a ‘to do’ list that grows ever longer the older we get.
In truth, God never commands us to do something without giving us the resources to do that thing! Praying continually does not mean we do nothing except pray – Paul was a tentmaker and missionary and clearly did lots of things as well as pray! We have to learn to pray in the Spirit, not only having specific times for prayer but also being continually in connection with God. Prayer is like a rope connecting us to God as the climber is connected to the rock or mountain. We can pray with all kinds of prayers and requests; there is no ‘right’ way to pray. Prayer can involve speaking outloud; it can involve praying in silence. It can incorporate praying in other languages as the Spirit gives these to us; it can involve singing. We can pray with groans. We can pray in the morning (Ps 5:3); we can pray in the evening (Matt 14:23); we can pray morning, noon and night (Ps 55:17). What matters is that we are praying on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Eph 6:18)
Often, we are reluctant to pray because we feel we don’t know what to pray for or who to pray for. Paul covers these things too! He urges us to pray for God’s people and in many places in his letters shows us how we can pray (see Col 1:9-12, Eph 1:19-21, Eph 3:16-19). We can pray these prayers for other people! Paul asked for prayer for himself to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. This is a great prayer to pray, not only for our leaders and preachers but for each one of us, for we are all called to be witnesses to Jesus.
As we pray in this way, we find we will never run out of inspiration, for God’s word acts as fuel for our prayers and that the Spirit of God will blow fresh wind into our prayer lives so we can learn to overcome and live in communion with God.